It's been 22 long years since we last saw our heroes on the big screen in Return of The Jedi. But on Dec. 18, one of the most -- if not THE most --famous franchises in movie history is returning to theaters in the much-anticipated next chapter of their story with Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Over the next 20 weeks, we will celebrate the franchise by looking back and ranking the best of the best moments in Star Wars history.
There's no shortage of droids in Star Wars. From the comic books to the videogames, the prequels and all the way back to the original trilogy, droids have played an integral role in the universe. A number of them are among my favorite characters in the franchise.
Both the Empire and Rebellion have greatly benefited from droids. They’ve been instrumental in numerous functions, whether performing menial tasks or on the front lines fighting on either side of the battle. Considering how important droids are to the Star Wars universe, it only makes sense to comb the galaxy and create the ultimate ranking of top droids. While it doesn’t include every single droid in Star Wars, I focused on the ones that have left a lasting impression on me. Here’s my list of the top Star Wars droids!
This droid showed up in Attack of the Clones when it was seen piloting Count Dooku’s ship to Coruscant for his meeting with Darth Sidious at the end of the film. It seems like this droid’s primary function was essentially as chauffer. But if you spend most of your time driving around a bunch of evil Sith Lords, you are bound to be privy to all sorts of juicy information, and that alone earns this droid a spot on the list.
T3-H8 appeared in the videogame Knights of the Old Republic. For a few brief moments the droid follows you dutifully, but once you start to exit the shop where you purchase it, it explodes. All you get is a refund, and the poor droid’s time with you ends before it can even start. Maybe it’s because we get so little time with T3-H8 that we’re left clamoring for more.
This library droid first appeared in the second Black Fleet Crisis novel Shield of Lies. It aided Luke Skywalker as he searched for the Fallanassi. The droid was helpful in narrowing Luke’s search to a city called Sodonna, and that’s about it. However, it remains memorable for earning the name Chuckles from Luke due to its composed personality, especially considering the irony of how humorless Luke seemed when we first met him in A New Hope.
This medical droid appeared in Revenge of the Sith on Polis Massa, where Obi-Wan Kenobi takes an injured Padmé Amidala. The droid is responsible for uttering perhaps the most infamous lines in the film: “Medically, she’s completely healthy. For reasons we can’t explain we are losing her. We don’t know why. She has lost the will to live." Lost the will to live? That doesn’t sound like the Padmé we know, especially one that just had two children to live for. Sure, there’s a fan theory that tries to explain why Padmé died and might be why the droids could do nothing about it. Just watching the movie, though, this supposed medical droid loses points for not being able to do anything to help.
55/54. Bollux and Blue Max
These two droids appeared in The Han Solo Adventures novels. Bollux carried around his small companion, Blue Max, as they helped Han Solo and Chewbacca on a rescue mission. Both of these droids have pretty interesting backstories, which makes them that much more interesting. Bollux started as a simple labor droid that ended up developing a personality after never receiving a memory wipe, whereas Blue Max was a former Imperial computer interface unit that ended up in the hands of a bounty hunter. Their collective checkered pasts make this pairing that much more intriguing.
Nicknamed ZeeZee, this droid showed up in comics and books. He belonged to the Carida Military Academy dean before leaving with one of the academy’s cadets, Mako Spince. He fell into the possession of Han Solo thanks to a game of Sabacc on the Smuggler’s Moon Nar Shaddaa. ZeZee was essentially Han’s butler, and if pop culture has taught us anything, it’s that butlers always have some pretty interesting stories to tell. Too bad ZeeZee was destroyed in a firefight between Han and Boba Fett before he got to pen a tell-all.
52. FX Medical Assistant
These droids are extremely useful if you ever find yourself needing help after burning up on Mustafar or freezing from the cold on Hoth. They first appeared in The Empire Strikes Back before showing up in other media over the years including Revenge of the Sith to help in various medical situations.
This human replica droid was an assassin who worked for Prince Xizor and helped him operate Black Sun. Appearing in Shadows of the Empire, her time with Black Sun ended shortly after Xizor died. Eventually, she tracked down one of her creators and asked him to reprogram her.
50. Death Star Droid
These RA-7 protocol droids were first seen in the corridors of the Death Star during A New Hope. According to The Essential Guide to Droids by Daniel Wallace, the droids were given to Imperial officers and secretly acted as spies. “So many high-level officials were assigned to the first Death Star that the battle station’s corridors seethed with RA-7s, prompting someone to invent the enduring nickname ‘Death Star Droid.’ When the prodigious superweapon exploded at Yavin, most of the RA-7 series went up with it,” the book states. A memorable, if short existence.
49. Dark Trooper
These super battle droids made their debut in the video game Star Wars: Dark Forces. Somewhat resembling Stormtroopers, they were extremely deadly droids that were a severe threat to the Rebellion. Kyle Katarn put an end to the Empire’s Dark Trooper project by destroying the starship where the droids were being produced.
In the X-Wing novels, R5-D2 belonged to Wedge Antilles, who called it Mynock because of the noises it made. Apparently, the noises became so grating that Antilles had the poor droid’s memory wiped! It was then renamed R2-G8, or Gate. It hardly seems fair that the poor droid had to have its memory wiped just because Antilles couldn’t handle its unique noises, but such is the life of a droid!
46. M-3PO, aka Emtrey
Another droid that appeared in the X-Wing novels was this military protocol droid. Originally built on Hoth, Emtrey was Rogue Squadron’s quartermaster and responsible for getting supplies. For a brief time, Emtrey also kept an eye on Tycho Celchu when he was suspected of being an Imperial Agent. The droid was a valuable part of the squadron in more ways than one.
45. Chroon-Tan B-Machine/EW-3 Midwife Droid
This droid was also present during the death of Padmé Amidala. As this droid’s name would suggest, its function is to assist during deliveries. Seen in Revenge of the Sith, one of these midwife droids successfully delivered Luke and Leia on Polis Massa. Unfortunately, this droid, like all the rest, could apparently do nothing for Padmé, but at least it delivered two healthy babies.
FLO was a WA-7 waitress droid in Dex’s Diner who we’re introduced to during Attack of the Clones when she tells Dex Obi-Wan Kenobi is around by saying “Someone to see you, honey. Jedi by the looks of him.” Otherwise, she basically just served Obi-Wan and Dex some Jawa juice. But with her few lines, it was pretty obvious that her look and personality were paying homage to the infamous Flo from the TV series Alice.
If this droid didn’t have a bad motivator, R5-D4 would have gone home with Owen Lars and Luke Skywalker instead of R2-D2 in A New Hope. Called “Red” by Luke, it was sold by the Jawas to the family before it malfunctioned to the displeasure of Uncle Owen. At least R5-D4’s story didn’t end there, though! He would go on to make a few appearances in the Expanded Universe after missing out on being Luke’s droid.
Before we even see the faces of Obi-Wan Kenobi or Qui-Gon Jinn in The Phantom Menace, we’re introduced to TC-14. While her role was small, one has to wonder if things might have turned out differently if she did not reveal that they were Jedi to her master. I also enjoyed her rather composed “Oh, excuse me!” when she leaves and encounters the battle droids, who would soon meet their ends facing the Jedi.
This droid only appeared in two Season 1 episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, “Downfall of a Droid” and “Duel of the Droids.” Nicknamed Goldie by Ahsoka Tano, he flew with Anakin Skywalker when R2-D2 went missing, but was actually working for the Separatists. When this was discovered, R2 and R3 faced off in a fight that ended with R3 falling to his demise.
In my research I discovered that this smelter droid was originally meant to work in ore-extraction facilities, but was reprogrammed by Jabba the Hutt. That programming can be seen in action during Return of the Jedi when, at Jabba’s Palace, we see 8D8 torturing an unfortunate power droid. He may only make a short appearance but it’s a memorable one, as we feel as horrified as C-3PO and R2-D2 when hearing the droid’s cries of pain.
39. Naboo Royal Starship Astromech Droids
While our heroes are trying to escape the Trade Federation’s blockade in The Phantom Menace, the shield generator on their J-type 327 Nubian is hit and damaged. This activates the ship’s astromechs to try and repair the damage. As we all know, the only one to survive and get the job done is R2-D2, who will be included separately on my list, but I don’t think it’s fair to forget about the other brave astromechs who tried to help. They did their best to repair the damage, even if they were all shot off the ship in the end.
This droid belonged to the bounty hunter Zam Wesell. In Attack of the Clones, Wesell used it to try and assassinate a sleeping Senator Amidala. The attempt failed after Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi arrived in the room and killed its poisonous cargo. It was then chased by the Jedi on Coruscant and even took Obi-Wan on a ride for a while before ultimately being sacrificed by Wesell, who shot it from the sky.
Protocol droid I-Five appeared in quite a few novels in the Expanded Universe. His story began in the novel Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter when information broker Lorn Pavan acquired him, modified him, and treated him as a friend during their time together. After Darth Maul killed Lorn, the droid’s memory was wiped and he changed hands until appearing as a medical assistant in the MedStar series, where he met Jedi Barriss Offee and eventually began to remember his past. This took him to Coruscant, since Lorn’s son, Jax, had been training as a Jedi. I-Five ends up finding Jax in Coruscant’s undercity, having survived Order 66. I-Five joins Jax in the Coruscant Nights trilogy and the novel The Last Jedi as they deal with the brand new Empire.
36/35. Sparky and Cappie
These droids both belonged to Jaina Solo at one point and appeared in The New Jedi Order series. Sparky was an astromech that flew with Solo briefly during the Yuuzhan Vong war, when she was with Rogue Squadron. Jaina was quite upset when the droid was destroyed in battle. It was replaced with another droid that she nicknamed Cappie in honor of her killed wingmate, Anni Capstan. Unfortunately, Cappie was also destroyed during the war, but both served Jaina well and I remember enjoying their interactions with the Jedi pilot when reading the novels.
34. Nanny Droids
These droids were the ultimate caretakers. With four arms, they could take care of your kids and protect them from danger too thanks to blasters hidden in two of the arms. These types of droids appeared in a few Star Wars books to take care of the Solo children and Ben Skywalker. These nannies also received some special upgrades. Leia Organa changed one so it would include four hidden blasters to protect her kids while another was combined with a Yuuzhan Vong combat droid to protect Ben.
4-LOM was a bounty hunter who looked more like an insect than a droid when we first see him in The Empire Strikes Back. That look made him unforgettable in the dangerous lineup that included Boba Fett. I don’t know about you, but this droid is definitely not one I would want to mess with.
4-LOM wasn’t the only droid bounty hunter. IG-88 was also in that same lineup in The Empire Strikes Back. IG-88 looks a lot more imposing than 4-LOM. Their presence makes you wonder how two droids ended up in such a shady and dangerous line of work. Who programmed them this way and why? And how good were they to have been called in for such an important job?
This droid served with Jedi Master Tera Sinube before becoming a member of the D-Squad. He appeared in the four Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 5 episodes featuring the squad. From having his memory banks removed to getting his circuits fried to ultimately sacrificing himself to save the others, this droid was a valuable member of the team even while he carted Colonel Gascon around.
30. C-21 Highsinger
This droid from Star Wars: The Clone Wars is another bounty hunter. We saw him work with Boba Fett and the others on a mission during only one episode, but his appearance made an impression. Equipped with blasters and a helpful rotating body, he tore through anyone who faced him. I have to say, I really love how many droids are able to get into the bounty hunter profession in the Star Wars universe.
We first meet R4 in Attack of the Clones, when he’s flying with Obi-Wan Kenobi and joins the Jedi on his adventures. It continues serving as the Jedi’s droid until the opening sequence of Revenge of the Sith when it is unlucky enough to encounter some buzz droids who tear its dome off. It seems like a poor end for the loyal droid who only received an “Oh, dear” from Obi-Wan upon its death!
28. Em Teedee
When I was a teenager I loved the Young Jedi Knights novels, so Em Teedee became a very familiar droid to me. This small droid acted as a translator for Chewbacca’s nephew, Lowbacca, and had a very unique personality. Sure, he could be a bit annoying, but C-3PO programmed him, after all. At least he was always there for Lowbacca and even appeared in other books beyond the Young Jedi Knights series until he was destroyed.
This R9 droid belonged to Jaina Solo during the events of the Fate of the Jedi series. What I loved most about this droid was his regularly humorous responses to Jaina while they were flying together. Jaina seemed to think the droid’s jokes were as bad as her brother Jacen’s used to be, but I remember enjoying how the droid’s added sense of humor made the relationship between the two of them more interesting! I think that, out of all of Jaina’s droids, this one was my favorite.
Thanks to these droids, even if you lose a hand you’ll be back in tip-top shape in no time! Most are probably familiar with this droid because of how often he had to help Luke Skywalker in The Empire Strikes Back. First, he aided Luke after the wampa attack, then he helped Luke after his duel with Darth Vader. I’m pretty sure eventually this droid must have just been annoyed that no matter how often he patched Luke up, he’d quickly be back seeking medical attention. One of these droids also helped Anakin Skywalker during his surgery in Revenge of the Sith.
25. Interrogation Droid
In A New Hope, all this droid had to do to be scary was float inside Leia Organa’s cell on the Death Star and show off its hardware. It’s essentially a big black floating ball with one needle sticking out of it, but it still manages to be one of the most imposing droids we meet throughout the original trilogy, especially after seeing Leia’s reaction to it.
24. Imperial Probe Droid
When this droid appeared in The Empire Strikes Back after crashing on Hoth, you just knew the Rebels were in trouble. This black droid has a lot more going on than the interrogation droid with its blasters, alone. Once it self-destructs, you know the Empire is probably not far behind.
23. Gatekeeper Droid
This droid isn’t much more than an eyeball on a stalk that shoots out of the door to Jabba’s Palace when C-3PO knocks. The droid quickly appraises them and is quite aggressive to the droids before laughing at them and disappearing. I wouldn’t mind having one of these things screening visitors at my door.
22. Buzz Droids
Even though these droids tore apart poor R4 in Revenge of the Sith and caused quite a bit of trouble by disabling Obi-Wan Kenobi’s ship, I still think they’re among the coolest droids in Star Wars. They’re a unique idea for a droid, having them pop open once they encounter an enemy and easily swarm them. Despite their small size, you would not want to run into these anytime during a battle.
These droids seen in Revenge of the Sith would show up in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, as well. They were often with General Grievous or Count Dooku, wielding staves with electrical ends that allowed them to impressively hold their own against lightsabers. These droids could be a challenge for the Jedi as we saw how even when Obi-Wan removed one’s head in Episode III it kept fighting!
When this droid showed up in the first D-Squad episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, I was pretty sure he was going to be my least favorite of the bunch due to his annoying attitude. However, that changed through the subsequent episodes as he often stood up to Gascon, who I thought was much more annoying due to his treatment of the droids. I enjoyed WAC’s insistence that he was much more than just a pilot, which I think he proved successfully during D-Squad’s mission.
This pink astromech droid has an amazing story. R2-KT was originally built for Katie Johnson who was the daughter of the founder of the 501st Legion. She had been diagnosed with a terminal brain cancer and the droid would watch over her through her final days, just like R2-D2 watched over Padmé Amidala as she slept in Attack of the Clones. The astromech continues to make a difference now and has become a part of the canon universe thanks to appearances in various Star Wars media, including The Clone Wars. R2-KT inspired the creation of a second pink droid, called QT-KT, to take part in the D-Squad Clone Wars story arc. This droid was apparently created instead of including R2-KT so that there would be no confusion with names since there was another R2 unit on the mission, R2-D2. QT-KT was an important member of the squad who was essential to the mission. The impact these two have had off and on screen make them a pair of remarkable droids.
17. Battle Droids
These droids are a staple of the prequel era. They tend to serve as a form of comic relief in the series with their “Roger, roger” catch phrase. Like the Stormtroopers of the original films, these droids don’t seem to have the best aim in their standard versions. The upgraded, tougher super droids first seen on the big screen in Attack of the Clones, however, were a bit more of a challenge for their opponents. Either way, the fact that there were so many of them made the battle droids a formidable and dangerous force to deal with despite their flaws.
In Jabba’s Palace, this droid supervisor quickly put C-3PO and R2-D2 to work after the two were brought to it. The droid’s curt attitude with them both showed it meant business and wasn’t going to put up with anything but obedience from the pair. What would happen to them if they did not submit was only punctuated by 8D8 torturing a droid in the background. Even R2’s defiant beeps fell flat when the supervisor’s only response was to increase its height and state, “You’re a feisty little one, but you’ll soon learn some respect.” This was one droid you did not want to cross if you were stuck working for Jabba.
In The Force Unleashed video games, PROXY uses holograms to appear as different characters and at first is always trying to kill the player character, Starkiller. That doesn’t mean he’s not a great companion though! I think it’s quite a fascinating aspect to the relationship, at least until PROXY’s main programming is erased. Then you really get a sense of the characters as friends though since they stick together despite the years of deadly training and attacks.
14. Power Droids
Power droids basically just look like black boxes with little short legs. They are present in various Star Wars media from movies to video games to books. If their signature look doesn’t give them away, their unique sounds will. Between their basic look and the noise they make, there’s something charming about seeing them waddle around.
13. Captain Rex
Does anyone else miss this droid on the Star Tours ride, or is it just me? Sure, Captain Rex made some mistakes, but it was his first flight and he tried his best! His commentary made the ride even more fun and it’s just not the same with C-3PO these days. This droid will always be a classic even if he’s no longer piloting Star Tours, which is why it was great to see him make an appearance in the Star Wars Rebels episode “Droids in Distress”.
12. Professor Huyang
Part of what’s great about this droid is that actor David Tennant lends his voice to the role. Tennant does a good job of portraying the old droid who helps Jedi in the construction of their lightsabers. Appearing in a few episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, this droid added a new layer of interesting lore to the Jedi mythologyt as he tells the younglings brought to him that he has a record of every saber ever made. Plus, he’s not bad in a fight. When he says “I’ll continue teaching many a Jedi after you”, it’s hard not to feel sad knowing how wrong he is and I can’t help but wonder what became of him.
We don’t know much about this droid yet, but already just from what we’ve seen it’s managed to capture the hearts of Star Wars fans—including this one! I think it’s a mix of how it works, the fun color design, and just how adorable it seems. Add to that the fact that he may already rival R2-D2 in the hearts of fans before they’ve even seen him and he makes my list easily. I can’t wait to see what he gets up to in the new trilogy.
These droids have only just entered the Star Wars universe through Marvel’s Darth Vader comic book series, but I already can’t wait to see more of them! To simplify the pair, you could say they’re kind of like evil versions of C-3PO and R2-D2. Protocol droid Triple Zero loves torture and assassin droid Bee Tee is as deadly as you would expect an assassin to be. The pair are funny together in their dark way and working with Darth Vader I can only imagine the amazing terrible things they’ll get up to in future issues!
I’ll admit it: I have a soft spot for the droids in the Knights of the Old Republic series, because they are two of my favorite games. However even with my bias, I think T3-M4 deserves to be near the top of any Star Wars droid list. Like R2-D2 who would come after him in the timeline, this droid took part in a lot of events that would play an important role in the fate of the entire galaxy. For both Revan and the Jedi Exile, he was an indispensible companion.
7. Mouse Droid
This is another droid that doesn’t do much, but I love it! It’s been one of my favorites ever since it was just minding its own business in A New Hope, heading down the corridor and chatting to itself before Chewbacca roars at it and it makes a hasty, noisy retreat! It may be small, but boy, is it fast! I wouldn’t mind having one around to help me in my apartment.
When these droids showed up in The Phantom Menace and the Jedi had to retreat, it showed that these were unlike any of the other battle droids we’d seen so far. These tough droids could roll quickly or walk slowly to get around, and came complete with blasters and a shield generator. I love their style and how they can even make the Jedi think twice before facing them.
We’ve only had one season of Chopper so far on Star Wars Rebels, but already he’s one of the most memorable droids in the franchise. It would have been easy to just create another version of R2-D2, but instead Chopper stands out for his grumpy personality and how it often seems like he feels he has better things to do than assist any of the crew on the starship Ghost. Despite this, Chopper is always there for the rebels and is one of the reasons they’ve been as successful as they have been so far.
This droid was a fun addition to the ultimately dark story line of Fives discovering Order 66 in Season 6 of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. The medical droid has a distinctive personality, often responding with quirky retorts. Ultimately bound by its duty to its patients, Fives is able to convince him to help and he continues to assist Fives for two episodes. By the end of the second, I was left hoping to see AZ again.
I know what you’re thinking: “How can R2-D2 not be number one on your list?!” Don’t get me wrong. I love Artoo. He’s basically the hero of the entire saga and I’m pretty sure not many of our other heroes would have survived without him. The little droid seems to have been brave from the very start in The Phantom Menace, so I’m not surprised by everything he’s done throughout the franchise. He’s loyal, funny, and always there for his friends. He’s stuck by Threepio’s side over the years even if the protocol droid doesn’t treat him the best all the time, and must have so much to say since he remembers the entire saga from Episode I to Episode VI. There’s no doubt there’s a lot to love about this droid, which is evident in his large, adoring fanbase.
Yes, Threepio is higher on my list than Artoo. I think it’s much harder for the stiff protocol droid to do everything he’s done over the years with his programming. It helped having Artoo there to push him along the way, but still I think it’s impressive Threepio has done everything he has throughout the saga when he’d probably prefer to be anywhere else in the galaxy. I love how how he interacts with the other characters, particularly his frequent clashes with Han Solo. Despite how much he may get on their nerves, everyone still loves him, which can be clearly seen in how worried they are when he goes missing on Cloud City in The Empire Strikes Back, and how Chewbacca tenderly tries to save and fix him. While Artoo is often the fan favorite, there’s just something about the gold droid that I’ve always loved just a little bit more than the always brave, adorable astromech.
As I mentioned before, I have a deep love for the Knights of the Old Republic games. One reason I feel that way is because of their amazing companions, including the unforgettable droid HK-47. Even though HK-47 was an assassin, I always loved keeping this droid at my side as Revan or the Jedi Exile whether I was on the light side or the dark side. The assassin droid was ruthless and funny, spouting so much classic dialogue I can’t list every line I love here. However, some that stood out most were his constantly calling all organics “meatbags” and talking about everyone he’s killed in the past or would like to kill in the present. I can only hope that HK-47 makes an appearance in some film created in the future. Even if it’s just a walk on role where he blasts everything, disses meatbags, and then walks away disgusted by the other characters, this is a droid that deserves more attention in Star Wars. Sorry, all other droids. Forget a BB-8 toy, someone build me a HK-47 and I’ll line up as long as it takes to buy one.
That's our list! What do you think of our choices? Which droids are amoung your favorites in the galaxy? Let us know in the comments!
Previously in 20 Weeks of Star Wars ...