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Why That Droid in ‘The Mandalorian’ Looks So Familiar

He's just a lil guy!

Astromech droid R5-D4

He might not be as famous as R2-D2 (who got his own animated show after all) or as cute as BD-1, but R5-D4 is just as worthy of our love! And with his recent introduction in episode 2 of The Mandalorian season 3, R5-D4 is on his way to internet superstardom! But many viewers are questioning why the handsome little droid looks so familiar. That’s because you’ve seen him before! A long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away! In a distant era called the 1970s.

Audiences were first introduced to R5-D4 in Star Wars: A New Hope, where the little fella was seen taking a ride in a Jawa Sandcrawler. But it wasn’t a very comfy ride. The poor little guy had been rounded up with other droids to be sold—as if perfection can be bought! But salvation came when the Jawas stopped in Luke Skywalker’s backwater little neighborhood and he bought R5-D4 and another famous droid called C-3PO. R5’s salvation was short-lived, however, as he quickly malfunctioned and Luke replaced him with R2-D2. What a dick.

As it turns out, R5’s malfunction was not due to faulty wiring; it was actually a heroic self-sacrifice. According to a canonical Star Wars short story called The Red One, R2 told R5 that he was on a secret mission for the rebellion, and that if he didn’t escape the Jawas, the galaxy would be doomed. R5, being the heroic little fella he is, popped off his own head-plate in a little explosion that led Luke to believe he was defective.

But no, R5 was effective. Luke bought R2 instead, and R5 resigned himself to his fate with the Jawas. However, the Jawas were soon set upon by stormtroopers, and R5 had to use all the stealth skills at his disposal (which, sadly, aren’t many) to keep a low profile. Thankfully, he was able to escape the stormtroopers and set out into the wastelands of Tatooine in order to find a new master.

Sometime later, R5 was discovered by engineer and droid enthusiast Peli Motto, who kept the little guy around for shop maintenance. He eventually helped the titular Mandalorian by projecting a map to the town of Mos Pelgo. If you look closely at the top of R5’s sweet little head, you can still see the burn marks from his “malfunction,” even after all these years! The scars from his finest hour! Someone give him a Purple Heart.

After many years, R5 was finally reunited with R2-D2 when R2 arrived in Motto’s hanger with Grogu in tow. That little bastard R2 better get on his robot hands and knees and thank R5 for his heroic self-sacrifice—or else I’ve got half a mind to call up the Jawas again.

(featured image: Lucasfilm)

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