One of the great things about Star Wars is that it inspires endless debates and opinions on a wide array of topics. Best bounty hunter? Most powerful Jedi? Does Salacious Crumb have the best haircut in the saga? In that spirit, StarWars.com presents From a Certain Point of View: a series of point-counterpoints on some of the biggest — and most fun — Star Wars issues. In this installment, two StarWars.com writers discuss which droid not named R2-D2 or C-3PO ranks highest.
Chopper is the best, says Michael.
It takes a village.
That’s one of the fundamental messages of the Star Wars story. For the Rebel Alliance to succeed, it requires a lot of hands pulling in the same direction: Jedi, smugglers, politicians, pilots, and the unsung heroes of the Rebellion — droids.
You know, everyone gets up in arms about Chewbacca not getting a medal at the end of A New Hope. But what about C-3PO? And R2-D2? Artoo carried Leia’s message to Obi-Wan; Artoo and Threepio saved Luke, Leia, Han, and Chewie from being crushed to death in the Death Star’s trash compactor. But did they get a medal? Noooooo.
Sure, droids make for nice companions to the people they serve. But when push comes to shove, they’re kind of expected to do their jobs and not make a fuss about it. And that’s why everyone hates my favorite droid, C1-10P.
The great thing about Chopper is that he’s got attitude. He doesn’t let the Ghost crew order him around — “hack this system,” “open this door” — like he’s an appliance. Chopper wants to be asked. Nicely. And if he thinks he’s being ordered to do something reckless, he says so. When Artoo warned Luke that he, more or less, had a bad feeling about cruising into Dagobah and Luke blew him off, Artoo’s response was “okay, cool.” Five minutes later? They crashed into a swamp. Chopper would’ve had an earful waiting for his hopeful-Jedi pal.
That’s what makes Chopper so much fun: He takes all of Artoo’s best qualities — Chopper’s crafty, brave, and, ultimately, loyal — and adds in his own opinions and, more importantly, his own desires. No one can say Chopper wants for not.
In the episode “The Forgotten Droid,” Zeb and Ezra mock poor Chop for wanting a replacement leg, which was being sold by a merchant not 20 yards from where the Ghost was docked. Refusing to sit around and do what he was told, Chopper steals the leg and hijinks ensue — hijinks that brought AP-5 to the fold and scored the rebels a new base. Sure, Chopper can be grumpy, and maybe even selfish, but he cares about his squad mates. In “Rebel Resolve,” when the Ghost crew starts warming up to an Imperial droid who helped them, Chopper shoves him out of the cargo hold, mid-flight. It’s the weirdest expression of love you’ll ever see, but jealousy drives everyone to do crazy things.
Personality goes a long way, but Chopper isn’t just a quirky little droid. Like Artoo, like Threepio, Chopper is brave and heroic. He constantly infiltrates enemy territory, he fights for his friends, and he does everything he can to aid the rebels. He may not always do it with a smile, but he gets the job done.
Droids play a hugely important role in the village that is the Rebel Alliance, and Chopper is no exception. The difference, though, is Chopper demands some respect for the vital work that he does. And it’s hilarious to watch him do it. If Chopper was at the award ceremony at the end of A New Hope, he would have snatched a medal right out of someone’s hand and kept it for himself.
K-2SO is the best, says Dana.
What makes a good droid? Most Star Wars fans will probably agree on a few must-haves. Impeccable loyalty, a quick-thinker in times of trouble, and a personality that transcends a metallic exterior and possible language barrier. Since we’re keeping R2-D2 out of this, and I believe it’s only fair, then it’s safe to say we’re looking for a droid that could possibly get on Artoo’s level. I’m focusing specifically on the realms of personality, function, and overall value to the saga as a whole. I believe we have to give credit to the newest droid to stride onto the Star Wars scene, the self-sacrificing, former enforcer droid, K-2SO. Don’t think he’s worthy of being crowned the best? You might just be saying that because you haven’t gotten enough time to digest him quite yet (rewatch Rogue One in digital later this month!), but here are my reasons.
Here’s what we learned right off the bat when K-2SO was first revealed. His design is unlike any droid we’ve seen so far. An ex-Imperial security droid, he has the humanoid build of a protocol droid but with proportions so cartoonish they’d make your college figure drawing instructor fail you. He strides with a lanky, stilted gait that is mechanical yet oddly human, and he has a friendly, deer-in-headlights face. He balances a tiny head atop broad shoulders that stick out with a prominence, warning us that we should certainly be intimidated, unless the captain says you are a friend. The motorized sounds of Kay’s movements add to the believability that he really is an android constructed by the Galactic Empire and not just an actor in a bodysuit, balancing on 13-inch-high stilts. That actor is, of course, Alan Tudyk, and if you’re not familiar with his other automated role as Sonny in I, Robot, or his hilarious stint as the evil King Candy in Wreck it Ralph, he was a perfect choice to add an exuberant life to the cold, clanking exterior of this droid.
As the plot of Rogue One develops, so do Kaytoo’s one-liners. They’re the only glimmer of light-heartedness in a movie barreling toward a guaranteed successful, but probably unfortunate conclusion. His humor balances between a childlike lack of filter and a sarcastic cynicism that seems necessary in a galaxy where someone’s always ready to face invincible odds. The unexpected moment when he backhands his master and best friend, Captain Cassian Andor, is comedic genius. If you look close enough, you can actually see Diego Luna almost breaking character behind his hand. That’s the sure sign of a droid that isn’t just a goofy ploy to get kids to sit through the film. He’s actually really funny. Alan Tudyk gets a lot of credit for creating real laughs from a character who could have easily just been a knock-off of C-3PO. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth. K-2SO is a unique addition to the current trove of Star Wars droids, with a personality so strong we can’t help but wonder how he’d interact with the classics.
If I could ever desire a spin-off movie from Rogue One, it would have to be an adventure comedy with Cassian Andor and K-2SO. The natural back-and-forth between Cassian and Kaytoo is on par with Han and Chewie, but at least Kay’s snappy comebacks are in Basic. Until his final “goodbye,” Kaytoo was a fighter dedicated to the rebel cause, but primarily to his best friend. There’s a great moment in Jedha City after all the stormtroopers are finally picked off by newcomers Chirrut and Baze. Kay apologizes to Cassian for slapping him while in character, and Cassian sternly instructs him to go back to the ship. He runs away in submission, and it shows that no matter his boldness, his first priority is his devotion to Andor, which is truly the mark of a great droid.
Yes, all of the deaths in Rogue One were powerful. If not for the specific way the character went out, then for the weight of losing someone that you’d probably grown pretty close to in the last two hours. However I would argue that the death of K-2SO should be recognized as maybe the most noble and poignant deaths of not only Rogue One but the entire Star Wars saga. Think about it, it was one of the most exciting and simultaneously heartbreaking moments of any of the films. He went from effortlessly tossing troopers and shooting rounds of blasters like a champion to a lifeless scrap pile with flickering eyes and smoking circuits. Though self-sacrifice is nothing new to Star Wars, I still felt like Luke crying out when Obi-Wan’s empty robe dropped to the Death Star floor. That emotional response made it clear that this character isn’t just comic relief or a purely functional addition to the crew. Kaytoo is so much more than that. If he wasn’t a part of the Rogue team there is no possible way Cassian and Jyn could have made their way to the data vault. The destruction of the Death Star couldn’t have been achieved without his heroism and his death scene had arguably the most heart in the entire film. If there was ever a droid to give R2-D2 a run for his credits, it is definitely the droid with the most soul, K-2SO.
What do you think? Is Chopper or K-2SO the best droid character? Or would you pick a different droid? Let us know in the comments below!
Michael Moreci is a comics writer and novelist best known for his sci-fi trilogy Roche Limit. He’s also a Star Wars obsessive, who is lucky to spend his time playing Star Wars action figures with his two sons by day and writing Star Wars-inspired stories by night. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelMoreci.
Dana Jennings is Lucasfilm’s associate producer for StarWars.com. You may remember her from such polls and quizzes as, “Who Wore it Best?” and “Which Star Wars Character Should You Invite for the Holidays?” When not acting as chairman of the Nien Nunb Appreciation Society, she can be found working hard to make sure The Star Wars Show stays fully operational or dressing up as Kevin the Ewok. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter for all these things and more!