No matter what you want out of Star Wars, we can all agree on one thing: It wouldn’t be the same without the droids.
Big droids, little droids, talkative droids, quiet droids — they’re all (mostly) good, in one way or another. But which are the best? That’s what we’re here to determine today.
We’ve surveyed the esteemed staff of Polygon, mining through the depths of Star Wars droid-dom to find the best and the brightest of our mechanical friends.
EG-series power droid
George Lucas and his team of art school hippies dreamt up the EG-series power droid before anything in Star Wars was really “toyetic.” Instead, the “gonk” droid was introduced in Star Wars as a mess of screws and metal sheeting, bumbling around the Jawas’ Sandcrawler and later the Lars moisture farm. (But, obviously, EG-6 did receive a Kenner action figure — a plastic box with feet.)
What a sad, wonderful robot. Supposedly, its in-world purpose is to supply various machinery and vehicles with energy. But in the practice of Star Wars movies, the EG models were really the droid equivalent of a background actor, walking around and emitting low-toned honks. EG-6 is the Eeyore of Star Wars, and I want to give him a hug. —Matt Patches
As a fan of 1970s thrillers in which a middle-aged, middle-class schmuck must save the day, I have a soft spot for Rex, aka. R-3X, aka RX-24, aka the original Star Tours droid. Through most of its existence, Rex whiled away the days driving the intergalactic equivalent of a the crosstown bus. Unfortunately, that career came to a glorious, albeit tragic, end, when Rex took a tourist shuttle into a battle between the Empire and the Rebel Alliance. Rex kept everyone alive (multiple times a day at Disney theme parks), so you’d think the droid would be rewarded. But no. Our dude got canned, spent a few years bouncing between jobs, and ultimately crash landed onto Batuu, where the bot got reprogrammed into the most humiliating thing of all: a brunch-grade DJ at the local watering hole. —Chris Plante
From the jump, B2EMO is living up to the name: If you want a vaguely emo robot, this is the droid you’re looking for. And though B2 is only around sparingly (or at least, far less than I’d care for) in the first few episodes of Andor, it makes a real impression. Perhaps its standout moment is when it offers to lie for Cassian — “I have the adequate power reserves!” — and then drooping upon hearing the lie involves both saying it doesn’t know where Cassian is or when he was seen (“That’s two lies,” B2EMO wilts.) Like many of Star Wars’ droids, B2EMO’s magic comes from its ability to emote with just a few whirs of its gears and compressions of its hardware. It talks with the melodic monotone of a text-to-speech software. It is just barely helpful, as a good droid should be. Were that all it was able to do on Andor, it would be enough. Let’s hear it for the little boxy red guy! —Zosha Millman
R2-D2 is my favorite Star Wars character by far. R2-D2 has seen it all. He knows everything and he knows it, making it clear to all the other characters that his way is probably the best way. This is made all the more funny by the fact he can only communicate in beeps, so we only get the reaction of how sarcastic he’s being. R2-D2 is also a little shit. I cannot emphasize how much of a little shit this droid is. He makes fun of his best friends. To get their attention, he slams full-force into them. He annoys them because he loves them. As someone whose love language is being annoying, I completely understand him. The scene that I think sums up the reason I love R2-D2 the most is in Return of the Jedi, when C-3PO runs into him at Jabba’s palace and is completely shocked to see him. 3PO asks R2 what he’s doing there, to which R2 replies in a series of beeps (of course). “Well, I can see you’re serving drinks,” snaps C-3PO. —Petrana Radulovic
He has a love for languages, is easily flustered, and is constantly pestering other people with facts and trivia. I can relate. —Pete Volk
Statement: No list of our favorite droids in the Star Wars universe is complete without mentioning HK-47. First introduced in 2003’s Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, HK-47 is an assassin droid who becomes a party member after the main character purchases him on Tatooine. Personality-wise, HK-47 can be best described as a trigger-happy android with an affinity for unadulterated violence and calling humans “meatbags.” In short, he’s like if Bender from Futurama existed in the Star Wars universe. Does that sound awesome? That’s because he is. —Toussaint Egan
Alan Tudyk voices the reprogrammed Imperial droid in Rogue One, who is arguably the best character in a movie chock full of memorable ones. The sassy droid became an instant fan favorite, and managed to avoid the easy pitfall of a talkative droid being obnoxious, thanks to Tudyk’s hilarious voice performance and the strong ensemble cast surrounding him. —PV
By the time Rogue One and Solo rolled around, Star Wars creators seemed to be actively looking for ways to give droids more personality, and to break them out of the “cute comic-relief characters and all-purpose problem-solving plot devices” mode that R2-D2 and C-3PO established in the original trilogy. Solo’s L3-37 (voiced, acted, and often scripted by Fleabag creator and star Phoebe Waller-Bridge) went further off the beaten path than most: Self-built out of a mix of astromech and protocol droid parts, and full of aggressive revolutionary ideas about how droids should free themselves from human control, she had more of a personal agenda and more of an attitude than any droid before her.
The effects designers extended that to her design: Her visibly scrapped-together body moves and walks in a janky, junky, hipshot way that’s entertaining all on its own, even leaving aside her endlessly confrontational one-liners and enjoyably terse relationship with her partner, Lando Calrissian. The tragic end of her story — turned into a silent spaceship mod — is one of the worst and most frustrating “deaths” in Star Wars history, but it’s pretty par for the course in a franchise that’s always been pretty cavalier about what happens to its sentient mechanical people. —Tasha Robinson
First of all, he was one of the coolest Star Wars action figures. With that near-death’s head face, he could be a bounty hunter. With that… microphone-looking thing attached to the hose on his side, he could open for the Max Rebo band or the Creature Cantina, like a cyborg Harry Connick Jr. 2-1B launched in 1981, part of the third wave of figures. It sent a powerful message to second graders like me, that Kenner was gonna give you everyone you saw on screen the summer before. Even massive head-wound Dengar (part of 2-1B’s class).
But he’s a consequential, if minor, character in the films, too. He supervises Luke’s bacta bath after the Wampa attack, and bacta has since become an important concept in video games and TV shows. He sews up Luke’s scars — but not perfectly, because they were written in after Mark Hamill was in a (nearly fatal) car accident in early 1977. And he fits Luke with a new right hand (in a very cool practical effects scene) after Dad chops it off in Cloud City.
Mostly, he’s my favorite because of that cool action figure. —Owen S. Good
I don’t have a choice when it comes to which droid is my favorite because one of them is named after my sister, so the decision was pretty much made for me. But beyond her name’s origins, I can’t tell you much about ME-8D9. According to my trusted sources (the internet), she worked at Maz Kanata’s castle and used to be an assassin, which seems pretty cool. My sister is also cool, so that lines up. —Sadie Gennis