- "Why, you tin-plated traitor!"
- ―Ahsoka Tano learns 4-A7's true loyalties
4-A7 was a masculine-programmed RA-7 protocol droid and prototype spy droid that served the Confederacy of Independent Systems under Dark Acolyte Asajj Ventress during the Clone Wars, a galactic conflict fought between the Confederacy and the Galactic Republic. During the Battle of Teth in 22 BBY, 4-A7 was stationed at a B'omarr Order Monastery, where the Confederacy had placed Rotta, the kidnapped son of the crime lord Jabba Desilijic Tiure. After the Republic's Torrent Company defeated the monastery's battle droid defense, Ventress dispatched 4-A7 to greet their enemies. Masquerading as an old caretaker droid, he claimed they had freed him and informed the company's Jedi General, Anakin Skywalker, that Rotta was being kept on the detention level.
After Skywalker and his Jedi Padawan, Commander Ahsoka Tano, rescued the infant from his prison, 4-A7 recorded them placing the screaming Rotta into a backpack. The footage was sent to Separatist Head of State Count Dooku on Tatooine, who used it to make Jabba believe the Republic was responsible for the kidnapping. 4-A7's Separatist loyalties were later uncovered when Tano found him boarding a freighter with several B1 battle droids. Dropping the caretaker act, he ordered the droids to kill Tano to prevent Rotta's rescue, but she quickly managed to destroy the three combat units. Tano turned her weapon against 4-A7, and, while the protocol droid demanded not to be killed, she swiftly decapitated him.
Assault on Teth
- "Who are you?"
"Merely the humble caretaker, O mighty sir. You have liberated me from those dreadful battle bots. I am most thankful."
"Where is the Hutt?"
"The battle bots kept their prisoners on the detention level. I must warn you it is very dangerous down there, my friend."
- ―Anakin Skywalker meets 4-A7 during the droid's caretaker act
Manufactured by Confederacy of Independent Systems sympathizers in Arakyd Industries, 4-A7 was a prototype spy droid and RA-7 series unit produced early in the Clone Wars, a major galactic conflict fought between the Confederacy and Galactic Republic, in 22 BBY. During that year, Separatist Head of State Count Dooku launched a plan to manipulate the Hutt Clan into joining the Confederacy, which would give the Separatists exclusive access to the Hutts' secret hyperlanes and area of space, and 4-A7 was intended to play a part in the operation. Dooku's personal assassin and apprentice, the Dark Acolyte Asajj Ventress, kidnapped Rotta, the son of Hutt crime lord Jabba Desilijic Tiure, and brought him to an abandoned B'omarr Order Monastery that was occupied by the Confederacy on the Wild Space planet of Teth. 4-A7 and a force of battle droids were also stationed at the monastery. As the Separatists had planned, the Republic eventually discovered that Rotta was there, leading to an engagement known as the Battle of Teth.
Hoping to rescue the infant in order to make their own alliance with the Hutts, the Republic's Torrent Company attacked the Separatist base, successfully making it past the droid defenses. However, their assault had been part of the Confederate plan; with the battle droids having played their role, Ventress, standing next to 4-A7 on a balcony overlooking the battlefront, sent the spy droid to meet with the Republic. Pretending to be the monastery's old caretaker droid, he approached the Republic forces and greeted their Jedi General, Anakin Skywalker, claiming that the Republic had liberated him from the Droid Army and telling them that Rotta was in the monastery's dungeons. After warning the Jedi Knight that the prison level was dangerous, 4-A7 claimed to think Skywalker's Padawan, Jedi Commander Ahsoka Tano, was a servant girl and stated that she should not go down; she responded by activating her lightsaber—which startled 4-A7—and stating she was a Jedi.
- "Hey! You're that caretaker droid. I wondered what happened to you."
"Oh, young one. I mean, soon to be Jedi Knight. I had to get away from that terrible…"
- ―Ahsoka Tano reunites with 4-A7
4-A7's role in the Separatist plot was to frame the Jedi Order in the kidnapping of Rotta. After the Jedi rescued the Huttlet, Ventress and 4-A7 hid away from their enemies' sight on a balcony, which let the droid secretly record Skywalker and Tano putting the screaming infant into a backpack, including when the former remarked that he hated Hutts. 4-A7 also utilized editing software to make it seem like the Jedi were responsible for the kidnapping, with the doctored footage making it seem like the Jedi planned on murdering the Huttlet. He then stood by Ventress when she spoke with Dooku via hologram, and the recording, which had also been edited by her and 4-A7 into a montage that made it seem like Rotta was being abused, was sent to the count. On the Outer Rim desert world of Tatooine, Dooku presented the footage to Jabba and used it to claim the Jedi were the ones behind the kidnapping of Rotta.
Intending to recapture Rotta back under the guise of rescuing the Huttlet, another detachment of the Droid Army arrived at the monastery, but Skywalker, Tano, Rotta, and Skywalker's astromech droid R2-D2 escaped and fled to a landing platform that had a starship they believed to be abandoned. However, 4-A7 and several B1 battle droids were also in the process of boarding the ship, which was the G9 Rigger-class light freighter Twilight owned by the crime lord Ziro Desilijic Tiure, with whom Dooku had allied to orchestrate Rotta's kidnapping. The two Jedi arrived just before 4-A7 and the other droids could depart. Tano spotted the protocol droid, claiming she said she had wondered what happened to him, continuing to assume he was a caretaker droid. Although 4-A7 had been surprised to hear her voice again, he initially tried to continue his caretaker act, but Tano discovered the spy's true loyalties when three battle droids walked into view, one of which reported that everything was aboard, meaning they could leave.
In an attempt to stop Rotta's rescue, 4-A7 ordered the combat droids to shoot Tano and then tried to flee up the ship's ramp. However, the three B1s were quickly destroyed by the Padawan, who then pointed her lightsaber directly at him. Despite 4-A7 demanding that she not destroy him, Tano quickly decapitated the protocol unit. Repeating his last words, 4-A7's head fell down the ship's ramp and landed in front of Skywalker. Tano, Skywalker, R2, and Rotta then boarded the light freighter, with the astromech knocking 4-A7's head out of his way, causing it to utter a final groan. Flying the Twilight off the platform and eventually to Tatooine, they managed to return the young Huttlet to his father, and, after learning the Jedi were not behind the kidnapping, Jabba allowed the Republic to travel through his territories.
- "Good guy or bad guy, Master?"
- ―Unable to tell based on appearance, Ahsoka Tano asks Anakin Skywalker whether 4-A7 is an ally or foe
An RA-7 protocol droid with masculine programming from the early Clone Wars, 4-A7 stood 1.7 meters tall and had a gray body with the plating of a 3PO-series protocol unit. While he was loyal to the Separatists, 4-A7's appearance did not directly convey his allegiance, making Tano question if he was an adversary or ally when they first met. Upon learning his true loyalties, she compared the droid's plating to tin as an insult. He was also programmed as a spy and had the RA-7's distinctive insectoid head, which featured a vocabulator containing a sounding box. Therefore, 4-A7 was also able to speak in a number of dialects and languages despite his vocabulator's cheap components. Additionally, possessing large broadband photoreceptors, he was able to see across a very wide band and operate in almost complete darkness. These photoreceptors were among 4-A7's more impressive components. Additionally, 4-A7 was equipped with a holocam built into his head.
- "Don't you dare!"
- ―4-A7 demands Ahsoka Tano not kill him
As a loyal servant of the Separatist Alliance, 4-A7 followed the orders Ventress gave him and had no issue with lying to his enemies by pretending to be an innocent and humble caretaker droid. Speaking in a low voice, he said the Confederate battle droids were dreadful and that he was thankful to be free. During his act, 4-A7 showed respect toward Skywalker, calling him mighty and a friend. When the Jedi Knight asked where Rotta was, RA-7 was willing to answer and even warned him that the dungeons were dangerous. 4-A7 also claimed to confuse Tano for a servant girl and, after she ignited her lightsaber, offered one thousand apologies.
Having information that could incriminate the Republic in Rotta's kidnapping was a vital part of the Separatist plan on Teth, with Dooku even stopping Ventress from killing Skywalker and Tano, as he still needed the data. 4-A7 fulfilled that part of the plan by recording the Jedi with his built in holocam and using a suite of editing software. His fortunes later turned, however, as Tano found him outside the Twilight before he could flee. He was surprised to hear her voice again and, after calling her "young one" and correcting himself, attempted to keep up his caretaker masquerade. After his true loyalty was revealed, Tano accused him of treason, but 4-A7 raised his voice and showcased that he was willing to kill his enemies, as he told the B1 battle droids to open fire. His show of force was short-lived, however, as he then attempted to flee before being confronted by Tano. He showed defiance in his last moments, ordering Tano to not kill him, which his severed head repeatedly uttered as it fell.
Behind the scenes
- "And we added all this, remember."
"Because we were disappointed that we didn't see what happened with 4-A7, so we did this little scene where he's a little bit snarky."
- ―Director Dave Filoni and Editor Jason Tucker discuss 4-A7's death scene on the DVD audio commentary for The Clone Wars film
4-A7 first appeared in the new Star Wars canon in the second theatrical trailer, also known as the "dark trailer," for the 2008 animated film Star Wars: The Clone Wars before serving a minor role in the movie itself. The character was voiced by James Arnold Taylor, who also voiced Jedi General Obi-Wan Kenobi in the film and TV series. The droid's designation was revealed in the film's closing credits. Within the Star Wars Legends continuity, the character was identified as 4A-7. His first appearance was in the novelization of The Clone Wars film and its junior novelization, which were both released before the film.
In the film's DVD audio commentary, editor Jason Tucker recalled that the scene involving 4-A7's recording of Rotta had been difficult to finish, as a number of the crew had been putting forth ideas on how to set it. This made Director Dave Filoni state that 4-A7 was originally meant to be hiding behind pillars. When executive producer and Star Wars creator George Lucas wanted Ventress and 4-A7 to be on a balcony, the crew needed to design one for the scene. Later, Filoni recalled that 4-A7's death scene had been added in later on, as they had been disappointed that his fate was not revealed. He described the protocol droid as being slightly snarky in the scene, and Producer Catherine Winder revealed that Tano's last line to 4-A7, "Why, you tin-plated traitor!," was what they called an "Ahsoka-ism." These were pushed by Lucas and were when Tano, while in the middle of a serious battle and being earnest, would use what Winder described as "pretty funny nicknames" against her enemy. Winder stated that Tano had come up with these nicknames herself.
Animation models used for the RA-7 series in various The Clone Wars episodes look very similar to 4-A7's model. In fact, the colorization of a model seen in the Season One episode "Downfall of a Droid" and one later seen in the Season Three episode "Evil Plans" are also very similar to 4-A7's own. For the Season Five episode "The Jedi Who Knew Too Much," 4-A7's animation model was updated to better match the RA-7 units seen in the first Star Wars film, Episode IV A New Hope, from 1977. This updated model was used for the droid R-A7 in "The Jedi Who Knew Too Much." R-A7's character illustration was done by Chris Glenn and is dated to November 2011 by the episode's concept art gallery on StarWars.com. According to this illustration, 4-A7's design was called "4A7 Droid asset" behind the scenes.
Errors and contradictions
Even though he did not appear in the episode, 4-A7's name was listed in the credits of the The Clone Wars Season One episode "Rising Malevolence." The Droid Directory for Star Wars: Build Your Own R2-D2 11 later stated that 4-A7's role in the Separatist plan for Rotta was framing the Jedi in the Huttlet's kidnapping and murder. Within the film, 4-A7 only records evidence for the former lie, as the Confederacy intended to "rescue" Rotta from the Republic, and Dooku only planned to kill Rotta after the Jedi escaped Teth, by which point 4-A7 had been killed. As such, this article follows the film's version of events.
The Highlights of the Saga for Star Wars Helmet Collection 45 stated that 4-A7 recorded and edited footage that made it look like the Jedi were holding and planning to kill Rotta while Ventress launched a droid counterattack. However, as the film depicts Ventress standing with 4-A7 while he records the video and her launching the counterattack afterward, this article follows the movie's version of events. Later, the 2021 reference booklet "The Beginning of the Clone Wars" would state that Ventress was alone when she hid from the Republic to film and edit the footage despite the film and prior sources clearly establishing 4-A7's role in the events.
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars film (First appearance)
- (as 4A7)
- Star Wars: Build Your Own R2-D2 11 (Droid Directory: RA-7 Protocol Droids)
- Star Wars Helmet Collection 45 (Highlights of the Saga: The Battle of Teth) (Indirect mention only)
- (Indirect mention only)