C-3PO: Tattoine’s droid

C-3PO banniere

C-3PO, or Class Three Protocol Operative, better known to the uninformed as the golden Star Wars robot, first appeared in Star Wars IV: A New Hope in 1977. It’s a protocol droid for inter-species communications. C-3PO masters over 6 million existing forms of communication. Most of the time, he’s accompanied by his lifelong companion and best friend R2-D2.

In this article, we’ll review the character and his history through his appearances in the Star Wars saga canon.

The C-3PO Star Wars story

The birth of C-3PO

The story of C3-PO’s creation is revealed in Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace. It was built by Anakin Skywalker on Tatooine, before he began his training with Ben Kenobi. C3-PO was considered by Anakin, and his mother Shmi, to be a fully-fledged member of the family.

C-3PO and his meeting with R2-D2

In Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, the episode featuring Darth Maul, C-3PO meets his iconic companion R2-D2. The latter is sure to comment on the lack of metal trim.

How did C-3PO get his golden carcass?

The answer can be found in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, released in 2008. In fact, the Naboo embassy has given him a new golden metal body. And this from the moment he joined the services of Senator Padmé Amidala.

R2-D2 and C-3PO

How did C-3PO lose his memory?

This happened in the third episode of the saga. After the birth of twins Luke and Leia, C-3PO has his memories replaced by fakes. Unlike him, R2-D2 will keep his memory.

This explains why he wanted to continue fighting the Empire and the Sith at the start of the main trilogy. Whereas C-3PO was more reluctant to rebel against them.

How did C-3PO join the Rebel Alliance?

C-3PO made its first appearance in the 4th episode of the saga, entitled “A New Hope”. In the opening minutes, we see him in the company of R2-D2. After our two droids have escaped Darth Vader, they end up on Tatooine, where they are sold to Luke Skywalker and his uncle Owen Lars by some Jawas.

During Princess Leia’s rescue mission, our droid duo will take a back seat. That’s how they were able to deactivate the garbage compactor and rescue our heroes once the princess had been rescued.

And it’s on this occasion that C-3PO finds himself involved in the rescue of Princess Leia, and later in the Rebel Alliance in spite of himself.


C-3PO’s iconic moments

The Battle of Geonosis

During this battle in the second episode of the saga, C-3PO ended up with his head torn from his body in a Sith battle droid factory. His head is placed on the body of one of the droids. In the same way, a battle droid’s head is placed on his body.

Many expected C-3PO to die. But it’s not! The situation even became comical, given the jabs the robot threw at the Jedis before realizing what he’d said. And it’s all the funnier when R2-D2 literally puts his head back on his shoulders as he complains.

The C-3PO R2-D2 sacrifice

After the Battle of Yavin in Episode 4, R2-D2 finds himself severely damaged. C-3PO offers to sacrifice his own parts to repair his best friend. Although unnecessary, as R2-D2 can eventually be repaired without it. This scene shows the good nature of the protocol droid and his attachment to his companion.

C-3PO, god of the Ewoks

When our heroes are captured by the Ewoks in Return of the Jedi, they regard the protocol droid as a god. Luke manages to win their trust by forcibly floating C-3PO, while he convinces the Ewok people to join them. It’s a funny, grotesque bit by George Lucas.

The return of C-3PO

The character returns in the seventh episode. Although short, it’s a memorable scene for fans, happy to see their comic droid still alive. The scene also shows that he now has a red arm. C-3PO will also feature in the scripts of the next two films.

C-3PO’s personality

C-3PO is above all pretentious. He never misses an opportunity to showcase his communication skills. But he’s quite shy. It should be remembered that he has not expressed any desire to join the cause. In the first episode, he becomes involved in the story by following R2-D2, and he can also be quite proud of himself. However, as the story unfolds, it’s also fair to say that C3-PO has a good heart, if you can put it that way.


What does the number 3 in C-3PO’s name mean?

The number 3 in his name was chosen by Anakin, as he considered him the third member of his family, after himself and his mother. 

What is the true origin of this character?

C-3PO was inspired by the character Maria from the film Metropolis. During C-3PO’s creation, however, it was decided that he would be a male robot.