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Replica of medical droid 2-1B from Droid Builder's Club Room, with a battle droid in the background.

A droid is a fictional robot possessing some degree of artificial intelligence in the Star Wars science fiction franchise. Coined by special effects artist John Stears, the term is a clipped form of "android",[1] a word originally reserved for robots designed to look and act like a human.[2] The word "droid" has been a registered trademark of Lucasfilm Ltd since 1977.[3][4][5][6]


Star WarsEdit

The franchise, which began with the 1977 film Star Wars, features a variety of droids designed to perform specific functions.

Protocol droidEdit

A protocol droid specializes in translation, etiquette and cultural customs, and is typically humanoid in appearance.[7] The most notable example is C-3PO, introduced in Star Wars and featured in all sequels and prequels.[8] 4-LOM is a protocol droid turned bounty hunter who responds to Darth Vader's call to capture the Millennium Falcon in The Empire Strikes Back (1980).[9][10] TC-14 is a droid with feminine programming that appears in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999),[11] and ME-8D9 is an "ancient protocol droid of unknown manufacture" that resides and works as a translator at Maz Kanata’s castle on Takodana in the 2015 Star Wars: The Force Awakens.[12]

Astromech droidEdit

Replicas of astromech droids R5-D4 (left) and R2-D2 (right background), from the Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, California (April 2015)

An astromech droid is one of a series of "versatile utility robots generally used for the maintenance and repair of starships and related technology".[13] These small droids usually possess "a variety of tool-tipped appendages that are stowed in recessed compartments".[13] R2-D2 is an astromech droid introduced in 1977's Star Wars and featured in all subsequent films.[14] The malfunctioning droid R5-D4 also makes a brief appearance in Star Wars.[15] U9-C4 is a timid droid sent on a mission with D-Squad, an all-droid special unit in Star Wars: The Clone Wars,[16] C1-10P is an oft-repaired, "outmoded" astromech who is one of the Star Wars Rebels regular characters,[17] and BB-8 is the astromech droid of X-wing fighter pilot Poe Dameron in The Force Awakens.[18]

Battle droidEdit

A battle droid is a class of military robot used as an easily controlled alternative to human soldiers, most notably seen in the Star Wars prequel trilogy of films and the Star Wars: The Clone Wars TV series, in which 'B1' and 'B2' models are frequent antagonists. Due to their ubiquity, the terms 'B1' and 'battle droid' are used interchangeably; 'B2' models are also referred to as 'super' battle droids.[19][20]

The tall, thin B1 model resembles the Geonosian species, who designed the droids, and are known to "suffer programming glitches that manifest as personality quirks."[21] The droideka is a three-legged heavy infantry unit with twin blasters and the ability to generate a force shield and transform into a disk shape.[22] Multiple other types of specialized battle droids have been featured in the Star Wars fictional universe.[23]

Within the Star Wars Legends continuity, HK-47 is a humanoid soldier robot, designed as a violent killer, which first appeared in the 2003 video game Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.[24]

Other droidsEdit

Sketch of a probe droid toy (first appeared in The Empire Strikes Back), from the US patent documents

Star Wars: The Clone Wars has featured WAC-47, a "pit droid" programmed as a pilot and sent on a mission with the all-droid special unit D-Squad,[25] and AZI-3, a medical droid serving the cloners of Kamino who helps uncover the secret of Order 66.[26] The 2015 young adult novel Moving Target: A Princess Leia Adventure by Cecil Castellucci and Jason Fry introduces the droid PZ-4CO, to whom Leia Organa dictates her memoirs.[27][28] PZ-4CO also appears in The Force Awakens (2015).[29] In the 2016 film Rogue One, K-2SO is an Imperial enforcer droid reprogrammed by the Rebel Alliance.[30]

Behind the scenesEdit

Droids are performed using a variety of methods, including robotics, actors inside costumes (in one case, on stilts),[31] and computer animation.


Lucasfilm registered "droid" as a trademark in 1977.[3][4][6] The term "Droid" has been used by Verizon Wireless under licence from Lucasfilm, for their line of smartphones based on the Android operating system. Motorola's late-2009 Google Android-based cell phone is called the Droid. This line of phone has been expanded to include other Android-based phones released under Verizon, including the HTC Droid Eris, the HTC Droid Incredible, Motorola Droid X, Motorola Droid 2, and Motorola Droid Pro.[32] The term was also used for the Lucasfilm projects EditDroid, a non-linear editing system, and SoundDroid, an early digital audio workstation.

The name "Omnidroid" was used with permission of Lucasfilm for the 2004 Pixar movie, The Incredibles.[33]


  1. ^ droid, The Word Guy. (November 9, 2009)
  2. ^ Prucher, Jeff (May 7, 2007). Brave New Words: The Oxford Dictionary of Science Fiction. Oxford University Press. pp. 6–7. ISBN 978-0-19-530567-8. Retrieved February 20, 2016.
  3. ^ a b "DROID (Original registration)". United States Patent and Trademark Office. September 22, 1977. Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  4. ^ a b "DROID (Current registration)". United States Patent and Trademark Office. September 26, 2008. Retrieved August 24, 2010.
  5. ^ "Droid". The Free Encyclopedia. 1981. Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  6. ^ a b Hachman, Mark (July 6, 2010). "TweetUp Buys, Renames Twidroid Twitter App". PC Magazine. Retrieved July 13, 2010.
  7. ^ "Databank: Protocol Droids". Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  8. ^ "Databank: C-3PO". Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  9. ^ "Databank: 4-LOM". Archived from the original on October 23, 2008. Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  10. ^ "Databank: 4-LOM (Archived)". Archived from the original on October 23, 2008. Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  11. ^ "Databank: TC-14". Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  12. ^ "Databank: ME-8D9". Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  13. ^ a b "Databank: Astromech Droids". Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  14. ^ "Databank: R2-D2". Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  15. ^ "Databank: R5-D4". Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  16. ^ "Databank: U9-C4". Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  17. ^ Hibberd, James (January 28, 2014). "Star Wars Rebels: New droid revealed". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved February 13, 2014.
  18. ^ "Databank: BB-8". Retrieved December 4, 2015.
  19. ^ "Battle Droid". Retrieved 2018-12-29.
  20. ^ "Super Battle Droid". Retrieved 2018-12-29.
  21. ^ "Databank: Battle Droid". Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  22. ^ "Databank: Droideka". Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  23. ^ "Battle Droids (Various)". Retrieved February 20, 2016.
  24. ^ Boulding, Aaron (November 21, 2003). "Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Review". IGN. Retrieved February 20, 2016.
  25. ^ "Databank: WAC-47". Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  26. ^ "Databank: AZI-3". Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  27. ^ Sherer, Jay (November 6, 2015). "Star Wars: Moving Target: A Princess Leia Adventure by Cecil Castellucci and Jason Fry". SF Signal. Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  28. ^ Stevenson, Freeman (December 9, 2015). "The new canon books to read before you see Star Wars: The Force Awakens". Deseret News. Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  29. ^ Breznican, Anthony (December 18, 2015). "Star Wars: The Force Awakens: A collection of cameos and Easter eggs: Friend of the General". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved December 18, 2015.
  30. ^ Travers, Peter (December 13, 2016). "Peter Travers: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Movie Review". Rolling Stones. Retrieved December 14, 2016.
  31. ^ Szostak, Phil (2015). The Art of 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens'. Abrams Books. p. 140. ISBN 978-1-4197-1780-2.
  32. ^ "Droid 2 Gets a Surprise Hand-On". AndroidGuys. Retrieved 2010-08-24.
  33. ^ "17 Subtle Star Wars Easter Eggs And References In Other Movies – Page 16". WhatCulture. December 24, 2015. Retrieved January 1, 2018.

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