L3-37: A Poster Bot For Droid Rights

From Inverse

Being a droid in the Star Wars universe seems like it sucks. Sure, R2-D2 can talk back to Luke, but for the most part, we see droids like C-3PO and Rogue One’s K-2SO, two fully-formed personalities who had their minds erased on the whims of their human owners. But Lando Calrissian’s droid in Solo: A Star Wars Story is different, in part because she’s technically not Lando’s droid at all.

L3-37, the droid co-pilot played via motion-capture by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, is self-made, according to Entertainment Weekly, which published an article about the character on Thursday.

“She’s a self-modified droid,” script writer Jon Kasdan explained “The idea is that she’s sort of a mutt, if you will, of various parts of different kinds of droids who has improved upon herself.”

“She’s a complete individual in the galaxy,” he continued. “We wanted to have it be a completely different kind of droid than you’ve ever seen in the movies. And we definitely wanted it to be a female.”

While having a female-identifying droid is new for the Star Wars films, which have almost exclusively featured male droids or droids without an established gender, L3-37’s status as a DIY droid without an owner is intriguing. Certainly, it will make her relationship with Lando interesting, as the pair will be on equal footing. The pair look friendly in the trailer, and Kasdan said L3-37 has “a working relationship with Lando, and it’s very sophisticated and informed by years of working together.”

But L3-37’s status as a self-made, self-owned being really highlights how all the other droids in Star Wars are, ultimately, things to be bought and sold. L3-37 blurs the already strange line between droids as “people” and droids as property. What allows L3-37 to exist in society as an individual of her own accord, and what’s stopping somebody from claiming ownership of her or junking her. Perhaps she’s only able to do her thing because Lando is an exceptionally chill dude in the glaxay when it comes to droid rights?

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  1. It's almost never a good sign when someone attached to a film for an established property says things like "WE wanted to..." and this another example of that. The author of this article, as well as director Jon Kasdan are either unaware of, ignoring or just not seeing what the films and canonical animated shows have implied about many droids in the Star Wars universe. Most recently in Star Wars Rebels, Chopper was a droid who had been freed by Hera, functioned independently and was recognized as a member of the Ghost crew (and who later went on to free another droid in imperial service who also CHOSE to join the crew). And before that, the separatist battle droids obviously thought of themselves as individuals (individuals who weren't very bright, but individuals nonetheless), especially in the Clone Wars animated series where they would occasionally quip about getting promoted and tried to avoid being destroyed in combat. K2-SO was aware that he was a reprogrammed imperial droid, and the film made it a point to show that he was functioning as an independent being in contrast to other droids of his type in service to the Empire. And Artoo and Threepio unquestionably thought and acted as individuals when not restricted by restraining bolts. Rather than a thought provoking concept about L3-37 being defined as an individual, this comes across much more as a thinly disguised Disney representation of sexual self identification. The article itself even states that "having a female-identifying droid is new for the Star Wars films". And that's not even an ACCURATE statement. Many fans can quickly point to TC-14, the silver protocol droid briefly seen in The Phantom Menace, as just one that was identified as being female.


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