The skittish protocol droid C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) has appeared in nearly every single Star Wars movie, and for good reason. Along with R2-D2, George Lucas originally based C-3PO on one of the peasants in the Akira Kurosawa film The Hidden Fortress, meaning the two droids represent working-class characters surrounded by world-changing events.
But, in contrast with R2-D2’s pluckiness, C-3PO is known for being terrified of everything. In this way, he represents how a normal person might react to laser blasts, space monsters, and galactic dictators. But are all of 3PO’s fearful exclamations always legit?
Here’s a quick ranking of 3PO’s paranoid statements ranked from least to most justified.
7. “The city’s central computer told you? R2-D2, you know better than to trust a strange computer.” (Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back)
The idea that C-3PO shames R2-D2 for trusting a “strange computer” is paranoid just for the sake of being paranoid. R2-D2 clearly knew what he was doing.
6. “We'll be sent to the spice mine of Kessel or smashed into who knows what!” (Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope)
A lot of C-3PO’s paranoid outbursts are often directly related to stuff R2-D2 is doing. In his early scene in the first Star Wars movie, all R2-D2 is doing is going into a hallway that 3PO says is “restricted.” The idea that someone would send 3PO and R2 to robot slave jail or destroy them just because they went into an off-limits hallway is crazy. However... this idea is oddly prescient. In The Empire Strikes Back, 3PO is blasted for going down the wrong hallway. Is 3PO clairvoyant?
5. “Listen to them! They're dying, Artoo! Curse my metal body! I wasn't fast enough. It's all my fault! My poor master!" (Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope)
C-3PO is way off base here. Luke, Han, and Leia are celebrating with laughter and whoops of victory. They are not dying, and C-3PO was totally fast enough. Good job 3PO!
4. “We'll be destroyed for sure! This is madness!” (Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope)
These are literally some of the first lines spoken in the very first Star Wars movie of all time. On the one hand, C-3PO saying “We’ll be destroyed for sure” is a little too insane, because it’s not “for sure.” But the fact that he says “this is madness” isn’t wrong at all. It’s pretty nuts at the beginning of that movie.
3. “We simply do not have enough information to locate Master Luke.” (Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens)
3PO says this right after BB-8 presents his piece of the map to General Leia. At this point in the movie, C-3PO is being a giant downer. But at the same time he is kind of right. They don’t have anything else to go on. The fact that R2-D2 has the rest of the map is probably something C-3PO should have known, but because he didn’t this falls somewhere between paranoid and factual at the moment. Obviously, because they do find Luke, retroactively, this makes 3PO look wrong, as usual.
2. “I feel so helpless.” (Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith)
C-3PO says this right around the time Anakin stops by Padme’s apartment to tell her that everything is okay, even though he’s about to go kill all the Jedi. C-3PO is very right about everything here. He is helpless, and so is R2-D2.
1. “We’re doomed... there will be no escape for the Princess this time.”(Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope)
Correct! With these back-to-back worrywart exclamations, C-3PO was right on the money. He and R2-D2 were pretty much doomed to be in a bunch of terrible circumstances for the rest of the movie. And Princess Leia was, in fact, captured.
Bonus: Some C-3PO Unbridled Optimism!: “He’ll be quite all right.” (Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back)
When Luke is thought to be dead in the blizzard of Hoth, C-3PO mentions that Commander Skywalker is “quite resourceful... for a human being.” This turns out to be right. Luke is rescued by Han and is totally fine.