How C-3PO Got His Red Arm In 'The Force Awakens' Is A Truly Tragic Story

One of the greatest joys of watching Star Wars: The Force Awakens was seeing all of the classic characters making their return to the franchise. Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, Han Solo, Chewbacca, R2-D2, and C-3PO were all back, and all settled into their roles perfectly, even if some of them looked a little different. And one of the biggest visual changes was in the case of Threepio, who was sporting a red arm, which he called attention to, but never explained. But now fans can cross this off the list of life's great mysteries, as the reason for C-3PO's red arm in The Force Awakens has finally been revealed.

Thanks to Disney's ownership of both Marvel Comics and Lucasfilm, the parent company of Star Wars, Marvel is able to release a series of comic books that address what happened to these iconic characters during the 30 year gap between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. This week sees the release of a C-3PO story that finally explains the origin of his crimson appendage, and it's a much more heartbreaking tale than you were probably expecting. The story was penned by James Robinson, Tony Harris, and Joe Caramagna, and here's what went down, according to io9's James Whitbrook (spoilers to follow).

C-3PO is sent on a mission with several other Resistance droids as well as a prisoner, a droid of the First Order, when they crash on a random planet and their human crew perishes. The droids must make their way across the planet in order to reach a distress beacon before it stops operating so they can be saved. Along the way, a couple of things happen.

For one, C-3PO and his prisoner, named Omri, have existential conversations about what it means to be a droid. Droids constantly have themselves reprogrammed and their memories wiped, so even though they're sentient, they're not really in control of their lives. C-3PO and Omri are enemies now, but at one point they very well could have been on the same side. The other thing that happens on the journey is the deaths of the other droids. They are all picked off, one by one, in various ways, and C-3PO has his arm blasted off.

Eventually, it's down to just one-armed C-3PO and Omri when they reach the beacon. In the middle of an acid rain storm, Omri decides to sacrifice himself to activate the beacon, saving C-3PO in the process. The acid washes away a coat of paint, revealing that Omri was once red, and literally showing a past life that he has since forgotten. Omri successfully activates the beacon before falling apart and dying, and C-3PO is rescued. As a tribute, he takes Omri's now-red arm, which had fallen off, and decides to wear it in remembrance of his fallen comrade.

And now you're crying. Over C-3PO. I bet that's not something you ever expected to happen.

Images: Disney/Lucasfilm; Marvel Comics;