"Nobot," also known as "Ghost Droid," was a 3PO-series protocol droid that constantly walked the streets of Mos Espa, Tatooine. The droid appeared to have no aim or function as it wandered across the desert wasteland of Tatooine, and the only thing truly known about it was that it was a resilient unit—despite its travels, it would always find its way back to Mos Espa. The droid became the subject of several tales and anecdotes, most notably from the aging marketplace vendor Jira.
For two peggats, the old vendor would tell her story. Jira claimed that Nobot had been witness to the murder of a young pregnant girl, and that rumors persisted labeling the 3PO unit as the killer. Apparently, Nobot would play back an audio recording of the incident, featuring the young woman pleading for her life and screaming in horror as the deed was done. Beyond that, rumors persisted, claiming that the droid was surrounded by the dark side of the Force. Repeated attempts to destroy Nobot apparently failed, as the protocol droid would always find its way back to Mos Espa. Jira's fellow vendors, listening in on her repeated tellings of the story, would eventually develop their own versions while trying to compete with the aging woman.
The 3PO-series protocol droid known as "Nobot" or "Ghost Droid" was known to wander aimlessly around the city of Mos Espa on Tatooine. It would often venture out of the city, and traverse the trackless deserts of the barren world, and in spite of the looming threat of overheating or capture by the scavenging Jawas, Nobot would always find its way back to Mos Espa. The fact that the droid was marked with blaster scoring aroused suspicion, and eventually, the unit's nature and infamy generated a variety of tall tales, anecdotes, and rumors.
At a rate of two peggats per telling, Mos Espa marketplace vendor Jira would tell Nobot's tale—at least, her version of it. According to her, Nobot had been the only surviving witness to the murder of a young pregnant woman. Apparently, Nobot had initially been seen in Mos Espa decades ago, bearing marks from blaster fire and covered in dried blood. In addition to that, its serial number had been scored off, preventing identification of the unit. Its communications module was apparently known to play back a recording of the murder, with audio of the victim screaming and pleading for help being clearly distinguishable. A long period of static would follow the recording, before Nobot would repeat the whole thing.
In Jira's tale, rumors flitted about that identified the 3PO unit as the murderer. Other sordid stories surrounded the droid, with some claiming that it was surrounded by evil spirits and the dark side of the Force. Tusken Raider youths who attempted to use the unit for target practice would, for instance, find their weapons either backfiring or jamming. Swoop gangs would try and destroy Nobot with hooks and chains, only to have their vehicle's engine malfunction, or have their steering vanes shorn off. Farmboys attempted to take the droid out to barren locations on Tatooine, such as the Dune Sea or the Great Pit of Carkoon, but would later learn that the droid had, in spite of the odds, found its way back to Mos Espa safe and sound. Some who heard Jira's tale, such as fellow vendors, effectively stole the story and made their own modifications, adding fanciful anecdotes and other enhancements. Then, they would sell their version, placing themselves into direct competition with Jira. As of 32 BBY, the droid was still wandering around, devoid of purpose.
Personality and programming
Although the lack of knowledge in terms of just what Nobot's purpose and origins were was the cause of the rampant speculation surrounding him, there was one thing that was known: that he was persistent. The droid would frequently return and roam around Mos Espa, in spite of any adversity he had to face. The mysterious nature of Nobot, from the perspective of Mos Espa's citizens, created a wide range of beliefs, theories, and ultimately, profits in the form of Jira's (and others') tale-telling.
Behind the scenes
The character of Nobot first appeared as an unnamed background droid in George Lucas' Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace. It was later given a nickname and an ambiguous story by Shaun Flaherty (writing as "Jedi Flaherty") through StarWars.com's Hyperspace feature, "What's The Story?" Although most of the elements used in Flaherty's entries were derived from the Star Wars films, he did use the swoop gangs that originated in the 1996 multimedia project, Shadows of the Empire.
- Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace (First appearance)