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(io9)   Finally someone speaks out and asks the obvious question. Why couldn't R2D2 speak English?   (io9.com) divider line 218
    More: Interesting, English language, data storage device  
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9814 clicks; posted to Geek » on 25 Jan 2014 at 12:12 AM (12 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-01-24 11:54:39 PM
Because characters in the Star Wars universe speak Galactic Basic, not English.
 
2014-01-25 12:01:48 AM

BKITU: Because characters in the Star Wars universe speak Galactic Basic, not English.


Yeah, but why didn't 3PO respond in bleep code instead of Galactic Basic?
 
2014-01-25 12:14:11 AM

PC LOAD LETTER: BKITU: Because characters in the Star Wars universe speak Galactic Basic, not English.

Yeah, but why didn't 3PO respond in bleep code instead of Galactic Basic?


media.funlol.com
 
2014-01-25 12:15:33 AM
Bleeps and bloops are cuter. Duh!
 
2014-01-25 12:15:58 AM
I always assumed R2 was a few generations removed from the more modern C3P0
 
2014-01-25 12:20:11 AM
Well, I figure R2 was designed to communicate with other machines, so he had a simple communications program for that purpose. C3PO was a protocol droid, so it makes sense for him to have more knowledge of languages.
 
2014-01-25 12:20:34 AM
As far as I can tell, being able to speak English (or Galactic Base, or whatever) would have made him whiny and useless.
 
2014-01-25 12:22:08 AM
I want an answer to the more obvious question: did they REALLY stick Kenny Baker's aged dwarf ass in the tin can again for the prequels or was his name in the credits just for nostalgia reasons? Logic would suggest that they had the money and the technology to build a radio-controlled bot. Hell, they might have even had it by the time they made Empire or Jedi.
 
2014-01-25 12:22:32 AM
He WAS speaking English. But he cussed all the time so they had to censor his words to make sure the movies got a PG rating.
 
2014-01-25 12:26:02 AM
You don't waste an expensive vocabulator on an astromech droid, you dolt.


/Before you give me a swirly, please know that I had to look both of those things up.
 
2014-01-25 12:27:11 AM
Because an astromech has no need for a voice box?
 
2014-01-25 12:28:33 AM
Because that's what made sense to our imagination in the late 70s based on the available technology.
 
2014-01-25 12:29:25 AM
 
2014-01-25 12:29:38 AM
zooty zoot zoot
 
2014-01-25 12:31:26 AM
So, are protocol droids basically butlers, or ass-kissers, or what?  You never hear any of them saying "Protocol dictates..." or "Sir, you're not following protocol".
 
2014-01-25 12:33:36 AM
I have only known one person who can interpret a stack dump of hexadecimal and it was because he was used to looking for patterns and a genius.  No one can understand machine language.
 
2014-01-25 12:38:05 AM

rev. dave: I have only known one person who can interpret a stack dump of hexadecimal and it was because he was used to looking for patterns and a genius.  No one can understand machine language.


No one except Mel.
 
2014-01-25 12:42:29 AM
I always assumed it was because R2 type droids while able to understand commands in galactic basic they were  not designed to communicate with anything besides machines.
 
2014-01-25 12:45:50 AM
He could speak but only spoke galactic basic ironically.

Hipster.
 
2014-01-25 12:46:15 AM

stewbert: Because that's what made sense to our imagination in the late 70s based on the available technology.


It still makes sense. Why would you need your refrigerator or calculator talking to you? Threepio talks because he's there as an interpreter. No one talks to slaves. Slaves that have little free will because they are mind wiped before they develop a personality, no less.
 
2014-01-25 12:46:55 AM

ruta: You don't waste an expensive vocabulator on an astromech droid, you dolt.


/Before you give me a swirly, please know that I had to look both of those things up.


And we're done.
 
2014-01-25 12:47:19 AM

Icey_M: I always assumed R2 was a few generations removed from the more modern C3P0


It's actually the other way around. C-3PO was originally built by Cybot Galactica ~80 years before Anakin Skywalker put his primary components (plus other scavenged parts) back together. R2-D2 was built later, and his appearance in The Phantom Menace wasn't too long after he was created.

C-3PO's creation year was 112 BBY (Before the Battle of Yavin), while R2's was 33 BBY.  3PO had been built, destroyed, and rebuilt by Anakin (mostly) before R2 even rolled off the assembly line.
 
2014-01-25 12:48:17 AM

PanicMan: So, are protocol droids basically butlers, or ass-kissers, or what?  You never hear any of them saying "Protocol dictates..." or "Sir, you're not following protocol".


Basically Emily Post for 6 million cultures, so you don't piss off other culture with faux pas. That's why he's so prissy.
 
2014-01-25 12:57:30 AM
Because the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation was founded by a bunch of mindless jerks who were the first against the wall when the Empire came.
 
2014-01-25 01:03:57 AM
Because George was just making it up as he went along.
 
2014-01-25 01:06:34 AM

Mad_Radhu: Because the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation was founded by a bunch of mindless jerks who were the first against the wall when the Empire came.


Your plastic pal who's fun to be with?
 
2014-01-25 01:06:58 AM
As seen in the movie, R2D2 could write English on a computer screen for Luke to read. Unlike what ended up happening, I'd guess that the primary role of an astromech droid is to fix stuff in space...the fact that one of them ended up hanging around in a swamp, desert, cloud city, space port, eucumenopolis, being a drink cart, courier, etc. is the highly unusual activity which might require being able to do more than bleep and write English on a screen.
 
2014-01-25 01:08:04 AM
R2D2 was Chinese junk, that's why.
 
2014-01-25 01:08:51 AM

2CountyFairs: Well, I figure R2 was designed to communicate with other machines, so he had a simple communications program for that purpose. C3PO was a protocol droid, so it makes sense for him to have more knowledge of languages.


Then why wasn't he the one that could speak the language of moisture vaporators, or binary load lifters, or whatever it was that C3PO could do that got them the gig with uncle Ben?

 
2014-01-25 01:10:11 AM
I would presume GL did it that way because C-3PO has a 'humanoid' form so it makes sense for him to speak. Where as R2-D2 looks like a rolling garbage can, it would seem strange for him to speak.
 
2014-01-25 01:10:25 AM

Ishkur: He WAS speaking English. But he cussed all the time so they had to censor his words to make sure the movies got a PG rating.


I had a friend who always figured R2 cursed in binary like the illegitimate child of a truck driver and sailor, raised in a whorehouse. Considering what R2 did (part pilot, part engineer, part handyman, and part-time courier), it makes an amazing amount of sense.
 
2014-01-25 01:14:26 AM
More importantly, if R2D2 could fly in the first Trilogy movies, then why did he never fly in A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back or Return of the Jedi?
 
2014-01-25 01:15:39 AM

PanicMan: So, are protocol droids basically butlers, or ass-kissers, or what?  You never hear any of them saying "Protocol dictates..." or "Sir, you're not following protocol".


Most are designed to perform all sorts of diplomatic and light domestic duties. That does include work as butlers and servers, but it also includes etiquette and protocol when encountering different cultures. No one person would be able to remember all the intricate ways to deal with members of others species, so a protocol droid's function is to be their companion for these occasions. They are also used as interpreters in businesses, government, and on starships (since there is no "universal translator" device in Star Wars).

3PO, however, is slightly different. Because he was rebuilt by Anakin, who used a lot of nonstandard replacement parts and whose hand was guided by the Force, he is unique. His personality is a bit different. He's more independent, and quite inventive for a droid. He also has more personality quirks and seems to be more humble than the average protocol droid, which are known to be haughty at times.

On top of that, in the Star Wars galaxy, droids typically have their memories wiped every few months. Some might go a year or two without such a procedure, but it's considered abnormal to leave your droid's memory intact for long, because the longer they go without a memory wipe, the more "quirks" they develop. Of course, what people refer to as "quirks" is an individual personality forming based on experience. When you wipe a droid's memory, they're more manageable. When you don't, they become more independent and deviate from their programming.

With that in mind, you have to consider that Luke  NEVER wipes his droids' memory, and this is in addition to the several months 3PO had been left unwiped before meeting Luke.

R2, on the other hand, was special. He was apparently never subjected to a memory wipe from the time of his service to Amidala all the way through to his service to Luke. This was by design, as Kenobi and Yoda believed it was important for "someone" to maintain intimate knowledge of the past without being subject to the effects of old age or being hunted by Vader. He was their link. Both R2 and 3PO were always supposed to end up as Leia's droids, and R2 was trusted with the knowledge needed to bring down the Empire. He was also, apparently, trusted with the secret of Anakin Skywalker, as he never revealed it to Luke despite being a first-hand witness.

But back to 3PO -- His adventures and unique nature made him very unlike any other protocol droid. He was "crazy" by droid standards, and far more self-aware and independent than other protocol droids. Being paired with a droid who knew ALL the answers, and was essentially the Rebellion's most long-term, deeply-hidden spy might have had something to do with him being the way he was, too.
 
2014-01-25 01:15:56 AM

skinink: More importantly, if R2D2 could fly in the first Trilogy movies, then why did he never fly in A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back or Return of the Jedi?


Product recall on the thruster option.
 
2014-01-25 01:16:51 AM
Because it's a goddamn movie (or movies as the case may be).
 
2014-01-25 01:17:14 AM

Doc Batarang: As seen in the movie, R2D2 could write English on a computer screen for Luke to read. Unlike what ended up happening, I'd guess that the primary role of an astromech droid is to fix stuff in space...the fact that one of them ended up hanging around in a swamp, desert, cloud city, space port, eucumenopolis, being a drink cart, courier, etc. is the highly unusual activity which might require being able to do more than bleep and write English on a screen.


It wasn't English. It was Aurebesh.

static3.wikia.nocookie.net
 
2014-01-25 01:17:54 AM

ZeroCorpse: Doc Batarang: As seen in the movie, R2D2 could write English on a computer screen for Luke to read. Unlike what ended up happening, I'd guess that the primary role of an astromech droid is to fix stuff in space...the fact that one of them ended up hanging around in a swamp, desert, cloud city, space port, eucumenopolis, being a drink cart, courier, etc. is the highly unusual activity which might require being able to do more than bleep and write English on a screen.

It wasn't English. It was Aurebesh.

[static3.wikia.nocookie.net image 850x605]


More specifically, it was Galactic Basic, which is made up of the Aurebesh.
 
2014-01-25 01:19:33 AM
He was really only there to carry Dr. Theopolis around, so it doesn't seem like there's much point in having him speak English.
 
2014-01-25 01:19:59 AM

skinink: More importantly, if R2D2 could fly in the first Trilogy movies, then why did he never fly in A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back or Return of the Jedi?


That was decades ago.

Think about it this way: You buy a car in 1975 and it has a CB antenna. You come across the same car in your uncle's garage in 1998 and there's no CB antenna. Why do you think that is?
 
2014-01-25 01:20:00 AM
Because he was horribly, horribly racist. If he was in english that movie would have had an R rating and turned away audiences.
 
2014-01-25 01:20:07 AM

ZeroCorpse: PanicMan: So, are protocol droids basically butlers, or ass-kissers, or what?  You never hear any of them saying "Protocol dictates..." or "Sir, you're not following protocol".

Most are designed to perform all sorts of diplomatic and light domestic duties. That does include work as butlers and servers, but it also includes etiquette and protocol when encountering different cultures. No one person would be able to remember all the intricate ways to deal with members of others species, so a protocol droid's function is to be their companion for these occasions. They are also used as interpreters in businesses, government, and on starships (since there is no "universal translator" device in Star Wars).

3PO, however, is slightly different. Because he was rebuilt by Anakin, who used a lot of nonstandard replacement parts and whose hand was guided by the Force, he is unique. His personality is a bit different. He's more independent, and quite inventive for a droid. He also has more personality quirks and seems to be more humble than the average protocol droid, which are known to be haughty at times.

On top of that, in the Star Wars galaxy, droids typically have their memories wiped every few months. Some might go a year or two without such a procedure, but it's considered abnormal to leave your droid's memory intact for long, because the longer they go without a memory wipe, the more "quirks" they develop. Of course, what people refer to as "quirks" is an individual personality forming based on experience. When you wipe a droid's memory, they're more manageable. When you don't, they become more independent and deviate from their programming.

With that in mind, you have to consider that Luke  NEVER wipes his droids' memory, and this is in addition to the several months 3PO had been left unwiped before meeting Luke.

R2, on the other hand, was special. He was apparently never subjected to a memory wipe from the time of his service to Amidala all the way through to his service to Luke. This was by design, as Kenobi and Yoda believed it was important for "someone" to maintain intimate knowledge of the past without being subject to the effects of old age or being hunted by Vader. He was their link. Both R2 and 3PO were always supposed to end up as Leia's droids, and R2 was trusted with the knowledge needed to bring down the Empire. He was also, apparently, trusted with the secret of Anakin Skywalker, as he never revealed it to Luke despite being a first-hand witness.

But back to 3PO -- His adventures and unique nature made him very unlike any other protocol droid. He was "crazy" by droid standards, and far more self-aware and independent than other protocol droids. Being paired with a droid who knew ALL the answers, and was essentially the Rebellion's most long-term, deeply-hidden spy might have had something to do with him being the way he was, too.


Damn, son. I am impressed and enlightened.
 
2014-01-25 01:22:16 AM

ZeroCorpse: PanicMan: So, are protocol droids basically butlers, or ass-kissers, or what?  You never hear any of them saying "Protocol dictates..." or "Sir, you're not following protocol".

3PO, however, is slightly different. Because he was rebuilt by Anakin, who used a lot of nonstandard replacement parts and whose hand was guided by the Force, he is unique. His personality is a bit different. He's more independent, and quite inventive for a droid. He also has more personality quirks and seems to be more humble than the average protocol droid, which are known to be haughty at times.


In one of the previous Star Wars threads I saw a cool theory that CP-3O was unconsciously infused with some special Force augmented luck by Anakin, so he wound up being a kind of fail safe that helped ensure Anakin's eventual redemption.
 
2014-01-25 01:24:52 AM
Hypothesis 1

Hypothesis 2

Hypothesis 3: like most comedy duos, 3P0 and R2 are opposites.  You have the straight man and the comic, the smart one and the dumb one, the big one and the little one.  In this case, 3P0 is the tall annoying one who can talk, and R2 is the short competent one who can't.  Basically, he's Teller.

Seriously, though, I think R2 is the real hero of the movies.  The entire narrative is a string of "R2 saves everyone's asses."
 
2014-01-25 01:27:00 AM
Because they're movies. Christ, people.
 
2014-01-25 01:31:05 AM
Why would a machine that didn't remotely resemble a human have a human voice? It would have sounded oddly disembodied, like the computer on the original Star Trek.
 
2014-01-25 01:35:56 AM

Mad_Radhu: ZeroCorpse: PanicMan: So, are protocol droids basically butlers, or ass-kissers, or what?  You never hear any of them saying "Protocol dictates..." or "Sir, you're not following protocol".

3PO, however, is slightly different. Because he was rebuilt by Anakin, who used a lot of nonstandard replacement parts and whose hand was guided by the Force, he is unique. His personality is a bit different. He's more independent, and quite inventive for a droid. He also has more personality quirks and seems to be more humble than the average protocol droid, which are known to be haughty at times.

In one of the previous Star Wars threads I saw a cool theory that CP-3O was unconsciously infused with some special Force augmented luck by Anakin, so he wound up being a kind of fail safe that helped ensure Anakin's eventual redemption.


That was probably my theory. At least, I've been saying that all along.

Who told Luke to pick R2 when R5-D4 blew up on Tattooine? C-3PO.

Who, by putting R2 in Luke's hands, ensured that R2 wasn't on the sandcrawler when the stormtroopers hit it? C-3PO.

Who hid R2 behind a locked door when the stormtroopers were looking for him? C-3PO

Who saved the entire group from the trash compactor? C-3PO (OK, R2 did the actual jack-in, but 3PO was the one that gave the order).

Who talked to the Falcon's rude computer and found out that the hyperdrive motivator had been destroyed, thus leading to the proper repair which allowed them to escape Vader? C-3PO.

Who saved the group from being eaten by Ewoks? C-3PO (with help from Luke, but it was 3PO looking like a god and speaking Ewokese that saved them).

Whose storytelling convinced the Ewoks to join the Rebels, thus ensuring the victory at the Battle of Endor AND the return of Anakin to the Light Side? C-3PO.

There's more, but all along throughout the story, C-3PO does little things that look like bungling at the time, but when you look at them as a whole and consider that his (re)Maker is Anakin, and also consider that everything he did to save the group was conversely throwing a wrench in Vader's plans.

So yes, I say that the Force guided Anakin's hand when he rebuilt 3PO, and in him was imbued the timing, luck, and will to serve as Anakin's tool of sabotage against his Vader persona. If he had never rebuilt 3PO, he would never have returned to the Light Side, Luke would be dead with his aunt and uncle, Leia would never be rescued, R2 would have been in Vader's hands. The Battle of Yavin would have been lost. The Rebellion would have been destroyed. It was all because Anakin unknowingly created this droid that spent the next 40 years screwing his plans over in some way.
 
2014-01-25 01:36:51 AM
Repeat to yourself "It's just a show... I should really just relax"

Seriously Star Wars nerds, the reason is "George Lucas thought it sounded cool in the mid 1970s."
 
2014-01-25 01:38:04 AM

ZeroCorpse: Mad_Radhu: ZeroCorpse: PanicMan: So, are protocol droids basically butlers, or ass-kissers, or what?  You never hear any of them saying "Protocol dictates..." or "Sir, you're not following protocol".

3PO, however, is slightly different. Because he was rebuilt by Anakin, who used a lot of nonstandard replacement parts and whose hand was guided by the Force, he is unique. His personality is a bit different. He's more independent, and quite inventive for a droid. He also has more personality quirks and seems to be more humble than the average protocol droid, which are known to be haughty at times.

In one of the previous Star Wars threads I saw a cool theory that CP-3O was unconsciously infused with some special Force augmented luck by Anakin, so he wound up being a kind of fail safe that helped ensure Anakin's eventual redemption.

That was probably my theory. At least, I've been saying that all along.

Who told Luke to pick R2 when R5-D4 blew up on Tattooine? C-3PO.

Who, by putting R2 in Luke's hands, ensured that R2 wasn't on the sandcrawler when the stormtroopers hit it? C-3PO.

Who hid R2 behind a locked door when the stormtroopers were looking for him? C-3PO

Who saved the entire group from the trash compactor? C-3PO (OK, R2 did the actual jack-in, but 3PO was the one that gave the order).

Who talked to the Falcon's rude computer and found out that the hyperdrive motivator had been destroyed, thus leading to the proper repair which allowed them to escape Vader? C-3PO.

Who saved the group from being eaten by Ewoks? C-3PO (with help from Luke, but it was 3PO looking like a god and speaking Ewokese that saved them).

Whose storytelling convinced the Ewoks to join the Rebels, thus ensuring the victory at the Battle of Endor AND the return of Anakin to the Light Side? C-3PO.

There's more, but all along throughout the story, C-3PO does little things that look like bungling at the time, but when you look at them as a whole and consider that his (re)Maker is Anakin, ...


Stick to your theories about Prince.
 
2014-01-25 01:40:11 AM

Bondith: Hypothesis 1

Hypothesis 2

Hypothesis 3: like most comedy duos, 3P0 and R2 are opposites.  You have the straight man and the comic, the smart one and the dumb one, the big one and the little one.  In this case, 3P0 is the tall annoying one who can talk, and R2 is the short competent one who can't.  Basically, he's Teller.

Seriously, though, I think R2 is the real hero of the movies.  The entire narrative is a string of "R2 saves everyone's asses."


A lot of R2's saves are at the behest of 3PO. R2 is a spy. He's focused on his missions. It takes 3PO yelling at him and demanding he deviate from his present course to get R2 to save everyone. If 3PO weren't there, R2 would have tried to stubbornly go on with his mission to find Kenobi alone (from the confines of the sandcrawler) and he would have been in Imperial hands within a day.

If 3PO weren't there, R2 wouldn't have shut down the garbage compactor.

If 3PO weren't there, R2 wouldn't have known the problem with the Falcon (because the Falcon's computer was obnoxious and spoke a weird dialect) and thus wouldn't have been able to repair the hyperdrive motivator in time.

If 3PO weren't there, the ewoks would have hollowed out R2 and used him as a bongo.

3PO is the unwitting hero of the series. R2 is the action-oriented professional who needs 3PO's conscience to do be motivated to do the proper thing.
 
2014-01-25 01:41:50 AM

B.L.Z. Bub: Stick to your theories about Prince.


That's not mine! That's uh- somebody else's theory that I just- uh- passed on for them?

/Okay, it's mine.
//And I'm pleased that it has made it around the Internet as much as it has.
///The Britney story hasn't gone nearly as far.
 
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