- "I am C-3PO, human-cyborg relations."
C-3PO, sometimes spelled See-Threepio and often referred to as Threepio, was a bipedal, humanoid protocol droid designed to interact with organics, programmed primarily for etiquette and protocol. He was fluent in over six million forms of communication, and developed a fussy and worry-prone personality throughout his many decades of operation. After being destroyed and discarded on the planet Tatooine before 32 BBY, C-3PO was rebuilt; his salvaged nature gave him special qualities that distinguished him from similar droid models. Along with his counterpart, the astromech droid R2-D2, C-3PO constantly found himself directly involved in pivotal moments of galactic history, and aided in saving the galaxy on many occasions. C-3PO considered various droids and organics to be friends of his, and was very dedicated to them, as well as to any master that he served.
Originally activated on Affa in 112 BBY, C-3PO had served as a protocol droid to the emissary of the Manakron system. Nearly eighty years later, he was gutted and discarded on the streets of Mos Espa, a city on the Outer Rim world of Tatooine. After being rebuilt by the Human slave Anakin Skywalker, C-3PO served Skywalker and his mother Shmi for over ten years, performing household chores and helping Skywalker earn his freedom by winning a pod race. Skywalker left Tatooine but returned in 22 BBY when his mother passed away, and C-3PO was given to Skywalker, now a Jedi Padawan, by Shmi's stepson Owen Lars. C-3PO, Skywalker, R2-D2, and the Naboo Senator Padmé Amidala immediately became embroiled in the Clone Wars, a galaxy-wide conflict between the Galactic Republic and the Separatist Confederacy of Independent Systems. Skywalker married Amidala and gave C-3PO to her as a wedding gift, and C-3PO faithfully assisted her in her senatorial duties throughout the three-year conflict. The two often entered the front lines of the war, at times fighting alongside Skywalker and R2-D2.
At the end of the war, Skywalker became a Sith Lord, Amidala passed away, the Jedi Order was exterminated, and the Republic was reorganized into a Galactic Empire. C-3PO and R2-D2 were assigned to the corvette Tantive IV of Alderaan, where they served Alderaan's viceroy Bail Organa for nineteen years. They were, however, separated from Organa during that time period, and got caught up in a wide variety of misadventures, ruining the gangster Tig Fromm, helping restore the Tammuz-an monarchy, and aiding the merchant Mungo Baobab in reviving his family's fortune, among other exploits. After rejoining the crew of the Tantive IV, they became embroiled in the Galactic Civil War, and in 0 BBY, Leia Organa of the Rebel Alliance entrusted them to bring a copy of the Death Star plans to the Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi on Tatooine. After meeting Skywalker's son Luke and the smuggler Han Solo, the droids helped rescue princess Leia from the Empire's Death Star and became directly attached to the three Humans, helping them and their rebellion defeat the Empire and restore freedom to the galaxy.
When the Rebellion became a New Republic, C-3PO continued to serve Luke and the now-married Han & Leia Solo, helping them defeat remnants of the Empire. Notably, C-3PO helped the Solos raise their three children, and aided Luke in recruiting trainees for his New Jedi Order. His translation abilities proved crucial during major incidents on Bakura, the starship Teljkon Vagabond, and in the Kathol sector, and in 17 ABY, he and R2-D2 teamed up with a young mechanic named Cole Fardreamer to foil a plan to bomb the galactic capital of Coruscant. When an extra-galactic race of religious zealots known as the Yuuzhan Vong invaded the galaxy in 25 ABY, C-3PO participated in the four-year conflict that eventually saw the invaders defeated. The destruction wrought by the invaders, and particularly their harsh treatment of droids, caused C-3PO to deeply question his views on deactivation, immortality, and memory erasure. Twelve years later, he began helping raise the latest addition to the Solo/Skywalker clan: the spritely youth Allana.
- "I didn't have many friends when I was a kid, so I built one."
- ―Anakin Skywalker to Padmé Amidala[src]
C-3PO, as reconstructed by Anakin SkywalkerC-3PO was originally activated on the Cybot Galactica foundry world of Affa in the year 112 BBY. Sometime in his early existence, he had served as a protocol droid to the emissary of the Manakron system. Nearly eighty years later, his head and gutted chassis had been discarded in a street of the city of Mos Espa on Tatooine, and were discovered by two Human youths, Anakin Skywalker and Kitster Banai. A poor slave, Skywalker decided to rebuild the 3PO-series protocol droid, and began smuggling C-3PO to his home piece by piece. Skywalker's intention was that the reactivated protocol droid would function as a servant to his mother, helping her with chores around the house while he worked at a nearby junk shop. C-3PO's gyro-balance circuitry was several decades old, but Skywalker was able to use scrounged and improvised replacement parts to make the droid functional again. C-3PO boasted sound wiring, as well as a standard protocol droid verbobrain and communicator module, but Skywalker could not afford even the simplest of droid coverings, and as such, left the droid's wiring exposed. C-3PO's salvaged nature imbued special qualities in him that were absent from other protocol droids.
Skywalker sometimes brought C-3PO with him when bartering with nearby Jawa traders, and employed the droid's fluency in over six million forms of communication after discovering a wounded Tusken Raider. With the assistance of C-3PO's translation, Skywalker was able to nurse the Tusken Raider back to health, although the Raider grew annoyed with the protocol droid and roared at him to "shut up".
- "He's perfect."
- ―Padmé Amidala after meeting C-3PO[src]
In Mos Espa, C-3PO helped his owner prepare for the Boonta Eve pod race.When Skywalker met several off-worlders in the shop of his owner, the junk dealer Watto, he invited them to the safety of his home as refuge from a coming sandstorm. The Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn, the Queen of Naboo Padmé Amidala, the Gungan Jar Jar Binks, and the astromech droid R2-D2 were brought to the slave quarters that Skywalker shared with his mother Shmi, and Amidala and R2-D2 were introduced to C-3PO. Upon meeting R2-D2, C-3PO was shocked when the candid astromech droid commented that he was "naked". Despite the exchange, the two droids fast developed a friendship of sorts, working together to help Skywalker make final adjustments to his podracer in time to race it in the Boonta Eve Classic race. While working on the racer, the two droids discussed space travel and noted the clumsy actions of Binks.