All The Times C-3PO Was The Hero Of The Star Wars Franchise

C-3PO in Star Wars A New Hope
(Image credit: (Lucasfilm))

SPOILERS are ahead for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker!

Oh, dear! It looks like the Skywalker Saga is over. It’s been a long and rusty ride through the sandy dunes of Tattooine and Jakku, into the brooding eyes of Anakin Skywalker and Kylo Ren, and an ongoing fight between the Jedi and Sith. Star Wars fans have met countless friends along the way, but the most loyal was perhaps a golden protocol droid named C-3PO, who has the nervous tendency to spew out the odds at the worst and often most hilarious moments. A 73-year-old Anthony Daniels has been behind the suit from beginning to end – setting a record with his pal R2-D2 for being in the most Star Wars films ever.

Sure, the nine-episode saga has followed Luke on his journey to become a Jedi Master, Anakin on his villainous path to Darth Vader and Rey on her journey to belong in the galaxy. But hasn’t it been C-3PO’s story to tell all along, too? Amidst struggles between the light and the dark, the droid has been a guiding light of balance, logic and, yes, even bravery. He’s the unsung hero of the franchise between all the lineage, this and lineage, that. Without this clunker, there would be no Star Wars! So it’s about darn time we take some time to talk about him and what he's done for the saga.

C-3PO and R2-D2 in Star Wars: A New Hope

(Image credit: (Lucasfilm))

C-3PO Vouches For R2-D2 In A New Hope

First off, how genius is the beginning of A New Hope? (That’s right, I’m going in order of theatrical release!) There’s something just perfect about the series starting off with two droids escaping the Empire as they bicker on about the thought of getting into more trouble and adventures. Anthony Daniels’ performance is so good that many of us have words in our head for what R2-D2 is beeping about during their argument in Tatooine. Although C-3PO is frustrated at that moment and initially parts ways with R2-D2, he later turns around and make a decision that sets up the entire franchise.

Of course, C-3PO find a new home in Owen & Beru Lars’ moisture farm, who Luke lives with, but R2-D2 isn’t the R2 unit Owen decides to buy from the Jawa traders. When the R2 unit he picks out malfunctions, C3PO speaks out about R2 to Luke, offering him a new home and a way to deliver his important message from Leia. So he’s kind of responsible for bringing the whole gang together!

C-3PO and the Ewoks in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi

(Image credit: (Lucasfilm))

The Ewoks Embrace C-3PO In Return Of The Jedi

Jump forward a couple films and we get another memorable C-3PO moment in Return of the Jedi. Luke, Leia, Han, Chewie and R2-D2 are on Endor when a pack of adorable bear creatures, known as Ewoks, capture them and are about to use violence. But when C-3PO speaks, the suddenly bow at his feet. They think of him as their god, set out to worship him and heed his every word. It’s a funny plot point considering C-3PO is often thought of as the comedic relief and bumbling droid of the franchise, and now he’s the one the whole group must now depend on.

Threepio certainly doesn’t ask for these circumstances and Luke helps a bit with the Ewoks believing in his “powers,” but without him, the Star Wars gang would have met their end by slipping down the throats of these fuzzy critters. Plus, C-3PO story time is just the best!

C-3PO and R2-D2, young Anakin in Star Wars: Phantom Menace

(Image credit: (Lucasfilm))

C-3PO’s Has Origins With Anakin In The Phantom Menace

Before Luke Skywalker heard the iconic words “I am your father” uttered by Darth Vader, there was C-3PO. Okay, yes it’s different, but it’s pretty funny that a young Anakin crafted the droid out of spare parts back in the day. This is revealed in The Phantom Menace when C-3PO first meets R2 and he has wires running all over the place. (Threepio, put some parts on!) Although his memory banks are wiped before he meets Luke and the gang to warn them about Anakin, his story is more poetic than you’d imagine a droid’s to be.

In the Original Trilogy he’s helping a crew of Rebel fighters against Darth Vader, the man who made him. And Darth Vader’s plans are being undone by not one, but two beings who he had a hand in bringing into the world. It’s pretty amazing. Interestingly enough, it’s C-3PO who gets to see it play out from beginning to end and help all of it go down. Luke leaves! So, who’s the hero now?

Red arm C-3PO and R2-D2 in Star Wars Force Awakens

(Image credit: (Lucasfilm))

C-3PO Cuts Some Major Tension In The Force Awakens

Let’s take another lightspeed time jump to 2015’s The Force Awakens for another small, but effective moment for C-3PO. At this point, it's been years since Han and Leia have seen each other, so needless to say there's tension and awkwardness. So much is going on. We are flooded with emotions. Their poor, poor fate. The couple’s son is a knock-off Darth Vader and Han is wearing the same jacket! Does he wash that thing? Are they going to kiss? Has Leia been seeing other sarcastic smugglers? So. Much.

Thankfully, C-3PO comes in at the exact right moment (right for the audience, wrong for them) to loosen things up. Call it annoying? No, Threepio is a comedic genius with timing and this is one of the best examples. The Force Awakens gets dark and real, so we all need a golden droid in our galaxies to keep things light when things get rough.

C-3PO with red eyes in Star Wars Rise of Skywalker

(Image credit: (Lucasfilm))

C-3PO Is The Key To Finding Palpatine In Rise of Skywalker

C-3PO ends his run in the saga with a final performance in The Rise of Skywalker. Poe Dameron certainly doesn’t know how important the droid is as he quips at him during his, Rey and Finn’s mission to find Palpatine, yet he becomes a key element to how they’ll get there. When they find the Sith dagger and must translate it, Threepio can read it, but not speak it due to his programming forbidding him from translating Sith. Babu Frik has to switch up some wiring in order for it to be said.

If it wasn’t for this inconvenience, Poe wouldn’t have met Zorii again and been given access through the First Order blockade with her currency. C-3PO's memory must be wiped in order for it to happen, and it’s then when you realize how extensive his library is. He’s seen more than most. C-3PO has had small moments in Star Wars, and sure they haven’t included saber battles or big twists, but he stands for loyalty. These characters become his “friends,” as he says in The Rise of Skywalker. He evolves past a scrappy droid built from spare parts to one of the key components to the Resistance’s mission. He certainly has one of the most satisfying arcs in the series, as he's risen from spare parts to hero.

Let us know what your favorite C-3PO moment is in the comments below, and be sure to read our breakdown of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker's ending.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.