Star Wars droids, ranked by usefulness


From the robots that fail miserably at their jobs to the robots coping with our literal crap, Mashable’s dives into the advanced world of automation — for higher or worse or a lot, a lot worse.


One of many coolest elements of dwelling within the Star Wars galaxy, ranked slightly below the potential of getting your arms on a lightsaber, is the truth that each human appears to get their very own private droid pal. Whereas the idea of droid “possession” is problematic — if they’re sentient, isn’t it slavery? —just one droid within the entirety of Star Wars has ever complained, and she or he was nonetheless a variety of enjoyable to hang around with. So it is fairly secure to imagine droids really like being our eternally buddies. 

However when contemplating which droid to befriend, keep in mind they don’t seem to be all created equal. A lot of Star Wars droids are, dare I say it, fairly crap. Given their inherent loyalty, droid relations can last more than most marriages. Do you wish to be caught for all times with a relentless annoyance like Threepio, or a cool cat everybody’s going to like like Artoo? What are they really going to do for you frequently?

This is our cheat sheet on droid crappiness ranges on your subsequent go to to the droid depot. Beginning with the all-time champion of uselessness:    

10. Protocol droids

“I’ve no want for a protocol droid.” Boy, you mentioned it, Uncle Owen. The query is: Does anybody? Will we wish to be interrupted in the course of the hottest scoundrel-filled smooch of our lives? Want we ever be advised the chances?

So a protocol droid is fluent in over six million types of communication. Bully for them. There isn’t a occasion, at the least within the Skywalker saga, the place this is available in notably useful. You may discover Threepio would not even trouble to translate Artoo’s beeps and boops. Why? As a result of everybody understands Astromech already

This would possibly assist clarify why Threepio was actually present in elements on a scrapheap on Tatooine by a penniless child, Anakin Skywalker, and continues to be thought-about bargain-basement Jawa merchandise twenty years later. Lots of people within the galaxy are multilingual, and almost all of them observe widespread requirements of conduct. So there would not appear to be a variety of name for translation or protocol recommendation — not to mention delivered by a flailing, clueless metallic butler.   

The one time a translation turned completely important to the plot of Star Wars — the Sith knife in The Rise of Skywalker — it turned out Threepio could not even communicate Sith with out a splicer hacking into his reminiscence. Sure, he translated Luke’s phrases into halting Huttese for Jabba the Hutt in Return of the Jedi, however not all of them, and Jabba and Luke understood one another completely nicely regardless. 

Later he was handled as a god by a tribe of vicious Ewoks, however did not assist his captured buddies till Luke intervened. C-3PO, you are the worst. 

We have seen a handful of different protocol droids in motion, should you can name it that. There is a silver one who serves refreshment to Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon initially of The Phantom Menace: Nice, so you are a man-shaped drinks cart. There’s one retrofitted as a instructor in The Mandalorian that fails to stop Baby Yoda bullying his classmate. There’s 4-LOM, a protocol droid who turned a bounty hunter, however he was so ashamed of his form that he actually modified his face.

Which is an indication that protocol droids have a willful streak below their prissy exterior. Take into account that Threepio waxed lyrical to Uncle Owen about how he may perceive the binary language of moisture vaporators — after which by no means spoke to a rattling one earlier than working away the subsequent day! Worst Jawa junk buy ever. (To be truthful, possibly Owen should not have blanked Threepio like he’d never met him.)      

9. Battle droids

At the least protocol droids promote their lameness of their titles. Battle droids, then again, are probably the most disappointing relative to our expectations. They’re the droids who cannot shoot straight, whose spindly metallic our bodies can apparently be knocked down in a lightweight breeze. Given their annoying catchphrase, “roger, roger,” you possibly can forgive even their commanding officers wishing for such a breeze. 

The pathetic combating abilities are by design. George Lucas felt he needed to make battle droids notably ineffective in The Phantom Menace so they might come again stronger in Assault of the Clones, justifying the nice guys’ use of a clone military in response. However this hapless droid infantry by no means reached the extent of seeming like a lot of a risk — not within the prequels, not in Clone Wars, and never even in its newest elite prototype. The Darkish Trooper droids effortlessly crushed by Luke on the finish of The Mandalorian’s second season. 

Backside line: To paraphrase Yoda, droids make not battle nice. If you happen to’re a shadowy Sith lord shopping for them in bulk as a part of an evil plan to trick the Galactic Republic into going to conflict with itself, simply be certain you retain the receipt.    

8. Energy (“Gonk”) droids

Ever needed a Seventies mainframe pc with massive clomping metallic toes? You may love the Gonk droid! Bonus: The goose-like honking that gave these boxy creatures their title. 

Aesthetic hilarity apart, Gonk droids are at the least good at their job. They’re strolling batteries, principally, that may recharge something from a communicator to a starship. Undertake a Gonk and you will by no means need for extra telephone battery. You want by no means concern working out of juice in an electrical automotive or bike. Gonks are unashamedly utilitarian, ugly and proud.

A world filled with Gonks can be a world that had solved local weather change. Wherever you want energy, the Gonk can deliver it to you. Simply…possibly not on the quickest doable velocity. 

7. Mouse droids

Think about your Roomba was a spy, a deliverer of DMs, and likewise hummed little songs to itself because it labored. That is the vibe of the MSE-6, often known as the Mouse droid. You might realize it because the factor Chewbacca roared at on the Demise Star. You might have guessed that it was used to wash the Demise Star’s glowing flooring, however did you additionally realize it was a vital intelligence employee, utilized by the Empire in surveillance and message delivery? You are welcome, nerds. 

Regardless of the MSE-6’s adorability — as within the above Robotic Hen sketch, which imagines it piloted by an precise mouse — such a droid would get previous quick. If it skitters away in concern at a Wookiee’s growl, think about how it could react to a canine barking. Or how a lot pets and children would like to chase it down the hall. You are not going to get many DMs delivered by this Roomba if there may be something making sudden sounds in your house. 

6. Probe droids

Uh oh.

Certain, they’ll discover just about anybody you are in search of, wherever within the charted galaxy, even should you’re a insurgent base on a distant ice planet. However, why would you wish to try this, weirdo? Ditch the floating multi-eyed metallic arachnid and return to your crushes remotely on Instagram like a standard individual. 

5. Medical droids

The 2-1B will see you now.

The two-1B will see you now.

They’re medical marvels who can regrow you in a bacta tank after a Wampa assault, and dish out robotic arms to anybody with a nasty case of lightsaberitis. However how a lot care are droids like surgical specialist 2-1B, above, really offering, and the way a lot does it actually value? There nonetheless hasn’t been a full investigation into the case of the nurse droid who claimed Padmé Amidala died of a “damaged coronary heart” when she gave delivery to twins Luke and Leia. 

Some 20 years later, one other 2-1B had sufficient trigger to file the galaxy’s weirdest sexual harassment swimsuit, when its boss Leia made out along with her brother proper in entrance of the droid. You do not wish to know what different cursed moments these unhappy, empty eyes have witnessed.  

4. Murderer droids

We might lengthy suspected the IG murderer droids had been cool, based mostly on the inanimate but lanky bounty hunter we noticed for a sizzling minute in Empire Strikes Again: IG-88. It took The Mandalorian‘s IG-11 (Taika Waititi) to point out us simply how cool they’re in motion. 

OK, so IG-11 could have been a bit murder-happy, and needed to be blasted earlier than he shot Child Yoda. Nevertheless it turned out he might be reprogrammed as a nurse droid, and his final sacrifice in defending the Little one was commemorated in statue kind. In order that works out about even.   

If you happen to’re contemplating reprogramming an IG unit, pay no consideration to the concussion grenade launchers and flamethrowers that made this collection of droid unlawful in all however the lawless outer rim of the galaxy. You are not going to cease a teensy factor like legality or potential homicide sprees get in the best way of your eternally friendship, are you?     

3. Safety droids

Ok-2SO. The droid. The parable. The legend. A reprogrammed Imperial safety droid whose contribution to the insurrection has gone cruelly unrecognized, Ok-2 (Alan Tudyk) was not solely essential in stealing the Demise Star plans, he is additionally a hilarious deadpan humorist who stole each Rogue One scene he was in. Ok-2 could nicely do the identical within the 2022 Disney+ series Andor, which covers the sassy droid’s earlier adventures along with his eternally pal Cassian Andor (Diego Luna). 

The one purpose he would not rank increased on this listing is that we have solely actually seen this one KX safety droid in motion (nicely, not counting the lookalike that Ok-2 killed on Scariff). This is hoping Andor provides us extra. 

2. Self-made droids

The presence of L3-37 (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) in Solo was lengthy overdue, even because it opened up many cans of worms. 

L3 was the primary droid that we all know of to determine as feminine. (Why have not we seen extra?) She was a staunch droids rights activist who refuted the notion of human possession. (So what does that say about our heroes who “owned” droids?) She and Lando Calrissian had a sexual relationship that “works.” (Uh, how precisely?) And although her physique was destroyed, her neural core lives on within the Millennium Falcon. (However is being a ghost in that machine a horrible dwelling dying straight out of a Black Mirror episode?) 

At the least there’s one facet of L3 that does not increase uncomfortable questions: She’s a self-made droid, actually. Beginning out as a squat little Astromech, she scavenged two legs so she may stand tall and proud. She saved modifying herself, largely with protocol droid elements — and hey, apparently these issues are simply sitting round junkyards anyway. 

Talking of modifying protocol droids, keep in mind 4-LOM? He was loads like L3, escaping his programming and rebuilding himself. He selected a terrifying insectoid droid head and went on to change into a bounty hunter in Empire Strikes Again. If Disney+ is in search of extra materials after its newest slate of Star Wars exhibits, the saga of an unbiased mixed-part droid like 4-LOM making an attempt to make his method within the galaxy might be Mandalorian-level fascinating.  

1. Astromechs

Behind the scenes on the primary Star Wars, R2-D2 was the very definition of a crap robotic. His wobbly remote-controlled voyages ended with him crashing into partitions on nearly each take. Solely intelligent enhancing from Marcia Lucas’ staff made it appear to be Artoo knew the place he was going; you possibly can nonetheless see his disastrous trajectories should you look intently sufficient. 

It did not matter. The little blue garbage can, when mixed with Ben Burtt’s electronically-filtered child discuss and Kenny Baker’s jiggly puppet work, had already received our hearts. Within the films and books that adopted, Artoo turned the prototype for a complete class of sassy little employee bees, probably the most cute, steadfast and surprisingly efficient droids ever made: Astromechs. 

Why will we love an Astromech like Artoo, or BB-8, his ball droid cousin, or R5-D4 along with his dangerous motivator, or Chopper, the feisty wooden-domed star of the Rebels cartoon? Weirdly, one thing about their single eyes and squat our bodies arouse our parental intuition, as if we advanced to look after child cyclopses. Thus primed, we delight of their antics and their number of uncommon appendages. But additionally we beam with parental delight, as a result of Astromechs get shit carried out, folks.   

Take a look at Artoo. In simply a few days, the man can carry high secret plans for a princess, discover an escape pod, trundle throughout half of Tatooine in search of Ben Kenobi earlier than and after being captured and bought, persuade a child to take away a restraining bolt, annoy a Wookiee enjoying holographic chess, discover the princess, be sure that the Demise Star would not kill his buddies — then for an encore, co-pilot the X-Wing that blows the entire rattling factor up, whereas getting shot to hell. That is all whereas being always interrupted by a clingy protocol droid and getting blanked by old pal Kenobi. Cool as ice.  

Belief me, nobody however the dumbest droids wish to mess with an Astromech. There is a purpose why these guys slot in someplace in each essential piece of army {hardware}. With out the talent and smarts of those important employees, no person may even begin a star conflict. 

No marvel one of many oldest subcultures in Star Wars fandom is a global club where members build their own full-sized remote-control Astromechs. No marvel the unimaginable new rolling Astromech BB-8 was the one component of the divisive sequel trilogy that every one followers appeared to like. And no marvel George Lucas himself is the world’s greatest Astromech fan — even going as far as to inform his crew that all the narrative of Star Wars is being drawn from Artoo’s memoirs 100 years later. 

Finally, Star Wars is a droid’s story — and there isn’t any doubt which form of droid is telling it.  





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