Let's Dwell on L3-37, One of the Best (and Most Totally Doomed) 'Star Wars' Droids Ever
(Welcome to The Galaxy-Wide Star Wars Character Guide, where we give proper due to the smaller figures in Star Wars history.)
You can already tell the Disney Star Wars era will go down in history for some specific things. One will be a massive increase in content for sure. Another will be a slow takeover by Clone Wars and Rebels mythos. Somewhere on the list, however, needs to be an acknowledgment of the great improvement Star Wars droids have undergone in these new offerings.
Save for BB-8, you probably don’t remember any of their names. Nevertheless, the Disney-era droids tend to be among the most exciting elements of a new Star Wars film or TV show. I’m not sure what unique characteristics I would assign to Cassian Andor, Jyn Erso or Bodhi Rook, yet I could talk all day about K-2SO, IG-11 or the subject of this article: L3-37. Both in writing and performance, these droids tend to outshine their human co-stars. It’s just a shame that they are almost all dead as a doornail. Or something worse, in L3-37’s case.
Which Character is this Again?
We all know Han Solo originally got the Millennium Falcon from Lando Calrissian. What we didn’t know is that, just as Han has Chewie, Lando also had a co-pilot/life partner. L3-37 is that co-pilot/life partner. She’s also far and away the best thing Solo: A Star Wars Story has to offer.
People have strong opinions about Solo: A Star Wars Story. And they should. Good or bad, it’s the film that finally showed Disney they couldn’t count on a billion-dollar success just become something has Star Wars in the title. People still need a reason to see a movie, and “your favorite characters but young” is not in and of itself a license to print money.
In other words, you have to add your own flair. Solo struggles with this. The film can be fun but rarely surges with its own unique life. Other than when L3-37 is onscreen, that is.
Performed by Phoebe Waller-Bridge (checking a third time to make sure I didn’t accidentally write Phoebe Bridgers – okay, looks good), L3-37 offers Solo a breath of fresh Star Wars air. Enough with all these guy droids! Here we have a fully female personality with a penchant for rebellious uprising. Lando may have all the charm and pizazz, but L3-37 is obviously the one pulling all the strings, the brain behind the cape as it were. And also the fire behind the cape. Maybe even the heart behind the cape.
Does This Character Warrant a Toy?
Be honest. If this article did not come with a visual reminder of what L3-37 looks like, would you remember with much detail? The character’s design isn’t bad, exactly. It just doesn’t stand out. Perhaps the lack of facial features hurts the design, though that didn’t stop BB-8 or R2-D2 from rolling into people’s hearts. What is it about L3-37 that looks so bland?
This is all to say that while L3-37 is a great character in performance and on the page, she is not visually distinctive enough to make a must-have Star Wars toy based on character design. You do have to have one, however, if only to make her and Lando kiss, something this film only hints at, albeit heavily.
How Important is This Character?
If you are going to make a prequel, you might as well mess around with canon in clever ways, and that’s exactly what Solo does with L3-37. At one point in the film, L3-37’s body dies. But her brain – with its supposedly immaculate navigation system – gets uploaded into the Millennium Falcon. This means L3-37 has been a part of every Star Wars adventure featuring the famous ship. She was in the original trilogy and the new one, and if the Millennium Falcon appears in whatever comes next, she’ll be there too.
But is it really her? Her personality, the best thing about her, certainly doesn’t aver itself within the ship’s walls. Which leads to the dark question of whether she’s now just a silent slave to the ship, alive but never to be heard of – or thought of – again. It’s a little too sad to fathom, especially from such lighthearted adventure fare as Star Wars. I don’t think we are supposed to consider it but… how can you not? She is, after all, the droid speaking up for droid rights. The irony of enslaving her brain within a ship’s computer is almost too thick to be accidental.
Is This a Secretly Great Star Wars Character?
L3-37 is a great character, but it’s no secret. Solo: A Star Wars Story gets a boost of new life whenever she’s onscreen and it’s a shame she enters the film so late and leaves it so early. There’s no twisting of canon to make this possible, but what if L3-37 and K-2SO could somehow meet and get married and never again bother themselves with dumb humans who don’t give them the respect and credit they deserve? That’s a Disney+ show I would watch for sure. Instead, if I want to see L3-37, I have to look at blinking lights on the Millennium Falcon and imagine that’s her, desperately trying to communicate to the outside world.
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