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In the wide spanning Star Wars galaxy, there’s a special sort of hero that is sometimes overlooked in the grand scheme of things. We are, of course, talking about the droids that have made every corner of this particular universe, from George Lucas’ 1977 origin story to this past December’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, just a little bit brighter.
While the world of these mechanical heroes is gigantic, and full of various models that have come and gone during the Star Wars saga, there are 10 that are considered to be the most iconic throughout the known galaxy. And after ranking them in the key metrics of personality, usefulness, and lasting impact, we've come up with a definitive ranking of these 10 most memorable droids.
This article contains SPOILERS from the Star Wars movies and The Mandalorian.
It's time to punch it, and see where your Star Wars favorites stack up, starting with a recent newcomer to the field.
Introduced In: Episode 6, “The Prisoner”, of The Mandalorian. Q9-O, or “Zero” as he’s more commonly known, is part of the heist crew that main character Dyn Jarren hooks up with. Staying behind on the Razor Crest while the episode plays out, he’s basically a look out for the crew.
Personality: 2/5. We don’t really get too much of a sense of Zero’s total personality, nor will we ever really get to. Seeing as The Mandalorian’s titular bad-ass iced this guy, we probably won’t be seeing much of him again. Though he did try to kill The Child, so that's definitely something to consider when evaluating this droid.
Usefulness: 1/5. Again, Zero is pretty much the lookout on this heist, as he can access data screens, read what they say, and find which way is out when trouble comes down the hallway. That’s useful, but a human can do the same things.
Lasting Impact: 1/5. Despite being voiced by comedic all-star Richard Ayoade, Zero is a fun guest star that doesn’t leave a terribly impressive impression.
Total Score: 4/15
Introduced In: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Found among the personal possessions of Ochi, the assassin that killed Rey’s parents, D-O kind of became the C-3PO to BB-8, once reactivated.
Personality: 3/5. While there’s a very limited range of reactions and dialogue that we’ve got to go on when it comes to D-O’s actual personality, it’s hard to deny the factor of just how adorable it truly is. Take the stuffiness of C-3PO, but boil it down to short, but polite statements, and you’ve got this droid’s appeal down.
Usefulness: 2/5. D-O does manage to save the day by having crucial information that helps The Resistance in their battle on Exogol, but other than that he’s just a rolling droid with a warm personality.
Lasting Impact: 2/5. J.J. Abrams’ cameo withstanding, D-O feels like it arrived too late to really catch on with the fandom. While it is an interesting footnote in the world of droids, this little beep boop is destined to be more of a deep cut than a new favorite.
Total Score: 7/15
Introduced In: 1989’s Disney attraction Star Tours. Captain R-3X was a new pilot assigned to pilot the Endor Express for the tour company Star Tours, but found himself accidentally bringing tourists into a war zone.
Personality: 5/5. While R-3X isn’t the best pilot in Star Tours’ employ, he is a bubbly Star Wars character that’s eager to please. R-3X is also rather apologetic, as he admits that the reason he accidentally stumbled into the war between The Rebellion and the Empire on that fateful tour was all due to “getting used to [his] programming.”
Usefulness: 1/5. Our friend R-3X, earnest as he is, isn’t the best pilot – which is exactly the function he was originally programmed to fulfill. Flunking out of Star Tours, and eventually crash landing during a skirmish on Jakku, R-3X learned he just wasn’t cut out for flying. However, if you need a DJ, he’ll gladly be able to assist you in his current home on Batuu.
Lasting Impact: 3/5. We’re still in the deep cur realm of Star Wars droids, but between his history with the Star Tours attraction, and his new role in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, it’s safe to say that R-3X is pretty memorable to fans young and old.
Total Score: 9/15
Introduced In: The Empire Strikes Back. Among the myriad of bounty hunters Darth Vader assembled to track down the Millennium Falcon, and the rebel scum that were on board, IG-88 went from being a background character to an infamous fixture in the Star Wars universe.
Personality: 2/5. If you see IG-88, and you’re not explicitly giving him orders, you’d better run. A droid that might be a little too good at killing and hunting, he’s not exactly a people person. Though that also makes him a pretty useful asset to those who would use him in the Star Wars galaxy.
Usefulness: 5/5. If his programming were completed, IG-88 might have been a useful asset to either the Rebellion or the Empire. A tenacious bounty hunter who went toe to toe with even Boba Fett himself, IG-88 actually controlled the second Death Star for the last moments of its existence.
Lasting Impact: 3/5. Much like his rival Boba Fett, IG-88 wasn’t that big of a deal until the use of an expanded universe of canon was employed. But that was apparently enough for this droid to not only carve out a pretty lasting memory of its own exploits, but to also inspire a future character that would go on to be mistaken as the second coming of IG-88 itself.
Total Score: 10/15
Personality: 3/5. If you were wondering what IG-88 would have been like with a friendlier disposition, IG-11 (voiced expertly by Taika Waititi) is a Star Wars character that’s pleasant, if not a little flat. That’s no one’s fault but his programmer though, as IG-11 was primarily a bounty hunter with a one track mind.
Usefulness: 4/5. While not as vicious as its spiritual predecessor, IG-11 is a character we got to see a funnier and more combat ready side of on the screen. Not to mention, after a crafty reprogramming job by The Mandalorian’s Kuiil, IG-11 went from a potential assassin to nurse droid/protector to The Child. Though even after that transformation, IG-11 never lost his aim.
Lasting Impact: 4/5. Another dearly departed droid, IG-11 sacrificed himself to save the heroes he accompanied to freedom. With the series being the next big thing in the Star Wars universe, his will be a name we’ll probably hear with fond reverence for years to come.
Total Score: 11/15
Introduced In: Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Assigned as the loyal astromech droid that pals around with Resistance pilot Poe Dameron, BB-8 becomes an important part of the modern trilogy of Star Wars films.
Personality: 4/5. Much like R2-D2 before him, BB-8 is best understood by a handful of people, but can mostly be correctly read by his human friends throughout various moods. Ready to fight for his friends, and do whatever the mission requires, our buddy is a bit hot tempered. Just ask Finn, who almost got zapped for wearing Poe’s jacket upon his presumed death.
Usefulness: 4/5. BB-8 not only hid the map to where Luke Skywalker retired in the Star Wars universe, he also performs a lot of the same functions R2-D2 provided to The Rebellion back in his day. If you need a taser, a lighter, or someone who’ll literally use his head to help repair an X-Wing mid-flight, BB-8 can take care of that.
Lasting Impact: 3/5. As useful and cute as BB-8 is, there’s a good amount of overlap between this droid and R2-D2 in each of the fields we’ve ranked the Star Wars droids for. He’s probably the most memorable droid from the modern trilogy, but we’ll see how that translates into staying power over time.
Total Score: 11/15
Introduced In: Solo: A Star Wars Story. Pilot extraordinaire and companion/lover to Lando Calrissian, L3-37 is one of the few droids that embodies the notion of a bad ass. Useful in any enterprise, be it a heist or the promotion of droid’s rights, she’s got passion and skill in equal measure.
Personality: 4/5. If you can get past the constant reminders of droid’s rights being lesser than those of other lifeforms, Elthree is actually a pretty fantastic companion. Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s voice and mannerisms helped turn this sidekick into a rather memorable presence, making her sacrifice in the middle of Solo an actually sad moment.
Usefulness: 3/5. Compared to a lot of the Star Wars droids on this list, L3-37 isn’t the most impressive when it comes to her skill set. Sure, she’s a fantastic pilot, and a useful member to your standard heist team, but Elthree became the most useful in the series when she was transferred and adapted into the consciousness of the Millennium Falcon.
Lasting Impact: 5/5. While it may not seem like it on the surface, Elthree has made some of the most lasting impact on the Star Wars universe. Thanks to being uploaded into the Millennium Falcon before her untimely death, her intelligence and personality have been built into the ship’s own reputation. So every time you hear Han Solo tell the Falcon, “You hear me, baby? Hold together,” it’s all the more bittersweet.
Total Score: 12/15
Introduced In: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. A droid formerly in the employment of the Imperial army, K-2SO was reprogrammed by Cassian Andor, and eventually won over to the side of the Rebellion.
Personality: 5/5. If you took C-3PO's sense of knowledge and R2-D2's sarcasm and put them together with IG-11's sense of honor, you'd get K-2SO. Alan Tudyk's performance helps nail K-2's bitting wit, and overall dedication to the humans he decides to call friends.
Usefulness: 4/5. K-2SO has R2-D2's computing skills and IG-11's marksmanship, which make a lethal combination for whomever is on the other end of the gun. While it takes him some time to finally realize he has this combination of abilities, K2 is still a pretty valuable asset when it comes to espionage against the Empire. Even if he's not so good at improvising under pressure.
Lasting Impact: 4/5. Another fresh face in the Star Wars saga, K-2SO's overall impact is great enough that he's actually returning in a Disney+ spinoff, alongside Diego Luna's Cassian Andor. For a droid to rise so far in such little time, there's no doubt that K-2SO is the best modern addition to this classic sci-fi canon.
Total Score: 13/15
Introduced In: Star Wars. Literally one of the first two Star Wars droids the world was ever shown, C-3PO’s prim and proper demeanor has always been front and center when dealing with this memorable droid. Created by young Anakin Skywalker himself, “Threepio” has forgotten more galactic history than most Star Wars droids have ever known.
Personality: 3/5. C-3PO at his best can be a valued and trusted friend that brings fans of the saga to tears. But at his worst C-3PO can be a bit combative and self-assured, with just a touch of a superiority complex. So if he's in the wrong mood, he'll say pretty hurtful things, if he isn't inspired to just kick you outright.
Usefulness: 5/5. Fluent in over six million forms of communication, Threepio has found his skills in both protocol and linguistics saving our heroes quite a few times in Star Wars history. Most recently, C-3PO even put his own life on the line with a risky procedure, just so he could help decode a dagger written in the forbidden language of the Sith.
Lasting Impact: 5/5. He may be a bit touchy at times, but C-3PO is a Star Wars droid that has no problem doing the right thing. As loyal as he is protocol bound, Threepio could only ever be outdone in reputation by his best friend and counterpart.
Total Score: 13/15
Introduced In: Star Wars. Much like C3PO, R2-D2 is a character that audiences know from 1977’s Star Wars, but technically his “introduction” happens in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. A battle tested astromech droid from Naboo, he would meet C-3PO, and be part of the most iconic duo of the franchise’s robotic universe.
Personality: 5/5. While we may not understand what R2 is saying, his reactions pretty much speak for themselves. Whether shrieking in pain, mournfully beeping in sorrow, or cheering in his own robotic language, you can understand where R2’s mind is at any moment in time.
Usefulness: 5/5. From spaceship repairs to data mining enemy locations, R2-D2 has been a pretty resourceful presence when it comes to the fights that both The Rebellion and The Resistance engaged in across the stars. Whether it’s the Death Star plans, Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber, or the entire history of the Skywalker Saga, R2-D2 is one of the most useful droids in Star Wars galaxy.
Lasting Impact: 5/5. Try as they might, the iconic nature of R2-D2 is something that no other Star Wars droid has ever been able to overpower. Even his presence in other universes is a sign that R2’s reputation is as spotless today as it was when we first met him. This scrappy, sarcastic, but ultimately loyal robot is the top of the Star Wars class.
Total Score: 15/15
Cue the iconic closing music from John Williams, because we've just wrapped up our rankings of Star Wars' most iconic droids. Of course, that's just how we see things panning out, and you might feel differently about how we've valued the contestants you see before you.
In which case, take our poll below and tell us who you feel is the best robot to ever have come from the Star Wars universe. Don't forget to explain your choice in the comments below, as subjects like these are certainly known to foster healthy discussion. And should you want to revisit the adventures of these and other droids throughout Star Wars history, you can do so through a 7-day free trial to Disney+ - the streaming home of pretty much everything the franchise has to offer.