C-3PO droid.png
Background information
Feature films
Television programs
Video games
Park attractions
Portrayed by Anthony Daniels (films, TV, Monopoly Star Wars, Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Lightsaber Duels, all other appearances)
Ross King (Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter)
Tom Kane (Various video games, Jedi Training Academy and Pink Five fan film series)
Chris Bartlett (guest appearance in A.N.T. Farm)
Performance model
Honors and awards
Character information
Full name
Other names
Powers and abilities

C-3PO (/[unsupported input]sˈθrpi./, phonetically spelled See-Threepio; 3PO or Threepio for short) is a robot character from the Star Wars universe who appears in both the original Star Wars films and the prequel trilogy. He was also a major character in the ABC television show Droids, and appears frequently in the series' "Expanded Universe" of novels, comic books, and video games. Along with Anakin Skywalker (Darth Vader), Obi-Wan Kenobi and R2-D2, he is one of only four characters to appear in all six Star Wars films. C-3PO (played by Anthony Daniels) and R2-D2 (played by Kenny Baker) are the only characters portrayed by the same actor in all six films.

C-3PO is a protocol droid designed to serve human beings, and boasts that he is fluent in "over six million forms of communication". He is generally seen with his long-time counterpart, R2-D2. Threepio's main function is to assist etiquette, customs, and translation, so that meetings of different cultures run smoothly. Threepio and R2-D2 played vital and pivotal roles in the Galaxy's history[citation needed]. While many protocol/interpreter droids range in color, C-3PO's own identifying colors are primarily gold with silver from the right knee down.

Film appearances[edit | edit source]

Original trilogy[edit | edit source]

Figure of C-3PO at the San Diego Museum of Man

In Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, C-3PO is introduced to the audience when C-3PO and R2-D2 are aboard the consular ship Tantive IV when it is attacked by Darth Vader’s Star Destroyer Devastator. When R2-D2 leaves the ship to deliver a secret message to Obi-Wan Kenobi, C-3PO follows R2-D2, eventually to the planet Tatooine. There, C-3PO and R2-D2 are captured by Jawas and taken to be sold. In the process of being sold to Owen Lars, C-3PO convinces his new owner to buy R2-D2 as well.[1]

Throughout the film C-3PO is a foil to R2-D2's jokes,[2] even when C-3PO translates R2-D2's machine speech for the audience. C-3PO was the property of the captain on the Tantive IV, but seems to follow R2-D2 in a relationship akin to those between human children;[HerzheldFP 1] C-3PO often following R2-D2 around, and R2-D2 needing C-3PO to translate for him.[HerzheldFP 2] When R2 is damaged in the Battle of Yavin, C-3PO offers to donate any mechanical parts helpful in his repair; but this transference is never confirmed.[3]

C-3PO also displays the ability to lie (essentially favouring one human group over another),Template:When giving him a more autonomous capability of thought than characters subject to Isaac Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics.[4]

In The Empire Strikes Back, C-3PO is responsible for identifying the Empire's probe droid, alerting the Rebels to the Empire's awareness of their location on the 6th planet of the Hoth System. C-3PO escapes with Han Solo, Chewbacca, and Princess Leia in the Millennium Falcon, while R2-D2 joins Luke in his search for Yoda.[5] During this time C-3PO and Solo are often shown as foils; C-3PO quoting odds and Han defying them. After a chase through the Hoth asteroid field, the Falcon escapes to Cloud City on Bespin.[5]

While exploring a room in Cloud City, C-3PO is blasted by an off-camera stormtrooper. In search of Threepio, Chewbacca heads to the Ugnaught recycling facility where he finds the dismembered parts of the droid. When Darth Vader reveals his presence to the group that same day, Chewbacca is sent into a holding cell, but is permitted to rebuild the droid, which he does poorly. Thereafter, Chewbacca carries the partially rebuilt C-3PO on his back during Han Solo's encasement in carbonite.[5]

With the help of the city's administrator, Lando Calrissian, Princess Leia, Chewbacca, and C-3PO escape the city. Having C-3PO on Chewbacca's back proves to be beneficial, in that when Boba Fett escapes the city with Han Solo, C-3PO notifies them of pursuing stormtroopers. After successfully escaping Vader's flagship Executor, C-3PO is fully repaired by R2-D2.[5]

In Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, Luke commands C-3PO and R2-D2 to deliver a message to Jabba the Hutt, whereby C-3PO is used as Jabba's translator while R2-D2 serves on his flying 'sail barge'. C-3PO's first translation for the crime lord is of the bounty hunter Boushh — Leia in disguise — claiming the bounty for Chewbacca.[6] Later, Luke Skywalker infiltrates the palace and kills Jabba's rancor in a duel; whereupon Jabba transfers his court to the sail barge with Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Chewbacca as food for the Sarlacc, while Leia serves as Jabba's slave. When Luke Skywalker attempts escape, R2-D2 tosses him his lightsaber, with which he attacks Jabba's guards. In the midst of the battle, C-3PO is attacked by Salacious Crumb, who pulls out his right photoreceptor before being driven off by R2-D2. Thereafter the two escape the sail barge and are retrieved by the protagonists.[6] C-3PO accompanies the strike force to the Forest Moon of Endor to disable the shield generator protecting the second Death Star. When he, Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Chewbacca, and R2-D2 are captured by the Ewoks, C-3PO is perceived to be a god by the latter. When the human prisoners are threatened by the Ewoks, Luke levitates the droid above the crowd as demonstration of the supposed god's ability, so as to prompt release.[6] Later that night, C-3PO narrates the history and intentions of the Rebels to the tribe, convincing them to help the Rebels at the Battle of Endor.[6]

When the Rebels are captured, C-3PO begins the Ewoks' assault on the Empire by luring stormtroopers to a false surrender. Chaos ensues as Ewoks attack the Imperial Stormtroopers, allowing Han Solo and Leia Organa to reach the controls. When R2-D2 is needed in infiltration, C-3PO follows, evading enemy fire. The battle ends with the Death Star's destruction and the death of the Emperor. C-3PO is present at the celebration afterward.[6]

Prequel trilogy[edit | edit source]

In the Star Wars series' narrative chronology, C-3PO first appears in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace as the creation of Anakin Skywalker, who builds him out of spare parts. (The non-canon story "Thank the Maker!" in Star Wars Tales explains that Anakin found the parts in a junk heap, and guessed they were very old).

In The Phantom Menace, C-3PO meets his future partner, R2-D2, Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn, Queen Padmé Amidala of Naboo, and Jar Jar Binks; C-3PO and R2-D2 co-operate to perfect Anakin's podracer for the race "Boonta Eve Classic".[7]

Shortly afterwards, C-3PO becomes part of Anakin's pit crew during the race, where he sees Anakin defeat Sebulba. C-3PO and Anakin part ways when Qui-Gon frees the boy after winning a bet with Anakin's master, Watto. Before parting from C-3PO, Anakin assures the droid that (Anakin's mother) Shmi does not sell him.[7]

In Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, set 10 years later, Shmi is kidnapped by a group of Tusken Raiders. Sensing that his mother is in danger, Anakin travels with Padmé to Tatooine, where they reunite with Threepio. C-3PO recognizes Anakin and Padmé instantly and presents them to Beru Whitesun, Owen, and Cliegg Lars. When Anakin returns with his mother's lifeless body, C-3PO attends her funeral.[8]

After Anakin and Padmé's visit to Tatooine, C-3PO accompanies them to the planet Geonosis to rescue Obi-Wan Kenobi. Shortly afterward, he follows R2-D2 into a droid-construction site, where his head is temporarily attached to the torso of a battle droid, while the head of the droid is placed onto Threepio's torso. Influenced by the battle droid's programming, Threepio reluctantly participates in the film's climactic battle scene, where he is stopped by Kit Fisto. Having been restored by R2-D2, he leaves Geonosis with the other protagonists. At the end of the film, he is a witness to Padmé and Anakin's marriage on Naboo.[8]

In Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, C-3PO is aware of Padmé's pregnancy and the meetings held with Bail Organa and Mon Mothma. After Anakin and R2-D2 return from Anakin's massacre of the Jedi, C-3PO and R2-D2 conclude that the latter was the result of emotional pressure on Anakin.[9] C-3PO becomes a witness to his maker's turn to the dark side of the Force when he accompanies Padmé to Mustafar, and Anakin, now the Sith Lord Darth Vader, uses the Force to render her unconscious; whereupon C-3PO and R2-D2 take her to safety. When Obi-Wan returns to their spaceship, C-3PO pilots it to Polis Massa and witnesses Padmé give birth to the Skywalker twins, Luke and Leia, and die shortly afterward. C-3PO and R2-D2 fall into the custody of Bail Organa, who orders that C-3PO's memories be erased to protect the twins from Palpatine and Vader.[9]

Expanded Universe[edit | edit source]

It has been saidTemplate:By whom that older accounts of Threepio's creation on the planet Affa in 112 BBY have been changed by his portrayal in The Phantom Menace. The older version of Threepio's origins originated with George Lucas, and both versions were harmonized from the outset: in 1977, Lucas provided a guide for early Expanded Universe creators, in which Threepio's origin on Affa was established, and also the statement that he was "totally reassembled by a young boy working for a junk dealer" before joining the Alderaanian diplomatic corps "several years" later. Some of the early material in this guide has since been superseded.

In all Star Wars media involving the Clone Wars, C-3PO serves as Padmé Amidala's personal protocol droid. In "The New Face of War", a story in Star Wars: Republic, Queen Jamillia appoints the droid to serve as liaison to the Jedi during that campaign following the defense of Naboo and the bio-plague of Ohma-D'un by the Separatists.[10] He is a reluctant participant in many of Padmé's adventures, including a rather hazardous mission during the Battle of Ilum,[11] in which his loyalty is essential in helping Jedi Master Yoda rescue fellow Jedi Luminara Unduli and Barriss Offee.[12]

In Clone Wars, C-3PO's outer plating are upgraded to a shiny bronzium coating due to his tenure as Padmé's servant.[13] He also severely disapproves of combat droids, once demanding to "have a serious talk with their programmer".[14]

During the Droids series, set between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, C-3PO and R2-D2 are traded to various masters. Highlights include an early encounter with bounty hunter Boba Fett,[15] and a change in personality brought by remodeling.[16]

In the Expanded Universe material set after Return of the Jedi, C-3PO assists Leia Organa, Luke Skywalker, and their allies in the Alliance (and later, the New Republic) on many missions. Due to his function as a protocol droid, he most often stays with Leia Organa-Solo on Coruscant, assisting her political duties, while R2-D2 often stays with Luke Skywalker at the Jedi Academy.

In The Truce at Bakura, he translates Ssi-ruuvi, the language of the Ssi-ruuk, to aid the Alliance.[17] In The Glove of Darth Vader, C-3PO and R2-D2 are members of the Senate Planetary Intelligence Network (SPIN), and undergo transformation by the Droid Modification Team to be disguised as Kessel droids so that they could infiltrate a gathering of Imperials to find out who is planning to take control of the Empire.[18]

In The Courtship of Princess Leia, C-3PO is led to believe that Han Solo is ancestrally the King of Corellia during Solo's competition with Prince Isolder for Leia's hand in marriage. Threepio agrees to assist Solo as a counselor droid; but is shocked when Solo kidnaps the princess and takes her to Dathomir. Despite this, Threepio continues to present Han in the best possible light and writes a song for him entitled "The Virtues of King Han Solo", which he backs with the sound of a full symphony orchestra. He later discoveres that Solo's ancestor was merely "a pretender to the throne", but is present at Han and Leia's wedding.[19]

In Tatooine Ghost, C-3PO returns to Tatooine, where he helps Han and Leia in their search for an Alderaanian moss painting storing a valuable code. Here, Threepio reunites with Kitster Banai and Wald, childhood friends of Anakin Skywalker. With their help C-3PO and the others discover Shmi's diary, whereof Leia remarks that the droid described reminds her of Threepio. The code is eventually found and destroyed.[20]

In Dark Force Rising, Threepio goes to Honoghr with Leia during the Thrawn Crisis during her quest with Khabarakh to discover what had caused the plight of the Noghri. Threepio is forced to hide with Leia and Chewbacca when Imperial forces arrive overhead,[21] but later return with Leia to Coruscant, where she gives birth to Jaina and Jacen Solo. Threepio serves as caretaker to the twins, and later Anakin Solo as well. In Heir to the Empire, Lando reprograms Threepio to sound like Leia in order to hide from Imperials on Nkllon; but the Empire, led by Grand Admiral Thrawn, sees through the deception. Threepio also accompanies Han, Lando, Artoo, Luke, Chewbacca, and Mara Jade to Wayland on a mission to destroy the Mount Tantiss storehouse. Thanks to Threepio and some Noghri, the party recruits aid from the local population and destroys the storehouse.[22]

In Dark Apprentice, the Solo twins escape from Chewbacca's and Threepio's watch during a trip to a zoo on Coruscant and arrive in the planet's sub-levels. Threepio frantically searches for them, but they had been found by King Onibald Daykim and are reunited with their parents.[23]

In Empire's End, Threepio and Artoo are nearly destroyed after they spot an Imperial installing a homing beacon on the Millennium Falcon; but are saved by Han Solo and Chewbacca. The resurrected Palpatine and his fleet discover the Alliance's existence, leading C-3PO and the others to flee to Iziz, a city on the planet of Onderon. Palpatine eventually finds them, but is wounded by Solo and destroyed when Empatojayos Brand sacrifices himself to save the latter's son Anakin.[24]

In Planet of Twilight, Threepio and Artoo accompany Leia on a diplomatic mission to Nam Chorios but are unable to prevent her kidnapping and fail to stop the Death Seed plague unleashed on the crew by Seti Ashgad and Dzym. Eventually rescued by Han and Lando, the two droids convey their message for help.[25]

In The Crystal Star, C-3PO accompanies Luke Skywalker and Han Solo to Crseih Station to investigate the possible existence of Jedi trainees; but instead find Waru, a creature from another dimension, from whom they learn of Waru's alliance with Lord Hethrir and of the kidnapping of the Solo children. Hethrir is destroyed following a confrontation with Leia, Han, and Luke while Waru returns to his dimension.[26]

In The Black Fleet Crisis, Threepio accompanies Lando Calrissian, R2-D2, and Lando's associate Lobot to investigate the runaway alien ship Teljkon Vagabond; eventually to discover that the ship contains the last vestiges of the Quella civilization.[27]

In The New Rebellion, Threepio, along with Artoo and a young mechanic named Cole Fardreamer, is instrumental in stopping Kueller from regaining power by disabling the explosive devices he had placed in a large number of droids.[28]

In Ambush at Corellia, during the outbreak of the First Corellian Insurrection, Threepio and Chewbacca retrieve Jaina, Jacen, and Anakin from the burning Corona House.[29] In Showdown at Centerpoint, Threepio accompanies Luke, Gaeriel Captison, Belindi Kalenda, and Lando Calrissian to Centerpoint Station, and alerts them to the fact that the temperature inside Hollowtown is increasing to dangerously high levels.[30] In Vision of the Future, C-3PO participates in Talon Karrde's expedition to the Kathol Sector to find Jorj Car'das, serving as a translator.[31]

In the comic book Storyteller, C-3PO is found partially destroyed and abandoned on a planet enslaved by the Vindar by Otalp and Remoh, two boys indigenous to the planet, whom he tells stories of Luke Skywalker's adventures. As he is finishing his tale, a Vindar slavedriver appears, blasts Threepio's head off, and kills Otalp. After the Vindar leave the cave, Remoh finds a lightsaber in the remains of C-3PO's body and plots to use it against the Vindar. C-3PO is later rediscovered by Luke Skywalker and R2-D2.

Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]

C-3PO was played by Anthony Daniels in all six Star Wars films. In Episode I, a skeletal C-3PO model was puppeteered, with Anthony Daniels providing the voice, and the puppeteer was removed in post-production. For Episode II, Daniels requested to take over the puppeteering duties; but these scenes were later deleted. In Episodes III to VI, Daniels both wore the costume and provided the voice in most scenes.

Maria, the robot from Metropolis was a clear influence on the design of C-3PO.

Daniels also played C-3PO in the live-action segments of The Star Wars Holiday Special, while only voicing the character in the animated portion. He also vocally played 3PO in the three Star Wars animated series Star Wars: Clone Wars, Star Wars: Droids, and Star Wars: The Clone Wars as well as in the radio drama adaptations of the original trilogy.

Daniels reprised his role of C-3PO for the Disneyland ride Star Tours, co-created by George Lucas in 1987. He was videotaped while recording the dialogue, with the tape serving as a reference for the Imagineers to program an audio-animatronic C-3PO in the queue area. Both it and the audio-animatronic R2-D2 are the original props used in filming. Daniels also donned the costume for certain video segments played before and after the simulator ride itself, also portraying an electronically disguised Ewok announcer. Daniels also appeared in the C-3PO costume for various promotional materials for Star Tours, including the electronic press kit, a Disney special on Star Tours hosted by Gil Gerard, and various opening day skits. When Star Tours opened a bilingual version at Disneyland Paris, Daniels re-recorded C-3PO's dialogue in French. C-3PO appears as the pilot of the Starspeeder 1000 in the attraction's successor, Star Tours: The Adventures Continue, and as a central character in the animated special Star Wars: The Padawan Menace. In these appearances, he is also played by Anthony Daniels.

Daniels made several appearances as C-3PO on numerous TV shows and commercials, notably on a Star Wars-themed episode of The Donny and Marie Show in 1977, Disneyland's 35th Anniversary and a Star Wars-themed episode of The Muppet Show in 1980. He also has a role as the character on Sesame Street episodes 1364 and 1396 (along with R2-D2).

Daniels initially did not agree to be cast as C-3PO but changed his mind after reading C-3PO's part in the script and seeing a concept painting by Ralph McQuarrie,[32] who based his early design largely on the Maschinenmensch from the Fritz Lang masterpiece Metropolis.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
  2. Ray Broadus Browne (1982). Objects of special devotion: fetishism in popular culture. Popular Press, 333. ISBN 978-0-87972-191-6. Retrieved on 4 February 2011. 
  3. Herzfeld p.62 "The closeness of the two robots is exemplified by C-3PO, who both urges R2-D2 to take care of himself and offers his own circuits to repair R2-D2 after a mishap."
  4. Herzfeld p.62 "C-3PO also resorts to deception in order to help R2-S2 rescue Luke and the others"
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
  7. 7.0 7.1 Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (Novelization)
  8. 8.0 8.1 Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
  9. 9.0 9.1 Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
  10. Star Wars Republic: The New Face of War
  11. Star Wars: Clone Wars Chapter 15
  12. Star Wars: Clone Wars Chapter 16
  13. Star Wars: Clone Wars Chapter 1
  14. Star Wars: Clone Wars Chapter 23
  15. Star Wars: Droids: The White Witch
  16. Star Wars Droids: The Kalarba Adventures
  17. The Truce at Bakura
  18. The Glove of Darth Vader
  19. The Courtship of Princess Leia
  20. Tatooine Ghost
  21. Dark Force Rising
  22. The Last Command
  23. Dark Apprentice
  24. Empire's End
  25. Planet of Twilight
  26. The Crystal Star
  27. The Black Fleet Crisis
  28. The New Rebellion
  29. Ambush at Corellia
  30. Showdown at Centerpoint
  31. Vision of the Future
  32. The Official Anthony Daniels Web Site

External links[edit | edit source]

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