The Mandalorian Season 3 May Finally Give Forgotten A New Hope Character Their Due

We’re of course talking about the time Star Wars revealed R5-D4 was actually a Jedi all along.

The 1999 debut issue of the Dark Horse series Star Wars Tales featured an eight-page What If/Elseworlds-style story by Peter David and Martin Egeland that tells the tale of Skippy the Jedi Droid (apparently R5-D4’s real name). According to this comic, Skippy is Force-sensitive and has visions of the disaster that would befall the galaxy if he went to the Lars farm instead of R2-D2. Basically, Vader will capture R2 and kill Leia, the Rebellion will fall, and Luke will die alone on Tatooine. So instead of getting to be best buds with Luke like he desperately wants to, Skippy malfunctions on purpose so that the future he envisioned won’t come true.

But none of this was ever considered canon, even back when George Lucas still owned Star Wars. And when Disney purchased Lucasfilm in 2012 and wiped the canon clean in preparation for the Sequel Trilogy, R5’s heroic exploits went tumbling into the sarlacc pit for good.

Fortunately, R5’s story has been revisited for the Disney era since then. And he’s a hero once again!

His canonical backstory told in the short story “The Red One” written by Rae Carson for the 2017 anthology From a Certain Point of View similarly sees R5 blow his motivator on purpose, but this time because of R2-D2, not because of spooky Force visions. At first, R2 tries to sabotage R5 so that he’ll be free to find Obi-Wan, but when R5 learns that R2 is part of the Rebellion, something inside of him clicks. R5 decides to sacrifice himself for R2 rather than go after the freedom he has craved during the four years of his captivity. R5 later escapes the Jawas and seeks out the Rebellion, eventually finding his way to Peli’s shop in Mos Eisley by the time of The Mandalorian.

Needless to say, the fact that we’ll finally get to see R5 on a proper adventure with Din and Grogu is a step in the right direction for R5, even if we still wish the little droid were also secretly Force-sensitive. Wouldn’t it be nice for R5 to get some canonical vindication for the sacrifice he made as Skippy?

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