Senator Bail Organa tells an underling to "wipe the protocol droid's memory" near the end of Revenge of the Sith.

Did anybody copy those memories into storage before the mind wipe?

Given C-3PO's history, that would be tempting. The royal family of Alderaan would get some inside information on the Jedis and the politics of Naboo from looking through all that C-3PO has seen and heard.

Is there any indication from the extended universe that anybody made a backup copy of C-3PO's old memories?

  • C3PO's terror over erasure suggests not. It is likely that C3PO and R2 shared quite a bit before that. I have always thought that they are the primary "tellers of the story" because they are the only ones with nearly complete access to the data and people involved. – EngrStudent Mar 22 '17 at 21:27

It is highly unlikely

"I'm placing these droids in your care. Treat them well. Clean them up. Have the protocol droid's mind wiped." ―Bail Organa

This is the event of which you speak. It occurred in Episode 3 shortly after the birth of Luke and Leia. None of the mentions of this event in Canon (or Legends that I know of) refer to it as anything other than a wipe.

C-3PO's memory was erased, though R2-D2's memory was not.


Due to Threepio's talkative nature, Senator Organa made arrangements for the protocol droid to receive a memory wipe.


Due to his general inability to keep secrets, Bail Organa arranged for him to receive a memory wipe in order to preserve the secret of Anakin and Padmé's offspring, Luke and Leia.


Shortly after the Galactic Empire was formed, Bail Organa had C-3PO's memory wiped clean in order for the droid to not spill any confidential information.

(from C-3PO & Memory Wipe | Wookieepedia)

Given the importance of hiding the Skywalkers, it seems that Organa would not have a backup lying around. Since the Jedi were now defunct, there was no reason to try and scrap C-3PO's memory for information. And as a fellow Senator and close friend of Amidala, it is likely that Organa already knew everything that she did. Remember that Amidala had not been Queen for almost several years at that point, and she didn't get C-3PO until after the events of Episode 2. So he had no memory of that in the first place. Once she became a Senator, she would have been less involved in the domestic politics of Naboo (which has questionable importance to anyone off planet).

So given the complete lack of evidence of a backup being created, and the high importance of keeping the twins a secret, I would say that no copies were created and that the memory wipe was complete.

But what about R2-D2? Why did he keep his memories if the secret was so important? Because R2-D2 didn't have a habit of saying whatever came into his circuits. I'll leave it at that since it is addressed in a different question/answer.

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  • R2D2 didn't talk as often as C3PO, but couldn't somebody copy his memories without his consent? If that's possible, then wiping his memory too would have been prudent for Bail Organa. – RichS May 12 '17 at 21:09
  • @RichS - Yeah. That is true. In fact, in Clone Wars S03E08: Evil Plans, that is exactly what happened to R2D2 (Cad Bane stole the Senate Building floor plans). However, as mentioned, that discussion is best left for a new question. – amflare May 12 '17 at 21:29
  • @RichS Yes, Cad Bane did this during the Clone Wars. As far as why C-3PO and not R2, I like the idea that R2 is a far more reliable "agent" capable of keeping secrets. I also feel that R2's memory banks would be vital during the coming civil war as he had extensive knowledge of the Republic/Imperial schematics. – Josafoot May 12 '17 at 21:31
  • I found a question here on scifi.se asking this question regarding R2D2 and linked it in my answer for the sake of completeness. I'm not sure I find it convincing, but it's there nonetheless. – amflare May 12 '17 at 21:33
  • @amflare or Josafoot Go ahead and ask if R2D2's memories of Luke and Leia's birth were ever scanned/copied/stolen without his consent. If so, that would allow for either a plot hole or plot opportunity in the Star Wars saga. – RichS May 12 '17 at 21:33

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