Droids in Star Wars are known to have their own personality. Even astrodroids, like R2-D2 or BB-8 sometimes do not listen to a direct order, or do things based on their "moral" evaluation (e.g. when BB-8 told about secret Rebellion base simply because it trusted Finn).

Therefore, it must have happened that droids didn't listen to its owner. I know that there are supposed to be "restriction collars" which pretty much force droids to do what you want them to do, but apart from that, what are other possibilities of enforcing a command on a droid?

Specifically: is there any way to externally turn off a droid? Via a remote or some button located on its metal body? In case the droid don't want to be turned off? I know droids may shut down due to damage (for example ion blast), or because they want to (R2-D2 in Force Awakens), but is there a way for the owner to do it? Or possibly even for non-owner?

Looking mostly for canon answer, if there is such information in any of the books, but any information is fine.

  • 4
    Apparently a droid can switch itself off! Commented Dec 1, 2016 at 12:34
  • 2
  • 3
    I'd have to go dig for my novelisation so not an answer, but I'm pretty sure that Han shut C-3PO down in Empire Strikes Back when they hid on the hull of the Star Destroyer. Leia was quite indignant that he'd done it. The tone seemed to imply that C-3PO hadn't shut himself down on request.
    – Jane S
    Commented Dec 1, 2016 at 12:57
  • 2
    @JaneS That sounds familiar, I believe Ginasius has found what we are thinking of in the answer below
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Commented Dec 1, 2016 at 13:04
  • 1
    @TheLethalCoder Ahh, I was close :)
    – Jane S
    Commented Dec 1, 2016 at 13:06

5 Answers 5


Leia switched off C3PO in "The Empire Strikes Back".

This is a transcription:

C-3PO: "Surrender is a perfectly acceptable alternative in extreme circumstances. The Empire may be gracious enough to—" [Leia switches him off]

Han: "Thank you."

enter image description here

  • 14
    That's about as "canon" as it gets :)
    – Steve-O
    Commented Dec 1, 2016 at 14:31
  • I think he is also switched on and off in Phantom Menace Commented Dec 1, 2016 at 16:43
  • 8
    You might want to say she "shut him down," following dialog a few lines before that: "Shut him up or shut him down!" Commented Dec 1, 2016 at 19:43
  • @Angew There are several versions of this quote where she "shuts him down", like this imdb.com/character/ch0000048/quotes and others where she "switches him off", like starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Wookieepedia:Quote_of_the_Day/…
    – Ginasius
    Commented Dec 2, 2016 at 8:09
  • 1
    I don't think that C3PO can be used as generalisation since AFAIR it has been custom-made by Anakin.
    – hindmost
    Commented Dec 2, 2016 at 15:53

You agreed to include "via a remote" option. Therefore, we can count Invasion of Naboo mass turn-off as young Anakin Skywalker turned off droids because he destroyed the orbital command center.

Another case where that happened is when older Anakin Skywalker turned off all Trade Federation battle droids while assaulting their main command center on Mustafaar.

One singular case of manual turn-off is when Leia switched off C3PO manually during Empire Strikes Back.

If we get a little bit technical then destroyed droids are also turned off, via manually swinging the lightsaber through them or else.

  • Would loss of command signal be the same as manual shutdown though? Commented Dec 3, 2016 at 3:25
  • The droids behaved the same, so I assumed yes (without further canon information). Commented Dec 5, 2016 at 7:21

In one of the Force Awakens novelisations (based on an earlier version of the script) Rey turns BB-8 off by flipping a switch.

Rey was stunned. That was more food than she had ever seen in her life. With all that food, she could stop living in uncertainty, worrying about scavenging enough parts for a decent meal. With that food saved up, she could start planning for a future.

She reached down and gently flipped a switch behind BB-8’s head. The droid immediately powered down, his beeping silenced for the moment.

The Force Awakens: Rey's story


In Star Wars I - The Phantom Menace at about 00:38:54, young Anakin Skywalker turns a mostly assembled but inert C3PO on by pressing a button or switch at the bottom of C3PO's 'neck' just right of centre. Presumably, the same switch/button could be used to turn him off although the body shell added later may inhibit access.

enter image description here


In Legends, this is confirmed to be one of the many functions of the garden-variety restraining bolt. From Wraith Squadron:

Among the many features of the standard restraining bolt, an attachment designed to maintain control over a fractious or independent-minded droid, was an external means to shut off a droid's main power converter.

The way the restraining bolt works is slightly different from the external "reset switches". The normal switches order a soft shutdown, where the droid's volatile memory is stored (hence Threepio's habit of finishing his sentences when he "wakes up") and their program is otherwise put in a safe state to shut down. In contrast, the restraining bolt orders a hard shutdown, where power is immediately shut off throughout the system; this means it works even if the droid's programming is hung or won't respond to commands (because of a software or hardware fault, sabotage, or even modification by an independent droid).

Bolts could be triggered remotely, using a special caller device, or the shutdown function could be accessed manually.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.