Through six star wars movies there have been a few consistencies, Lightsabers, Jedi, Star ships and Droids. Often ignored by their human counter parts, the droids have been the supporting cast saving the day as often as our “Heroes”. Yet the two most famous droids in the Galaxy seem conspicuously absent from many of the rumors and advertising with the new kid on the block BB-8 all over the place (with exceptions…recall that R2 was the first character to be confirmed for TFA in the image below). What does this tell about the movie and what has happened to C3PO and R2-D2?
Only four characters made it through the first six movies and three of them went through serious changes: Obi-wan became a force ghost, Anakin became Vader to become Anakin again (force ghost) and C3PO had his memory wiped. This means only R2-D2 has been through it all and remains unchanged. For most of the major story arcs through all six previous films either R2-D2 and/or C3PO was present and for the few they weren’t present it is certain they were around when the main characters discussed what happened and they no doubt discussed what they saw and heard between themselves. For this reasons it has seemed that we are being told these stories by R2-D2 and C3PO (translating R2 for the prequels) and before the introduction of BB-8 I assumed they’d be telling the sequels too. However our droid duo has become a trio or possibly even a quatro.
It appears that for the first half of this movie BB-8 is our “story teller” as he is around most of the action. He is Poe’s droid that escapes when Poe can’t and is found by Rey. From there the two hook up with Finn and then Han, Maz etc. Throughout every rumor of the first half of the movie BB-8 is there or will no doubt over hear what happened (Finn and Poe’s escape).
With that, we have a parallel to ANH. In ANH we had Leia entrust the Death Star plans with R2, and in TFA we’ll likely see Poe entrust BB-8 with the lightsaber, assuming he’s found it at this point, and the story will follow BB-8 for a bit like it did the droids.
R2 and C3PO are with Leia at the Resistance base as is another new droid character PZ-4CO(the possible fourth), who we were introduced to in Moving Target. In fact, StarWars.com updated its databanks with an entry for “peazy-fourseeo”. Based on the rumors it appears that after Luke’s Jedi academy is attacked and destroyed, R2, who was with Luke, is sent to Leia. C3PO was already with her in a role much like his in ESB and PZ-4CO is acting as Leia personal droid.
From the plot synopsis posted at MakingStarWars.net, we know that one critical role the droids will play is decoding some kind of puzzle hidden in Luke’s lightsaber. Perhaps, Luke put it there so that they would find him eventually when the events before the film were set in motion. R2 has shown himself to be a natural code-breaker, plugging into computer terminal and interpreting the Imperial network in the earlier films. It’s possible that the old duo of R2 and C3P0 aren’t in the film a lot, but nevertheless play this critical role in moving the plot forward. Indeed, it could be the scene from the above canister where this happens.
One big question that may mean absolutely nothing is C3P0’s red arm. Could be nothing could be something. Probably nothing and probably won’t even be mentioned in the films….still. Some people around the web have pointed out that the red accent is on his left side, just like the red accents seen on the TIE fighers:
So if we were to go out on a limb and get crazy-speculative here you might wonder is this red accent a First Order thing? Makes you wonder if before the events of the film, C3P0 was trying to infiltrate the First Order at some point and had to change out his arm to fit in with the other First Order droids who are also adorned with this red accent. Part of why this is pure speculation is to my knowledge we haven’t seen any First Order droids yet. Interesting hypothesis nonetheless. We will get an answer soon though as there is a one shot C3PO comic on the way in December that tells us why he has his red arm.