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“I say! That's the campest thing since....well, me!”
C-3PO (often shortened to Threepio) is a fictional robotic character existing in the Star Wars universe. Known to his closest friends as Goldenrod, he is one of the few Star Wars characters to be played by the same actor (acting robot Anthony Daniels) in every film that he appears in. He is also the first "alternative lifestyle" robot to appear in a major motion picture. He is also notable for being one of the only characters to appear in each film in the Star Wars Septology. Despite living millions of light years from Earth billions of years ago, C-3PO appears to have some sort of English accent (along with the usual accompanying British charm). He is rarely seen without his robot buddy, R2-D2. Threepio is believed to be one of the most loved characters from the Star Wars saga, along with Han Solo and Jar Jar Binks.
One of the major problems Star Wars creator, writer, director, producer, chief accountant, and key grip George Lucas encountered during the production of the first Star Wars film in 1977 was finding a way to realistically portray a humanoid cyborg on-screen. At the time, the technology for making humans look like robots simply did not exist. After wrestling with the concept for several weeks, Lucas fired both the head of costume department as well as the casting director, re-assigning both positions to himself, and asking "we have lasers and explosions and special effects out the ass! Is it really that hard to have a robot!?" After much contemplation, Lucas came up with the idea of having an actual humanoid robot play the part of the humanoid robot in the film. "It was so insane" he says of the idea, "that it just might work."
An open casting call was held for all acting robots, with many famous artificial intelligence units showing up seeking their shot at stardom, or at least a steady paycheck. Some famous names were considered for the role, including the Act-motronTM. Lucas came close to offering the role to future film star Keanu Reeves, but in the end it was decided that Reeves was slightly too young of a robot to play the part. In the end, the role was offered to an unknown acting unit named Anthony Daniels, who had previously played only minor parts on Robot-Broadway. Daniels was thrilled to receive the role, promising everything the director was looking for. Lucas's only remarks concerning the casting decision were "I really wanted a gold robot. He was the only one who showed up."
During his life, C-3PO served many masters and had many fantastic adventures. Unfortunately, only the most boring were transferred onto the big screen by George Lucas. As a protocol droid, Threepio's main functions were to assist with translations during meetings involving different cultures and to serve as a customs official, although from time to time he would act as a butler for some of the galaxy's most elegant black tie affairs (using his friend R2-D2 as a mobile cocktail tray, of course). Unfortunately for C-3PO, his shiny golden finish rendered him an easy target both for skilled Imperial shooters and jittery Rebellion troops, causing him to lose his limbs and lower torso almost regularly throughout his life.
The Early Years (112 BBY - 32 BBY)
C-3PO was built and activated on the desert world of Tatooine by young Anakin Skywalker. Due to Anakin's monetary situation, the droid was forced to endure the extremely sandy environment without any sort of protective coverings; this earned him the nickname of "Grinder" early in his existence. However, Anakin and his friends decided that this nickname "sounded too tough" for the robot, who prided himself on his flawless etiquette. Thus, that nickname was dropped, and he was re-christened "C-3PO" to reflect his love of both the Post Office and the board game Battleship. Since his master was an adolescent male, Threepio's early life was filled with boring tasks such as cleaning Anakin's room, blowing Anakin, and doing his homework, in order to allow Anakin to spend the maximum amount of time possible enjoying his favorite activities, such as pod-racing, nerf-herding, and building extremely sophisticated artificial intelligence units from scratch.
In 32 BBY, C-3PO met his heterosexual life mate, R2-D2, when an envoy from Coruscant made a pit-stop during a galactic road trip to restock Mountain Dew and beef jerky. After Threepio introduced Obi-Wan Kenobi and Liam Neeson to Anakin, they sensed that the boy was "special" due to some sort of unique viral infection that allows him to move objects with his mind. The two "jedis" convinced Anakin to use his powers to cheat during a pod race. With the help of C-3PO and R2-D2, Anakin succeeded in doing so, and won his freedom. Threepio did not accompany him to his next destination, although he did earn enough cash through betting on Anakin in the pod race to afford some stylish golden daywear.
Early Imperial Era (32 BBY - 0 BBY)
Threepio and R2-D2 served several masters after parting ways with Anakin Skywalker; however, at no time during this subsequent service did they partake in anything remotely interesting until they were obtained by the famous Captain Raymus Antilles. One of the most extensively researched characters in the Star Wars saga, Antilles used the droids in a number of ways during his well-documented exploits. After a dozen whirlwind years of space-parties and space-hookers, Antilles fell on hard times and pawned the robots for booze money.
C-3PO then entered the service of Leia Orgasm, a feisty diplomat from Alderaan. After narrowly escaping an attacking Imperial force, Threepio and R2-D2 were jettisoned from their spacecraft, which was conveniently in extremely close proximity to the planet Tatooine. After being abducted by Jawas and sold to a dirt-poor moisture farming family, R2-D2 played a stunningly futuristic-looking holographic message featuring the fiery Princess Leia in front of impoverished farmhand Luke Skywalker. After deciding to scour the universe for this girl in order to "ask her out", Luke and the droids headed over to Toshii Station to pick up some power converters, then seek out Old Ben Kenobi.
The trio found "Ben", better known as Obi-Wan Kenobi, drowning his sorrows at a local cantina. C-3PO and Kenobi did not, of course, recognize each other from their earlier encounter. After helping an inebriated Kenobi to sober up, the now-formidable group hired noted smuggler Han Solo to take them to Alderaan. During the journey, while C-3PO is instructing Skywalker on the basics of the human emotion called "love", Kenobi sensed that the Imperial peacekeeping station known as the Death Star has destroyed Alderaan, yet it is too late to avoid being pulled in by the tractor beam of the massive double-hemisphere. After hiding from Stormtroopers searching for occupants or contraband, Skywalker and Solo stole two Stormtrooper outfits and the party made their way into a control room of the space station. After realizing that his would-be girlfriend is also on the Death Star, Luke rushed off to awkwardly force conversation, with Solo in close pursuit in order to be entertained by said awkward interaction. After Kenobi wandered off in a drunken stupor, muttering something about "tracking bees", C-3PO and R2-D2 were left alone in the control room. Eventually, Stormtroopers forced the door open and one rushed in, banging his head in the process.
Galactic Civil War (0 ABY - 4 ABY)
After banging his head, the Stormtrooper yelled loudly in anger, and then questioned the droids. C-3PO convinced him to head for Princess Leia's holding cell if he wanted to see some intense rejection go down. After the Stormtrooper ran off, Threepio and R2-D2 wander around the Death Star for a few hours, eventually stumbling across the waste management mainframe at the exact moment that the rest of their party needs their help escaping from some sort of garbage compacter. Upon reuniting and blasting their way out of the Death Star (without Kenobi, who had brazenly challenged evil robot Darth Vader to a space-fencing match and then proceeded to lose it in spectacular fashion), C-3PO's role in the Rebellion quiets down for a while while other people (most notable among them being Wedge Antilles) succeed in destroying the Death Star, bringing peace to the galaxy, and sending Darth Vader spinning off into space at such an incredible rate of speed that he cannot return until a sequel is in the works, at the very earliest.
For the next few months C-3PO's main task was to keep Princess Leia's many outfits dry while they were both stationed on the frigid ice planet Hoth. After the rebel base there was destroyed, he accompanied Leia and Han Solo to the Cloud City on Bespin. It was here that Threepio had one of his many "dismemberment incidents" when he was blasted by a Stormtrooper. After being poorly reconstructed by a mentally disabled wookiee, the party escaped the clutches of the diabolical space-pimp Lando Calrissian.
C-3PO's defining moment came when he accompanied an attack party to the forest moon of Endor. While planning their attack on the newly rebuilt Death Star's shield generators, the entire group (consisting of rebel troops, armed mercenaries, a skilled jedi, and vicious attack droids) is kidnapped by small muppet-like creatures armed with pointed sticks. Mistaking Threepio for a golden deity, the so-called "ewoks" began to prepare a feast in honor of their newfound god, in which his companions are to be the primary ingredient. Initially delighted, C-3PO realizes that he will have to take a space-taxi home if he eats his ride, and so he convinces the primitive bear-like creatures to dine on the periphery characters only.
After succeeding in destroying the shield generator (again with the help of ewok technology such as logs, rocks, and logs with ropes attached to them used to fend off the elite imperial guards armed with laser guns, body armor, and steel-titanium alloy mechanized cavalry units), C-3PO remains behind for a while on Endor in order to enjoy "being a deity" for just a bit longer.
Post Galactic Civil War (4 ABY - 36 ABY)
Not much is known of C-3PO's exploits after the Rebellion's success, mostly due to constant changes in his appearance. No longer satisfied with his golden finish, he opted for a more laid-back "Foghat Grey" for a few years, during which time he enjoyed great success playing the bass in a space-robot-band called "The Droids You're Looking For". After that, he realized that a change in color allowed him freedoms he could never have believed, although previous acquaintances always recognized him due to his obvious accent. Thus, he stayed out of the spotlight and undertook no great adventures for many space-years. However, it is believed that Threepio played a minor role (and also may have ridden shotgun) in the Millennium Falcon during Han Solo's personal best Kessel Run.
It was known that Threepio eventually became tired of being different from everyone else today so he transfigured himself into a human being and changed his name to Sheldon Cooper; however this only helped him very little as people are still trying to stay away from him to prevent their heads from exploding.
- ↑ Time in the Star Wars universe is reckoned using as a basis the exact moment in A New Hope when the Stormtrooper entering the control room on the Death Star bangs his head on the door and yells. Using this system, events occurring before this moment are designated BBY (before bang/yell), and events after ABY.
- ↑ It is explained by George Lucas in the commentary track of Phantom Menace that, at the exact time of the parting of Anakin Skywalker & Obi-Wan Kenobi from C-3PO, a solar flare or cosmic ray of some sort (or possibly The Force) caused all three parties to forget their entire history, except for that between Anakin and Obi-Wan.
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