This post was originally published by In A Far Away Galaxy.
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How Robby the Robot from Forbidden Planet influenced the development of C3PO
We’ve covered many of the influences that films and novels have had over George Lucas but Kitbashed found a great one in the form of the classic movie Forbidden Planet. I particularly enjoyed discovering how the famous ‘Robby the Robot’ had an influence on the robot that became C3PO.
While we have previously discussed how Ralph McQuarrie’s design for C3PO was inspired by the Maschinenmensch from Fritz Lang’s famous film, Metropolis and that his comedy duo act with his foil R2D2 came from The Hidden Fortress, it’s Robby the Robot that sets the tone and inspiration of the ‘goldenrod’.
Robbie the Robot did it first as he was being introduced to the human space travellers:
“If you do not speak English, I am at your disposal with 187 other languages, dialects and sub-tongues”
Word on the street has it that George Lucas has stated that the lumbering robot was not a direct inspiration for C3PO.
This is not wholly true.
In the documentary about science fiction films of the 1950’s, ‘Look at the Sky!’ a discussion is had with directors Steven Spielberg and George Lucas about Forbidden Planet.
There’s a further reference or ‘inspired moment’ from Robby in A New Hope. At a point in Forbidden Planet the character Alta tries several times to summon Robby with her remote control, he excuses his absence by having been busy taking an ‘oil bath’.
What does C3PO do when he gets to Luke’s moisture farm?
He has an oil bath and he exclaims “Thank the maker! This oil bath is going to feel so good.”
And as we know now from the reveal in The Phantom Menace, Darth Vader is C3PO’s maker, the line is doubly clever.