Here’s How C-3PO Got His Red Arm Before The Force Awakens


Was one of your burning questions after watching Star Wars: The Force Awakens, how did C-3PO get the red arm? We finally have the answer.

The long-awaited, inexplicably long-delayed C-3PO standalone comic issue has finally arrived, and with it the answer to the most annoying question from The Force Awakens, so annoying because the answer was withheld so long: How did 3PO get his new red arm?

It all started when 3PO and a group of droids, one of them a First Order protocol droid whom the Resistance was transporting to their base, crash-land on an unforgiving world of monsters and acid rain. The human members of the ship’s crew were killed in the crash, and now it’s up to the droids to make it to a First Order beacon they detected. They can use this beacon to alert the Resistance to their whereabouts.

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The Imperial protocol droid, Omri, is not hostile to his captors, 3PO, a medical droid, a construction droid, a security droid, and a military analyst droid called Peezee (not Leia’s droid, Peezee, who appears in the film, but a different, male-programmed model). He doesn’t think of them as his enemies, per sae, even though he’s wanted by the Resistance for his knowledge of where the First Order have taken Admiral Ackbar, who was captured and is presumably being tortured for information. Omri is resentful toward human masters, however, regardless of whether they’re part of the First Order or New Republic, because of their practice of wiping droids’ memories. Memories are a part of Omri’s identity he wants to maintain, and he is angry that he can only remember bits and pieces of his past life. 3PO says he sometimes thinks about the flickers of his life he can recall from his wiped memory banks, but he accepts that this is a part of droids’ lot in life. Omri is still not convinced.

As the six droids trek across the planet towards the beacon, one by one, 3PO’s friends are destroyed as they work to save each other from the terrible creatures that inhabit the world. 3PO is sad for his friends, but Omri insists on taking advantage of their sacrifices and pressing onward. Finally, only 3PO and Omri are left. In their second encounter with the local wildlife, 3PO’s left arm is ripped off.

“I’m not choosing sides. I’m choosing friendship.”

As he and Omri continue their slow and arduous walk to the beacon, the sky begins to rain acid. They reach the shelter of a slab of metal just in time, a First Order TIE fighter and its beacon only a few steps away. When the two droids realize the acid rain will soon corrode their shelter, and finally them, Omri decides to sacrifice himself so 3PO can survive. 3PO asks him why he’s doing this, and if he’s switching sides (from the First Order to the Resistance). Omri says he’s not choosing sides, he’s choosing friendship. He saw how kindly 3PO was toward  his droid friends, how regretful he was as each one succumbed to the harshness of this planet. Omri, in turn, has decided he cares about 3PO. He transfers the information he was carrying about Admiral Ackbar’s whereabouts to 3PO’s data banks, and then starts his final walk.

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As Omri steps out into the acid downpour, it corrodes the black outer coating of his body to reveal red paint underneath. He manages to make it to the beacon and reprogram it so it will contact the Resistance, not the First Order, and signal a call for help. C-3PO will be saved. Meanwhile, Omri’s body decays in the rain, and parts of his body fall off in a hail of sparks. One of the pieces that falls off is his red left arm. When Poe Dameron arrives in his X-wing to save 3PO, after the acid rain has stopped, he finds 3PO holding that arm in his hand.

Later, 3PO is talking to BB-8, Omri’s red arm now attached to his body. Though it offends his “aesthetic sensibilities,” he wants to keep it to remember his old friends, and the new one he made.

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And there you have it. The mystery is finally solved. This was a sweet story, and beautifully written and drawn by James Robinson and Tony Harris, respectively. It brings up what we often take for granted, that droids have feelings. It was also a beautiful expression of the power of memory, which we now know is especially precious to droids in the Star Wars universe. All in all, Marvel’s Star Wars: C-3PO was a much more satisfying answer to the question of the red arm than I expected to get.