From the MoviesA fussy and worry-prone protocol droid, C-3PO was cobbled together from discarded scrap and salvage by a nine-year old prodigy on the desert planet Tatooine. Young Anakin Skywalker had intended the homemade droid to help his mother, Shmi. With limited resources, the droid that Anakin built was truly remarkable. It lacked an outer shell, though, and Threepio had to live with the indignity of being "naked," with his parts and wiring showing.
When Anakin befriended Padmé Naberrie of Naboo, Threepio first met her astromech droid, the blue-and-white droid R2-D2. The two formed a fast friendship, working together to perfect Master Anakin's blazing fast Podracer for an upcoming competition. The more experienced Artoo told Threepio of the hazards of space travel, to which Threepio proclaimed that he would never set foot into one of those, as he put it, dreadful starships.
The Podrace was pivotal in Anakin's life, due to a wager that earned him his freedom upon victory. Anakin left Tatooine with Padmé and Artoo, leaving Threepio behind with Shmi. Years passed before Shmi was eventually freed by Cliegg Lars, a moisture farmer who had fallen in love with her. She relocated to the Lars moisture farm, a small homestead not far from Anchorhead, and took Threepio with her.
Threepio became just one of the many droids working on the farm, but Shmi took special care of Anakin's creation. To better protect his fragile inner wiring from the abrasive Tatooine sands, Shmi fitted Threepio with discolored and mismatched coverings that nonetheless gave the protocol droid a sense of completion.
Tragedy struck the Lars family when Shmi was abducted by savage Tusken Raiders. A month after this sad event, Anakin Skywalker suddenly returned to Tatooine, seeking out his mother. There was no time for sentimental reunions -- Anakin sped off into the desert, and returned with Shmi's body. After a quiet funeral, Anakin and Padmé left on an important mission to rescue Obi-Wan Kenobi. Since Threepio was the rightful property of Anakin, the Larses let the young Jedi take the protocol droid with him. This marked the first time the nervous Threepio had ever been aboard a starship.
Arriving on Geonosis, Anakin and Padmé ventured into the dark catacombs of the Geonosian hives, leaving the droids behind. Artoo-Detoo, once again reunited with Threepio, insisted they follow. Threepio simply could not understand the astromech droid's clearly faulty logic -- they had been instructed to stay behind -- but the stubborn little droid nonetheless journeyed into the unknown with Threepio in tow.
The droids discovered an immense droid factory churning out countless combat automata for the growing Separatist movement. The concept of machines manufacturing machines gave Threepio's logic circuits a flutter, and in the confusion of the factory, the protocol droid tumbled into the dangerous machinery.
A piece of heavy equipment cleanly sheared Threepio's head from his body, though both segments were still active. The headless body wandered into a battle droid assembly line while the head landed on a conveyer belt full of battle droid heads. A battle droid head was then automatically affixed to Threepio's body, and Threepio's head was welded to a battle droid body.
Both mismatched droid assemblies wandered confusedly into the battle droid ranks, and when the Separatist droids attacked a Jedi taskforce sent to Geonosis, poor Threepio was drawn into the fray. His twisted ordeal was brought to an end when both bodies were incapacitated.
R2-D2 came to Threepio's rescue, tugging the protocol droid's head to his inactive body and reattaching the two. As Threepio's electronic brain tried to process the madness of battle, Threepio likened the unsettling body-swapping to a peculiar dream.
Years later, Threepio and Artoo would become the property of the Royal House of Alderaan, an influential family of nobles with ties to the growing Rebel Alliance. The two droids were aboard Princess Leia Organa's consular vessel when it was attacked by an Imperial Star Destroyer due to suspected complicity in Rebel actions. The vessel crippled, Leia stored vital Rebel information in Artoo's memory systems -- unbeknownst to Threepio. Artoo then took it upon himself to complete Leia's failed mission, though Threepio knew nothing of its details.
Artoo commandeered an escape pod, and rocketed away from the captured craft, crashlanding on the barren desert world of Tatooine. There, the droids were taken captive by Jawa traders, and sold to moisture farmer Owen Lars and his nephew Luke Skywalker. Determined to complete his mission of finding famed war hero General Obi-Wan Kenobi, Artoo ran away in the middle of the night, leaving Threepio and Luke to search for him the next morning.
Threepio andLuke eventually found Artoo, as well as Obi-Wan Kenobi. This started an incredible chain of events that saw Threepio catapulted into an adventure beyond his imagination. Threepio and Artoo were crucial in assisting Luke spearhead a rescue mission to free Princess Leia from the heart of the gargantuan Imperial space station, the Death Star. Both droids navigated the complex Imperial computer system to provide the rescuers with timely assistance and status updates.
Having returned to the Alliance base with Princess Leia, Threepio and Artoo continued to be mainstays with the core group of Rebel heroes. During the relocation to Hoth, Threepio braved having his joints frozen by subzero temperatures to assist in Echo Base's command centers. Threepio's fluency in millions of languages allowed him to postulate that an intercepted signal was in fact an Imperial code, alerting the Rebels to the presence of a probe droid dangerously close to their base.
During the evacuation from Hoth, Threepio and Artoo were separated. Threepio, accompanying Princess Leia, left Hoth aboard Captain Han Solo's recalcitrant freighter, the Millennium Falcon. Although Threepio was nowhere near as skilled a mechanic as Artoo, he was helpful in translating the odd language of Falcon's main computer.
During a respite in the Bespin system, in the pastel-hued corridors of Cloud City, Threepio was blasted into pieces by an Imperial stormtrooper. His shattered remains were the first clue to the Rebel fugitives that Cloud City was an Imperial trap. The Wookiee Chewbacca attempted to piece together Threepio's remains, but lack of time and resources meant that Threepio would have to remain incomplete for the time being.
During a daring mission to rescue a captive Han Solo from the loathsome gangster Jabba the Hutt, Threepio and Artoo were sent into the Hutt's palace on Tatooine. There, they became the gristly crime lord's property. Threepio was pressed into service as Jabba's translator until Luke Skywalker came to rescue his friends.
Shortly thereafter, Threepio accompanied the Rebel strike force that was sent to knock out the Imperial shield generator on Endor. Although some would question the addition of a protocol droid on this military mission, it ended up quite fortunate that Threepio went along. On Endor, the strike team encountered an indigenous species of primitives that worshipped the golden droid as a god. The Ewoks, a tree-dwelling tribal people, proved to be valuable allies. Were it not for their allegiance, which was won by Threepio's impressive retelling of key events of the Galactic Civil War, the Rebellion would not have been victorious at the decisive Battle of Endor.
From the Expanded UniverseAlthough C-3PO achieved consciousness in a Mos Espa slave hovel, his frame is actually quite old, and some of his components date back a century, forged on the mechanized world of Affa. Young Anakin Skywalker cobbled together enough pieces to give Threepio new life. He was more than a run-of-mill Cybot Galactica 3PO-unit. His salvaged nature imbued in him special qualities that set him a brand apart from his droid cousins.
Designed to help Shmi Skywalker, Threepio was nonetheless an asset to young Anakin, who took the skinless interpreter along when he bartered with nearby Jawa traders. Threepio's fluency in millions of languages -- thanks to a sophisticated TranLang III Communicator module coupled with an AA-1 VerboBrain -- helped too when Anakin aided a wounded Tusken Raider during a trip outside Mos Espa.
Though Threepio and Artoo parted ways after the Boonta Eve Classic, they were eventually reunited, and changed owners dozens of times. Threepio's skill-set grew, and he accumulated over 30 secondary functions, including landspeeder piloting and programming binary loadlifters.
Anakin may have reclaimed ownership of Threepio just prior to the outbreak of the Clone Wars, but during that conflict, the protocol droid became more the property of Padmé Amidala. When on her native Naboo, Amidala often assigned the droid to assist the Naboo Royal Council. Following the devastation of Ohma-D'un by the chemical weapons of the Confederacy, Queen Jamillia appointed the droid to serve as liaison to the Jedi during that campaign.
Threepio and Artoo would travel with Senator Amidala during the early months of the wars. At the time of the Battle of Muunilinst, they were aboard Padmé's vessel when she flew to Ilum to stop a Separatist chameleon droid attack on the sacred Jedi caverns there.
Years later, one in a string of careless owners jettisoned Artoo and Threepio over the deserts of Ingo. After such an unceremonious disposal, Threepio and Artoo finally found some responsible masters -- the speeder racers Jord Dusat and Thall Joben. The droids helped the racers win the Boonta speeder races.
During a short stint with the Intergalactic Droid Agency, Threepio and Artoo were assigned very odd jobs, including waiting tables at Doodnik's Cafe on Tyne's Horky. The droids found themselves on auction, and soon became the property of miner Jann Tosh. It was around this time that Threepio and Artoo became embroiled in the intrigue surrounding the ascendancy of Tammuz-an's royal ruler.
Threepio and Artoo came to be property of Mungo Baobab, a trader from the Manda system. After some adventuring in and around the Roon system, Threepio and Artoo again found themselves without a master before arriving at Kalarba.
There, the Pitareeze family took in the droids, and gave them a good home. The family had acquired considerable wealth from the development of a popular hyperdrive model. Despite living in their most comfortable surroundings in months, Threepio and Artoo still managed to find trouble. They had several run-ins with not-so-legitimate businessman Olag Greck on nearby Hosk Station. In one encounter, Threepio was nearly scrapped when he was sent to compete in a gladiatorial arena match after being mistaken for the assassin droid C-3PX.
After thwarting another of Greck's schemes, Threepio and Artoo were deputized by Unit Zed, security constable for Hosk Station. The two pursued Greck and became mixed up in the cutthroat rivalry between businessmen Movo Brattakin and Boonda the Hutt. Threepio, outfitted with modified programming, even became a tool of Brattakin's, leading a droid rebellion against Boonda. By caper's end, Threepio's newfound firebrand programming was returned to its original milquetoast form.
Threepio's next master was an Ithorian botanist named Zorneth, who had a good-intentioned but ill-thought-out plan to end aggression and conflict in the galaxy with a potent mind-altering herb called savorium. Militant factions on Targonn wanted to use the herb as a weapon against their enemies, and the droids again barely escaped unscathed.
After a string of other masters, Threepio and Artoo eventually came to the employment of the House of Alderaan. Here, on a world of refined culture and art, Threepio at last found rest and fulfillment. Political formalities were more Threepio's milieu, rather than speeder racing or revolutions. It wasn't all posh balls and gala events -- a faux pas landed Threepio in preschool duty once, and he did end up on the Tantive IV's labor pool - but at least it was stable.
Of course the events that set into motion the Battle of Yavin once again plunged the protocol droid into the heart of revolution. After the Rebellion's victory at Yavin, Threepio and Artoo remained with Alliance High Command as indispensable allies, roles they continue to fill even now, in the Galactic Alliance.
Behind the ScenesThe very earliest story treatment of Star Wars didn't have the now famous droid duo, but instead had a pair of bumbling Imperial bureaucrats as the comic relief. As the story evolved, Threepio and Artoo became a pair of bickering Imperial droids that became wrapped up in the adventure around them. Threepio's golden look was first captured in a very early production painting by Ralph McQuarrie which draws from Fritz Lang's Metropolis for inspiration.
Threepio is played by actor Anthony Daniels, who has performed the droid in numerous stories. Aside from all five films of the Star Wars saga, Daniels has voiced Threepio in the radio dramas, certain audio books, and the animated "Droids" television series that aired in 1985.
An earlier version of Threepio's life story was extrapolated by Brian Daley in a 1977 internal Lucasfilm interview. In it, Daley answered a number of questions as Threepio. Here, the droid revealed that he believes he comes from the world of Affa, where he was constructed in a robot factory about 112 years ago. Threepio thinks he has had a string of 43 owners before serving Captain Antilles aboard the Tantive IV. Of course, this story has since changed and Threepio's true origins were revealed in The Phantom Menace.
Keywords: Databank - Episode IV, Databank - Episode V, Databank - Episode I, Databank - The Clone Wars, Databank - Episode III, Databank - Episode II, Databank - Episode VI, Databank - Expanded Universe
Filed under: Vault, Droid
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