We know that there are plenty of protocol and astromech droids in the storyline of Star Wars but the ones that have been around since the events of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace are R2D2 and C3PO, who stuck with the good guys until the events of the latest Star Wars movie. Of course, a lot of things happened since they were introduced, as Anakin turned to the dark side and became Darth Vader. But do R2D2 and C3PO know that Darth Vader is Anakin, and do they even remember him?
Both R2D2 and C3PO both know that Darth Vader and Anakin are one and the same. 3PO’s memory was erased back in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith but was restored by R2 back in Star Wars Episode IV: The Rise of Skywalker. As such, they both remember everything that happened.
The thing about both R2 and 3PO is that they are the biggest witnesses to the things that happened during the entire Skywalker Saga of Star Wars as they were there when Anakin was still a child up to the moment that Rey became the newest Skywalker. So, with that said, let’s look at what we know about R2D2 and C3PO and their memory of Anakin.
Do R2D2 And C3PO Know That Darth Vader Is Anakin?
Any fan of Star Wars would know that there have been two droids that have been around since the very start. While Palpatine has been around since the first movie until he served as a shadow acting behind the scenes in the first two movies of the sequel movies, both R2D2 and C3PO have always been there in the events of the entire Star Wars storyline. That means that they appeared in all nine movies while playing different roles.
Of course, R2D2 started out as an astromech droid serving the queen of Naboo before he became Anakin’s personal astromech droid. Meanwhile, C3PO was created by Anakin back in Tatooine and eventually came under the service of Padme Amidala. In that regard, both R2 and 3PO have roots that can be traced back to Anakin, who we know fell to the dark side and became Darth Vader.
In line with that, R2 was the witness to Anakin’s fall to the dark side as he was even the one that accompanied him when he killed the Younglings in the Jedi Temple and was there when Vader fought Obi-Wan Kenobi in Mustafar. Meanwhile, 3PO was also there with Padme when Anakin Force-choked her out of anger, as it is clear that both of these droids were aware of what happened to Anakin. But do R2D2 and C3PO know that Vader was Anakin?
R2 was aware of Vader’s true identity the entire time because he was there when Palpatine rechristened him as a Sith Lord named Darth Vader. Of course, we can’t say the same for 3PO because he wasn’t there when Anakin became Vader but was able to make sense of things due to his connection to R2 and the members of the Skywalker family. As such, both of them were aware that Anakin became Vader at the end of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith but were probably not aware that Anakin was turned into a machine-like monster after his defeat at the hands of Obi-Wan.
Do R2 And 3PO Remember Anakin?
But while R2 and 3PO know that Darth Vader was Anakin Skywalker, the thing is that that wasn’t always the case for the protocol droid. During the ending part of Episode III, Bail Organa took possession of the two droids. After the births of Luke and Leia and the death of Padme, Bail ordered his men to wipe out the memory of 3PO due to his talkative nature. But that wasn’t the case for R2D2, who never received a memory wipe.
As such, during the events of the original Star Wars trilogy, 3PO had no memory of Anakin Skywalker and Darth Vader. Meanwhile, R2 remembered everything but opted to keep things silent due to his rather discreet nature. In fact, R2 carried his memory of the entire Skywalker Saga up to the conclusion of Episode IX. And George Lucas once said that the reason why R2’s memory wasn’t wiped was the fact that he is actually the narrator of the entire Skywalker Saga as he witnessed everything from Episode I to Episode IX.
Given that, it is interesting to see how R2 has come a long way from a heroic astromech droid that saved Padme Amidala’s ship in Naboo. He is the witness of the entire Skywalker Saga, and that means that he knows that Anakin and Vader were one and the same.
Meanwhile, as to C3PO, he didn’t have any memories of the events prior to Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope because his memory was wiped out in Episode III due to his rather talkative nature. Organa didn’t want him to suddenly talk about the fact that Luke and Leia were alive and were kept in different homes as Organa’s primary goal was to make sure that the children were safe due to how they could hopefully become the saviors of the galaxy.
But the thing is that in Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker, C3PO’s entire memory was wiped out so that he could make sense of the Sith text that would have helped them find where the secret Sith planet’s location. As such, the hard reset essentially rebooted his entire memory bank.
However, the novelization of Episode IX revealed something neat. We know that R2 kept a copy of 3PO’s memory due to the fact that they were best friends. In the movie, we saw him backing 3PO’s memory back to the way it was before it was wiped. But the novelization revealed that there is more to this, as can be read in this excerpt:
This caused a memory file that R2D2 had restored to be accessed and read. It was a record of the moment when C3PO’s maker had fitted a photoreceptor into his eye socket and he had experienced the visual spectrum for the first time. The initial image his photoreceptors had captured was of a blue-and-white astromech.
This implies that 3PO now remembers everything that happened prior to his first memory wipe back in the events of Episode III. As such, both R2 and 3PO now remember everything that they witnessed during the Skywalker Saga, and they are both co-narrators of the things that happened from Episode I all the way to Episode IX.