- Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope,
- Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back,
- Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi,
- Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace,
- Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones,
- Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith,
- Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens,
- Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,
- Star Wars: Episode VIII The Last Jedi,
- Star Wars Rebels,
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars,
FALL OF THE REPUBLIC
Anakin Skywalker, a Tatooine slave boy, was gifted in engineering -- and was strong with the Force. To help his mother, Shmi, he secretly built a droid: C-3PO. In his earliest form, Threepio had no outside covering, and so appeared “naked,” with his internal parts and motors showing. When Anakin befriended a group of stranded travelers, C-3PO was introduced to R2-D2, their heroic astromech. The two quickly became a duo, though when Anakin departed Tatooine to become a Jedi, he left his droid behind.
C-3PO continued to serve Shmi, as well as her new husband, Cliegg Lars, and their son Owen. Ten years after Anakin had left Tatooine to become a Jedi, he returned home due to visions that his mother was in distress. C-3PO met Anakin outside the Lars homestead; though they both had changed -- Threepio now had a gray outer casing, and Anakin had grown up -- they recognized each other. “The Maker!” Threepio exclaimed. But this was not a happy reunion, as Shmi had been kidnapped by Sand People and would later die from wounds suffered at the hands of the Tuskens.
C-3PO left with Anakin (and his old friend R2-D2) for Geonosis, where Obi-Wan Kenobi was held as prisoner. Geonosis was home to a massive droid factory, and inside it, Threepio had a bit of a misadventure -- accidentally swapping heads with a battle droid. Both his body and his head found themselves on the wrong side of the first battle of the Clone Wars, though R2-D2 finally made things right.
After the Battle of Geonosis, C-3PO assisted his friends and the clone army on certain missions. In one adventure on Aleen, the droid and his counterpart, R2-D2, found themselves lost beneath the planet’s surface in a subterranean world. They encountered the Kindalo, strange creatures resembling trees come to life, who were angry with Aleen’s surface dwellers. This led C-3PO and Artoo to Orphne, a beautiful reptilian nymph; she informed the duo that a divide between the surface and underground had been breached, poisoning the subsurface. Threepio and Artoo offered to seal the breach, moving a heavy door back into place that restored the planetary balance.
C-3PO served Senator Padmé Amidala, Anakin Skywalker's secret wife, on Coruscant throughout the Clone Wars. As the calamitous events of Order 66 erupted around them, Threepio felt helpless. He bore witness to everything: the decimation of the Jedi, the fall of Anakin, and the birth of the Skywalker twins. When the dust settled, he and R2-D2 were assigned to Captain Antilles aboard the Tantive IV -- but Threepio had seen too much. Senator Bail Organa ordered that C-3PO’s mind be wiped, a development which R2-D2 found just a little humorous.
GALACTIC CIVIL WAR
In the intervening 19 years after the rise of the Empire, C-3PO and R2-D2 stayed in the service of their master, Captain Antilles. Antilles was a Rebel, however, and his ship was boarded by Imperials upon the theft of Death Star plans. C-3PO and R2-D2 made a daring escape in a life pod, landing on the desert world Tatooine. The two droids bickered -- Artoo called Threepio a “mindless philosopher” -- and separated, but both were eventually recovered by Jawas. The scavengers sold the droids to Owen Lars, a moisture farmer, who charged his nephew Luke Skywalker with care of the droids. Then, an adventure unfolded: R2-D2 was actually the custodian of the stolen Death Star plans, and Luke, along with new companions Obi-Wan Kenobi, Han Solo, Chewbacca, and the droids left to bring them to Princess Leia on Alderaan.
By the time this new group had arrived at Alderaan, however, it was too late. The planet was gone, destroyed by the Death Star -- which now held Leia captive. Instead, the small band’s ship, the Millennium Falcon, had been caught in the space station’s tractor beam. Through some smart trickery, they evaded capture and rescued Leia; and during the heroes’ escape, C-3PO and R2-D2 saved their friends from being crushed in a trash compactor. Back on the Falcon, they fled to the Rebel base on Yavin 4. The plans were delivered and the Rebels launched on attack on the Death Star, with Luke taking R2-D2 in his X-wing. While the massive weapon was destroyed, Artoo suffered devastating injuries; C-3PO volunteered to donate parts for his friend’s restoration, but he needn’t have worried -- the astromech was fully repaired, and both were included in the Alliance’s medal ceremony that celebrated this important victory over the Empire.
In the wake of the Battle of Yavin, the Rebel Alliance relocated to the ice planet Hoth. C-3PO remained with his masters and friend R2-D2, serving as an interpreter and performing various other functions. When the Empire dispatched a probe droid to the world’s surface, it was Threepio who identified the signal as foreign and possibly an Imperial code. In the resulting evacuation, he left with Han, Leia, and Chewbacca aboard the Millennium Falcon. The droid often found himself at odds with and perplexed by Han, who had no patience for C-3PO’s statistics, odds-quoting, and worrying.
When the group later landed on Cloud City, believing they’d found safe haven, Threepio was the first to discover the truth. Encountering a stormtrooper, he was blasted at point blank range and his limbs were scattered; when partially reassembled by Chewbacca, his internal memory banks revealed that just before he was shot, C-3PO had planned to warn his friends. While Han was ultimately frozen in carbonite and turned over to bounty hunter Boba Fett, C-3PO and his friends managed to escape. He was reassembled, and a plan was put in place to rescue Han.
With Han frozen in carbonite and held in Jabba the Hutt’s palace, C-3PO and R2-D2 were dispatched by Luke to deliver a message to the crime lord. They walked together, once again, through the Tatooine desert before arriving at a massive gated entrance. C-3PO was visibly nervous. He wanted to leave -- but the door was answered, and the droids entered the lair. Standing before the mighty Jabba, R2-D2 played a holographic projection of Luke, now a Jedi Knight, asking to bargain for Han’s life and offering the droids as token of goodwill. C-3PO was shocked at this turn of events. Indeed, Jabba turned down the offer but accepted the protocol droid and astromech, and quickly put C-3PO to work as an interpreter. It was trying for Threepio, but in time, the truth behind Luke’s plan was revealed: his lightsaber was hidden inside R2-D2, and after his arrival, used it to destroy the gangster’s henchmen. Han was rescued, Leia killed Jabba, and they all left to continue the fight against the Empire.
After regrouping with the Rebel Alliance, C-3PO joined Han, Luke, Leia, Chewbacca, and R2-D2 on a mission to Endor. The goal: destroy the shield generator protecting Death Star II, the Empire’s new battle station. The group traveled the moon’s forests looking for the bunker, but Chewbacca’s ill-advised curiosity over a dead animal triggered a trap: they were caught in a net, and hoisted high above the ground. As they escaped, short furry creatures surrounded them. Called Ewoks, they appeared somewhat hostile -- until they glimpsed C-3PO. Immediately, they knelt before him and began chanting; the Ewoks believed the gold droid was some sort of god.
The primitive creatures took everyone captive except for Threepio, who they carried and worshiped. Back in their village, the Ewoks planned to hold a banquet in C-3PO’s honor. The main course: Han, Luke, and Chewbacca. With some quick thinking, Luke told the droid to inform the creatures that if they did not free his friends, he would become angry and use his magic. C-3PO was confused, but did as told. Reaching out through the Force, Luke levitated Threepio above the villagers, which sent them into a panic. The Ewoks quickly freed the heroes, and once everything calmed down, C-3PO expertly told the Ewoks the story of his friends and the Rebellion. They were officially adopted into the tribe, which proved to be an important alliance; in the attack on the Empire’s shield generator, the Ewoks turned the tide of battle. As a result, the Death Star II was destroyed and the galaxy became free once again.
THE FIRST ORDER
After the Battle of Endor, C-3PO served Leia Organa during the fight to defeat the Empire’s remnants and the uneasy peace that followed. Following the rise of the First Order, C-3PO assisted Leia in her role as founder and leader of the Resistance. The protocol droid’s duties have expanded to include overseeing the movement’s network of spy droids, which operate across the galaxy.