The Playlist: A Guide to C-3PO’s Journey

From homemade protocol droid to Ewok god and beyond.

For Star Wars fans who want a better understanding of various topics, there can be a lot of material to wade through. In The Playlist, we’ll curate select installments of Star Wars that will give you that greater understanding of a specific topic. Consider it your own Jedi Archives — or cheat sheet for your Jedi midterms.

See-Threepio, human-cyborg relations. His is a name that has been associated with Star Wars from the very first days and few characters can track their progression as drastically and completely as everyone’s favorite protocol droid. Now, you might think that you have no need for a protocol droid, especially not in an environment such as this, but I assure you he speaks Bocce. It’s like a second language to him. But following this highlight guide to his appearances, you’ll be an expert in what makes him tick.


1. Star Wars: The Phantom Menace  We start with the creation of C-3PO in the workshop of Anakin Skywalker. His part in this film might be the smallest, but it’s an acorn that will grow a mighty oak. (Or redwood.)


2. Star Wars: Attack of the Clones – Threepio finally gets his coverings in this film and, also, briefly, a new head.


3. Star Wars: The Clone Wars (“Bombad Jedi,” Season 1, Episode 8) – Teamed with Jar Jar Binks, See-Threepio is left to help fend off Separatist battle droids. Written by Kevin Rubio, it’s probably one of the funniest pieces of Star Wars anywhere.


4. Star Wars: The Clone Wars (“Evil Plans,” Season 3, Episode 8) – The bounty hunter Cad Bane needs information and the only place he can find it is in the memory banks of See-Threepio himself. Ouch. 


5. Star Wars: The Clone Wars (“Mercy Mission,” Season 4 Episode 5; “Nomad Droids,” Season 4 Episode 6) These two episodes showed us that Threepio and his counterbot, Artoo-Detoo, can complete their own missions. 


6. Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith – Threepio spends this film bearing witness to the utter turmoil in the galaxy and helps an ailing Padmé in the sudden twilight of her too-short life. 


7. Star Wars Rebels (“Droids in Distress,” Season 1, Episode 1) – Our droid duo find themselves inadvertently used by the crew of the Ghost. 

A New Hope - C-3PO and R2-D2 on Tantive IV

8. Star Wars: A New Hope – Ol’ goldenrod begins yet another adventure that will see him involved in galaxy-changing events, and come into service of his maker’s son.

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back - Chewbacca and C-3PO

9. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back – Threepio gets himself into probably more trouble than he’d ever bargained for, at least since the droid foundries of Geonosis, in this installment. And, once more, he’s witness to some of the most important moments in galactic history. 

Return of the Jedi - C-3PO talking with the Ewoks

10. Star Wars: Return of the Jedi – If there’s one installment of Star Wars that gives Threepio his just desserts, I would say that it’s this one. Who doesn’t want to be worshipped by space teddy bears?

Star Wars C-3PO Comics - Page 5

11. Marvel’s The Phantom Limb by James Robinson and Tony Harris – Threepio has become the head of droid espionage for the Resistance in the days after the his owner, General Leia, leaves the government to form the military cell. He’s given a crucial mission in this surprisingly philosophical and heartbreaking comic.


12. Star Wars: The Force Awakens – As the Resistance Spymaster, Threepio is a vital part of the military strategy in the film.

 And those are all the highlights of C-3PO: protocol droid, god, and odds-slinging worry-wart. Hopefully, we’ll see more of him on screens big and small sooner rather than later. What are your favorite C-3PO moments? Let us know in the comments below!

Bryan Young is an author, a filmmakerjournalist, and the editor in chief of! He’s also the co-host of the Star Wars podcast, Full of Sith. You can also follow him on Twitter.