Warning: This article contains spoilers from Ahsoka season 1, episode 7, “Dreams and Madness.”
Ahsoka has featured plenty of familiar faces, but Episode 7 includes what is arguably the show’s most surprising character appearance so far. The scene occurs during the episode’s cold open when Hera Syndulla is brought before a New Republic committee on Coruscant.
Senator Hamato Xiono wants to court-martial Hera for her unsanctioned investigation on Seatos, and nearly gets his way until a familiar protocol droid shows up on behalf of Senator Leia Organa to save the day.
C-3PO presents evidence that Leia sanctioned Hera’s mission to Seatos and was unaware of Xiono and other New Republic senators voting against the mission. Between this and C-3PO emphasizing Leia’s rank as leader of the New Republic’s Defense Council, Hera is not court-martialed, and the matter is closed.
While characters like Anakin Skywalker and Grand Admiral Thrawn were confirmed to be in Ahsoka, C-3PO’s role in the series was kept a secret and is one of the show’s best surprises so far. As a character who was introduced alongside Leia in the original Star Wars and who has been in every Skywalker saga film, C-3PO makes Ahsoka feel more connected to the original trilogy while also providing further connectivity to the prequel and sequel trilogies.
Following the Leia reference in Ahsoka episode 5 and confirmation of her bending the rules to help Hera combat the Imperial Remnant, C-3PO is the perfect way to continue incorporating Leia into the story. It is consistent with other canon stories where he serves Leia and represents her interests during her time as a New Republic official.
While the Mandoverse may eventually bring in Carrie Fisher’s daughter Billie Lourd or another actor to play Leia at this point in the timeline, for now, it makes more sense to have the loyal and reliable C-3PO be the intermediary between Leia and Ahsoka‘s characters.
Introducing a new Leia actor would’ve distracted from the focus of this Ahsoka episode. Given Leia’s many responsibilities in the New Republic and as a mother, there are plenty of in-universe reasons why Leia has to send C-3PO in her place.
C-3PO also shares history with Hera and the Ghost crew from the Star Wars Rebels season 1 episode “Droids in Distress” and has traveled in the same circles as Hera throughout their years serving the Rebel Alliance and the New Republic. This history is hinted at in the way Hera thanks C-3PO and in the way he seems genuinely glad to have helped her.
In January 2022, Anthony Daniels, who has played C-3PO since 1977, shared a behind-the-scenes photo in a motion-capture suit, showing how playing the role has changed over the years due to advances in technology. It was never confirmed what project he was filming for, and most speculation at the time revolved around it being for A Droid Story, but it now seems far more likely that it was for Ahsoka.
With R2-D2 appearing in The Mandalorian season 2 and The Book of Boba Fett, it feels fitting that C-3PO has now also entered the Mandoverse. It is not C-3PO’s first time in the live-action shows, though, as he briefly appears in the first episode of Obi-Wan Kenobi. Interestingly, this means that R2-D2 or C-3PO have now appeared in every live-action Star Wars television series, with Andor being the only exception.
As the Mandoverse continues to expand, C-3PO will hopefully make more appearances in his own right and as a character who can communicate on behalf of Leia. He is one of the most important characters in the franchise’s history, with vast knowledge, experience, and connections that make him a valuable asset in the fight against the Imperial Remnant. A potential reunion with R2-D2 would also be most welcome.