“These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.” Droids are as common as the alien races that we meet in the Star Wars universe. Some have been household names for decades like C-3PO and R2-D2 and the most recent addition to familiarity is Poe Dameron’s buddy, BB-8 and the sarcastic K-2SO from Rogue One. While an evil droid was attempted to be added into our minds in the Empire droid BB-9E, he didn’t really stand out in his collective 3 minutes of screen time. Solo: A Star Wars Story though, will introduce us to a new droid.
L3-37 will be played by actress Phoebe Waller-Bridge providing motion capture for the droid which the filmmakers claim we have “never seen” another character like this in previous films. I know what you’re thinking… we have absolutely seen droids before. Allow me to elaborate. One of the unique elements about L3-37 is that she is “self-modified,” according to co-writer Jon Kasdan, as she makes her own alterations when necessary. “The idea is that she’s sort of a mutt, if you will, of various parts of different kinds of droids who has improved upon herself.”
After seeing her debut in Solo’s teaser trailer, fans quickly noticed that she appeared to be composed of several different droid components, unlike the more unified looks of previously droids (of course, bearing in mind 3PO’s red arm in Force Awakens).
“She’s a complete individual in the galaxy,” Kasdan pointed out. “We wanted to have it be a completely different kind of droid than you’ve ever seen in the movies. And we definitely wanted it to be a female. We thought is was more than time for that.”
This “self-modified” quality is what makes the droid such a good companion to Lando Calrissian, portrayed by Donald Glover (aka Childish Gambino for my hip hop fans out there.)
“I think they’re both kind of self-made,” Glover noted. “And they get each other in that way.”
An aspect that truly brought this relationship together was the brilliance of Waller-Bridge’s mo-cap performance.
“She has a working relationship with Lando, and it’s very sophisticated and informed by years of working together,” co-writer Lawrence Kasdan admitted. “And, Phoebe, herself, is hilarious. The effect that she will appear in is amazing, but she comes through very strongly even with this astounding [CGI], both her humor and her physicality. If you meet Phoebe, she’s one of these people you just fall in love with immediately.”
While 3PO and 2SO create humor from their reluctance to actually enter any danger; L3-37’s own charm originates from a different perspective.
“Her AI is way up there in terms of IQ,” director Ron Howard detailed. “She’s capable of some pretty interesting conversations. And Phoebe is hilarious and brilliant and really helped bring that character to life in ways that are funny and surprising.”