Much of the marketing thus far for Star Wars: The Force Awakens has focused on the newcomers to the franchise, so we haven’t seen much of the original trilogy cast members who are returning to their iconic roles. Outside of one shot of someone (Luke?) placing a hand on the head of R2-D2, and a brief but sweet glimpse of Han Solo and Chewbacca in the second teaser, the veterans have been pushed to the back burner. Not that this should surprise anyone, as even Mark Hamill has said the young characters are what this new film is all about.
Today, though, one of the old staples of the series gets a moment in the spotlight. The character in question is everyone’s favorite protocol droid, C-3PO, who apparently has undergone some repairs in the 30 years between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens.
Making Star Wars shared a photo Twitter user Marc Zachacki took of a Star Wars themed soda can that’s allegedly in Mexico grocery stores. The image on the can features the three main droids from the movie – R2-D2, BB-8, and C-3PO – with the interpreter of six million languages showing off his brand new red arm, which takes the place of the customary golden one he sported throughout the classic trilogy.
Interesting can via Mexico.... pic.twitter.com/L2YW5mKibJ— Marc Zachacki (@SWzahack) June 5, 2015
The picture in question isn’t exactly new, per say, as it made the rounds on the Internet in the beginning of May, when concepts of various Star Wars: The Force Awakens merchandise (chairs and tables) were leaked. Making Star Wars even acquired a very rough version of the image of the robotic trio, indicating that this is a legitimate promotional image from the final film and not just a bootleg product. Until someone comes out and says otherwise, it looks like Threepio has a different colored arm for the sequel trilogy, which could be a spare part for an R-3PO droid the Resistance had lying around.
While some Star Wars purists may cry foul and accuse J.J. Abrams of ruining the goldenrod droid by giving him a red arm, it’s actually a nice touch that shows the creative team’s attention to detail. Obviously, droids are made of mechanical parts that need maintenance to keep running properly. C-3PO is a very old robot, having been around at least since Anakin Skywalker was a 9 year-old boy some 30 years before the Rebel Alliance destroyed the first Death Star. Given the timeline of the films C-3PO is probably more than 60 years old, so it stands to reason he would be in the market for a new limb or two.
The Star Wars films were renowned for their crafting of ‘lived-in’ environments that grounded the proceedings in some kind of plausible reality. Even with the Force, lightsabers, and Ewoks running around, it felt tangible because the Millennium Falcon didn’t always work and things were a little dented and scratched up. This is simply another subtle detail to create a sense that these movies are populated by real people who live in a real world where stuff works similar to how it does on Earth. If C-3PO was still comprised of his original parts after all this time has passed, something would have seemed off, even though few would have noticed the admittedly minor aspect.
In a way, this is a continuation of one of Abrams’ goals with this film, which is to honor the classic Star Wars lore and combine it with fresh aesthetics. The Stormtroopers have new uniforms. The Empire and Rebels go by new names during this next stage of the Galactic Civil War. X-wings are colored with blue instead of red. It’s all part of evolution and how things change over time. As long as Abrams captures the spirit of the old movies and delivers an enthralling space adventure, nobody will really care about these little details, but they still add value to the final product.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters December 18, 2015; Star Wars: Rogue One on December 16, 2016; and Star Wars: Episode VIII (subtitle TBD) on May 26th, 2017.