How is it that, per Jedi Grrrl

As for Obi-Wan, he forgot all about R2-D2 and C-3PO after spending three whole movies with them

I know people might say "well, would you remember a toaster you had 20 years ago" but really these robots have a personality, and C-3PO is probably fairly unique having been hand-built by Anakin. How many people do remember cars, computers, TVs, and so on they used and interacted with throughout their life, or even closer, pets and work animals? I'd say most.

So, other than OB-1 being a clone, what possible in-universe reason could be given for him totally not showing any sign of remembering these droids?

(It's a teensy bit easier to believe that Darth Vader doesn't show recognition of them given him being possessed by the dark side and being so busy terrorizing the galaxy and all)

  • 67
    It's because George Lucas is not good at continuity, or storytelling, or directing, or (this list goes on for a while) Feb 14, 2013 at 19:30
  • 32
    The party line response is that he never says he doesn't know or remember them. His response is "I don't seem to remember ever owning a droid." So what he said is true - from a certain point of view.
    – phantom42
    Feb 14, 2013 at 19:47
  • 12
    Anakin may have built C-3PO, but based on his similarity to other protocol droids I'm guessing he built him from a kit or from spare protocol droid parts, not as an original creation.
    – PeterL
    Feb 14, 2013 at 20:00
  • 15
    Re-watching the prequels this weekend, I was struck by 3PO's line halfway through Episode 2: "C-3PO: It seems that he is carrying a message from an Obi-Wan Kenobi. Master Annie, does that name mean anything to you?". I started thinking about it and realized that the first time 3PO and Obi-Wan even might see each other is on Geonosis. They don't actually share a scene until Episode 3. So, saying that they spent "three whole movies together" is inaccurate.
    – phantom42
    Dec 3, 2013 at 14:20
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    This is one of the many reasons why I dislike how the droids were handled in the prequels. Those movies would have been better with totally unrelated droids.
    – mcv
    Jun 30, 2014 at 9:24

13 Answers 13


Obi-Wan never explicitly stated in the 3 Star Wars movies that he didn't remember R2D2 and C3PO. He merely told Luke he never remembered "owning" a droid, which was indeed the case with these two - Anakin and Padme owned both of them, and later Bail Organa (UPDATE: he did apparently own a droid in Episode II, but personally, I didn't even remember it thus failing to include in this answer originally; so he can certainly forget in 20 years).

Considering that he lied told from a "certain-point-of-view" about "Vader betrayed and murdered your father" (to prevent Luke from prematurely learning the truth he couldn't handle yet), it seems very plausible that he ALSO was pretending to not recognize the droids, for the same reason.

  • 3
    This seems like the most plausible in light of Obi-Wan's character in ANH. Particularly when you consider the almost mischievous gleam in Alec Guinness's eyes, it's a very believable explanation.
    – Anthony
    Nov 20, 2013 at 13:44
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    Not to mention it was R2D2 who constantly insisted he belonged to Obi-Wan. That sly look may be him recognizing that the droid knows far more than it's letting on.
    – Zibbobz
    Jul 10, 2014 at 19:24
  • 5
    Obi-Wan Kenobi lies. He changes his name, goes into hiding to keep an eye on Luke, and keeps Luke from learning anything significant about his only history. He manipulates Luke for his own purposes, much like Dumbledore does to Harry. Jan 13, 2015 at 13:15
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    Also, Alec Guiness acts a lot more subtly than most people do under the direction of George Lucas. That makes it easy to miss stuff like this. The same goes for the whole "12 parsecs" thing, which was originally just supposed to be Han BSing.
    – KSmarts
    Jan 23, 2015 at 16:38
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    Are we sure he actually owned the astromech droids attached to his fighter? The Jedi temple could be like a school or a library and loan out droids to members and thus he wouldn't really own the droid.
    – CBredlow
    Dec 30, 2015 at 18:45

TL;DR: He does.

From the new canonical novelization of A New Hope:

Han was about to turn back to lock up the circuit panel when he saw the fossil wave the droid over. Luke had a look of intense concentration on his face as he pivoted around and around in a circle, lifting his lightsaber this way, that way, clearly lost in his own world.

The R2 unit moved to Ben’s side as if it were his faithful pet — an image that was further reinforced by the old man’s stroking a hand over its domed head.

“It’s good to fly with you again, my old friend,” the old man said, so softly Han wasn’t sure he had heard him right.
- Star Wars - New Hope: The Princess, the Scoundrel, and the Farm Boy


I think because there's alot of astro droids n like c3po said human relation droids to. I mean look at tc-14. She was jus a different color but pretty sure thats not a dramatic difference

  • 4
    I'm not sure why this got downvoted as it's factually correct. There are a lot of both astro and protocol droids. As for the names - there are only so many combinations of letters and numbers. If you saw a "Renault 4", then some years later saw another, even if it was the same colour as the first, would you have reason to suspect they were the same car?
    – user8719
    Dec 3, 2013 at 3:13
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    @DarthSatan If I had an apprentice who built a Renault 4 as a kid and this car served him for years. And then this kid betrayed me and murdered innocent people. And later I encountered a Renault 4 that claimed I'm his owner, I would certainly consider them being the same car. Especially if the car played a hologram SOS message from the kid's daughter.
    – Kevin
    Jan 13, 2015 at 11:00
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    @Kevin, that's one hell of a car Mar 18, 2015 at 13:28
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    @ArturoTorresSánchez: Obviously the Renault 4 in question was originally a custom job, built for Knight Industries. Dec 15, 2015 at 20:08

Obi-Wan did meet C3PO in episode III. Remember that he stowed away on Padme's spacecraft on the flight to Mustafa the lava planet. It was C-3PO who carried Padme back onto the craft after Aniken choked her. He was also present at the birth of Luke and Leia. I think Obi-Wan just didn't want to impart too much information to Luke, and remember that R2-D2 did recognize Obi-Wan. Otherwise, he would not have shown the recording of princess Leia.

I also believe that Obi-Wan didn't want C-3P0 to have too much information lest he fall into the clutches of Vader. It may very well be that Vader did know about the droids, which is why he sent a search party out to find them. Unfortunately, in both books and movies, you just can't include a lot of details. Otherwise, you lose the reader. Best example of this is Tolstoy's War and Peace. Every tried slogging your way through that oversized novel?

  • 3
    I've read even longer novels than that!
    – user8693
    Jan 6, 2016 at 2:19
  • I wouldn't say that it was obvious clear that R2-D2 recognized Obi-Wan. R2 only showed the recording after Ben said he was Obi-Wan, and had proven so by the accounts he gave and also by giving Luke his father's Lightsaber.
    – Pedram
    Dec 14, 2016 at 3:09

Obi-Wan did actually own a droid, remember? He had an R4 unit which he used in his personal ship. He never took it with them anywhere except when he flew his ship, but he did in fact own one. So it was more of a little white lie to make Luke stop asking question about where R2 came from, I think.

The droid was with him when he landed on Kamino. He told it to stay with the ship, and it was with him when he traveled to Geonosis.

I am sure that he did remember the droids, but did not want Luke to start asking questions about them that could lead to the truth about Vader coming out. He was scared Luke would be unable to do what was needed. So he simply lied and said he did not remember owning a droid.

  • If you have a reference on where that droid was mentioned in canon, please include it May 19, 2014 at 15:07
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    Obi-Wan could very well have been implying, "I do not currently own any droids."
    – Ellesedil
    Jul 10, 2014 at 17:55
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    @DVK, R4-P17 appears in Attack of the Clones, Revenge of the Sith, and The Clone Wars tv show, all of which are canon. starwars.wikia.com/wiki/R4-P17 Jan 13, 2015 at 13:18
  • Obi-Wan didn't own that droid. (starwars.wikia.com/wiki/R4-P17)
    – Rogue Jedi
    Sep 13, 2015 at 19:29
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    Pretty sure that would have belonged to the Jedi temple or the Grand Army of the Republic, Jedi own very few things, their robes and lightsabers about it. Dec 30, 2015 at 16:44

Obi-Wan was extremely familiar with R2 in episode 3 and was the butt of at least a few inside jokes between Anakin and himself as they boarded Grievous's ship to rescue Palpatine. It's obvious that all three were very familiar with eachother so the only excuse could really be selective memory or terrible continuity.


When C-3P0 was passed on to Bail Organa, his memory was erased. It was not stated that the same had been done to R2-D2, so if he were to remember Obi-Wan (which he did), it would make perfect sense. The reason Obi-Wan claimed he had no memory of owning a droid was not because of his fear of Luke knowing to much, it was simply George Lucas's mistake. He admitted this at a Star Wars convention years ago, but he then excused it with a perfectly logical explanation. George said that Obi-Wan was just using lies of omission to his advantage, and that the astromech knew too much information that was key for Luke to discover in time. Similar to the way Obi-Wan said that Darth Vader had murdered Luke's father, as technically correct as that is, it is still a lie of omission and one can only hope that Disney is more careful than George was.

  • There is no evidence that he remembered Obi-Wan. He may have been looking for Obi-Wan because Leia added it to his programming while loading the message, but didn't have any real memories of Obi-Wan from before.
    – user26429
    Oct 12, 2022 at 19:14

Obi-Wan did in fact remember R2D2 after the little smirk he gave after seeing him in ANH when he rescued Luke from the sand people. C3PO had his memory erased so he doesn't remember at all.

And I agree with the above statement about Obi-Wan and R2 having an off set agreement about there friendship. Also Obi-Wan and C3PO had plenty of meetings in the first 3 movies. In the end Obi-Wan cannot reveal anything about the past and Vader because it's Luke's destiny to find out who Vader is and determine whether he is good or bad. As opposed to being forced to thinking he is bad.


Well, actually he remembers them....In episode 4 when he saves Luke from thw tusken he talks to r2 and calls him "my little friend". C3PO does not remember him, because he.got formatted in episode 3.


i think everyone is forgetting that right after Padme gave birth to Luke an Leia and then died Bail Organa had C3PO's memory erased. Thus he forgot he ever belonged to Anakin and Obi never mentioned ever being acquainted with him prior to the Empire taking over. As far as the R2D2 mystery goes, I think Obi-Wan told him to keep that a secret and hide their acquaintance


I think this is a ridiculous thing to argue about. It's like saying "Why does Obi Wan think that Darth Vader killed Anakin Skywalker? Doesn't he know Darth Vader is Anakin?" Of course he does! He is giving Luke the information that he needs to know in the wy he needs to hear it to start him on his path to being a Jedi. Hence, the round about talk of Anakin/Vader. Obi Wan obviously isn't married to the whole truth. Obi Wan never said "I don't recognize this droid." He said "I don't seem to remember owning a droid". Jedi usually only "owned" what they could carry on their person. The closest droid Obi Wan ever came to "owning" is R4 (seen in episode II, III, and The Clone Wars) but it's definitely possible R4 belonged to the Jedi order and was just Obi Wan's favorite droid to use. R2 definitely didn't belong to Obi Wan because he was always used by Anakin and then given to Senator Organa after order 66 and presumably still belongs to Senator Organa since he is being used by his adopted daughter (Princess Leia). As far as R2 saying he belonged to Obi Wan it's shown that R2 is capable of lying while conducting covert missions. This is why he is so valuable. Assumably, the easiest way for a droid to convince a stranger to bring it to the person it needs to go to is to say it's owned by that person. R2 doesn't immediately recognize Obi Wan because, really, would you? So far there is no indication that the two have interacted since order 66. The man has changed his beard style and aged 20+ years. This last point I have, honestly, doesn't prove anything but when Obi Wan first sees R2 he refers to him as "my little friend". Maybe Obi Wan is just being friendly but MAYBE considering all the things I've pointed out he does, in fact, recognize R2. I like to think so.

When it comes to c3p0, his memory was erased because, let's be honest, he's just not as coy as R2. Short of Obi Wan saying "My God! It's c3p0!" We have no way of knowing if they met before and Obi Wan is obviously playing his cards very close to his chest when we see him in episode IV and not prone to outbursts at anytime.

  • 1
    I dont really like your 1st sentence over a question with 31 votes :S
    – Rocket
    Jan 23, 2015 at 2:00

I think we should remember that ANH was made first. It was the very first Star Wars film ever made. So the expanded stories that were used to make the later films weren't really fleshed out yet. Most likely, this detail was changed later to fit the story. It probably wasn't seen as too much of a problem in that you could make assumptions that he may just be lying to keep from spilling too much, but in reality it was just the way the story was originally intended. Even within the first three movies the story was changed. It wasn't until they were writing the script for the Empire strikes back, did they add that Darth Vader was, in fact, Luke's father. That means that during the first movie, all actions within it, are based on Darth Vader not being Luke's father. But changing that doesn't hurt the story because you can just assume he is lying. The bottom line is that you have to remember that the expanded story was evolving along with the movies. They didn't have a the complete Star Wars universe detailed before they started making these movies. Therefore, you are going to find minor inconsistencies.

  • 2
    Really? No way!
    – zipquincy
    Apr 26, 2015 at 0:03

Maybe he knew everything was going to happen the way it was happening and believed Luke needed to think it was all random? If he told Luke he let his aunt and uncle die so He would come with him Luke may have hated him.

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