- “Hello. I am C-3PO, human-cyborg relations. How might I serve you?”
- ―C-3PO introducing himself.
C-3PO is a protocol droid and a main character in the Star Wars universe. Before meeting Luke Skywalker, C-3PO originated from Tatooine where he was built by a young Anakin Skywalker to help his mother. Eventually, Anakin returned to Tatooine and C-3PO left with him, only to return years later after his mind was wiped. C-3PO later went on to assist Luke Skywalker and his allies and became friends with R2-D2.
He and R2-D2 are the only characters to appear in all nine Star Wars films.
C-3PO is programmed for over thirty secondary functions besides protocol. He is cowardly, though he has shown some instances of ingenuity and even deviance. C-3PO is rather polite and quirky toward his companions, especially R2-D2, although he can be sarcastic and indignant when mistreated by individuals like Jabba the Hutt. 3PO also has some knowledge on taunts.
C-3PO is known for his polite, fastidious, and worry-prone personality. As a droid, he exhibits much loyalty and commitment to his masters and seeks to serve them to his best ability.
Unlike C-3PO's astromech counterpart R2-D2, he likes to stick to routine and does not respond well to change. When placed in danger, C-3PO has a tendency to panic as shown on several occasions. Despite his loyalty and commitment, C-3PO is generally unable to lie or to keep secrets due his programming, although he was able to keep the fact that Anakin Skywalker and Padmé Amidala were husband and wife to himself. C-3PO's inability to lie came at a disadvantage when he and his companions were captured by Ewoks prior to the Battle of Endor.
- Multilingual: As a protocol droid, C-3PO is capable of fluently speaking over seven (originally six) million different forms of communication, including Basic, Ancient Askajian, B'rknaa language, Bimmini, Bith, Bocce, Binary, Ewokese, Gacerian, Gamorrese, Horansi, Huttese, Ithorese, Janguine, Jawa Trade language, Myneyrsh, Old Tarmidian, Psadan, Shyriiwook, Ssi-ruuvi, Talzzi, Ubese, Tusken, Yeb language, and Yuzzum. He even understands sign language, as evidenced in episode 1396 of Sesame Street when he and R2 meet Linda.
- Master Pilot: As a protocol droid, C-3PO is highly skilled in piloting many types of flying crafts. It is likely that he learned this skill from Anakin at some point after the Battle of Geonosis. Despite this, he claims to hate space travel.
Star Wars: The Phantom Menace
C-3PO was built on the desert planet of Tatooine by the young Anakin Skywalker, who was a slave to Watto before Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn freed him and took him back to Coruscant to be trained as a Jedi.
He was shown to Padmé Amidala and R2-D2 where he was at the time "Naked" (referred by R2-D2), as he had no coverings and his inner mechanisms were showing. He helped Anakin build a pod racer so he would enter the competition and win for Qui-Gon so they could gain parts to repair his ship. After Anakin told him he was now free, he was at the same to delighted for him but also disappointed because he would no longer finish working on him or give him coverings. Before leaving, Anakin promised to make sure his mother wouldn't sell him, which left him worried.
Star Wars: Attack of the Clones
C-3PO would not see Anakin again until ten years later where he had been given coverings, and now lived on the Lars Farm with Shmi Skywalker who married Cliegg Lars.
When a message from Obi-Wan Kenobi informed he was in trouble, C-3PO accompanied Anakin, Padme, and R2-D2 on a rescue mission to Geonosis. despite being told to stay with the ship, R2 went out to follow them despite C-3PO trying to stop him. The two droids found their ways to the Droid factory where he lost his head and had it placed on the body of a B1 Battle Droid while his body was given a Battle Droid head.
He mindlessly engaged the Jedi in the Geonosis execution arena but was knocked down by Kit Fisto and trapped under another Battle Droid. In the meantime, an unidentified Jedi deflected a laser blast against the neck of the droid head attached to his body, and he fell over. R2-D2 showed up to retrieve his head and place it back onto his body. After the battle of Geonosis and the beginning of the Clone Wars, 3PO and R2 were the only two to witness Anakin and Padme's marriage.
Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith
By the time of the end of the Clone Wars, 3PO was fitted with gold plated coverings, and became Padmé's personal protocol droid.
C-3PO became witness to his master maker's turn to the dark side of the Force when he accompanied Padmé to Mustafar, and Anakin, consumed by his alter-ego/split personality, Darth Vader, used the Force to choke her into unconsciousness; whereupon C-3PO and R2-D2 took her to safety. When Obi-Wan returned to their spaceship, 3PO flew them to Polis Massa and witnessed the birth to the Skywalker twins, Luke and Leia, as well as Padmé's death. Shortly thereafter, C-3PO and R2-D2 were placed in the custody of Bail Organa, who gave the order to have C-3PO's memory erased to protect the twins from Palpatine.
Star Wars: A New Hope
Nineteen years after the rise of the Galactic Empire, C-3PO and his best friend R2-D2 have become members of the Rebel Alliance, he is also in the service of Leia Organa, but unknown to him, she is the daughter of his creator, Anakin Skywalker; due to him having his memories unwillingly previously erased.
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
C-3PO spends much of his time with Leia and Han during the course of the film, and is blasted to pieces by Stormtroopers, only to be reassembled by Chewbacca and R2-D2 during their time on Bespin. They, along with Leia, Lando Calrissian, and Luke devise a plan to rescue Han Solo after Darth Vader freezes him in Carbonite and has him delivered by Boba Fett to Jabba the Hutt.
Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
C-3PO and R2-D2 are sent to Jabba's palace on Tatooine to serve as gifts for Jabba the Hutt as part of the plan to rescue Han. During the events of the rescue mission, 3PO is enslaved to become Jabba's translator and witnesses Leia's murder of Jabba and the destruction of the Hutt's sail barge. Afterward, he accompanies the raid on Endor to destroy the shield generator for the second Death Star. Here, C-3PO's communication skills prove invaluable, as he helps the Rebellion befriend and ally with the native Ewoks, which help to overcome the Imperial forces, allowing for a successful mission and the Death Star's destruction.
C-3PO is a member of the Resistance, thirty years after the Battle of Endor. By this time, he has replaced one of his arms with a red arm from another droid (revealed to be that of another protocol droid named O-MR1 that sacrificed his life for 3PO's in the tie-in stories by Marvel Comics that he kept as a memento of his comrade's sacrifice). He had also been upgraded by this time to be fluent in over seven million forms of communication. He later gets his proper arm reinstalled at the end.
C-3PO accompanies Leia Organa and Poe Dameron throughout most of the film. He is later reunited with his old master, Luke Skywalker, who winks at him, although it was just a realistic Force projection of him on Crait from Ahch-To. After being reunited with the rest of the Resistance aboard the Millennium Falcon after the Battle of Crait, he later translates one of the sacred Jedi texts for Rey.
A year later, as the war against the First Order continues on, the Resitance discovers that Emperor Palpatine managed to revive himself, created the First Order, and is planning to retake control of the galaxy through the war between the Resistance and the First Order. To find Palpatine's location of Exegol, C-3PO accompanies Rey, Finn, Poe, Chewbacca, and BB-8 in searching for a Sith wayfinder that could lead the Resitance to Palpatine's location. During the journey, C-3PO loses his memory as a result of translating an ancient Sith language which his programming otherwise forbids him to translate. R2-D2 later restores his memory at the Resistance camp.
During the beginning of the Galactic Civil War, C-3PO and R2-D2 were at the Rebel Alliance's base on Yavin 4, witnessing the Rebel fleet leave for Scarif, to assist Rogue One in stealing the plans to the Death Star.
In Ralph Breaks the Internet, C-3PO briefly appears as a netizen, where he is seen when he enters the Princess dressing room in Oh My Disney and tells the Disney Princesses that a "Which Disney Princess Are You?" quiz is about to start in five minutes.
The Muppet Show
Along with C-3PO, R2 appears in one small part where 3PO explains how important speech clarity is for survival while admitting there are exceptions to the rule, such as Donald Duck's speech, which R2 can apparently understand pretty well.
C-3PO makes a guest appearance with R2-D2 in "scavANTger hunt". Daniels did not reprise his role, and R2 did not have the proper sound effects. Threepio claims to know street slang, and tells the main characters to "Step off, fools".
In the episode "Droids in Distress", C-3PO and R2 accompanied Minister Tua to Garel where he served as a translator for Amda Wabo. Upon their arrival, C-3PO and R2-D2 were present when the Rebels stole crates of T-7 Ion Disruptors for the Empire. during the gunfire against Zeb and the Stormtroopers, He boarded the Ghost with R2 and journeyed back to Lothal. In his panic, he contacted the Empire and gave away the Rebel's location. After engaging the Empire, the Rebels returned 3PO and R2 to Bail Organa.
C-3PO appeared in the attraction's queue with R2-D2 working on fixing a Starspeeder 3000 as well as appearing in the in-cabin load and unload safety videos.
In the revamped Star Tours, C-3PO appears in the attraction as the accidental pilot of the attraction in addition to appearing in the queue like the original attraction. When doing some routine checkups on a Starspeeder 1000, he is locked in the pilot's seat and is forced to take control of the vehicle with his friend R2-D2, escape Imperial forces after a Rebel Spy on board and get said spy to safety.
C-3PO is a meetable character during the event. He also danced during the Hyperspace Hoopla before its closure.
From 1986 onward, a voice over from C-3PO and R2-D2 briefly welcomed riders on Disneyland's PeopleMover as the trains passed through the Star Tours show building.
- C-3PO has the first line in the Original Trilogy and the last line in the Prequel Trilogy; both in the same location, a corridor on the Tantive IV.
- His last line in the series is also the same as his first: "Did you hear that?"
- He and R2-D2 are given the most attention and involvement of any character in the Star Wars saga outside of the Skywalker family.
- He was inspired by Tahei from Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress, a peasant who is just as cowardly but far more unsavory than C-3PO. His design, on the other hand, is based on Maria from Fritz Lang's classic science fiction movie, Metropolis.
- Solo is the only Star Wars movie where neither he nor R2-D2 appear.
- In a original cut of the Princesses' scene in Ralph Breaks the Internet, C-3PO had a much larger role than in the final movie, where he was mocked by the Princesses and he complained about how they treat him while yearning for "the days of Captain Solo". In the final film, these lines were all cut, and his role was reduced to only a single line.
- "Star Wars highlights female heroes in Forces of Destiny — first look". Entertainment Weekly (April 13, 2017).