These are the droids you’re looking for
In honor of the upcoming Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, which will introduce a tiny wheeled green droid named D-O, EW has put together an extremely serious and extremely scientific ranking of the best droids in the galaxy. From tiny cameos to starring roles, these are the finest and most memorable droids depicted on the big screen. (A note: We’re limiting this list to the Star Wars films, so our apologies to Chopper from Star Wars Rebels and IG-11 from The Mandalorian.)
24. Battle droids (The Phantom Menace)
Long before clones and stormtroopers roamed the galaxy, battle droids were a staple of galactic warfare. These droids took various forms and had various abilities throughout the prequel trilogy, but their most recognizable form is the clunky B1 series first introduced in The Phantom Menace. They’re not known for being particularly sturdy. Or accurate. Or bright. Roger roger, indeed.
23. GH-7 medical droid (Revenge of the Sith)
The droid best known for helping to deliver the Skywalker twins — and declaring that Padme was dying because she “lost the will to live.” Great diagnosis, GH-7. Very insightful. Do you even have a medical license?
22. Droideka (The Phantom Menace)
First spotted in The Phantom Menace, these weaponized machines are basically battle droids, but better. They’re faster, nimbler, more destructive… Why did anyone even bother making battle droids when you could have these things rolling around?
21. R5-D4 (A New Hope)
Poor R5 — notable for being completely useless. It’s not his fault he had a bad motivator! Justice for R5!!! This clunky red droid was Uncle Owen’s first choice for an astromech, but he burst into flame before he could get from the Jawa sandcrawler to the Lars family farm, forever altering the fate of the galaxy.
20. RA-7 droid (A New Hope)
A protocol droid, but make it fashion. And vaguely insect-like.
19. 4-LOM (The Empire Strikes Back)
A protocol-droid-turned-bounty-hunter, one of several whom Vader recruits to try and track down the Millennium Falcon. Tragically, he was never as popular as his droid bounty hunter counterpart IG-88.
18. 8D8 (Return of the Jedi)
This skeletal droid only gets a few seconds of screen time in Return of the Jedi, but he makes a nasty impression by torturing a poor GNK droid in Jabba’s palace.
17. EV-9D9 (Return of the Jedi)
Another resident of Jabba’s palace with a taste for droid sadism. It’s EV-9D9 who puts C-3PO and R2 to work when they arrive on Tatooine in Return of the Jedi.
16. Interrogation droid (A New Hope)
The scariest moment in A New Hope isn’t Vader or the trash compactor or the gratuitous close-up of Owen and Beru’s burning bodies. (Although that last one did very much traumatize this EW writer when she first watched it as a 5-year-old.) No, it’s the looming interrogation droid used to torture Leia aboard the Death Star. Needles, blades, and ominous flashing lights? No, thank you.
15. WA-7 waitress droid (Attack of the Clones)
Who knew Coruscant had such a thriving ’50s diner culture? This sassy droid slings Jawa juice and waits tables at Dex’s Diner.
14. R4-P17 (Attack of the Clones)
Every good pilot needs an astromech, and R4 assists Obi-Wan Kenobi on many of his flights — until her tragic death during the Battle of Coruscant.
13. TT-8L/Y7 (Return of the Jedi)
The original Ring smart doorbell.
12. 2-1B medical droid (The Empire Strikes Back)
These handy surgical droids pop up throughout the Star Wars saga, usually patching up some Skywalker who did something dumb and got himself hurt. (A frequent occurrence.)
11. Pit droids (The Phantom Menace)
The prequels’ smallest and most adorable addition to the droid canon. Useful for repairing busted podracers.
10. Imperial probe droid (The Empire Strikes Back)
Need to explore an inhospitable frozen wasteland of a planet, searching for some hidden rebels? Have we got the droid for you!
9. BB-9E (The Last Jedi)
An elite First Order astromech droid — basically what would happen if BB-8 had a goth phase and started exclusively listening to My Chemical Romance.
8. IG-88 (The Empire Strikes Back)
Another droid bounty hunter who’s inexplicably become a fan favorite over the years, despite doing absolutely nothing on screen. To his credit, he does look extremely cool — kinda like the Terminator mixed with a Q-tip?
7. GNK power droid (A New Hope)
Good ol’ gonk droids are essentially portable batteries on legs, and they’re everywhere, making them the unsung heroes of the Star Wars galaxy. They’re also adorable: Look at their stubby little feet! Their trashcan bodies! The weird noises they make! We stan.
6. C-3PO (A New Hope)
An anxious icon. Anthony Daniel’s curmudgeonly protocol droid is one of the saga’s most iconic. He frequently gets into trouble (and frets loudly about it), but he just as frequently is there to help save his friends.
5. Mouse droid (A New Hope)
Look, small things are cute. We don’t make the rules. The Death Star is a cold, inhospitable place, and having tiny little mouse droids zipping around the corridors makes it feel more homey.
4. K-2SO (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story)
Alan Tudyk voices Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’s reprogrammed Imperial security droid, a snarky cynic who hates everyone and everything (except for Diego Luna’s Cassian Andor, his only friend). Yes, he’ll help you on your mission to steal the Death Star plans, but he’s going to complain the whole time.
3. L3-37 (Solo: A Star Wars Story)
Most of Solo is shackled to nostalgia — here’s how Han got his name! here’s how Han got his blaster! — but Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s L3-37 is something the Star Wars universe has never seen before. A droid obsessed with droid rights, L3 is a fast-talking radical who disobeys orders and thrives on chaos. She’s also self-assembled and self-modified, making her truly one of a kind.
2. BB-8 (The Force Awakens)
The sequel trilogy introduced dozens of memorable new characters — Rey, Poe, Finn, all those porgs — but hands down, the best addition has been BB-8. This sassy, spherical astromech droid is the unexpected heart of the new films, injecting the series with both comedy and some surprisingly poignant moments. Also, he’s just adorable, with his roly-poly body and big bug eye.
1. R2-D2 (A New Hope)
C’mon, like anyone else could take the No. 1 spot. Good ol’ R2 has borne witness to some of the most dramatic events in the galaxy, from helping protect Queen Amidala to delivering Princess Leia’s message to Obi-Wan Kenobi. This clunky blue astromech is one of the only Star Wars characters to appear in every single one of the main Skywalker films (plus a cameo in Rogue One). He’s smart, he’s resourceful, and he’s got a little bit of a temper. Congratulations, Artoo: You are the galaxy’s Next Top Droid.