Learn the surprisingly heartbreaking story of how Threepio got his red arm!


From Marvel Comics

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” gave viewers plenty of new mysteries to mull over. Who are Rey’s parents? What more can Captain Phasma do? What’s Luke been doing all this time? And, of course, where’d C-3PO get that red arm?

See Also: Star Wars #76, October 1983 Issue - Marvel Comics

We’ll have to wait for future film installments to get most of those answers, but James Robinson and Tony Harris–the team behind another star-themed book at the Distinguished Competition–answered the appendage conundrum in last year’s STAR WARS SPECIAL: C-3PO.

The issue began with Threepio leading five other droids off of a downed ship. Though the others wondered who died and put him in charge–the answer being Captain Hoff and his whole crew–they begrudgingly followed ol’ goldenrod in their search for a homing device.

In addition to the current Droid Communication Chief for the Reesistance, the group also included rolling arsenal VL-44, military droid PZ-99, construction grunt CO-34, med bot 2MED2 and First Order protocol droid O-MR1. Though technically their prisoner, Omri agreed to help in order to save their digital lives and they set off to find a First Order homing beacon they planned on repurposing.

Before Hoff’s ship crashed, they had a very specific mission to complete: Save Admiral Ackbar. He’d been taken by the First Order who planned on getting every bit of information out of him before killing the legend. The Resistance believed that Omri held the Admiral’s location in his memory banks and needed to keep him functional to get the information.

As the droids traversed the incredibly dangerous planet they found themselves dealing with everything from bot-eating spiders and super-deep tar to metal-eating acid rain.

Along the way, Threepio and Omri discussed some deep topics like loyalty, programming and memory. Omri said, “And yet for all you know, any one of you could have been serving the other side at some point. As droids, our memories are often wiped.”

Later, upon bringing the subject up again, C-3PO mentioned that he often felt flashes of memories, mostly events from the Prequels. He remained curious about them, but didn’t let their erasure drive him to turning against his human masters.

The journey to the beacon proved fatal for most of the droids, leaving just the two experts alive and Threepio minus his left arm. When they acid rain hit, they took shelter not far from the beacon. Though specifically not going against his programming, O-MR1 transmitted Ackbar’s coordinates to his companion. “I’m not choosing sides, I’m choosing friends,” he said before braving the acid rain to reprogram the beacon.

In the process, the rain stripped him down to his red primer. As he shambled back to the temporary shelter, Omri started falling apart, leaving just the left arm. Poe Dameron soon arrived and they used the coordinates to save Ackbar. Safely aboard a ship, Threepio sported that red arm for the first time. While talking to BB-8 he said, “You have no idea how this arm offends my aesthetic sensibilities. Nevertheless…I will keep it for a while. To remember.”

From the Jedi Temple Archives

Whether he knew it or not, C-3PO’s memories could have held many answers for Luke Skyalker and Leia Organa. As seen in “The Phantom Menace,” the droid came about in his current incarnation thanks to a young Anakin Skywalker’s tinkering on Tatooine, putting him together from spare parts. He soon found himself thrust into intergalactic activities thanks to the boy meeting Qui-Gon Jinn, Queen Amidala, Jar Jar Binks and R2-D2. He then took a major role in a series of adventures as seen in the Prequel films as well as the Clone Wars animated series. So, why didn’t he recognize Tatooine when he and Artoo landed there in “A New Hope?” Well, at the end of “Revenge of the Sith,” Leia’s adoptive father Bail Organa had the droid’s memory erased in an effort to keep her true lineage a secret. As seen in this special, though, some of those memories seem to rattle around in that golden dome of his to some extent.

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