C-3PO's Red Arm In Force Awakens Explained

Spoiler Alert for Star Wars: The Force Awakens ahead.

There are a ton of question marks that Star Wars fans were left with after the credits of The Force Awakens rolled. One of the questions revolving around the original characters was namely: what’s the deal with C-3PO’s red arm

A page about C-3PO in a companion book to The Force Awakens has recently leaked online, where some answers are given regarding the mysterious red arm. The caption reads,

C-3PO is uncharacteristically quiet when it comes to discussing his salvaged arm; it is a memento of another droid's sacrifice.

Well this is intriguing. J.J Abrams had previously reported that he wanted a physical change in C-3PO, which would help signify the time jump that The Force Awakens has taken. While droids can’t wrinkle and grey as the human characters have, the aging of C-3PO was illustrated with the addition of a red arm. 

Since merchandise and commercials gave away the infamous red arm, Star Wars fans have speculated about how the protocol droid may have lost his. Unfortunately, the arm was hardly even acknowledged in The Force Awakens, with the exception of a humorous moment where 3PO assumed that Han Solo wouldn’t be able to recognize him since his part changed. Indeed, there wasn’t a ton of 3PO in the movie as a whole, so there couldn’t have been time to go into a droid backstory.

Due to the 30 year time jump in The Force Awakens, it makes sense that C-3PO is presumably an outdated droid. If production on protocol droids of his model have halted, it must be hard for replacement parts to be found. Especially with the resistance having to operate in secrecy for decades.

Moviegoers have seen how utterly breakable C-3PO in past incarnations of Star Wars. This was first made evident when he was essentially destroyed in Empire Strikes Back and carried around in a pack by Chewbacca for the rest of the film. George Lucas decided to take this to unfortunately cartoonish heights with a ridiculous moment in Attack Of The Clones. In a sequence that looked more like a video game stage than a battle, C-3PO’s head was accidentally attached to a battle droid’s body. Luckily buddy R2-D2 popped the head off and returned it to the golden body, showing another one of R2’s gadget’s that had apparently been unused in the original trilogy. 

For those of us who were underwhelmed with the lack of explanation regarding C-3PO’s new arm, we luckily don't have to wait for too long. Rather than holding breath for years till Episode VIII is released, the protocol droid will be the focus of a canon comic book piece. According to ComicBook.com, this comic one-shot will apparently explain how the red arm came to be, and presumably will pay homage to the droid who sacrificed its equipment so that 3PO can continue to be helpful to the resistance. 

We’ll be sure to update you as the C-3PO comic moves forward and gets an eventual release date.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.