In RotJ, why bring C3PO to Endor?

In Return of the Jedi, they are sending a small strike team to the forest moon of Endor to take down the shield generator. For some reason they bring C3PO along. I know the story required him to be there to translate for the Ewoks, but in-universe, what was the reason they brought him along? Did they know of the existence of Ewoks, and hope they’d be able to enlist their help? The movie gives no indication of that.

I can accept that answer, but what really bothers me is that the team dresses in camouflage to avoid detection, but then bring along a shiny gold android. Couldn’t they have given him camouflage as well, or were the Rebellion’s supplies just that limited?

They weren’t planning to need a translator, they were planning to infiltrate an Imperial base. They took R2 along to magic the doors open and they took C3PO because he’s R2’s bitch; plus, C3PO likes to think he’s the only one who can keep R2 in line and they all humor him because R2 is secretly leading the rebellion. It had already been established in canon that droids are universally ignored; trying to camouflage them would only make them stand out. Plus, if you’re going to be leading an imperial assault, even better than camouflage is having a big, shiny golden thing for people to shoot at instead of the dumpy little astromech droid.

That’s my story, anyway.

Luke and Leia both love Threepio.

Remember that Han said in one of the movies that 3PO had to be plugged into the Falcon to tell them what’s wrong with the hyperdrive.

He’s there to assist R2. He’s fluent in over 6 million forms of communication. Presumably some of those may be computer-based that a typical astromech droid doesn’t need to know. I know R2 isn’t a typical droid, but even his functions have limits.

They needed Artoo. They needed Threepio to translate what Artoo says. Luke only understand Artoo via the XWing Translator

Unless someone, like Luke, is intimately familiar with R2, I think they need 3P0 around to translate for him. They come as a package deal, except when Luke flies off on his own.

And even if they didn’t know about the Ewoks, they might have thought it was possible some group might be there that would need translation. Why leave such a useful team-member behind?

The camouflage thing is a good point, and probably chocked up to “no one thought of it”, or “they tried it and it looked dumb on camera”.

I always wondered why they took R2. The forest floor of Endor isn’t laid out with discovery trails for wheelchairs. They would have had to carry him everywhere.

I always thought, even as a 9-10 year old, that it was astounding that they didn’t at least spray C3PO down with a couple of cans of olive drab spray paint before wandering around the forest.

You don’t need to outrun Imperial Troopers. You just need to outrun Threepio.

Of course, in the prequels R2 could fly. Somehow he became crippled before Episode IV began.

This actually makes BB8 far more practical for uneven terrain and sand. Nothing to get stuck or gunked up.
Reasons for bringing C3PO along for the Endor Mission:

  1. It’s an alien moon. You never know who you might run into that needs translation.

  2. He’s an extra pair of eyes.

  3. R2 needs to be kept in line. Talk about a droid with ADHD.

  4. He’s just part of the team at this point. Him and R2 are buds.

  5. Great storyteller. And in a pinch, can appear as a god to the primitive natives.

But then nobody would have recognized him! Look how much confusion the red arm caused! :slight_smile:

Still unclear to me why no one ever thought to make an R2 unit that had an onboard translator. Seems like there’s plenty of demonstrated need for it and it couldn’t take up that much space. Hell, R2 has a compartment big enough for a lightsaber to fit into, plus whatever mechanism ejects it! Spring for a babelfish, guys!

C3PO isn’t the only protocol droid of his type in the universe. There are white protocol droids present in the rebel base on Hoth in Empire Strikes Back, and Jabba’s overseer droid immediately recognizes him (“You are a protocol droid, are you not?”) in Return of the Jedi.

Maybe they didn’t need to camouflage him. As Ethilrist suggested, this makes you look like you’re deliberately trying to hide something. If it’s just a protocol droid - something that the Imperials themselves might have wandering around their own corridors for whatever reason - trying to disguise it would be the opposite of what you’d want to do.

I’d like to interject something somewhat unrelated here about BB8. Don’t get me wrong, I thought he was adorable just like everyone else. But he gets sad. WHY would you want a depressed robot? I thought we already established in the days of Marvin the Paranoid Android that depressed robots are no good. Why do we even want our robots to have a personality? I have google voice on my phone. I would like it to have a male English accent (something I simply cannot get since the world is run by men so we only get to listen to women!) but what I don’t want is it sulking or pouting.


Didn’t Artoo also show emotion in Star Wars?

C: Just you reconsider playing that message for him!
A: Beep
C: No I don’t think he like’s you at all
A: Boop
C: No I don’t like you either
A: Boo

Also his laughing at Threepio after “Help! I think I’m melting”

I don’t think it’d be possible to build an R2 unit with a built-in translator, or at least, not to do it ethically. We think of robots as just computers in mechanical bodies, but that appears to not be the case in the Star Wars universe. They’ve got droids that are, in every real sense, fully sapient people, and they’ve got extremely primitive computers, and nothing else in between. There’s something special, we don’t know what, about the way that droids are made. The computers they have aren’t capable of a task as complicated as translation, which means that a “built-in translator” would have to be a second complete droid brain.

This kind of thing isn’t just a Star Wars phenomenon, but you might be reading too much into it if you think R2 or BB8 are actually depressed.

In real life, there’s a trainable robot used for small-scale manufacturing and it has a facial LCD screen. You can see from its eyes how it is “feeling” and what it is “looking at.”

The assembly line robot is clearly not experiencing real emotions, but a simulated emotion can be a good way to communicate with humans. I suppose the screen could just as easily say “Training Mode” or “Error #2413792” but humans are wired to look for emotion.

As for female voices - there’s some kind of study out there (so I’m told) saying that female voices are better for getting attention.

Considering their dad built him to help their grandma, of course they love him.