Star Wars Special: C-3PO 1 is a one-shot Marvel comic book that was published on April 13, 2016. The comic was originally to be published as part of the Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens publishing program in December 2015, but was delayed multiple times. Despite this, certain variant covers of the comic still display the Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens banner. The comic, written by James Robinson with art by Tony Harris, tells the story of how C-3PO received a red-colored arm, as seen in the film Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens. The comic was later collected in the hardcover compilation of the miniseries Star Wars: Shattered Empire on September 13, 2016.
- Follow everyone's favorite protocol droid as he Journeys to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, in this special one-shot leading up to his appearance in the film! Just how did Threepio get a red arm, anyway? Find out here as the blockbuster creative team of James Robinson and Tony Harris of DC's Starman reunite for the first time in nearly two decades!
- You may be fluent in over six million forms of communication…but this book is a must have in any language!
The comic opens with a starship crashing on the planet Taul. Emerging from the burning wreckage, C-3PO tells the other five droid passengers to keep moving and asks if anyone has seen Captain Hoff and his crew. He laments that the ship's reserve tanks did not eject on re-entry and fears they will blow up. As the droids file out, the ship explodes leading C-3PO to remark that he was not exaggerating when he said they were in "quite a predicament."
C-3PO thinks they should head west, but VL-44 beeps in protest. C-3PO says that no one made him the leader and that he was only stating an opinion. With Captain Hoff dead, C-3PO says it is up to them droids. VL-44 beeps, but C-3PO scolds him for his rudeness and says that he has more field experience than his rudimentary circuits can even imagine. VL-44 beeps back and C-3PO replies that he is not suggesting that he knows more than him. C-3PO quips that he is not always boasting about being the Resistance's droid communication chief.
C-3PO reassures the surrounding droids that based on their past exploits any one of them is capable of leadership. The first droid is PZ-99, a military-grade class four sentry droid, who had seen action during the Battle of Jakku. PZ-99 beeps in response. CO-34 introduces himself as a class five construction droid. C-3PO remarks that CO-34 may have limited vocabulary, but complements him for being able to build under duress.
The third droid is 2MED2, a class one medical droid. 2MED2 remarks that he has been around talkative droids and humans like C-3PO who are all talk until the fighting and dying starts. C-3PO responds that he has seen his fair share of fighting and dying and says that it is not a droid's lot to grieve.
The fourth droid VL-44 interjects, leading C-3PO to respond that he may not be a security droid, but that his input and experience will be invaluable in a situation like this. The fifth droid O-MR1 ("Omri") asks C-3PO where he fits in. C-3PO says that it is ill advised to include Omri in the team due to his status as a First Order prisoner.
However, C-3PO admits that the transporter's faulty guidance parallels delivered them into a highly unfortunate strait. He tells Omri that they have only a short amount of time before Admiral Ackbar is interrogated and summarily executed by the First Order. He stresses that it is vital to get Omri to the Resistance base with the location of where Ackbar is being held. Omri admits he has not heard of Ackbar, the famous Rebellion hero. C-3PO says that they must work as a team if the want to leave this dreadful planet and urges them to put side their difference. Omri says he agrees for now.
Programs and memories
Traveling through Taul's rocky landscape, C-3PO reports that his sensors are detecting a homing beacon 87 kilometers from here. He thinks that it is originating from a First Order vessel that crashed several cycles ago. C-3PO says that they have a long trek ahead. PZ-99 says he finds it interesting. Omri remarks that their human programming makes them so much like human even though they are not actual living beings.
He adds that their programming forces them to serve different sides. Omri says they assume that he has the data because he serves the First Order and that their masters want to discover what he knows. Omri reasons that is why they will not blast him to pieces. PZ-99 beeps while 2MED2 says they will find other ways to incapacitate him at least. Omri counters that anyone of tem could have been serving the other side at one point, but forgotten about it due to their wiped memories.
When Omri remarks that 2MED2 could have been saving the lives of his so-called enemies in the past, the medical droid counters that saving life is his primary function and that he doesn't take sides. He adds that he was only on the transporter as ballast. PZ-99 beeps and C-3PO says that he doesn't know if he should be relieved or troubled that PZ-99 feels the same way about life. He opines that 2MED2's remarks that one side or the other doesn't matter seems cold-blooded.
When PZ-99 beeps back angrily, C-3PO replies he was speaking figuratively and tells him that he is ill-mannered even for a security droid. 2MED2 counters that they are going to need PZ-99's talents regardless of whether he is ill-mannered or not.
A perilous journey
Suddenly, the ground begins rumbling as several spice spiders emerge from holes and surround the droids. PZ-99 fights off the droids with blaster fire while Omri hides behind him and VL-44. 2MED2 screams that one of the spiders has grabbed him. CO-34 kills one of the spice spiders. C-3PO tells them to climb the rocks while PZ-99 stays behind to draw them away and is overwhelmed by the pack.
2MED2 asks why PZ-99 stayed behind. C-3PO explains that security droids like PZ-99 are programmed to fight, but also have a secondary directive to protect non-combatants around them. C-3PO surmises that PZ-99 sacrificed himself for them. Omri counters that PZ-99 was programmed to do that and says they should proceed with the journey. When C-3PO asks if he has nothing else to say about PZ-99's sacrifice, Omri replies that they are enemies since their programming has put them on opposite sides. He adds that PZ-99 loss is his gain.
Continuing their journey, C-3PO chats with Omri, noticing that he is bothered by the fact that their memories are in the hands of their makers. Omri says that protocol droids like him and C-3PO are cursed that their tasks require an extra degree of sentience. He opines that added awareness causes them to question. Omri ponders on the significance of past events and his role in them.
Omri observes that C-3PO seems to blindly and eagerly follow orders and assumes he recalls nothing. C-3PO confides that he does experience momentary flashes of places and events that he cannot comprehend including the First Battle of Geonosis, Naboo, Coruscant during the Great Jedi Purge, and the volcanoes of Mustafar. C-3PO says he has memories, but that he has accepted that it is a droid's lot in life to be in service to others.
A hostile planet
2MED2 tells C-3PO and Omri that it is enough chatting and that they have to keep walking to avoid being caught in an acid rain storm. 2MED2 tells the group that they have stumbled upon a chasm covered by some kind of oil or tar. Omri remarks that if they fall in they won't surface. C-3PO remarks that it seems to be a problem with no solution. CO-34 forms a bridge over the chasm using his metallic body.
As the droids cross the improvised bridge, 2MED2 notices that there were birds and fauna chirping a moment ago, but that they have gone silent. At that point, they are attacked by a giant tentacled monster known as a thidaxx, which surfaces from the chasm. 2MED2 is grabbed by the creature and disappears into the chasm. VL-44 fights them off.
A tentacle grabs C-3PO's left arm and rips it off. C-3PO, Omri, and VL-44 escape, but CO-34 is dragged into the chasm by the thidaxx. C-3PO says that CO-34 has suffered too much damage to put himself back together. Omri admits hating this planet, a sentiment shared by C-3PO who remarks that it is a dreadful planet since the six of them have been reduced to just three. Shortly later, the droids are attacked by several can-cell insects which carry VL-44 away. C-3PO is dismayed, but Omri tells them to move quickly or they will be next.
An unlikely friendship
C-3PO cannot believe they survived, but the other droids are gone. Omri remarks that they are far older models than the other droids and that it could have been the first time around for each of them, but not us. When C-3PO expresses discomfort that Omri is making him feel terribly outdated, Omri points out that he is.
C-3PO quips about checking his own face for rust marks. When Omri asks if that was his attempt at humor, C-3PO gives the affirmative. Omri tells C-3PO that he likes him and wishes they were on the same side. C-3PO, recalling Omri's earlier words, replies perhaps we were.
As they travel through the dunes, C-3PO senses that the beacon is nearby. When Omri expresses concern about C-3PO's missing left arm, C-3PO says that it is not the first time he has lost a limb. Omri remarks that there is a saying that a being who loses a limb sometimes feel as if the limb were still attached to the body and can be moved. He describes this phenomenon as a phantom limb. He likens memory wipes to having a phantom limb inside his memory banks. Hearing that, C-3PO experiences flashbacks of Naboo and Tatooine.
No Greater Love
As they approach a wrecked TIE/fo space superiority fighter, Omri observes that C-3PO is very quiet for once. C-3PO senses that it is beginning to rain, but Omri points out that it is acid rain. C-3PO replies that they are doomed if they don't get to shelter. The two shelter under a TIE wing. Omri points out that they are not safe because the rain will eventually melt the wing, destroying their shelter and then them, too.
Omri spots the beacon in the TIE's control panel. He fears that it will be exposed to the acid downpour and destroyed, along with their hope of rescue. When C-3PO asks Omri what they should do, Omri replies that C-3PO has a mission and that there is noting in his directive telling him to prevent C-3PO from completing it.
Omri transfers the location of where the First Order is holding Admiral Ackbar to C-3PO. A perplexed C-3PO asks Omri if he is changing sides, but the droid responds that he is merely choosing friendship. As the acid rain burns through Omri's chassis, his black paint burns off to reveal a red primer. Omri doesn't know when it was first applied. Despite C-3PO's pleas, he walks out into the acid rain.
Omri tells C-3PO he will change his frequency to summon the Resistance so that C-3PO will survive. As Omri transmits the frequency, his body is dissolved by the acid rain, leaving only his red left arm.
Honoring a friend
Later, Poe Dameron arrives in an Atmospheric Assault Lander with BB-8. He is relieved to see C-3PO functioning, having thought that the droid would not survive on Taul. C-3PO tells Poe he has retrieved the information about Ackbar, but at a terrible cost. He informs Poe that Captain Hoff and his crew are dead and that his fellow droids also perished along the way.
Poe reassures C-3PO that the Resistance will make sure their sacrifices were not in vain. He thanks C-3PO for obtaining Ackbar's location and notices that the droid will need a new arm. C-3PO tells Master Poe not to worry because he already has a new one, holding Omri's red left arm. C-3PO leaves Taul along with Poe and BB-8 aboard the Atmospheric Assault Lander.
While watching through the viewpoint, C-3PO tells BB-8 that Omri's arm may offend his "aesthetic sensibilities", but that he will keep it for a while to honor the memory of Omri and his fellow droids who perished on Taul.
C-3PO mentions the events of The Phantom Limb in "Poe to the Rescue," an episode of LEGO Star Wars: The Resistance Rises. He tells Poe Dameron "Oh it could fill a book, and very likely will." The episode also notably seems to act as an alternate sequel to the comic. The episode begins with Phasma interrogating Admiral Ackbar, whose capture by the First Order was an important plotline in the comic. The episode then cuts to Poe rescuing C3PO from the acid rain, similar to C3PO's rescue in the comic, albeit with certain differences.
Reportedly, The Phantom Limb is a reference to the 2015 video game Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, in which the protagonist, Venom Snake, has a red prosthetic left arm to replace the one he lost. During the promotional period of both The Phantom Pain and The Force Awakens, fans noted the similarity in the arms, and it subsequently became a minor meme featuring crossovers between the two series. The similarity also caught the attention of Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima, who shared several of the memes on Twitter. Kojima is also a real-life friend of J.J. Abrams, the director of The Force Awakens, who included at least one other reference to Kojima in the film in the form of the cry uttered by the nightwatcher worm.
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Notes and references
- Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: The Visual Dictionary states that Poe Dameron joined the Resistance three years before the Starkiller Incident, which Star Wars: Galactic Atlas dates to 34 ABY. Therefore, Dameron joined the Resistance in 31 ABY. As Dameron is a member of the Resistance during the events of Star Wars Special: C-3PO 1, it must take place during or after 31 ABY. Furthermore, the novel Force Collector features the arm of C-3PO, which means that Star Wars Special: C-3PO 1 must take place some time before Force Collector. – states that Force Collector takes place a few years prior to Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens, or 34 ABY, meaning that the latest Force Collector can take place is at least two years prior to 34 ABY, or 32 ABY. Therefore, Star Wars Special: C-3PO 1 takes place between 31 and 32 ABY.
- LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens