- "I'm placing these droids in your care. Treat them well. Clean them up. Have the protocol droid's mind wiped."
- ―Bail Organa, to Captain Antilles
A memory wipe was a method that was used to selectively or completely erase the memory of a droid. After Cad Bane had kidnapped and ransacked the memory of C-3PO and R2-D2 for information on the Senate Building's layout, he only had the incident wiped from their memories to avoid having any suspicion falling on him.
Shortly after the Galactic Empire was formed, Bail Organa had C-3PO's memory wiped clean in order for the droid to not spill any confidential information. When he purchased C-3PO and R2-D2, Owen Lars also wanted the droids' memories wiped after he learned they were looking for Obi-Wan Kenobi. C-3PO's memories were wiped again on Kijimi when the droidsmith Babu Frik bypassed C-3PO's programming restrictions to allow the droid to translate the Sith writings on a dagger. C-3PO's photoreceptors turned red while he translated the Sith writings on the dagger. After completing the translation C-3PO rebooted, and his memory was wiped in the process, leaving him to restart with his basic factory programming.
Memory wipes were an important process, and the lack of one could allow droids to develop new ideas. This happened with the mining droid STALKER-1, who turned into a hunter after years without a memory reset. Memory wipes were far from perfect, however, and both C-3PO and the First Order droid O-MR1 both experienced flashes of erased memories. A macro protocol could be used to wipe the memories of multiple droids simultaneously.
Droid memories could be backed up externally and then restored to a droid following a memory wipe. After C-3PO's second memory wipe, it turned out that R2-D2 had backed up C-3PO's memories to the point where Rey had undertaken her first mission for the Resistance. R2-D2 was able to restore his counterpart's memories from that backup.
During the Clone Wars it was standard protocol of the Galactic Republic for astromech droids to receive a memory wipe following every mission, in order to prevent classified information from falling into Separatist hands. Anakin Skywalker ignored this procedure in regards to R2-D2, to the chagrin of both the Jedi Council and the Republic Military leadership.
The Galactic Empire did not grant its droids any independence and sought to keep them subservient and docile. Part of this process was frequent memory wipes in order to keep them from getting independent notions. The First Order, a successor group to the Empire, felt the same way and followed the same basic practice.
Just as with droids, it was possible for computers, such as those controlling starships, to develop personality quirks if they did not undergo memory wipes. After having to deal the quirks of the on-board computer of Poe Dameron's T-70 X-wing starfighter, Black One, the BB-series astromech droid BB-8 felt that it needed a memory wipe.
- (Indirect mention only)
- Star Wars Rebels: Head to Head
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens: The Visual Dictionary
- Star Wars Propaganda: A History of Persuasive Art in the Galaxy
- Star Wars Helmet Collection 8 (Databank A-Z: Bric–C-3PO)
- Star Wars Helmet Collection 9 (Weapons & Uniforms: Imperial Droids)
- Star Wars: Build Your Own R2-D2 2 (Droid Directory: 3PO-series Protocol Droids, Part 1)
- Star Wars: Build Your Own R2-D2 3 (Droid Directory: R2-series Astromech Droids, Part 2)
- Star Wars: Build Your Own R2-D2 4 (Droid Directory: 3PO-series Protocol Droids, Part 2)
- Star Wars: Build Your Own R2-D2 6 (Droid Directory: EGL Power Droids)
- Star Wars Helmet Collection 46 (Databank A-Z: Providence-class–Raxus)
- Solo: A Star Wars Story: Tales from Vandor
- The Star Wars Book
Notes and references
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Evil Plans"
- Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
- Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope
- Star Wars: Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker
- Star Wars: Uprising
- Star Wars Special: C-3PO 1
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Mystery of a Thousand Moons"
- Thrawn: Alliances
- Star Wars: The Last Jedi: Expanded Edition
- Star Wars Resistance – "The New Trooper"