C-3PO (also spelled See-Threepio, called 3PO for short) was a protocol droid—a droid specifically designed to interact with organics. Threepio's TranLang III Communicator module combined with his AA-1 VerboBrain allowed him to be "fluent in over six million forms of communication." He was also equipped with "over thirty secondary functions". C-3PO was generally seen with his counterpart, R2-D2, a small, wheeled astromech droid. His main function as a protocol droid was to assist with etiquette, customs, and translation so that meetings of different cultures ran smoothly. In his time, C-3PO loyally served over forty masters. He hated adventure and space travel, as they often resulted in him coming out on the wrong end of a fight, losing parts, and having them reattached. His motto was, "We're doomed!".
C-3PO was built from scrap parts around 32 BBY by a prodigal young boy named Anakin Skywalker. His wiring and construction were sound, but Anakin could not afford even the simplest of droid coverings. C-3PO found this out when his future partner R2-D2 remarked that he was naked. He was extremely embarrassed by this, but later received coverings from his new master, Cliegg Lars.
Clone Wars-22 BBY-19 BBY
After Anakin Skywalker and Padmé Amidala's visit to Tatooine, C-3PO left with his old master. He also became an unwilling combatant in the Battle of Geonosis when his head was taken off and temporarily attached to the torso of a B-1 battle droid. After being repaired, C-3PO became Senator Amidala's personal protocol droid for most of the Clone Wars. He was a reluctant participant in many adventures, often chastising Skywalker's droid, R2-D2, for being reckless. During this time period, his coverings were upgraded from a dull gray to a shining gold color. He also, in a meeting of the Loyalist Committee, became the first person in the Galaxy to address Supreme Chancellor Palpatine as "Your Majesty."
His memory was wiped on the Tantive IV after the birth of the Skywalker twins and death of Senator Amidala, in order to protect them from the Emperor and their father, Darth Vader. After his memory was erased, he believed he first worked with binary loadlifters.
19 BBY-0 BBY
Though he and R2-D2 were officially part of the droid complement of the Tantive IV for the next 19 years, C-3PO also served Alderaan's royal house, the Organa family on Alderaan on occasion. While accompanying them to the Emperor's Ball, he mistook Darth Vader for a new droid, and was reassigned as a preschool teacher for a year as punishment. For a time, both C-3PO and R2-D2 were separated from the Organa family and the Tantive IV, and found themselves travelling the galaxy serving a series of different masters, including Mungo Baobab and Mon Julpa. After a series of adventures, they were returned to the Tantive IV.
0 BBY-4 ABY
When the Tantive IV came under attack by Darth Vader’s Star Destroyer Devastator, C-3PO and R2-D2 were launched in an escape pod by Princess Leia Organa to deliver a secret message to Obi Wan Kenobi. On Tatooine, C-3PO and R2-D2 were captured by Jawas, taken into their Sandcrawler and sold to Owen Lars. When Owen and his wife, Beru, were killed by Imperial Stormtroopers, the droids fell into the hands of Luke Skywalker.
In the Battle of Hoth C-3PO escaped with Han Solo in the Millennium Falcon, while his partner joined Luke in his pursuit of the mysterious Yoda. During this time, C-3PO and Han developed a strange relationship, with C-3PO quoting odds and Han defying them. On Cloud City, C-3PO was blasted by a Stormtrooper, but rescued by Chewbacca when the Wookiee headed to the Ugnaught recycling facility.
An even stranger relationship developed between him and the Ewoks, who thought he was a god. He rescued Luke and his friends from being eaten by threatening to call down his wrath on the Ewoks if they did not release them. Luke used the Force to levitate Threepio on his throne, and succeeded in freeing his friends. Later that night, C-3PO acted as a storyteller, gaining sympathy from the Ewoks and convincing them to help the Rebels at the Battle of Endor.
After the battle of Endor and the destruction of the second Death Star, C-3PO continued to travel with his permanent partner, now his friend. C-3PO would assist Leia Organa, Luke Skywalker, and their allies in the New Republic on many missions, such as Talon Karrde's expedition to the Kathol Sector to find Jorj Car'das.
Behind the scenes
C-3PO was portrayed by Anthony Daniels in all six films. Daniels provided the voice for all films, wore the costume from Episodes II to VI, and provided the movements in Episode I.
He also voiced the character in the Clone Wars and Droids cartoons.