Here's one that I always thought was odd - why do the voices of the battle droids change between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith?

In The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, they have similar "robot" voices:

But in Revenge of the Sith, and later The Clone Wars, their voices are very high-pitched and odd-sounding:

Has there ever been any in-universe or out-of-universe explanation for this?

  • 11
    They had a firmware update. – ThePopMachine Feb 23 '17 at 16:30
  • 2
    Different voice actor. – Valorum Feb 23 '17 at 17:25
  • 9
    The new voice actor had a firmware update... – Odin1806 Feb 23 '17 at 22:17
  • In the RotS scene where Obi-Wan and Anakin are stupid enough to walk backwards into the elevator, the droids could have just shot them. – MooS Feb 24 '17 at 11:19
  • Urgh these films... – ThruGog Feb 25 '17 at 7:02

Voice actor changes, plus increased characterization

Firstly, the voice actors for battle droids changed between the movies and shows. One can also assume that there were technical differences between how they altered the voices between the different movies. Between these, there's enough reason to expect at least a noticeable change. But we're pretty good at finding similar sounding people, and these clearly seem intended to sound different, which means it was probably intentional.

Consider that in the first movie they didn't really serve a comedic role. It was mostly focused on their bad programming making them not-so-great soldiers. But they were otherwise not super chatty, didn't have much personality, and still a decent threat (to non-Jedi). As a result, it made sense to have them be fairly emotionless, robotic, unintelligent, and otherwise expressionless.

Now compare to the shows in particular, and you see how they wield a much more pronounced personality, are super talkative and silly, and downright have feelings and opinions on things. As a result, a sillier, less robotic, more lively voice was needed to convey them in the goofy/bumbling way they are now. They grew as characters into something more than they were before, and as a result became somewhat caricatures of themselves, parodying their traits from the first movie to an exaggerated level.

A related example of personality changes, compare R2-D2 of the original trilogy to that of the prequels and the shows. He goes from being a loyal droid to being something much more, and he gains a much deeper personality as a result.

If you want an in-universe reason, the comment by ThePopMachine is actually a pretty solid one. Their biggest shortcoming was their inability to understand/process/adapt to situations, because of their programming limitations. Realizing this, they may have decided to give them more intelligence and personality (though it's effectiveness is certainly in doubt).

EDIT: Thanks to my brother who recently rewatched the prequels for pointing out they didn't really serve any comedic role in Episode 1 at all. Just some occasional dry situational humor.

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  • TL;DR-version; In TPM they had Jar Jar to look stupid, in the RotS and The Clone Wars they needed the droids to look stupid. – MooS Feb 27 '17 at 5:53

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