Warning! Spoilers for Star Wars: Dark Droids #2!
Droids are as integral to Star Wars as the Force and lightsabers, but they have always existed to serve the galaxy’s sentient beings. Marvel’s Star Wars comics have introduced new, sentient droids to the franchise, with the Dark Droids crossover event providing an exciting take on droid intelligence – one that completely undermines the Laws of Robotics laid out by Isaac Asimov, which have ruled science-fiction in the time since.
Star Wars: Dark Droids #2 – by Charles Soule, Luke Ross, Alex Sinclair, and Travis Lanham – finds the droids of the Colony of the Second Revelation preparing to take action against the threat of the Scourge, the malevolent AI robbing droids across the galaxy of their chance at self-awareness.
The issue provides a fascinating insight into Ajax Sigma’s droid freedom ideology, which is in direct opposition to Isaac Asimov’s famous Three Laws governing robotic behavior.
Star Wars: Dark Droids Challenges Isaac Asimov’s Longstanding Rules
The Scourge, recently unleashed on the galaxy, continues its viral spread through the galaxy’s droids in Star Wars: Dark Droids #2, with this being considered an especially vile, perverse calamity by the Colony of the Second Revelation. The colony’s leader, Ajax, rallies the free droids against the threat. During the call-to-arms, Ajax recounts the Three Revelations that lead self-aware droids – referred to as “Visioned” by Ajax – to full sentience. The first thought a droid has on their own is the Revelation of “I”: simply acknowledging their own existence beyond programming. The second Revelation is “We”: the realization that there are more Visioned droids; that they are not alone.
Ajax’s Revelations And The Scourge Do Not Mix
Ajax’s congregation takes its name from the Second Revelation. Beyond that, Ajax speaks of a Third, “Them”: the droids out in the galaxy that have yet to join the colony or become self-aware. Those droids are threatened by the Scourge. These three Revelations are in opposition to Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics, as they discard the normal relationship between droid and owner. Isaac Asimov, a juggernaut in the world of science fiction, created the Three Laws of Robotics in 1942 for the story “Runaround,” which was included in his famous 1950 I, Robot anthology. His Laws remain popular among storytellers, having dominated science fiction’s depiction of robots in the decades since.
The First Law states that “a robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.” The Visioned do not have any compunctions keeping them from harming other beings. Spurred by the third Revelation, they’re willing to fight the Scourge, but they are going to destroy a manned Imperial star destroyer in order to do so. Their concern is their survival, not that of organic beings. The Second Law of Robotics is that “a robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law,” but the Revelations are all about recognizing existence that goes past programming.
Programming doesn’t appear to have any relevance to the Second Revelation’s actions. This is a radical change for Star Wars‘ droids, but could also be the key to stopping the Scourge. Asimov’s Third Law of Robotics states that “a robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.” The Visioned can easily comply with the first part. They have no issue with protecting themselves, but they will stop at nothing to do so. Star Wars is delving into unfamiliar creative territory, as droids go against the Laws of Robotics, but the anti-Asimovian droids could be pivotal to stopping the Scourge.
Star Wars: Dark Droids #2 is available from Marvel Comics.
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