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R4-K5 was an astromech droid originally assigned to a Jedi during the Clone Wars. The droid would accompany Sith Lord Darth Vader, formerly Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker, on early missions for the Galactic Empire after the destruction of the Order, effectively replacing Skywalker's former astromech R2-D2. R4-K5 was chosen by Vader for its dark hue, which reflected Vader's own darkness.

R4-K5 occupied the droid socket of Vader's customized Eta-2 interceptor during missions to Murkhana and Ostor. While more or less competent at its duties, the droid never shared a close relationship with its Sith master as R2-D2 once had with Anakin Skywalker; R4-K5 was treated by Vader as a functional tool and nothing more.

BiographyEdit

Serving a New OrderEdit

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R4-K5 aboard Vader's interceptor as Vader leads Green Squadron above Ostor

An astromech droid with a hemispherical dome, R4-K5 was assigned to a Jedi during the Clone Wars.[3] In 19 BBY,[4] Anakin Skywalker, recently minted as the Sith Lord Darth Vader, earned terrible injuries at the hands of his former Master Obi-Wan Kenobi on Mustafar.[5] Forced to don a black suit of armor, Vader also acquired a black Eta-2 Actis-class interceptor in the first days of the Galactic Empire. R4-K5 was chosen by Vader as his new astromech, as the Sith Lord saw its drab shell as a reflection of his own darkness.[3] R4-K5 did not share the close bond Anakin Skywalker had maintained with his former astromech, R2-D2; rather, the droid was simply regarded by Vader as another piece of machinery.[1]

Imperial droidEdit

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R4-K5, Imperial astromech

R4-K5 was stationed on the new Imperial Star Destroyer Exactor in the vessel's number three launching bay along with the interceptor. Over two weeks after the end of the Clone Wars, the droid occupied the astromech socket of this craft during an attack on fugitive Jedi Knights Roan Shryne and Olee Starstone near Murkhana shortly after the battle there, which had ended in the last hours of the war. R4-K5 was instrumental in assisting Vader in grasping the tactical situation, supplying him with information regarding the escape plan of the Jedis' CloakShape fighter and alerting him to their imminent absconsion by way of a hyperdrive ring. Despite the droid's assistance, Vader was unable to destroy his targets before they outran his interceptor.[6]

Months later, R4-K5 later flew with Vader during Phase Two of the Shrouded Offensive, an extensive and ultimately ill-fated campaign against a Separatist holdout on Ostor as part of Green Squadron. Vader, on orders from Palpatine to launch a direct airborne attack after the failure of Phase One's ground assault, led the squadron in an attack on a shielded city, and engaged in a dogfight with V-19 Torrent fighters piloted by followers of rogue clone trooper Kaddak. During the combat, clone pilot CT-5539 realized that the squadron had left the Star Destroyer from which they had launched vulnerable, and so Vader made an about-face to defend it. R4-K5 accompanied the Sith Lord in doing so. The battle eventually ended in a hugely pyrrhic victory for the Empire.[7]

CharacteristicsEdit

R4-K5 featured a round silver dome with black panels. The droid's plating was dark gray with black tool coverings, and its sensor was red. A second-degree droid manufactured by Industrial Automaton, R4-K5 stood at a height of 0.96 meters.[1] Additionally, R4-K5 was able to interface with the systems of the Eta-2 Actis-class interceptor and analyse possible targets such as skiffs and hyperdrive rings, transferring this data to the interceptor's cockpit displays on the pilot's request.[6]

Behind the scenesEdit

"This was not the craft Anakin Skywalker had piloted to Mustafar, and the starfighter's socketed astromech droid had a black dome."
―An excerpt from Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader, featuring R4-K5's first appearance[src]
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The R4-K5 action figure

R4-K5 made its first appearance in the Legends novel Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader by James Luceno, released in 2005. Not referred to by designation, R4-K5 is initially described as an astromech with a black dome, and is mentioned twice more as "the astromech".[6] The R4-K5 designation was provided by Hasbro in 2006;[1] the droid made appearances in products based on Vader's interceptor[8] and itself in the same year.[3] The droid later appeared briefly in the 2008 non-canon Soulcalibur IV tie-in comic book Star Wars: Visions of the Blade; R4-K5 makes an appearance in one panel, socketed aboard Vader's interceptor, and accompanies the Sith Lord to a planet in the Cowl Crucible, where Vader encounters Soulcalibur character Mitsurugi.[9]

R4-K5 is presented inconsistently in terms of color across sources; in the 2005 book The New Essential Chronology, the droid is seen as having a black dome, with a white body.[4] Later, figures of the droid portrayed R4-K5 with a dark gray body, silver dome and black panels.[3] Some Hasbro depictions also feature a purple body.[8] In Darth Vader and the Cry of Shadows, R4-K5 is shown as having a black body with silver tool panels.[7] In the comic arc Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Lost Command, Vader's now heavily-modified interceptor is equipped with an astromech droid; however, it is depicted inconsistently between frames, and is not confirmed to be R4-K5.[10]

AppearancesEdit

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Non-canon appearancesEdit

SourcesEdit

Notes and referencesEdit

External linksEdit

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