Even though R2-D2 and C3PO have been in the Star Wars universe from the beginning, why doesn’t anyone recognize them in the original trilogy?
Despite great storytelling (for the most part), Star Wars features several plot holes and questions that remain unanswered.
Most films suffer from a plague of plot holes. With ten films, TV shows, books, video games and much more in the franchise catalog, these plot holes multiply exponentially. Here is one question that grinds the gears of Star Wars geeks everywhere.
Why does no one recognize R2-D2 or C3PO?
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Obi-Wan Kenobi meets R2-D2 midway through the Phantom Menace after R2-D2 saves the ship and thus saves Padme, Qui-Jon, Obi-Wan and everyone on board.
Later, R2-D2 flies with Anakin aboard his Naboo Starfighter. In Attack of the Clones, R2-D2 and C-3PO continue to serve Obi-Wan and Anakin. In the final film, Revenge of the Sith, the two droid companions continue to work closely alongside Obi-Wan, Anakin, Padme, and others. Throughout the years, R2-D2 and C-3PO serve Obi-Wan and many Star Wars characters. They spend enough time with together that they should remember each other.
However, throughout the original trilogy, there are several instances where certain characters should recognize one of these two droids.
In A New Hope, Obi-Wan finds Luke unconscious with C-3PO and R2-D2 nearby. Obi-Wan greets R2-D2 and later recalls “not owning a droid.” Obi-Wan purposely withheld information from Luke in order to keep Luke from straying away. This could offer an explanation as to why he appears to not know who R2-D2 is.
Further in Empire Strikes Back, neither Yoda nor Darth Vader recognizes either droid. Luke travels with R2-D2 to the Dagobah where they find Yoda. Yoda’s relationship with R2-D2 is not on the same level with the same characters. Perhaps, the old creature simply forgot.
Late in the film, Darth Vader does not recognize C-3PO who is in Cloud City with Han Solo, Chewbacca, and Leia. Although C-3PO is not completely assembled in the scene, he is definitely visible to Vader. Darth Vader built C-3PO and spent a lot of time with him from the time of his mother’s death to his turn to the dark side.
There are several look-a-like protocol droids in the franchise. Prior to C-3PO getting shot, he sees a “rude” protocol droid. This also raises the question of why did Anakin build a droid that was replicated or appears to be a complete manufacturing line like a Honda Accord or iPhone (a question for another day).
Perhaps, Darth Vader just figures that this is another protocol droid and not C-3PO. Obviously, C-3PO does not recognize Vader because his memory was wiped at the end of Revenge of the Sith.
What are your possible explanations for this hole in the Star Wars plot?