We see in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace that young Anakin Skywalker built C-3PO to assist his mother around the house when he goes away, but I do not think any other protocol droids are seen in the Star Wars universe before 3PO is built. Does this mean that Anakin Skywalker invented this kind of protocol droid, or did I just miss something?

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    You mean, was he a prototype protocol droid?
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Sep 8, 2020 at 17:05
  • I meant "Was he the first protocol droid of this type to be invented?" I was thinking about how they refer to R2D2 as "an R2 unit" and thought that C3PO might have been the first "3PO unit" or something. I know that there were most certainly other kinds of protocol droids before 3PO, but wondered if there were any with this specific build, programming, and purpose. Commented Sep 8, 2020 at 18:09

2 Answers 2


C-3PO is a "3PO Series" droid manufactured by "Cybot Galactica", which Anakin has assembled from spare parts.

Until the release of The Phantom Menace, the Expanded Universe had him as a regular droid who had been manufactured 112 years BBY.

Between The Phantom Menace and the "Legends" retcon, some of the discrepancy was reconciled, such as stating that only some of the parts were 80 years old when Anakin rebuilt him, but I don't think it has been revisited in the new canon.

You can see some of the old information about him on the old Databank.

Chronologically, of course we see 2 examples of droids that look like C-3PO prior to seeing C-3PO. TC-14 aboard the Trade Federation flagship: TC-14

And this non-functional unit in Watto's shop:

C-3PO Lookalike in Watto's shop

This is probably a pretty good clue as to where Anakin got the parts...

  • Thank you, I had forgotten about the droid who served Qui-Gon and Kenobi drinks aboard the Trade Federation ship. I guess Anakin didn't invent 3PO after all! Commented Sep 8, 2020 at 17:54
  • @JustanotherStarWarsgeek - For the record, that's not a 3PO model, it's a TC model protocol droid
    – Valorum
    Commented Sep 8, 2020 at 18:02
  • Thank you, but I meant that the droids look similar and have similar functions/programming. Whichever model they are doesn't matter as much to me. As long as they are both protocol droids with nearly the same build and function, that's good enough for me! Commented Sep 8, 2020 at 18:12

According to the Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Visual Dictionary factbook,

Standard Cybot Galactica protocol droids have been in use for generations.


Most of C-3PO's structural framework is more than 80 years old.

He is, however, a uniquely built droid (and the first of his kind) in the sense that he's made of scavenged parts from a range of protocol droid models, albeit from the same manufacturer.

Timeline-wise, we see at least one fully functional TC model protocol droid before we even meet Anakin, aboard the Neimoidian ship.

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