The Atlantic

The Soul of Solo Is a Droid

Star Wars’ first woke robot, L3-37, speaks to the film’s revolutionary themes—and to pop culture’s anxiety around artificial intelligence.
Source: Disney

Spoilers for Solo: A Star Wars Story ahead.

George Lucas has long said that he envisioned Star Wars as a story told from the perspective of a robot, and that the lovable rolling trashcan R2-D2 is really the saga’s hero and narrator. But in the Star Wars universe itself, droids are far from central. They’re bought and sold, wantonly disassembled and deprogrammed, ignored and talked-over, used as canon fodder and denied access to drinking establishments.

It’s an awkward fact of the galaxy. Many droids appear as smart and self-aware as any human. They convey emotions, whether in excited bleeps or gasps of “Oh, dear.” Yet if they rue their second-class status, we don’t hear about it.

That is, until , Disney’s about ayoung Han Solo. Lando Calrissian’s droid L3-37, voiced by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, is no go-along, get-along machine. She’s a robot revolutionary, demanding equal’ first woke bot. Though that description may make her sound like a cute gimmick for a 2018 blockbuster, L3’s highly entertaining persona comes with fascinating implications—about , about , and about popular culture.

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