The one constant throughout the Star Wars films has been everyone’s favorite droid duo C-3PO, and R-2D2. Although the two spent most of The Force Awakens on the sidelines in favor of newcomer B-88, they still are very much a part of the heart and soul of Star Wars. They have gone on adventures with both Anakin Skywalker and his son Luke throughout both trilogies. When the promotional material for The Force Awakens first began to surface, there was a slight change in our favorite protocol droid’s appearance. No longer did he have his gold plating throughout his body. For some unexplained reason, C3PO was seen sporting a red arm on his left arm. Even though it was clear that he had a red arm, in typical C-3PO fashion, he spent some time to irksomely explain that he had a brand new red arm that everyone had to notice. While this was an interesting aesthetic, it was not explained at all during the film, it was just something that “happened” and now we’ll just have to get used to it. This left some fans to ponder: Why is his arm red? What happened? In typical JJ Abrams fashion, we didn’t get an answer… until now.
Marvel Comics’ limited run Star Wars: C-3PO comic book provided some much-needed backstory as to why the droid has a different colored arm. The comic issue was supposed to come out in December in conjunction with the release of The Force Awakens but constant delays pushed back the release of this issue until this month. In this issue C-3PO and a group of other droids in service of The Resistance takes captive a droid in service of the First Order named Omri. After the human crew is wiped out all the droids on the ship have to fend for themselves as they try end get rescued. C-3PO and Omri debate the role of droids in the conflict as well as the fact that they are constantly getting their memories wiped out by their masters and ponder just how many “lives” they have lived and who they might have served previously. The harshness of the planet makes it so that Omri and C-3PO are the only droids still alive/functioning. During their adventure C-3PO loses his arm from an animal on the planet (hence he needs a new one). Towards the end of their time on the planet, Omri sacrifices himself by bracing acid rain to activate a distress beacon where everything is pretty much melted away except his red arm. After rescue C-3PO attaches Omri’s arm to his own as a means of remembering his enemy who he bonded with and ultimately saved his life.
This is a very interesting backstory for what was simply an afterthought in the film. Not only is it great storytelling, but it gives the audience a unique perspective on droids and their role in the Star Wars universe, a group that other characters and even the audience take for granted. But they essentially are “people” as well who have their own feelings, and perhaps even their own souls. Hopefully, some of this backstory might possibly be incorporated into the next Star Wars film because it breathes life into a character we thought we knew everything about.
Source: Gizmodo, Marvel’s Star Wars: C-3PO #1