The 15 Best Droids In Star Wars Ranked

It's a current trend on social media to point out how easily we're willing to bond with anything, even our household appliances. Science fiction, however, has known about our willingness to love our metal friends for decades. In 1977, "Star Wars" leaned all the way into this adorable aspect of humanity, with Threepio and Artoo becoming our guides to a galaxy far, far away. It was a bold move to put the story on the shoulders of these two droids, but despite their metal shells, their humanity has made them the heart of the franchise.

"Star Wars" has given us dozens of droids to know and love since those two first dropped onto Tatooine. While we're only going to go over the ones that are seen on screen, we can't start without a shout-out to Triple Zero and BT-1, or remind you of Mister Bones, the battle droid with a thirst for violence. In the real world, we're left with Stabby the Roomba. In "Star Wars," the galaxy runs on these delightful robots.

15. Mouse droids

Stripped to its roots, "A New Hope" is a fairly standard story about a chosen one making good on his potential. But the nascent franchise had a second secret weapon alongside the charm of its main cast: spectacular world building that made its tiny details pop. The mouse droid is one of these details. It's a dressed-up box on wheels that makes delightful beeping sounds. Its practical function isn't clear, although the non-canon reference book "Star Wars: Imperial Handbook: A Commander's Guide" by Daniel Wallace claims they're used for routine floor maintenance and work as data couriers.

The mouse droid has no real moment in the spotlight. It's just a background doohickey. Yet, it makes the ascetic corridors of Imperial starships feel organic, as if somewhere there's a janitor with a digital pad checking to make sure the floors are wiped clean by a small flock of mousers before Vader arrives. The mouse droid sparks the imagination by fitting seamlessly into its environment. We'll take five of them.

14. D-O

D-O has a convoluted backstory contained in the tie-in novels that preceded "The Rise of Skywalker," and honestly, the less said, the better. However, there are some necessary details in there that might've helped explain why he's around so much in the final film. This little guy gets reactivated by BB-8, and it just so happens that he used to hang with the same dark side assassin that weird dagger belonged to. As such, D-O's databanks are full of a bunch of info on Exegol, where Palpatine's new army is preparing for their emergence.

Let's forget all that for a moment and admire the simple cuteness of this droid. He's a li'l "Beetlejuice" sandworm head bolted to a wheel, and he can only talk in binary chirps. Beautiful. Perfect. He's a weaponized mouse droid with an adorable duck face. He can't overtake BB-8 as the sequel trilogy's most beloved droid, but he's so inoffensively sweet that he requires acknowledgement.

13. IG-88

"Star Wars" has a unique niche for certain connoisseurs of violence, and it's done well by it. The murder droid has become a staple of the franchise, and the first one we meet appears in "The Empire Strikes Back." IG-88 was designed to fill out the lineup of bounty hunters Darth Vader employs to hunt the Millennium Falcon and its crew. He was meant to be a one-off, a bit of nifty scenery to suggest a depth to the bounty hunters' milieu.

Almost nothing is a one-off in this franchise, though, and IG-88 is the proof. The '90s spawned a rash of novels that took place before, after, and around the films. They were once semi-canon, and are now branded as Legends. 1996's "Tales of the Bounty Hunters," edited by Kevin J. Anderson, was the first time that IG-88 told his story, although the current canon gives him more to do throughout the Clone Wars. He's no longer just a lump of murder metal by the time Vader passes him over for Boba Fett. According to the big "War of the Bounty Hunters" comic book event, he's the droid Qi'ra calls upon to try and get the frozen Han Solo back before Fett can deliver him to Jabba.

12. L3-37

There's a lot to unpack about the darker issues inside the "Star Wars" universe. One of them is the legal status of droids. "Solo" introduces a politically acute and customized astromech named L3-37, or Elthree. She's one of a handful of female-coded droids, one of the best navigators the galaxy could ask for, and, unfortunately, becomes the victim of a particularly bizarre breach of consent.

Before all of that, she's a great character. She's got a tough personality that can bear Lando's dramatics. She's an activist who realizes the way droids are treated is pretty sketchy, and she'll prioritize their rescue whenever possible. It's also revealed that she's the brains of the Millennium Falcon, her shell "killed" in battle and her neuropaths uploaded and mixed with the Falcon's original programming. She's not asked if she's willing to have this happen. The "Solo" novelization is even worse. There, it reads like the Falcon gaslights Elthree, saying she unconsciously consented after she angrily tells it she was tricked into the upload.

11. General Kalani

"Star Wars: The Clone Wars" enhances the prequel trilogy by fleshing out what the hell was going on between the last two movies, and makes the annoying battle droids into something both interesting and occasionally terrifying. By introducing all-new tactical droids, the bulk of the Separatist forces become an actual threat. One, General Kalani, was so efficient at his role that he, like a handful of others in his product line, developed a personality. By choosing a name, he signals that he was never a rote program. He was someone to fear.

Kalani's impact is enhanced by the fact that he was rarely defeated. He was integral to the bitter psychology of Saw Gerrera, whom Kalani had tortured in an attempt to cow his world, Onderon, into submission. The only reason Kalani fails in his task is human interference. Kalani's later appearance in "Star Wars Rebels" sees him nearly destroy Ezra Bridger and his friends, relenting only when their tactics prove to him that the war he'd still been fighting is truly over. Where he's been since is a mystery, and it's one that's worth exploring.

10. Gonky

"The Bad Batch" excels at using eccentric characters and sitcom-style personality mashups to soften an emotional main storyline about abandonment and loss. So, of course, it's the first "Star Wars" spin-off to finally give the underrated Gonk droid a seat up front.

Gonks, so called because they make a deep "gonk" sound when trundling around on their delightfully stubby legs, are as basic as the mouse droid. They're walking generators, and their personality is once again the result of our ability to humanize almost anything. 

Gonky is the best example in the franchise. He's slightly defective, in that he can't charge all the way anymore. That makes him just like the rest of the Bad Batch. But he's also part of the team, not just a piece of slightly aware furniture. Omega's presence amplifies his, because she's a kid looking for friends in a lonely galaxy. Any child is going to instantly befriend a robot who makes funny noises. Through her, Gonky steals all of our hearts.

9. AZI-3

AZI-3's full droid name includes more numbers than the average person can remember. He's twee at first, an annoying little fella that injects himself into every scene on Geonosis when Clone Trooper Tup arrives to get his "malfunctioning" brain checked out. But AZI-3 becomes an empathetic sidekick as Tup realizes that he's actually discovered the Kaminoan conspiracy that will one day wipe out the Jedi Order.

Because the future is set, we know that Tup's attempt to reveal Palpatine's plot will fail. What we don't expect is how much it will hurt to witness, nor how personal AZI-3 makes it feel. AZI-3 later turns up in "The Bad Batch" as another of Omega's unlikely friends. Though she leaves him behind when she flees with the clones, the season finale sees AZI-3 again turn his loyalty into an affecting superpower, and he saves Omega's life. Once a too-cute sidekick, I'm now actively rooting for him to become an honorary Bad Batch teammate.

8. IG-11

As far as charm is concerned, Din Djarin had plenty of competition in the first episodes of "The Mandalorian," arguably losing out to the cutest green baby the galaxy has ever seen. But his most unlikely competitor was another IG assassin droid. Designated IG-11 and voiced by the Academy Award-winning director Taika Waititi, this droid helped set the series' mixed tone, which encompasses both real danger and cowboy comedy.

IG-11 has some big differences from his less personable predecessor, IG-88. This guy is chatty, dedicated, and ready to take everyone out with him if the situation looks even a little bit tight. It's darkly funny how ready this droid is for the robotic afterlife. It's a trait that turns tragic when IG-11 returns towards the end of the 1st season. Kuiil, the Ugnaught rancher, has reprogrammed the murder bot into a doting caretaker and triage nurse. But there's still plenty of his original self running the show, and IG-11 thinks nothing of becoming a heroic sacrifice so that his charges can get away.

7. AP-5

Protocol droids have a storied Star Wars legacy. Threepio, who we'll get to later, set the standard for these elegant, educated, often uptight assistants. "Star Wars Rebels" introduced us to another one, named AP-5. AP-5 used to be a valued member of a cruiser crew during the Clone Wars. Once the Empire took over, he was relegated to inventory duty. That's where he is when Chopper, Hera Syndulla's aggressive astromech, sneaks on board with a mission in mind.

AP-5 ends up helping Chopper in his schemes, and his reward is becoming an itinerant member of the "Rebels" crew. While not a frequent guest, AP-5 becomes Chopper's suffering partner. His attitude echoes Alan Rickman's performance as Marvin, the clinically depressed robot of 2005's "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy." But AP-5 is lovable in his gloomy way, and he's a surprise hero during an episode where Chopper is hacked by enemy forces.

6. BB-8

BB-8 is criminally adorable, as if designed from the ground up to win over wary "Star Wars" fans. The sequels earn varying judgments in their own right, but BB-8, as the newest robot sidekick to accompany various heroes, wins Best New Sequel Droid hands down. Another beeping wonder whose actual dialogue is left up to interpretation, BB-8's actions are necessarily louder than his words.

A loyal little guy with a sly sense of humor, BB-8 makes his attitude known despite being basically a pasta colander stuck on a beach ball. The swivels and cocks of his head show disbelief, and he can use his various appliances — including, famously, an inner igniter that manages to look like a thumb — to humanize himself in any given conversation. BB-8 is the one sane man when Poe and Rey are running across various scraps of imaginative scenery. Of every character involved in the sequels, it's a relief that this droid came out unscathed.

5. K-2SO

Alan Tudyk is Disney's secret weapon, voicing a variety of silly animals and other characters in almost every one of their recently released films. He got a chance to shine in "Star Wars," too, voicing an acidic but caring droid named K-2SO in "Rogue One." An ex-security droid who went through some creative reconditioning after he met Rebel pilot Cassian Andor, K-2SO is the realist of the doomed group stealing the Death Star plans. He's also the team's unlikely heart.

K-2SO always goes in knowing the odds, and those odds are usually bad. He takes it with sardonic good cheer, though, watching out for Andor even when he's delighted to inform his buddy just how badly he's messed up. Yet K-2SO is just as willing to throw down when it counts. This droid's fate is as grim as the rest of his team's, but the good news is that revisiting Andor's history means we'll eventually get a little more of Tudyk's world-weary narration.

4. HK-47

The rules behind this list specify that we're talking about droids who have appeared on TV or in film, so to include what is arguably the best party member in BioWare's 2003's "Knights of the Old Republic" is skirting the line. Fortunately, canon squeaks this meatbag-hating assassin in on a technicality.

HK-47 requires some finagling to earn as a crew member in the classic RPG, but once he's joined, it's hard for even a light side player to ditch him. He's murderously funny, aware and uncaring of how hateful he is, and has almost zero redeeming value as a person. It's refreshing to talk to him in the middle of ponderous light and dark side decisions, where his concerns boil down to "When do we kill?" 

Basically, HK-47 is a legend, and it's a delight to know that his line of murder bots is canon as of "The Mandalorian." When Ahsoka Tano challenges the Magistrate of Corvus for information, the Magistrate has a small squad of HK droids at her service. Seeing these HKs, agile and deathly, in live action was a treat. HK-47 himself might not be canon yet, but his lineage is.

3. C-3PO

C-3PO, better known as Threepio, is one of the golden icons of "Star Wars." The persnickety, perpetually proper protocol droid is a key part of our introduction to the franchise. He's instantly a full character, nervous but loyal to his astromech friend. He's aware of the murderous geopolitics going on around him, and though the conflict of Empire versus Rebellion isn't something we hold a deeper understanding of yet, he helps navigate us through the biggest need-to-knows within minutes.

The rest of his role in "A New Hope" makes him a fish out of water, yet he retains his vulnerable loyalty and his usefulness. Threepio's not a perfect friend. He gets bogged down in the details and forgets the bigger picture, but he has a good heart. That gives him a place throughout the franchise to come, and although his near-sacrifice in "The Rise of Skywalker" doesn't stick the landing, that's okay. A galaxy with Threepio is much better than one without.

2. C1-10P

There's more than one sassy astromech out there stealing every scene, and although Artoo's supremacy is about to be acknowledged, C1-10P, or Chopper, owns my whole heart. Introduced in "Star Wars Rebels," Hera Syndulla's companion droid has HK-47's soul in a trash-can sized body. Chopper is the unsung hero of the Rebellion. In a wild bit of trivia, this madman has over 50,000 confirmed kills against the Empire.

Chopper is gleefully hostile. If you sent him back in time to kill baby Palpatine, the little dude wouldn't hesitate. It's by the grace of the Force that he respects Hera more than any other living being, and therefore roughly sticks to her ethics. It's a well-earned respect. Hera is the reason this out-of-date droid continues to thrive, and, as "The Bad Batch" showed, he's been there for her since childhood. Chopper is a half-feral cat at the back end of his nine lives. He does not want to be petted, but he still deserves a hug.

1. R2-D2

R2-D2, better known as Artoo, is the other half of our introduction to "Star Wars." His eager agency immediately preps us for the dumb teenage heroics of Luke Skywalker. Artoo hauls Threepio along like luggage, artfully pushing the story where it needs to go. He's both our narrator and, in George Lucas' opinion, the real hero of the story. Artoo is there when it all begins. And Artoo is still there, decades later, watching over the next generation when the saga ends.

The famous blue astromech earned an interesting reputation during the prequels. With his relationship to his fallen Jedi Master fleshed out, Artoo has become a co-conspirator to many of Anakin's shenanigans. With Luke Skywalker, it's clear that Artoo feels he found another trouble-seeking master he could respect. It gives Artoo a greater personality, shining new light on his willingness to throw droid protocols out the window and get to the tough work of helping to save the day. R2-D2 rarely gets the spotlight, but the heroes wouldn't succeed without him. To Luke and Anakin's credit, they always understood the important place this little astromech had in their world. Decades later, so do we.