Top 10: Droids

Welcome to Top 10. In this series, I will pick a subject in Star Wars and pick my top 10 rankings within that category. I initially began this ahead of Solo: A Star Wars Story by ranking the first 10 Star Wars films and enjoyed doing it so much, I thought it would be fun to make into a more regular series. Today I will be going through my Top 10 Droids.

Now I wanted to make some clarifications on how I will be choosing my Top 10. I have tried to rank my personal top 10 with a heavy weighting on who my favourites are but also accounting for their impact on the stories they have and their impact on the canon.

Before I start this list I will make a point in saying that I am doing this ranking on the characters that I know and what I have seen them in. I have not yet made any real inroads into the comics, so I have been unable to include BT-1 or 0-0-0 as I have not yet come across them in my journey through Star Wars canon. From what I have heard though, I’m pretty certain they would both find a place on this list.

 

Honourable mention: Now I don’t usually do honourable mentions, but I felt that in this circumstance it was appropriate. The real-world story surrounding R2-KT is beautiful and sad as the droid was created by the R2-D2 Builder’s Club to watch over young Katie Johnson (daughter of 501st Legion founder Albin Johnson) in her final days while she suffered with terminal brain cancer. The droid (and Katie’s memory) have since become immortalised in the canon as R2-KT was featured in The Clone Wars movie and a couple of episodes of The Clone Wars TV show serving alongside the 501st during the Clone Wars, while she also appeared in The Force Awakens serving the Resistance.

10: AP-5 – Formerly a navigator and military analyst for the Republic during the Clone Wars, AP-5 was downgraded following the rise of the Empire and reassigned to inventory duty aboard a cargo transport, where he was mistreated by the crew. It was in this role that he came into contact with Chopper, who had become separated from the Spectres and was hiding from stormtroopers. The 2 droids bonded and AP-5 helped Chopper get back to the Ghost, warning the Rebels against jumping to their planned destination due to the presence of an Imperial fleet and instead diverting the cell to Atollon, where they set up a new base of operations. AP-5 continued to serve the Rebellion throughout their time on Atollon and escaped the Battle of Atollon on the Ghost, heading to Yavin 4 with the other survivors.

“Chopper helped me, and I have chosen to help Chopper.”

AP-5 makes this list for me mainly due to his sarcastic and grumpy personality. His knowledge of the Imperial system comes in handy but at the same time he never feels like some kind of all-knowing supercomputer that can beat the Empire. His chemistry with Chopper through the show is very reminiscent of R2-D2 and C-3PO, while it was funny to see this expanded upon by the 2 of them ganging up on Zeb. Probably the only things that see him not feature higher on the list are his lack of stories outside of Rebels season 3 (he is introduced late in season 2) and the musical scene at the end of “Double Agent Droid” which just felt odd.

9: L3-37 – Lando’s co-pilot on the Millennium Falcon, L3 was known for having one of the best navigational computers. Hired along with Lando by Beckett’s crew, they travelled to Kessel to steal coaxium. After starting a rebellion of the droids and slaves, L3 was destroyed in the crew’s escape from the mine. Her neural core was uploaded into the Falcon to act as the ship’s navigational system in order to escape the Maw as they went through the Kessel Run.

“Congratulations, you’re liberated.”

I’ll be honest and say that I was not a massive fan of L3 in Solo. While I didn’t mind the idea of a droid fighting for droids’ rights, I thought it was too heavy handed. I did however enjoy the way that this focus on droids’ rights inadvertently led to a rebellion that aided the crew’s escape. What gets L3 onto the list is her role as the navigation system for the Falcon, something that has been invaluable to the Rebellion and the Resistance in later years.

8: C-3PO – Rebuilt from scrap by a young Anakin Skywalker, Threepio was a protocol droid intended to help Shmi Skywalker. Threepio stayed with Shmi when Anakin left with the Qui-Gon Jinn and followed her into the employ of Cliegg Lars. When Anakin retuned to Tatooine to find Shmi dead, he took Threepio with him to Geonosis and the droid became the property of Padmé Amidala, serving her throughout the Clone Wars. Following Padmé’s death and Anakin’s fall to the dark side, Bail Organa gave him to Captain Raymus Antilles. Threepio served Organa and Antilles throughout the early days of the Rebellion and following the Devastator’s capture of the Tantive IV, he escaped to Tatooine with R2-D2, where he was captured by Jawas and once again found himself in the employ of the Lars household after Owen Lars bought him. After R2 went in search of Obi-Wan Kenobi, Threepio accompanied Luke in finding him, leading to his absence when stormtroopers destroyed the household. Threepio continued to follow his new master Luke Skywalker in their journey to Alderaan, which led to them aiding in the rescue of Princess Leia from the Death Star. Threepio continued to serve the Rebellion for the remainder of the Civil War and served Leia in her new role as a senator for the New Republic, which led to him running the Resistance’s spy droid network after they formed to combat the First Order.

“Don’t blame me. I’m an interpreter. I’m not supposed to know a power socket from a computer terminal.”

Like L3, I’m not a massive fan of Threepio as I find him annoying in his obnoxious attitude towards astromechs (most notably R2) who are smarter than him. He also appears far too oblivious compared to most droids and does not appear to know when to stop talking. Watching A New Hope with a large audience during Star Wars in Concert made me appreciate that he can be quite funny when interacting with other characters, however I find that a lot of the comedic moments fail to land as well with me personally, especially with his quips during the Battle of Geonosis. However, very few droids have been so influential on the overall story of Star Wars, so like L3 he makes it onto the lower rungs of this list, while his role as one half of the iconic droid duo puts him slightly higher than her.

7: R1-J5 – Owned by Jarek Yeager, Bucket served him during his days as a racer following his release from the New Republic navy. After Yeager gave up racing, Bucket stayed with him and began working as one of the mechanics for Team Fireball on the Colossus.

I appreciate Bucket is rating high on this list for a droid with such a limited place in the canon so far (especially compared to Threepio), but I’ve just really enjoyed him so far! His appearance (an astromech without the outer casing, wearing a pilot’s helmet) is unique and he his personality, caused by outmoded and defective programming, almost makes him feel like the team’s pet dog, who can also help with the mechanical duties. I’m looking forward to seeing how he progresses in Resistance.

6: Dio – An ID10 seeker droid, Dio was the unofficial 5th member of Inferno Squadron following their creation. Unnamed during its time serving the Empire, the droid was heavily modified by Agent Del Meeko, allowing it to assist with a range of roles during Inferno’s missions. Utilized mainly by Meeko and Iden Versio, the droid came with the pair after they defected from the Empire to the Rebellion, but was disabled by an ion pulse during a battle in Theed. Repaired by Meeko, the droid continued to work for the Rebellion’s own Inferno Squad, with a new personality that made it fond of new member Shriv Suurgav – much to his annoyance. The droid continued working with Inferno through to the end of the Civil War, after which it stayed with Iden and was given the name Dio. Following Meeko’s disappearance, Dio once again helped Iden as she went up against Jinata Security and then the First Order, passing to Zay Meeko following her mother’s death to continue aiding the Resistance.

Like Bucket, Dio has only got a small part in the overall canon but I have really enjoyed what it has done. Its range of skills makes it so useful in different circumstances and though it didn’t have as much dialogue as some of the other binary-speaking droids, it still felt like an extra character rather than a tool, while I loved the way it was treated by Inferno Squad, being called “Droid” during their time with the Empire but eventually seeing it as an extra member of the group and naming it. With Inferno last seen being sent to the Outer Rim Territories to find allies for the Resistance, I remain hopeful that we will see more of Dio in the coming years.

5: Mister Bones – A highly modified B1 battle droid constructed by Snap Wexley, Bones worked as Wexley’s personal bodyguard and best friend. Following the creation of Norra Wexley’s team to hunt down Imperial war criminals, Bones continued to be part of the team, but eventually met his end during the Battle of Jakku, being destroyed by two A-wings after saving Wexley from 3 sandtroopers and an AT-ST walker.

“HELLO. I AM ENJOYING THIS HUG, TOO. HUG HUG HUG. A HUG IS LIKE VIOLENCE MADE OF LOVE.”

I absolutely loved Mister Bones and he is one of my favourite characters in the Aftermath trilogy! The droid is an absolute psycho who will sing and hum while attacking his victims, but can then provide affection towards Wexley – in its own individual way – and is perceptive enough to read when his master is upset from his facial expressions and body language. I love as well how the Mister Bones personality made a return when Wexley uploaded his droid personality template into a commando droid to help Black Squadron escape the Ranc gang, causing he droid to identify itself as Mister Bones and slaughtering the gang while singing.

4: C1-10P – An astromech droid, Chopper served the Republic during the Clone Wars during the Ryloth campaign. His Y-wing was shot down and he was found damaged by Hera Syndulla, who he worked for moving forward. As Hera formed the Spectres, Chopper was charged with looking after the Ghost, though he would also often join the Spectres on missions when his talents could be utilised by the Rebellion, such as a number of times when Sabine Wren would paint him as an Imperial droid to go undercover. Chopper continued to serve the Rebellion in its early days after the Spectres joined Phoenix Squadron and also helped save the Iron Squadron and find AP-5 who become valued rebels. Chopper was involved in the war on Mandalore after Clan Wren moved against the Empire and also the Liberation of Lothal. As the Civil War heightened, Chopper was also present at the Battle of Endor and potentially also the battle of Scarif.

Mister Bones may be the psycho droid, but there is something wrong with Chopper too! Grumpy and sarcastic, he was a troublemaker and often played tricks on the other Spectres, especially Zeb and Ezra. A couple of moments that always stick in my mind is his maniac cackling (as much as possible when speaking in binary) as he planted detonators throughout the Syndulla residence, also when he booted Imperial courier droid 264 out of the Ghost after the Spectres suggested keeping him due to his helpfulness. He also had his much softer moments though and I loved watching him leading Kanan by the hand on Malachor after Maul blinded him, also the moment where he held Hera’s hand following Kanan’s death. A lot of the droids do show very human characteristics that makes you question if they are just robots or sentient beings (I’m starting to sound like L3!) and the moments where Chopper appears to still have issues with Y-wings following his crash, as he takes time to look at his crashed Y-wing that was left as a monument when they went to the Syndulla residence and also fought against being put in one of the Y-wings the Spectres were stealing from Reklam Station.

SW R2-D2
R2-D2 from the Star Wars Identities exhibit

3: R2-D2 – Originally stationed as one of several astromech droids on Queen Amidala’s Royal Starship, Artoo was the only one of the droids to survive as they escaped through the blockade around Naboo. Artoo helped Anakin Skywalker prepare his podracer for the Boonta Eve Classic and during the liberation of Naboo accompanied Anakin Skywalker in his N-1 starfighter as he inadvertently flew into the battle to destroy the Droid Control Ship. R2-D2 continued to serve Padmé Amidala after she became senator and accompanied her and Anakin Skywalker following the attempts on her life, leading to him playing a minor role in the Battle of Geonosis. Through the Clone Wars, Artoo accompanied Skywalker for many of his missions, often proving important to the completion of the mission. Following Anakin’s fall to the dark side and Padmé’s death, Bail Organa assigned Artoo to Captain Raymus Antilles, where he began serving the fledgling Rebellion. Princess Leia gave him the plans to the Death Star when the Tantive IV was captured by the Devastator and he escaped to Tatooine, resulting in him finding Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi. Along with Threepio, he aided in the rescuing of Princess Leia from the Death Star and then accompanied Skywalker during the Battle of Yavin. Artoo continued to serve with Luke throughout the Civil War, witnessing Luke’s training under Yoda and helping rescue the Rebels from Cloud City, while also playing a pivotal role in the rescuing of Han Solo from Jabba the Hutt. Artoo was part of Han Solo’s squad on the mission to Endor and continued to serve Luke and later the Resistance following the end of the Civil War. When Rey went to Ahch-To to find Luke, it was Artoo who played a big factor in convincing the Jedi master to train her, but he left with her to rejoin the Resistance as they escaped from the First Order.

If you’d asked me to pick my favourite droid before the Disney-era films, then I would have told you Artoo without any hesitation, so part of me is still shocked to see him drop as low as 3rd. For so long, he was the droid hero, saving the humans on a number of occasions, with a gadget for every situation and a quip to annoy Threepio. Adding in his rather impressive kill count and his longevity (his story has spanned 66 years so far despite having been shot in multiple battles) in the canon is rare for a droid. I really enjoy that Artoo is one of the only droids not to get his mind wiped as it helps to show how close he becomes to his owners, while this also works as a benefit to his owners and friends. Artoo is the standard that every astromech droid in canon will be compared to so rightfully deserves a place in the top 3.

SW BB-8
BB-8 from the Star Wars Identities exhibit

2: BB-8 – A distinctive orange and white BB unit, BB-8 served the New Republic operating with Poe Dameron in his role as flight leader of Rapier Squadron. BB followed Poe into the Resistance where they served together against the growing First Order, though BB-8 did leave Poe for a time to accompany Kazuda Xiono on a mission to the Colossus on the planet Castilon. BB-8 returned to Poe in time to meet Lor San Tekka on Jakku. The First Order arrived while they were there, so Poe gave BB-8 a memory drive containing a fragment of a map to find Luke Skywalker and sent him away while Poe stayed to help fight the stormtroopers. BB-8 found Rey and Finn, who attempted to get him to the Resistance, joining with Han Solo and Chewbacca on the way. The First Order caught up with them on Takodana and BB-8 escaped into the nearby forest, staying away from the stormtroopers long enough for Resistance forces to arrive and fight off the First Order. Joining back up with Poe, BB-8 took part in the Battle of Starkiller Base and also the Evacuation of D’Qar, before joining Finn and Rose on a mission to Canto Bight in order to help disable to First Order’s hyperspace tracking. The mission failed and the group were captured on the Supremacy, but BB-8 avoided capture and hijacked an AT-ST walker to attack the stormtroopers and help the pair escape. The trio escaped to Crait where they rejoined the remnants of the Resistance and escaped onto the Falcon.

BB-8 is effectively the new R2-D2 so really he should come below the original, however he does the job so well, I can’t help but love him despite the much smaller amount of history we currently have for him in the canon. I love the design of the BB-series droids and I think the extra movement of the dome head really helps in him conveying a range of emotions, which it appears to do much more than most droids. I also really like how they have shown BB-8 getting around the pitfalls of a round body, such as using grappling cords to hold it steady during the Falcon’s evasive flying. While Artoo clearly had a friendship with Anakin and Luke, BB-8 takes to another level with Poe, to the point that he feels like a combination between a best friend and a pet dog. And let’s just take a minute to appreciate BB-8 trying to mimic a mouse droid when infiltrating the Supremacy and using his welding torch to simulate a human thumbs up! I really can’t wait to get more BB-8 in Episode IX and have loved him having such a substantial role so far in Resistance.

1: K-2SO – An Imperial KX-series security droid, Kay-Tu was reprogrammed by Cassian Andor to serve the Rebellion. Kay-Tu was a key member of the team involved in discovering the Death Star, accompanying Extraction Team Bravo to help Jyn Erso escape the Wobani Labor Camp and joining her and Andor when they went to Jedha to acquire Bodhi Rook and his message from Saw Gerrera’s Partisans. After escaping Jedha as the Death Star destroyed Jedha City, Kay-Tu took part in the group’s assassination/failed extraction on Galen Erso before returning to Yavin 4. After the Alliance Council refused to attack Scarif to steal the Death Star plans, Kay-Tu joined the rebel strike team that joined Andor and Jyn in their unsanctioned mission to Scarif under the call sign “Rogue One”. While the majority of the Rogue One strike team acted as a diversion, Kay-Tu accompanied Jyn and Cassian into the data vault and helped them to find the correct data-tape. When they were discovered by Imperials, Kay-Tu held off the Imperials while the other 2 climbed through the vault to transmit the plans to the Rebel fleet overhead, being destroyed in the process.

“I find that answer vague and unconvincing.”

He may have a limited history in the canon but I absolutely love Kay-Tu! He has been the most useful of the humanoid droids when it comes to combat (which you may notice is a trait shared by many of the droids on this list) but does not come with a number of gimmicks and gadgets, instead relying on melee attacks unless given a blaster. What I love most though is his attitude. He has an incredibly sarcastic and pessimistic attitude and his lack of a filter for what he is saying results in some wonderful moments throughout Rogue One. When he sacrificed himself to gain time for Jyn and Cassian, I found it an really emotional moment in the film and reading Alexander Freed’s novel adaptation made it even more so as it reveals that Kay-Tu’s last moments were spent imagining a situation where Cassian survived, which gave him joy. With the announcement that a live-action TV show will follow Cassian in the early years of the Rebellion, I really hope K-2 makes a return, but I do not think it will be until later in the show as I get the feeling that his meeting with Cassian was relatively close to the Battle of Scarif compared to the formation of the Rebellion, which was already technically forming a year after the end of the Clone Wars.

 

So that’s my list, how does it compare to yours? Were these the droids you were looking for? Thanks for reading and May the Force be with you…

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