For context, I was re-watching Empire Strikes Back recently (was pleased to see how well it still holds up) but what made the biggest impression on me this time around was how the wiring at C-3PO's waist is totally exposed.

My first thought was the design is intended to give technicians easy access to the wiring, but it seems like the downsides of making the wires vulnerable and the amount of dust and particulate that would certainly get inside of his carapace would massively outweigh any benefits.

Is this ever discussed in the greater Star Wars canon?

  • 5
    He carries on working after walking through a desert, so I guess the design isn’t that bad. How many droids have you designed, buddy? Jan 5 '17 at 17:55
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    @DTagliaferri He's pretty terrible at walking, lol, so I could see that...
    – DukeZhou
    Jan 5 '17 at 17:55
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    Its the robot equivalent of wearing a bare-midriff shirt. Jan 5 '17 at 18:50
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    C-3P0 is a protocol droid meaning he should deal primarily with proper procedure and translation. His place is more likely the board room, throne room, or study, not traipsing around deserts. Essentially he is robot Jeeves, without the wit. Why young Anakin would build a protocol droid for his enslaved mother is beyond me though. Jan 5 '17 at 19:08
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    Are we talking about beside the point that he was built by a six year old slave out of scraps he found lying around?
    – Broklynite
    Jan 5 '17 at 19:08

There is no official reason for why the 3PO droids were designed like that, but they were intended for use in controlled/indoor environments presumably, since they are protocol droids.

It is also largely unnecessary. C3PO was (re)constructed on a desert planet and ran around for 10 years or so without any plating at all with no apparent issues.

At some point, however, C-3PO fell into disrepair, and his vital components ended up in a junk pile on Tatooine. Anakin Skywalker, a slave boy from the Tatooinian city of Mos Espa, collected scrap parts and started rebuilding C-3PO so the droid would help his mother. Although protocol droids were normally designed for light duty in luxurious environments, Skywalker specially modified C-3PO so he could withstand Tatooine's sand and heat. C-3PO served Anakin and his mother Shmi by performing household chores. During his time with Skywalker and Shmi, C-3PO's wiring was left exposed since Skywalker was unable to outfit him with an outer covering.

C-3PO | Wookieepedia

(emphasis mine)

So the exposure of his wiring is not a hinderance in any way.

Plus, any dirt gives them an excuse for an oil bath.

C3PO Oil Bath

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