There's no shortage of distinctive characters in the Star Wars saga, with every fan finding a different character they connect with. Despite all the memorable moments and pieces of dialogue, only one character has the distinction of delivering the first line of dialogue in the whole saga: C-3PO.
The protocol droid might not have been the first character to rush into battle, in fact, he regularly does everything he can to avoid confrontation. It's this reluctance to enter the fray that makes Threepio the most relatable character in the series, as audience members would likely be the ones cowering in a corner when Darth Vader boarded our Corellian
Played by Anthony Daniels, the actor captured the skittishness of the interpreter droid while also injecting just enough sass to make the perfect foil for R2-D2's courageousness.
Check out our picks for C-3PO's best moments in the series!
Upon immediately meeting C-3PO and R2-D2, we see them scurrying around the Tantive IV while chaos is unraveling around them. Audiences aren't entirely aware of the threats they're on the cusp of encountering, but when Stormtroopers and Darth Vader board the vessel, the gravity of the situation becomes clear.
Despite Rebel troopers feeling the brunt of the Galactic Empire's wrath, Threepio and Artoo manage to cross right through the ship's hallway as blaster bolts fly all around them. The droids' luck is evident right away, showing that, against all laws of probability, the duo would regularly be able to get through the most violent of situations without so much as a scratch.
After audiences met C-3PO and R2-D2, we had assumed that they were an inseparable set of friends. Minutes after getting to know them, however, they were lobbing insults at one another and encouraging one another to go their separate ways in hopes of being rescued.
That "rescue" came in the form of being purchased by Beru Lars, making Luke Skywalker the primary caretaker of the duo. Luke grew frustrated with Artoo when trying to clean him and learn information about Princess Leia, with the droid expressing his disappointment with Threepio. Not only did C-3PO confirm that Luke probably didn't like him, but also expressed that he shared Luke's negative feelings.
Throughout the rest of the series, we learned there was an unspoken admiration shared between the two, but this was one of the first examples of Threepio showing no mercy when it came to insulting Artoo.
Throughout most of his time on screen, it's unclear exactly what purpose C-3PO serves in the story, with R2-D2 regularly demonstrating his various abilities. We know that Threepio is fluent in six million forms of communication, but this never seems to facilitate the journey of our heroes.
In The Empire Strikes Back, one of Threepio's common bits of dialogue is reminding our heroes about the probability of surviving different situations, helping show the audience the true dangers of the situations. The droid's specific recollection of the odds of surviving a night on Hoth or navigating an asteroid field might not be his most fascinating moments, but they set up the other characters to deliver memorable lines while also showing off why it's useful to have the protocol droid around.
Following the Millennium Falcon's arrival on Cloud City, C-3PO get distracted during their tour of the location, inadvertently crossing paths with unseen Stormtroopers. For unknown reasons, the trooper's reaction is to blast C-3PO, rendering him a piece of junk.
This wasn't the end of the droid's adventures, as Chewbacca was able to retrieve Threepio's necessary components from the Ugnaughts to put him back together. Unfortunately, the reconstruction was interrupted, resulting in his head being put on backwards before getting strapped to Chewie's back to make a quick escape.
In his first moments after resuscitation, Threepio understandably freaks out about his head being on the wrong way, resulting in hilarious insults being lobbed at the Wookiee and a demonstration of peak anxiety, despite being nothing more than a droid.
Throughout the first two films, C-3PO seems devoted to his new allies, possibly even devoted to the causes of the Rebel Alliance. The early moments in Return of the Jedi show that the droid has successfully been repaired while embarking on a mission to confront Jabba the Hutt.
The mission might not have gone the way the protocol droid intended, as a key part of the plan was to become Jabba's new translator. While he may have accepted the duties reluctantly, Threepio did still accept the responsibility, even if it meant telling Luke, Han, and Chewbacca that they were about to be digested in the Sarlaac pit, the droid showed his disappointment over new ownership, yet also showed that he followed orders, proving to be an obedient assistant.
The first two films often depict the droid as being the third, fourth, or fifth wheel, often slowing down the adventures of the rest of our heroes. When our heroes land on the Forest Moon of Endor and are snagged by an Ewok trap, Threepio finally has his time to shine, with the creatures becoming enamored with the droid and obeying his every command.
The worship didn't stop there, with C-3PO regaling the creatures with stories of his adventures, even being able to create impressive sound effects and bits of dialogue. Through some clever Force trickery from Luke, Threepio even convinced the Ewoks that he had magic powers, surprising himself with his newfound "abilities."
The original trilogy depicted the droid as having a shiny, gold exterior, but with The Phantom Menace, we saw a much different side of Threepio: a naked side.
The first installment in the prequel trilogy showed audiences young versions of Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi, so it only made sense that we'd see a "younger" version of C-3PO. In a surprise twist, we also learned that Anakin was responsible for Threepio's creation, making audiences wonder why Vader never recognized the droid in the original trilogy or vice versa.
One of the funnier moments in Threepio's awakening were his reactions to R2-D2 after the astromech, who'd become a life-long friend, alerted the droid that he was naked, with Threepio questioning, "My parts are showing?"
After four films spent doing little more than accompanying heroes on their journeys, Attack of the Clones finally sent Threepio into battle, with the caveat of there being some body-swapping involved.
Following a disastrous altercation on a battle droid assembly line, Threepio briefly lost his head and had it reattached to a battle droid unit. Things got even more confusing when C-3PO's body had a battle droid's head attached to it and, as you could imagine, hilarity ensued.
This sequence wasn't of very high stakes, as we assumed the body swap would be corrected, yet seeing the normally docile protocol droid embrace his killer instincts to enter the fray is something we've never seen from the character before.
In the original trilogy, C-3PO explored the furthest reaches of space, tangled with the Galactic Empire, and became a god in the eyes of Ewoks. In the prequel trilogy, the droid witnessed pod races, a Gungan revolution, and briefly took part in the Clone Wars.
Throughout much of Revenge of the Sith, audiences knew that the film would have to connect to the events of the first film in some ways, but with everything Threepio had been through, we wondered why he didn't ever recall having been created by Anakin Skywalker. The film offered a pretty simple solution, with Bail Organa demanding the droid to have its mind wiped; a humorous solution to a rather complicated narrative issue.
With fans heading into The Force Awakens, we had only hypothesized what our favorite characters had been up to in the years since Return of the Jedi, yet with droids that never aged, we had only assumed things would be just as we left them. When C-3PO finally emerged on screen, he had one big difference: a red arm.
We would recognize Threepio anywhere, which makes his line of, "You probably didn't recognize me because of the red arm," but we still wondered how he gained the appendage.1comments
In a one-shot comic book from Marvel, we learn that during a Resistance mission, a droid sacrificed itself in order for Threepio to live, causing the protocol droid to attach his fallen comrade's red arm as a way of paying his respects. The moment in the film was brief, but came with a lot of interesting backstory about the emotions of droids in the Star Wars saga.