5 Reasons Star Wars Is A Story Told From R2-D2's Perspective
You know how a lot of the Star Wars movies are bad and wildly inconsistent? What if there was a neat little explanation for it all? What if the adventures you watched and loudly complained about aren't the fault of bad writing by a man who doesn't understand his own creation, but the work of a genius who has the willpower to not let us in on the biggest untold story in the Star Wars universe? We've got a new way of looking at the prequels and originals that explains away all the bullshit, right down to R2-D2's suddenly appearing rocket boosters: The Star Wars movies, as seen on-screen, are being told by Artoo, as ordered by the Rebel Alliance.
If you can get this perspective straight in your head, it changes everything. Imagine a shattered Empire, mere months after the end of Return Of The Jedi. The Death Star, Darth Vader, and Emperor Palpatine are all at the deadest end of the dead spectrum, and most planets are too busy celebrating to question how or why. But you can bet your space-robe-covered butt that the new government will have a lot of explaining to do once the galaxy sobers up. Enter R2-D2. This little droid has been present for damn near every major event leading up to the Empire's defeat, and a military tribunal has asked him to provide for the public, in as much detail as possible, an account of what the hell was happening over the last three decades. He gives it his all, but Artoo, bless him, isn't without his shortcomings. All the plot holes and stupid moments that follow are exaggerations or misinformation relayed by our adorable, if not entirely trustworthy, narrator.
Picture Artoo in front of a jury, explaining how and why a group of terro-- er, "rebels" just assassinated the two most powerful people in the galaxy, and consider this ...
R2-D2 Has The Ability And Motivation To Tell This Tale
Right off the bat: Yes, droids are capable of telling creative narratives. C-3PO does so in Return Of The Jedi when recounting the group's past adventures to the Ewoks. He's not just reporting facts; he speaks with the emotion of a narrator, and provides sound effects for the lightsabers and carbon freezing (in front of Han Solo, proving that droids can also be assholes). But can Artoo do that? Why not? In A New Hope, he carries information, and tricks Luke into removing his restraining bolt so he can sneak off to deliver Leia's message to Obi-Wan Kenobi. Artoo can remember things, act on his own free will, and be a clever and sassy little bastard while doing it.
And this is exactly what he was designed to do. According to Wookipedia, R2-D2's line of astromech droids was designed to think creatively in order to solve problems. He could easily use that creativity to put a spin on his account of past events. Like the parts involving Artoo himself.
So Artoo worked with Luke's dad, before coincidentally being sold back to Luke years later? Far-fetched, but it's a small galaxy. But wait, rocket-boosters? There is no hint of any droid having such a feature in either trilogy until Artoo randomly whips them out during an action sequence in Attack Of The Clones, like a character in a bad fanfic.
When it comes to Mary Sue red flags, those rockets are just the start of it. Artoo isn't just present for all these events, but constantly playing a crucial role and receiving praise from important people. First, while serving Queen Amidala, he's the only droid to miraculously survive an attack, and saves her ship, earning the queen's personal thanks. He then goes from being the queen's favorite droid to the squire of the most important Jedi Knight of the era, Anakin Skywalker. And then he somehow manages to become the vessel through which Leia relays her desperate plea to Obi-Wan. And then he befriends and tags along with Leia's brother, a another powerful Jedi and the hero of the story.
"Yeah, I'm friends with mystical knights. Whatevs. No biggie."
Sure you did, Artoo. Sure you did.
Artoo's Limited Knowledge Accounts For Some Things The Movies "Forgot"
We're not accusing Artoo of having an inflated ego (that's Threepio's job, and we'll get to him later). Maybe he's just focusing on what he knows to distract us from the subjects he's doesn't know as much about. Like Obi-Wan's name change. In A New Hope, Obi-Wan goes by "Ben Kenobi," and tells Luke, "I haven't gone by the name Obi-Wan since, oh, before you were born." Cue Star Wars fans sitting through all three prequel films, waiting to see when and how Obi-Wan becomes "Ben," only to receive another plot hole to complain about online. But consider this: The only person alive now who ever knew Obi-Wan as "Ben" is Luke. Granted, Artoo was present during the name discussion, but that moment could easily get lost in Artoo's memory banks, especially if he's known the Jedi Master only as Obi-Wan for the last 30 years. It's also plausible that if Artoo did witness Obi-Wan taking an alias, the Jedi would've wiped Artoo's memory of it as a precaution.
Why didn't a young Han Solo show up in the prequels? For all the original characters needlessly shoehorned into those movies, Solo fans were disappointed (or relieved) that their favorite smuggler didn't get a cameo. But if this is postwar propaganda, shouldn't Artoo mention General Solo? Or Lando Calrissian, the guy who only blew up the second Death Star? To Artoo, these space pirates come out of nowhere and are barely connected to the events he's been deeply involved with for decades, and they hardly ever even acknowledge his existence.
Han, after being asked who/what R2-D2 is.
Artoo rarely interacts with Han, but he does spend time aboard the Millennium Falcon, and is part of the mission to rescue Han from Jabba the Hutt. Ergo, Artoo can't say much about Han himself, but he's gotten to know a handful of people and the iconography surrounding the smuggler. That's why the prequels contain so many indirect references to Han, like Boba Fett, Chewbacca, Jabba, and a Corellian freighter. Of Lando Calrissian there is no hint at all, and Artoo never once spoke to Lando. And no, Artoo isn't racist; he's probably just shy about going near pirates like Lando and Han. A droid who carries classified information needs to be a bit paranoid about people who steal for a living.
These Stories Are Clearly Being Written By Someone Who Doesn't Understand Humans
There are a lot of places we can go with this, but let's focus on Anakin and Padme. Their wooden acting. Padme, former queen and warrior, dying of a "broken heart" when she has two babies to protect. And the infamous sand monologue. Sweet Christmas, that damned sand monologue.
"Wait! Don't go! I have a whole bit about airplane food coming up!"
Good news, Padawans: None of that happened. It's all misinformation being relayed by one confused droid narrator as he struggles to make sense of a species he'll never fully understand.
The lack of emotion from Anakin and Padme has the same explanation as their nonsensical "romantic" dialogue -- it's being narrated by a droid. And the relationship itself? It's believable that a Jedi Knight and a politician could interact and fall in love. But Anakin, at 19, is still pining for the girl he had a crush on at age nine? And Padme not finding Anakin's creepy stalker antics, well, creepy? Does Artoo know anything about human relationships? No. Because Artoo only has one human friend who's in a relationship, and when Leia is falling in love with Han in Empire Strikes Back, Artoo isn't present. He's light years away on Dagobah, playing tug-of-war with a Muppet and getting clumsily Force-dropped by Luke. From the droid's perspective, Leia leaves with Han, and the next time Artoo sees her, she's devastated that her greatest love is now a Klondike Bar. For all Artoo knows, love just happens at random when a male and female have any kind of contact whatsoever. He probably thinks a man and women bumping into each other on the sidewalk is a star-crossed romance on par with Romeo And Juliet, or that play's space equivalent.
"What would you do-OOO-oo to get your boyfriend back from a space slug crime kingpin!"
Oh, and Padme's death? Artoo probably overheard someone say that Anakin's betrayal "broke her heart" and took it literally, because he's kind of a dumb child.
Midi-Chlorians Are A Droid's Attempt To Rationalize The Mystical
Originally, the Force is presented as something supernatural. The unfortunate bastard whom Vader famously Force-chokes in A New Hope calls the Force an "ancient religion," while Han Solo refers to it as "hokey superstition." But come the prequels, there's suddenly science behind the Force, in the form of midi-chlorians. That's because, creative thinker or not, Jedi fan or not, R2-D2 is still a droid, and his creativity needs some basis in logic. Plus, a large portion of the galaxy he needs to sway doesn't believe in the supernatural. The Jedi, the Sith, the Force -- all have centuries of history behind them that has played out across thousands of planets throughout the Galaxy, shaping the destinies of trillions and forever altering the fates of entire planetary systems, and all of it has been reduced to myth by the start of A New Hope. So, utilizing the creativity he was programmed with and the scientific knowledge in his hard-drive, Artoo cooks up the midi-chlorians as the only thing he can think of that explains why some people can do crazy crap others can't.
Sometimes God gives with both hands. Other times he gives with, like, 30 hands.
Why? Programming. A Jedi's abilities are not unlike programmed abilities in a droid. Artoo and Threepio's abilities are determined by the amount of information they were built with and their overall purpose. Artoo was built to fix stuff, therefore he has abilities C-3P0 inherently lacks, and vice-versa. Artoo can only fathom that Luke and Leia have the Jedi abilities they do because they were programmed differently -- in this case, with a mysterious substance that all humans have, but some in greater measure than others. They were built to move objects with their minds and do big crazy flips and communicate telepathically. As far as he knows about the Force, they might have rocket boosters in their butts.
Hell, that might even be how one of them explained the Force to Artoo -- using programming as a metaphor that slipped clean over his slick domed head.
R2-D2 Is Finally Getting Back At C-3PO For Decades of Emotional Abuse
C-3PO was never exactly a bold knight. He had moments of sissy panic, but most of his nagging was just his obnoxious way of delivering important information. It's not his fault if Han doesn't want to know the odds. But it is his fault for treating R2-D2 like dirt so often.
Threepio and Artoo clearly love each other like brothers. They also bicker and passively-aggressively insult one other, like a metallic Timon and Pumbaa. And Threepio usually starts it. From The Phantom Menace to Return Of The Jedi, the protocol droid constantly belittles Artoo with everything from patronizing dismissal to blatant insults, only to praise him when the smaller droid saves his ass. What kind of person acts that way to someone they love? Family. And how does the relative on the receiving end of the passive-aggressive familial abuse respond? With passive-aggressive familial revenge, of course.
It's easy to imagine these two scuttling across the lower third of the TV screen as they promote their CBS sitcom during a football game.
Enter C-3PO's buffoonish portrayal. In The Phantom Menace he's introduced as a naked, unfinished droid being built by an eight-year-old, while Artoo has already singlehandedly saved a queen. The next two movies show us a barely useful Threepio who is terrified of everything and would have peed his pants at some point if he was physically able to. Meanwhile, Artoo has rocket boosters.
As the series continues into the original trilogy, Threepio gets more bumbling moments and bad puns, while Artoo gets to meet old Jedi, gets uploaded with information vital to the rebellion, and gives Luke tons of assists in battle on the ground and in the sky. Threepio complains a bunch, everyone is always yelling at him to shut up, he gets his eye plucked put by a cackling monkey-lizard, and he is always getting blown to pieces.
"Oh, poor Threepio! I used to know him, Horatio."
And then, for no reason at all, in The Force Awakens Threepio's got a dumb red arm and no one cares enough about him to find out why. Which means Artoo's probably still telling this story. In the annals of history, C-3PO will always be the wimp who shouldn't have treated the storyteller like crap.
So if you get some downtime -- a lot of downtime -- start the series from scratch and picture Artoo sitting in front of a military tribunal or senate, retelling the story as best he can and filling in the gaps with information he's gathered or been told secondhand by members of the Rebel Alliance. Picture him throwing in, for his own amusement, stories that make C-3PO sound like a bumbling asshole. Picture the entirely sterile scenery from the prequels as actual video he's rendered as illustrated evidence. Picture him inserting himself as a praiseworthy hero into every major event that led up to this trial ... whether to just make himself look awesome, or to sway the judging eyes and ears of his jury into not melting him down for participating in war crimes. I mean, that's why he's there in the first place, right? If a flesh-and-blood rebel showed up to tell that story, they'd be executed within minutes.
No, this perspective doesn't outright save the franchise. But at least it gives us an answer to our most important question: "WHY, GEORGE? WHY?!"
Let us further destroy the wars of the stars in 6 Reasons The Jedi Would Be The Villain In Any Sane Movie and Fan Theory: The Real Reason Why The Emporer Needed Luke.
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