Last week, we officially met K-2SO (middle in the above picture), the newest droid companion to a band of Rebels in the Star Wars universe. Played by Alan Tudyk in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, K-2SO is an Imperial Security Droid that abandons the Empire, joining the Rebel Alliance for as-yet-unrevealed reasons.
It's a new look at Droids, giving them much more conscious choice than in the older films, a concept that's seen much play of late. In the pages of C-3PO #1, a one-shot from Marvel Comics, we met a similar Imperial droid that explained his reasoning for working for the Empire. On Star Wars Rebels, an Imperial droid befriended Chopper, and eventually turned to the Rebels' cause. Later this year, we'll see that concept reach its peak in live action.
But K-2SO, the "antithesis of C-3PO" as described by Gareth Edwards, director of Rogue One, brings with him a slightly familiar look, and what looks to be a stronger and faster style for droids than fans familiar with the oft-bumbling Threepio may imagine. Luckily, there are plenty of examples of bad-ass droids in the history of Star Wars and we run them down for you here!
A huge thank-you and shoutout as always to Wookieepedia for refreshers and extra information I couldn't possibly keep entirely in my head about these excellent characters.
The Hunter-Killer was an early model of assassin droid, prevalent during the days of the (very) Old Republic. In the videogame (that itself spawned stories of nearly every medium) Knights of the Old Republic, we met HK-47, whose "primary function" was "to burn holes through meatbags that you wish removed from the galaxy." Yikes.
This particular HK droid served Darth Revan, the Sith Lord whose character was the source of the major twist in that game's story, and has remained incredibly popular over the years (he's even getting his own fan-voted Black Series figure from Hasbro this year). HK-47's intelligence and self-awareness levels were incredibly high; when he found out that HK-50 assassin droids were being mass-produced, he simply went and recruited them.
HK-47 was so popular in KOTOR that he was brought back in the videogames The Old Republic and Star Wars Galaxies, bringing him into later eras in the Star Wars storyline. His programming and skills were such that he could (and did) assassinate Jedi themselves, a dangerous droid indeed.
IG-88 (Original Trilogy)
IG-88 was the first badass droid Star Wars fans ever saw, even if he didn't do all that much in his first appearance. IG-88, a rogue sentinel droid, worked as a bounty hunter, and was amongst those hired to find the Millennium Falcon by Darth Vader in Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back.
His story was subsequently fleshed out in the stories of the Legends universe, giving him a twin droid that worked together with him to carry out their missions. Despite never getting a major on-screen mission, IG-88, like Boba Fett, captured fans imaginations, and has stuck around for generations as an intriguing, killer (um, we assume) droid.
BX-Series (Prequel Trilogy)
The BX-series droid commandos were one of several advanced and elite models of droid used in the war between the Separatists and the Old Republic that led to the dawn of the Empire. Their advanced abilities included infiltration, voice modulation, plus advanced speed, strength, and armor.
Various BX models were able to use electro-staff weapons or Vibroswords to hold their own against Jedi, though the regularly armed models with rifles were more common. The even more advanced and fearsome IG-100 MagnaGuard droid was used as the direct bodyguard of General Grievous, and are the canon predecessors to a few non-canon droids (including one later on this list).
Beetee and Triple Zero (Darth Vader Comics)
Ever wondered what it would be like to have an R2-D2 and C-3PO that were insane psychopaths bent on killing all humans? Meet BT-1 and 0-0-0, two droids introduced in the (canon) Darth Vader comicbook from Marvel Comics.
These droids work for Doctor Aphra and her own master, Darth Vader. Decommissioned from the "Tarkin Initiative," Aphra reactivated them, and eventually placed them into the Sith Lord's service.
With advanced torture programming and weaponry (especially BeeTee, who is armed with all manner of rockets and blasters - he's like Marvel's War Machine in Artoo's body), they're very efficient at their main programming, killing people, which they also both take great pleasure in.
What's especially amazing - and off-putting - about this pair, is that they have the same general lovability of Artoo and Threepio, but with their psychotic mind-set added in. It makes for some great dark comedy, and Triple Zero's basic personality and style seems it'll be the closest to Kaytoo's, though the latter will probably be a little less of a lunatic.
Mister Bones (Star Wars: Aftermath)
Mister Bones is a re-programmed, and re-built B1 battle droid. The cannon fodder of the Clone Wars, B1s weren't much to speak of, used entirely in numbers rather than in any particular skill level. After the Galactic Civil War, an enterprising young man named Temmin Wexley (who would grow into "Snap," a capable pilot for the Resistance at the time of The Force Awakens) scavenged the B1 droid, supplementing his parts with actual bones (hence the name), and reprogramming the droid. His story takes place in the Aftermath series of novels.
Mister Bones was much more capable than the B1s, thanks to additional programs put in by Wexley that included advanced martial arts, dance for further movement capabilities, a vibro-blade, and other unknown programming. His personality, a mix of a classic B1 and some of the sadism of a Triple Zero style droid, had him often enjoying his combat tasks.
Mister Bones fan-art by Lorian-Nod on Deviant Art. No Official image of Mister Bones has been released.
PROXY (The Force Unleashed)
The training droid PROXY was a unique holodroid - through programming, he could approximate (GET IT? apPROXImate?) the look and fighting styles of famous lightsaber duelists (and other high-talent fighters), including Darth Maul, Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Boba Fett, and many others.
PROXY was a supporting character in the very popular Legends story Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, which took place in video games, graphic novels, and novelizations. He was programmed to help Galen "Starkiller" Marek, the secret apprentice of Darth Vader in that non-canon world, learn to fight and improve his skills. Despite a deep personal connection and affection for Starkiller, PROXY was also programmed with his primary directive of attempting to kill Marek, usually at the most inopportune times possible (as part of his training, naturally).
As a fun bit of history, PROXY was voiced by David W. Collins, sound editor on this game and a longtime sound editor and now voice actor (and frequent Star Wars Celebration host) for Lucasfilm. He was created at the behest of none other than George Lucas, who knew the unique value of a comedic relief character.