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Related to: Is C3PO a slave?

R2D2 tricks Luke Skywalker into taking his restraining bolt off so that R2 can run off and look for Obi-Wan Kenobi.

But I don't recall any point in the movie where C3PO has his own restraining bolt removed.

Did C3PO ever get it removed? If he did, when did it happen?

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up vote 17 down vote accepted

Yes, he did have it removed.

In Episode 4, you can see that he still has it on during the Sand People scene, but by the time Luke and Ben retrieve him after the attack it's gone, and it stayed gone after that.

With Restraining Bolt No Restraining Bolt

Presumably it was therefore knocked off (or removed by one of the Sand People) during the attack.

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I was in the middle of writing up the same answer and looking at the screenshots/videos and shocked to notice the bolt suddenly missing. I've never seen it mentioned in any of the lists of goofs/continuity errors. – phantom42 Mar 12 '14 at 18:09
Those sand people. Always stealing restraining bolts. – Xantec Mar 12 '14 at 18:15
On the other hand, maybe the Sandpeople are surprisingly progressive and simply wanted to free C3PO from his opressive human overlords. – Zibbobz Mar 12 '14 at 18:17
I'd noticed it missing in Ben's hut before and had assumed that it had been removed at that time (which would have made some more sense - I too had a half-written answer saying "it happened in Ben's hut"); I was also quite surprised to see that it happened earlier. @Zibbobz - Freedom! Horrible, horrible freedom! – user8719 Mar 12 '14 at 18:18
Think of a restraining bolt like a lojack (not Lobot). Thieves want to disable it as quickly as possible. :-) – Art Taylor Mar 12 '14 at 19:46

In the film's official novelisation, it was removed slightly later, right before Luke received the lightsaber from Kenobi.

“You see, Luke, that’s where your father and your uncle Owen disagreed. Lars is not a man to let idealism interfere with business, whereas your father didn’t think the question even worth discussing. His decision on such matters came like his piloting—instinctively.”

Luke nodded. He finished picking out the last of the grit and looked around for one remaining component to snap back into Threepio’s open chest plate. Locating the restraining module, he opened the receiving latches in the machine and set about locking it back in place. Threepio watched the process and appeared to wince ever so perceptibly. Luke stared into those metal and plastic photoreceptors for a long moment. Then he set the module pointedly on the workbench and closed the ’droid up. Threepio said nothing.

A grunt came from behind them, and Luke turned to see a pleased Kenobi walking over. He handed Luke a small, innocuous-looking device, which the youth studied with interest.

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