Sunday, March 3, 2024
Articles

Droids Are Star Wars’ Real Heroes

by Domonic Riley

Star Wars is a story of heroes, and there are a lot of characters who deserve that title.
Luke, Anakin, Obi Wan, Han, Leia. They’re all heroes, but there are others who don’t
always get the recognition they deserve, and more often than not, these are the droids.
Leia was speaking from long personal experience when she said “Never underestimate
a droid,” and she was right. So many times throughout the Star Wars saga, it’s these
buckets of bolts that save the day.


It can’t be a coincidence that the first character to speak in Star Wars is a droid, C-3PO
to be precise. Neither can it just chance that Leia trusts R2-D2 with the plans to the
Death Star, meaning that we’re now following these two unlikely heroes down to
Tatooine, as they find themselves in deep trouble once again.


Right from the start in the first movie, droids have had an important place in a galaxy
far, far away, and that importance has carried over into all subsequent Star Wars media.
R2-D2 once again becomes the hero in the prequel trilogy, saving the Naboo Royal
Starship as it escapes the Trade Federation blockade, and in the sequels, BB-8 is the
hero, carrying the piece of star map that leads to Luke Skywalker, safely keeping it out
of the First Order’s grasp, and preventing the terrible things that could have happened
as a result.


Despite their heroics, droids rarely get enough recognition. They don’t have the same
rights as sentient species, and are often badly treated by their owners, not getting
repaired and being overloaded with work. Yet despite this, droids are still loyal, and will
carry out their duty even if they have no reason to. A feisty droid like Chopper would
have no problem running off on their own, and in fact, Chopper has disobeyed Hera on
several occasions, yet he still continued to stay with the Ghost crew, and often put
himself in danger to save them. This must mean that droids choose to do what they do,
and can be brave, selfish, daring, etc. without thinking of their own safety.


R5-D4, the red astromech from A New Hope, sacrificed his own security and gave up the chance of leaving the Jawas to help another. He blew his motivator so R2 would be
sold to the Lars in his place and deliver the plans to the Rebellion. If Peli Motto hadn’t
picked him up, who knows what his fate would have been?

Despite this, however, droids are often disregarded by their owners. Even the Jedi don’t
give them the credit they deserve. They have few rights and aren’t treated as sentient,
even though they can feel pain, fear, and other emotions. This was explored in the
Mandalorian season three episode ‘Guns for Hire’, when Din and Bo-Katan travel to
Plazir-15, an idyllic world where the citizens no longer need to work because of the
huge number of droids at their disposal. These droids take care of almost all necessary
functions in the society, allowing their masters to live in luxury. While it might seem like
these droids are being misused, as one droid pointed out, they owe their existence to
the humans who made them, and feel that the least they can give them in return is their
service.


One area that must be more contentious is the use of droids in warfare. They have no
say in their role, and are often used in their millions with no concern for their welfare.
They don’t have the same rights as a regular soldier, and wouldn’t be considered worthy
of rescue if things went wrong. During the Clone Wars, Republic troops never took them
prisoner and would destroy unarmed droids without question, even though B1s had
clear personalities.


The key thing is that droids can think for themselves, and even take on independent
careers, often as assassins and bounty hunters. It’s true that these droids have higher
intelligence than, say, loaders, but they were still built and programmed by droidsmiths,
and clearly don’t feel any responsibility to their makers as they pursue their lives
independent of any master.


Whatever their status, droids get a bad deal in the Star Wars galaxy, with their
achievements often going unrewarded, and many people treating them as expendable
machines, while droids ensure that so much keeps on working, as they take on the
hardest, most dangerous jobs that no one else would do. They definitely deserve some
more respect.

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