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U-3PO was a 3PO-series protocol droid who served the Alderaanian Diplomatic Corps. After Imperial agents altered his programming, the droid became an unwitting spy in the royal court of the planet Alderaan, and was assigned to the CR90 corvette Tantive IV in 0 BBY. After the corvette fled from the Battle of Scarif carrying the plans to the Death Star superweapon, the Empire used U-3PO to track the vessel to the Tatoo system.

The Imperial I-class Star Destroyer Devastator then attacked the Tantive IV, and the Star Destroyer fired upon the corvette, U-3PO followed the droids C-3PO and R2-D2 through the Tantive IV's main corridor before splitting off from them down a separate corridor. After the Empire captured the Tantive IV they discovered that U-3PO could provide no further useful information and that the Death Star plans were no longer aboard.


Sleeper agent[]


U-3PO was assigned to the Tantive IV after being reprogrammed by Imperial agents.

U-3PO was a 3PO-series protocol droid[4] that was manufactured by Cybot Galactica[1] and served in the Diplomatic Corps of the planet Alderaan. Agents of the Galactic Empire at some stage altered the droid's programming and turned him into an unwitting Imperial spy within Alderaan's royal court. Luckily for the Empire, U-3PO was assigned to the CR90 corvette Tantive IV just before the vessel was assigned a mission[4] in 0 BBY[5] to travel to the planet Tatooine and recruit the Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi to the Alliance to Restore the Republic.[6]

However, before the vessel was ready to depart for the mission from the rebel headquarters on the moon Yavin 4, the Alliance Fleet was scrambled to the Scarif system in order to support Alliance forces attempting to steal the plans to the Death Star superweapon. While under repairs, the Tantive IV was carried to the Scarif system on board the MC75 Star Cruiser Profundity,[7] which led the attack on the planet Scarif's Imperial forces. The plans were transmitted from the planet's surface to the Profundity mid-battle, but before it could retreat, the cruiser was disabled by the Imperial I-class Star Destroyer[6] Devastator.[8] As Imperial forces led by the Sith Lord Darth Vader boarded the Profundity, the plans were transferred onto the Tantive IV which then launched from the cruiser and fled from the Scarif system.[6]

Capture of the Tantive IV[]


U-3PO walked with C-3PO and R2-D2 as the Tantive IV was attacked.

The Tantive IV traveled to the Tatoo system, the target of its original mission; however, U-3PO's altered programming caused him to send a signal that,[4] alongside a faulty hyperdrive subsystem on the corvette,[9] allowed the Devastator to track the fleeing rebel ship and follow them with the aim of reclaiming the stolen plans. As the Tantive IV tried to get as close to Tatooine as possible, the Star Destroyer opened fire on it. During the attack, Organa summoned the astromech droid R2-D2 to her, and U-3PO and the protocol droid C-3PO followed the astromech down the main corridor of the ship[4] as the corvette shuddered from the Devastator's strikes.[3]

Both protocol droids struggled to keep their footing as the corridor shook,[10] and U-3PO walked down a side corridor[3] while the other droids carried on and left him to his duties. The Empire successfully captured the vessel and Organa, but discovered that U-3PO had no useful information to deliver and that the plans were no longer on board, as Organa had given them to R2-D2 before the astromech escaped from the Empire in an escape pod.[4]


U-3PO had silver plating and yellow sensors.[3]

Behind the scenes[]

"Answer the question: are you a Sith Lord, yes or no?"
―U-3PO questions Darth Sidious in the non-canon LEGO Star Wars: Choose Your Path[11]

U-3PO first appeared in the 1977 original trilogy film, Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope.[3] The character's scene was shot on Stage 9 at Elstree Studios[12] on July 13, 1976.[13] It was one of the final scenes shot for the film despite being one of the first shown.[12] Along with R2-D2 and C-3PO, U-3PO is one of the first characters shown on screen in any Star Wars film.[3] In the new Star Wars canon, he was first identified in the non-canon 2017 reference book Ultimate LEGO Star Wars.[2] The name was then used in the canonical "The Rise of the Rebellion and the Battle of Yavin," a book published as part of the Star Wars Encyclopedia series by De Agostini[4] on March 9, 2021.[14] The name originated in the Star Wars Legends continuity, where it was first used on a card in the 1995 A New Hope Limited set of the Star Wars Customizable Card Game.[15]


U-3PO appeared in LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga.

The non-canon 2018 choose-your-own-adventure book LEGO Star Wars: Choose Your Path by Simon Hugo included a mini-figure of U-3PO and had him act as a guide for the reader through the story, although it provides a warning that not all of his advice is helpful.[11] In the 2022 non-canon video game LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, U-3PO is shown walking beside a green astromech droid through the corridors of the Tantive IV before the pair are crushed by falling debris. C-3PO and R2-D2 then emerge from a side door and take the pair's place in walking down the corridor.[16]


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Non-canon appearances[]


Non-canon sources[]

Notes and references[]

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