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?