C-3PO Answers Your Questions

In anticipation of the 3D re-release of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, we’ve arranged for C-3PO to answer readers’ questions. Let’s dive right in, like Boba Fett at the Great Pit of Carkoon!

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In Episode I, you’re... well, naked, as R2-D2 observes. Your circuitry and servomotor mechanisms are all visible. How do you feel about the fact that now you’re going to be not just exposed but exposed in three dimensions? - Kate D.

Threepio responds: We droids have a keenly insightful maxim apposite to this very scenario. Unfortunately, I can translate that maxim into every one of the six million forms of communication in which I am fluent, with the sole exception of English. So let me just say instead that even though I don’t relish the thought of moviegoers ogling my innards on the big screen (again... and, if I know Master Lucas, not for the last time, either), at least I will not be the principal object of derision. It would be unkind of me to name names, of course, but we all know whosa mesa talkin’ about.

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You often exclaim, “Thank the Maker!” You were made by Anakin Skywalker, who became Darth Vader. Do you secretly support the Empire? - Nicholas S.

Threepio: I beg your pardon? Anakin Skywalker... my Anakin Skywalker... little Ani Skywalker of Tatooine... became Darth Vader? Why, that makes no sense at all! When Master Luke, Artoo, and I first met Obi-Wan Kenobi, General Kenobi told Master Luke, and I quote, “[A] young Jedi named Darth Vader, who was a pupil of mine until he turned to evil, helped the Empire hunt down and destroy the Jedi Knights. He betrayed and murdered your father.” So, you see, Anakin Skywalker did not become Darth Vader! I say, what an absurd notion! Whatever would make you imagine such a thing? I shall have to remember to mention the idea to Artoo. I have no doubt that he will find it just as amusing—and outlandish—as I do.

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Do you have an iPhone 4S? What do you think of Siri? - Stu R.
(Ed. note: We received numerous inquiries regarding Siri.)

Threepio: You might not be surprised at all to learn that Siri is my sister. “Siri” is actually a phonetic nickname for C-1RI. My sister’s body was unfortunately destroyed in an unlikely accident involving a binary load lifter with a faulty photoreceptor who mistook her for a spent proton torpedo casing... but she had previously pledged to donate any salvageable organs in case of such a circumstance, so her intelligence was acquired by Apple and then programmed into the latest generation of so-called smart phone. While I do not own an iPhone myself, being that I remain loyal to my SoroSuub C1 comlink, I am pleased to know that my sister is bringing such joy to so many.

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In a recent New York Times editorial, Larry Summers, former President of Harvard University, downplayed the importance of learning languages other than English. His belief is grounded in the supposed prevalence of English speakers around the globe—and possibly the universe, for that matter. As a protocol droid, what are your thoughts on the issue? Should humans strive to learn a foreign language (or six million)? And could you comment on the possibility that Mr. Summers’s opinion was bought by the Galactic Empire, which historically has sought to exterminate non-human cultures. - John B.

Threepio: Although I completed three semesters of study at the Mandalorian Institute of Technology—often referred to as the “Harvard of the Outer Rim”—I am not familiar with Mr. Summers, his opinions, or his obvious Imperial sympathies. It does seem that if he has his way, protocol droids will be out of work. Mr. Summers appears to have held a number of unpopular opinions over the years, however. I performed some rudimentary research on the HoloNet and discovered that Mr. Summers reportedly claimed that Cornel West’s rap album was an embarrassment to Harvard University. I would respectfully counter that Mr. Summers’s uninformed criticism was the true embarrassment to the institution, as Dr. West’s album was righteous indeed.

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Notwithstanding your claim to Luke Skywalker that you’re “not much of a storyteller,” you did an excellent job entertaining the Ewoks on Endor. What contemporary film or book would you enjoy using as source material for more campfire tales? - Scott G.

Threepio: You are too kind. And I would like to take this opportunity to reconcile those two seemingly contradictory moments in the chronicle of my adventures. I did tell Master Luke that I am not much of a storyteller... and then, four years later, I did demonstrate a obvious facility at telling stories—and making them interesting. Even Captain Solo was moved! Many people have asked me whether I had, in the interim, had my programming upgraded... or whether I had simply lied to Master Luke. The answer is that I lied to Master Luke. It’s funny now, though, in retrospect, since it seems like everyone was lying to Master Luke about something back then! Now, which book or movie might I enjoy retelling to the Ewoks? I think those adorable little forest-moon-dwelling bear-like hunter-gatherers might get a kick out of that one heartwarming tale about the resourceful young man who singlehandedly, and against all odds, foils a robbery attempt on Christmas Eve with little help from the local authorities, outwitting and ultimately defeating the professional criminals and reuniting with his loving family at the end. The family name was McC... something, if I recall correctly.

Ed.: Home Alone?

Threepio: Die Hard.

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Two quick questions: How long ago, and how far, far away, exactly? - Ronnie R.

Threepio: Quite a long time ago, to be sure, and rather far, far away, indeed.

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My fiancée and I are planning a meet-the-parents weekend, but my parents refuse to stay in her parents’ guest room. They’re renting a hotel room. Is that rude, or am I crazy? - Dave M.

Threepio: You are not crazy, Dave, and neither are your parents. I presume, based on the fact that they do not wish to be lodged in the guest quarters of another family’s home, that your parents are royalty. And although you provided only an abbreviated first name and a last initial, I suspect that you are Prince Davrog, whose parents are King Thel and Queen R’chel, of the planet Mor II. Therefore, while the offer of your fiancée’s parents (whom I presume to be commoners from another star system) was appropriate, it is also appropriate for your parents to decline the invitation and to arrange for accommodations—at their own expense—more in keeping with the lifestyle to which they have become accustomed, as despotic rulers of a world with a population in the billions, all of whom worship your parents as living gods. I trust that your parents employ several protocol droids who will be instrumental in making the necessary preparations. And please accept my most heartfelt congratulations on your upcoming nuptials, Your Highness.

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Han Solo made no pretense of liking droids, and he evidently found you particularly annoying. How did you really feel about his being encased in carbonite? - Randy R.

Threepio: I once called Captain Solo an “impossible man.” Without question, he was often quite rude to me. When I realized, on Cloud City, that he had been encased in carbonite and I remarked, “He should be quite well protected... if he survived the freezing process, that is,” I confess that some part of me wondered, for just a moment, if the galaxy wouldn’t be better off if Captain Solo had not survived the freezing process. That moment passed quickly, however. General Calrissian confirmed that Captain Solo was in perfect hibernation, so I could only hope that while he was in suspended animation, Captain Solo might reflect on our relationship and resolve to be nicer to me, should he ever be thawed. As it happened, of course, Master Luke employed Artoo and me in a ruse to gain access to Captain Solo in the palace of Jabba the Hutt on Tatooine—without our knowledge or permission, mind you, and at great risk to our persons—but even after that Captain Solo was still quite rude to me. Impossible man.

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I’m not really interested in your opinion, Threepio. - H. Solo.

Threepio: E chu ta, Captain Solo.

Matthew David Brozik wrote this and many other short humor pieces, which have been published in print and online by The New Yorker, Adult Swim, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Grin & Tonic, The Big Jewel, and no one.

Read more humor here. Or read some fiction here.