On the 25th of May in 1977, everything changed. Audiences sat in awe as that first note of John Williams’ theme blasted out and two words appeared on screen: Star Wars.
George Lucas’ space opera made its debut in U.S. cinemas and gave birth to an enormous science fiction franchise and a mythology that would change the world.
Since then, we have had forty years of lightsabers, wookiees, Sith Lords, X-Wings, force chokes, mind tricks, laser pistols, sand people, robots, Stormtroopers, scoundrels, masters, apprentices etc. etc.
The Jawa Sandcrawler Robots
Perhaps the most iconic pair of robots in science fiction are the George Lucas creations, C3-PO and R2D2. They are introduced to us in the original 1977 Star Wars, aka Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.
Once the droids, C-3PO, and his companion R2-D2, reach Tatooine, separate, encounter and gets captured by a group of odd creatures we later learn is named Jawas. This mostly nomadic scavenger tribe are made up of skittish, three-foot-tall humanoids that say “Utinni!”.
A little later, R2 wakes up to find that they’re trapped inside the Jawa’s Sandcrawler amongst a bunch of other robots, one that says “Gonk”. It’s basically the famous cantina scene except with robots instead of aliens.
The ‘Gonk’ droids name is based on the funny noise it made in that first scene in Star Wars from 1977. The robot is referred to in Star Wars canon as a GNK Droid. And has spawned much discussion surrounding the Cult of Gonk and whether the character is good or evil.
We all have the Jawas to thank for locating and reuniting both droids with the family and grandson who once owned and built C-3PO. By subsequently selling the droids to Owen Lars, Luke Skywalker’s uncle.
This little scene is a wonderful deep dive into the world imagined by George Lucas, with quirky, cool, and imaginably robots and droids.