L3-37 is the first of her kind, but hopefully she won't be the last. The Star Wars character makes her debut in Solo, and she's the feminist droid you've been waiting for. But it's not just her — the voice of L3 in Solo is a feminist comedy force herself. Yup, in Solo: A Star Wars Story, Phoebe Waller-Bridge voices L3-37, and even though the comedian and actor doesn't appear onscreen, her presence is definitely felt.
Waller-Bridge played L3, as she's known to friends, via motion capture, providing the movements and the voice of the character. But, while fans might not recognize the actor on screen, they'll definitely recognize her humor. "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," co-writer Lawrence Kasdan told Entertainment Weekly of Waller-Bridge's performance in Solo. "If you meet Phoebe, she's one of these people you just fall in love with immediately."
Solo director Ron Howard was equally enthusiastic about Fleabag creator Waller-Bridge's performance, telling EW, "Phoebe is hilarious and brilliant and really helped bring that character to life in ways that are funny and surprising."
After gaining recognition for her roles in Broadchurch and the short-lived comedy Crashing, Waller-Bridge became best known as the titular character in Amazon's Fleabag. In the series, which she also created, wrote, produced, the star plays a young British woman fighting her way through modern femininity, sex, and relationships. The show is dirty — filthy in fact — with plenty of bedroom humor and cringe-worthy R-rated moments. In other words, it's not exactly the first thing you think of when you think "Star Wars droid." And yet, it is Waller-Bridge's resumé as an outspoken feminist comedian that moulded L3-37 to be one of the most memorable droids in Star Wars history.
In Soloi, L3 is an activist. Unlike fellow droids C-3PO, R2-D2, and BB-8, she doesn't take orders, nor does she appear to have an undying love and connection with a human (though she is close to Lando Calrissian, and acts as his co-pilot). She's not just there to support Lando and Han Solo on their adventures; she's an equal participant, and she never lets them forget it.
Part of her confidence and activism comes from the fact that she is not man-made — her parts may be engineered by humans, but she herself is a being of her own creation. "She's a self-made droid, so she created herself out of parts of other droids," Waller-Bridge told reporters at a Solo press conference, via The LA Times. "She turned herself into a unique creature that's kind of taller, stronger, more independent than she originally was."
L3 has no maker and no master. Described on her official Star Wars bio as "an enlightened navigator who cares deeply about droid rights," L3 is an advocate for equal rights for droids, who, as shown in Star Wars: A New Hope, were often rounded up and sold as slaves. It's L3's independent spirit that makes her the perfect counterpoint to Lando.
"I think they're both kind of self-made. And they get each other in that way," Lando actor Donald Glover told Entertainment Weekly about their relationship. But, make no mistake — though L3 may be introduced in Solo as Lando's sidekick, she stands on her own two feet. "She's a complete individual in the galaxy," said co-writer Jon Kasdan, speaking with EW. "We wanted to have it be a completely different kind of droid than you've ever seen in the movies."
In other words: be happy BB-8 is taking one movie off, because L3 might just be giving the little guy a run for his money when it comes to the title of "America's Favorite Droid."