Droids are staples of the Star Wars universe. Most are quite intelligent, and some can even speak the human language, such as C-3PO. However, most droids, including R2-D2 and BB-8, “speak” a droid language through sequences of beeps and whistles. It is known as “Binary,” and several humans in the Star Wars universe can understand it. Here are the handful of the humans who can and an explanation for why they’re able to do so.
While all droids understand Binary, only a handful of living creatures can. Canon characters, such as Anakin Skywalker, whose relationship with R2-D2 is one of the best in the whole series, Rey, Poe Dameron, Hera Snydulla and Kazuda Xiono are fluent in the droid language. And after spending decades with R2 himself, Luke Skywalker is also able to understand him. It may no longer be canon, but Star Wars Legends had its fair share of characters that understood Binary as well, including Revan, Kit Fisto, Cade Skywalker, Meetra Sirk, Wat Tambor, Kyle Katarn, Droma, Corran Horn, Atton Rand and Bao-Dur.
Most humans in Star Wars can also understand droids if they use a translator. An example of this happens in Star Wars: A New Hope during the Battle of Yavin. Luke pilots his X-Wing with the help of R2-D2, and, while at this point in the timeline he can’t fully understand what the droid is saying, he can read the translation on a cockpit monitor, which allows them to better communicate in battle.
Humans and other organics learn Binary through spending a great amount of time with droids, which means it’s like learning any other language. In the real world, if one is immersed in a country that speaks a language foreign to the person, it’s easier to pick up the language. And the same goes for Star Wars, as living creatures can pick up Binary through constant communication with droids.
Another interesting aspect of Binary is that learning it is similar to learning Morse code. Morse code is a form of binary language, as is droidspeak Binary, hence the name. Binary means “two by two,” and morse code falls into this category because it’s comprised only of two things — dots and dashes. That means that, even though droid Binary has a few more than two options, Star Wars characters can still pick up on the language with enough hard work and dedication.
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