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In Star Wars: The Force Awakens, We run into C-3PO again. For some reason, he has a red left arm. However, the situation/reasons behind how he got this red arm is glossed over (even by the character himself if memory serves me correctly).

Is it just a fresh coat of paint on his old arm? A salvaged part from another (presumably destroyed) Protocol droid? A newly manufactured arm that is able to perform more/different functions?

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    I wouldn't feel confident enough posting an answer, but he mentions something about it to BB-8, I'm not sure he mentions the reason but IIRC he talks about getting his old chassis arm back. – CandiedMango Dec 17 '15 at 5:11
  • @CandiedMango - That's probably the part I remember. He says something like "you won't believe the story behind this arm!" and then drops the subject – Robotnik Dec 17 '15 at 5:15
  • Yeah, I don't really know what could have happened to it. I'll pay attention when I rewatch in a couple of days. Although to answer two – CandiedMango Dec 17 '15 at 5:19
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    I don't think the red arm is an important enough point to warrant a "this character" obfuscation in the title. See the discussions on meta, here and here. Since we don't even know why the arm is red, and since the redness doesn't change the story at all, it doesn't warrant spoiler treatment in the title. – Wad Cheber Dec 27 '15 at 23:35
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    I rolled the edit back because the red arm is insignificant and appears in promo materials: youtube.com/watch?v=jH_DT7ekFiA – Wad Cheber Dec 27 '15 at 23:44
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This was revealed in Star Wars Special: C-3PO #1

He loses the arm to a sea creature, which rips his arm off.

3PO loses his arm

The droid OMRI (whose coloring/paint-job is black) is destroyed by acid rain. The acid rain strips the coating of black paint from OMRI’s metal casing as well revealing the original red coloring casing beneath the paint. C3PO takes OMRI’s arm with him to replace his own lost arm. C3PO gets a new arm

Source: ComicBookResources

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We will find out on the March 30th, 2016

Marvel will be releasing a one shot comic book covering the story of C-3PO coming into the world of Star Wars The Force Awakens.

Follow everyone's favorite protocol droid as he Journeys to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, in this special one-shot leading up to his appearance in the film! Just how did Threepio get a red arm, anyway?

Star Wars Wiki C-3PO #1

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According to this page from the Star Wars: The Force Awakens Visual Dictionary:

C-3PO is uncharacteristically quiet when it comes to discussing his salvaged arm; it is a memento of another droid’s sacrifice.

Page on C-3PO from the “Star Wars: The Force Awakens Visual Dictionary”

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    Off universe, it is obviously to draw attention at the novelty detail and sell more toys ;) – Nicolas Miari Jan 4 '16 at 5:22
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    And also to add a comical line where he assumes he would not be recognized just because of that arm. – Kai Qing Jan 22 '16 at 0:38
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A potential out of universe answer is that is is an homage. JJ is a supporter of Hideo Kojima and the video game Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, upon its completon they met and even took some photos together.

twitter post by @Kojima_Hideo

The reason this is relevant is the main character of the game is given a bionic arm with a very similar color.

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