According to the Star Wars script, C-3PO introduces himself:

I am See-Threepio, human-cyborg relations.

What does he mean, cyborg? Is he claiming to be one?

  • 6
    I always considered the words "human" and "cyborg" to be connected by an en dash () rather than a hyphen (-), indicating equal connection rather than modification. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dash#Relationships_and_connections
    – 2540625
    Apr 13, 2018 at 4:19
  • 2
    Offering a bounty for an official source that can explain what "human-cyborg relations" means, or why an interpreter would be needed for humans and cyborgs to communicate. (See: scifi.stackexchange.com/q/271822/21154)
    – Milo P
    Feb 4, 2023 at 22:16
  • 2
    in short no, it was just another goof up by George Lucas who did not know the meaning of the fancy word and still used it
    – shanu
    Feb 6, 2023 at 13:04
  • Does C3PO make this sound when he moves?
    – Spencer
    Feb 6, 2023 at 23:59
  • No, he aspires to be one
    – shanu
    Feb 10, 2023 at 5:47

8 Answers 8


C-3PO didn't want to say about Human and Cyborg relationship because there were other alien species as well as AI-powered robots in Star Wars universe, too.
I think, "Human-Cyborg" is a word similar to "Humanoid Robot" in fashion for thinkable robots to say. We use word Cyborg for a human dependent on machine, but what about a machine dependent on human? C-3PO was dependent on human design and architecture to walk etc. So, he was "Human-Cyborg", not "Gungan-Cyborg" or "Besalisks-Cyborg"..

  • 9
    Sorr, I just don't get what you are trying to say. Sep 25, 2011 at 19:37
  • 5
    He's saying C3PO is a human[shaped]-cyborg and that when he introduces himself he first says his name and then his race.
    – Kalamane
    Sep 28, 2011 at 23:35
  • 4
    I think it's sort of a case of style over substance. The script writers thought it sounded cool. What it meant never came into the equation--just like the stupid "ship that made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs" comment. I guess that's just what happens when the writer is less geeky than his audience. Dec 15, 2011 at 8:12
  • 4
    A cyborg has organic components. It doesn't mean "robot".
    – OrangeDog
    Feb 5, 2023 at 19:51
  • 2
    @OrangeDog: Yes, that is the definition of cyborg. But we could maybe claim that nothing in the phrase cybernetic organism requires organic components -- that is, if you can convince yourself that organism just means living thing and that electronic beings can be alive. Feb 6, 2023 at 23:44

I believe he means he communicates with humans and machines alike. Although it is a rather limited description, since he is fluent in over 6 million forms of communication.

  • 2
    Then why doesn't he say, human machines? Sep 24, 2011 at 21:23
  • 13
    @WikisAtArea51 Cause Human-Cyborg Relations sounds better with a British accent. Sep 24, 2011 at 23:42
  • 27
    Given George Lucas's slip-up with the word parsec, I usually assume that any sciencey kind of words need to be taken with a grain of salt, bottle of vodka, and a 40 pound sledgehammer blow to the head.
    – erdiede
    Sep 25, 2011 at 15:31
  • 7
    Clearly he was designed to help relations between General Grievous and the Humans.
    – Kalamane
    Sep 27, 2011 at 2:23
  • @OghmaOsirisImean, it's pretty clear that the entirety of the Star Wars canon is sciencey fiction, yeah? :)
    – Lexible
    Feb 7, 2023 at 23:02

I had always interpreted it as a description of his name and function:

name: C-3PO
primary function: human-cyborg relations

It had never occurred to me that "human-cyborg" might be his race, but now that it has, I see the line being read as if you were looking him up in an index, which strikes me as a very C-3PO-esque way describing himself, as in:

    calculator of,
    sharer of,
    stiffness of,
    shininess of, 
  • 7
    Agreed, it sounds like "Hi I'm John, Sales Department".
    – Junuxx
    Apr 16, 2015 at 23:01

I always interpreted C-3PO's self-definition human-cyborg relations as "I take care of relationships / communication between humans and cyborgs" (whatever the meaning of "cyborgs"), so he is saying something about what he does, rather than what he is.

The expression is very similar, both in form and in meaning, to the computer science concept of human–computer interaction, which Wikipedia defines (emphasis mine) as

[the] research in the design and the use of computer technology, which focuses on the interfaces between people (users) and computers

and not as "interaction with human-computer hybrids".
According to Wikipedia, while the term was popularized in a 1983 book it was first used in 1975, so there is a chance the screenwriters were aware of it.
Anyway, my point is that the meaning of a <name1>-<name2> <name3> expression is usually <name3> between <name1> and <name2>.

The droid's role as interface between humans and machines / droids is highlighted, for example, in the dialogue between Lars and C-3PO:

OWEN: What I really need is a droid that understands the binary language of moisture vaporators.

THREEPIO: Vaporators! Sir -- My first job was programming binary load lifter...very similar to your vaporators.

Moreover, he often translates the meaning of R2-D2's sounds and beeps to the human characters (and, out-of-universe, to the audience).

  • 2
    I kind of want to upvote this, but it seems to miss that the "cyborg" part alone already implies "human-machine hybrid". Now, we could of course make up a rationale (or better yet, find one in EU sources, of course) that in the SW universe, "cyborg" as a collective term includes anything that has cybernetic components, with or without organic components. Feb 5, 2023 at 20:37
  • Dear God. Was this vaporators line the first clue that C3PO grew up on Tatooine?! Feb 7, 2023 at 21:06
  • Now I’m intrigued though - if the term cyborg was that new in 1975, maybe it had a slightly different, more vague meaning back then?
    – flq
    Apr 5, 2023 at 11:27

Very Unlikely

If we take the traditional meaning of cyborg, as in part person, part machine (cybernetic organism)

We saw Anakin building him in The Phantom Menace, and despite the fact we know he's destined to become the

evil Darth Vader

there was no indication at this point that he was using a person's body parts for the process / components.

...and while many people wish that film turned out to be just a fantasy from Jar Jar Binks' comatosed mind, I think for now we must accept it as canon


Legends: "Cyborg" apparently refers to both droids and augmented organics in Star Wars

There are a few official Star Wars sources that use the conventional science fiction definition of "cyborg" (a human or other organic being with cybernetic parts). For example, from The New Essential Guide to Droids:

Cyborgs are humans or other organic beings with mechanical parts. As such they are not true droids, but their fates are intertwined with those of automata in the areas of technology and culture.


Parts used by a cyborg are similar, or even identical, to those used on droids. While not everyone will wear an arm salvaged from a juggernaut war droid, cyborgs have a vested interest in the advancement of droid technology.

Cultural pressures on cyborgs are great. They bear the weight of anti-droid prejudice, without the mechanical disassociation that allows many droids to live in ignorance.

(Source: The New Essential Guide to Droids, page 191: Cyborgs)

However, other sources mention cyborgs in contexts completely free of organics. In Jabba's dungeon, the droid-run department that reprogrammed captured droids was apparently called "Cyborg Operations":

Cyborg Operations An arm of Jabba the Hutt's court, it was controlled by the droid EV-9D9. Deep in the bowels of Jabba's palace, Cyborg Operations obliterated the programming and personalities of droids through torture before assigning them to toil in Jabba's gang. [RJ]

(Source: Star Wars Encyclopedia, page 62)

Note that this 1998 edition of the Star Wars Encyclopedia is the earliest source I could find for this name, which is repeated in later reference works. Interestingly, the same encyclopedia has an entry for "human-droid relations specialist":

human-droid relations specialist A droid specialty classification for those robots, such as C-3PO, programmed to provide an interface between humans and other droids or such equipment as ship computers. Primary functions include interpretation and diplomacy. [SW]

(Source: Star Wars Encyclopedia, page 133)

The "[SW]" here indicates that the source is the original Star Wars, even though this phrase doesn't actually appear in the film. Therefore, this seems to be an attempt to retcon "human-cyborg relations" as meaning "human-droid relations".


No he is not.

At least by the definition of a cyborg, a portmanteau term meaning cybernetic organism. This is typically a human being, or another living creature whose body has been surgically enhanced with robotics - think Six Million Dollar Man, Darth Vader, D.A.R.Y.L., Samus Aran from the Metroid video game series, etc.

In that line out of Star Wars, I suspect C-3PO is referring to the functions of a protocol droid, not that he himself is a cyborg. A more precise definition for C-3PO would be a humanoid AI-controlled autonomous robot. In the Star Wars universe he will be defined broadly as a droid. This would be different from an android, which is a robot built to look like a human being but is 100% synthetic - think Lt. Cmdr. Data from Star Trek TNG.


No. C-3PO was a droid but young Anakin Skywalker assigned the words he thought C-3PO should say to introduce himself independently of Anakin knowing the full meaning of those words, including cyborg.

According to Canon, Anakin Skywalker rebuilt C-3PO from spare parts.

Also, in George Lucas' revised second draft script of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, dated June 6, 1997, Anakin tells Padmé that he is building his own droid. He claims it is a protocol droid to help his mother. Anakin activates his droid, who introduces himself as "See-Pee-O" to Padmé and Artoo. Padmé points out that all protocol droids' names should include a number. Anakin asks about Padmé's favorite number. She says "3" and Anakin, using an electronic gadget with a handle, adjusts C-3PO's settings to reassign the name to See-Threepio.

Given the above, it stands to reason that young Anakin was able to change not only one word but the words C-3PO used to introduce himself, independently of Anakin knowing the full meaning of those words, including cyborg.


Snapshot of second draft of The Phantom Menace script

  • 2
    Can you provide a link to that draft of the script?
    – Valorum
    Feb 8, 2023 at 14:11
  • @Valorum - Done.
    – Bingo
    Feb 8, 2023 at 14:28
  • 1
    I hadn't heard this before, good find. As of 2006 Legends continuity, The New Essential Guide to Droids says that Anakin picked the 3 since 3PO was the third member of his family—I wonder if that's an intentional reference to the early script, or just a coincidence?
    – Milo P
    Feb 10, 2023 at 17:41
  • 1
    Awarding the bounty since this was the only other answer that used an official source.
    – Milo P
    Feb 12, 2023 at 1:18

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