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«Thank you, friend. You may have saved the galaxy today. I will never forget you.»
―R2-D2, to R5-D4[8]

R5-D4, also referred to as R5 (Arfive) and called "Red" by Luke Skywalker, was a red and white-striped R5 astromech droid owned by a group of Jawas on Tatooine in the early days of the Galactic Civil War. Shortly before the Battle of Yavin, the Jawas attempted to sell him to Owen Lars, but the droid purposely malfunctioned his motivator at the advice of R2-D2, so that Lars could purchase R2-D2 in R5-D4's place. The droid survived an Imperial attack on the sandcrawler soon after, and went out to find the Rebellion. R5 was still active by the time of the New Republic Era, and eventually came into the service of Mos Eisley hangar manager Peli Motto. He was later sold to the Mandalorian Din Djarin for his mission to the Living Waters of Mandalore.



«I'm R2-D2, and I'm on an important mission."
"I'm R5-D4. No mission— that I know of. My memory was wiped four years ago.»
―R2-D2 and R5-D4[8]

The astromech droid R5-D4 was one of the last droids produced in Industrial Automaton's low-cost R5 astromech droid line, which was hampered by malfunctions.[2] He served a master in Mos Espa on Tatooine[9] twenty-two years before the Battle of Yavin[10] and was traveling the streets when Anakin Skywalker returned to Tatooine.[9]

He was later involved with the rebellion against the Galactic Empire. Four years before the Battle of Yavin, however, he fell into the possession of a group of Jawas, where they worked as junkers, and wiped the droid's memory. For the next four years, R5-D4 longed to be sold and repaired. One evening, R5 was overjoyed when two Jawas inspected him and decided that he was ready to be sold. They scooped sand out of his tool compartments, wiped down his photoreceptors, and added lubricant to his chassis and joints.[8]

Encounter with R2-D2[]

«I must be sold tomorrow. I have to escape this sandcrawler. The fate of the galaxy depends on it."
"Is that why your pincer was deep on my access compartment? You were sabotaging your competition?"
"Yes. Please, the Rebellion needs your help.»
―R2-D2 and R5-D4[8]

Hours later, he was awaken by a jolt and saw several Jawas manhandling an R2 unit. This droid turned out to be R2-D2, who had been captured by the Jawas following the events of the secret mission to Tatooine. R5-D4 watched as R2 was fitted with a restraining bolt. Later that night, R5 was awoken by the R2 droid,[8] who was in the process of sabotaging him to ensure he would be the only remaining functional astromech that the Jawas had for sale.[11] R5 bleated angrily, and R2 apologized explaining he was on an important mission. R5 responded that he was on no mission and that his memory had been wiped four years ago.[8]

R2 responded that he had to escape the sandcrawler tomorrow and that the fate of the galaxy depended on his sale. Unknown to R5, R2 was carrying the stolen Death Star plans within his memory banks. R2 then added that the Rebellion needed his help. The word Rebellion triggered something, the phantom of a memory. When R2 begged again, R5 responded that if he did not escape this sandcrawler and find a new master soon, he would cease to function. R2 was sympathetic but stressed that if he did not find his master, the galaxy would be doomed. As a couple of Jawas approached, R2 promised not to hurt him again.[8]


"Come on, Red, let's go!"
―Luke Skywalker trying to get R5-D4 to follow[12]
Artoo Arfive

R5-D4, with R2-D2 at the Lars homestead

The following morning, the sandcrawler stopped at the moisture farm owned by the Lars family, including Owen Lars and his nephew, Luke Skywalker. Lars and Skywalker were interested in purchasing droids from the Jawas. The droids which included R5 as well as R2 and the protocol droid C-3PO were lined up for Lars to choose and he chose R5 and C-3PO. As Lars talked to the Jawas about the purchase, Skywalker began leading C-3PO and R5 towards his home. When R2 moaned, R5 reassured him that someone would buy him.[8]


R5 blows his top

R2 then reiterated that the galaxy was doomed and told R5 that he was his only hope. Realizing how important R2's mission was, R5 loosened the hinge on his head plate and redirected the lubricant into a mass just behind his photoreceptors. When that was ready, R5 purposely discharged the power, causing his head plate to pop off. This led Skywalker to think that R5 had a bad motivator.[8] In his place, Lars instead purchased R2-D2, C-3PO's companion and, along with the protocol droid, secretly a member of the Rebel Alliance.[12] Only powering his auditory receptors, R5 heard R2's farewell, thanking him for his sacrifice and that he would never forget him.[8]

R2's warning was proven right when Imperial stormtroopers stopped the sandcrawler and interrogated the Jawas about the two droids they had sold. While the stormtroopers blasted the Jawas, R5 played dead and was overlooked by the stormtroopers. Later, R5 recomposed himself and made a trek along the Jawas' trade route in hopes of finding a new owner in the next valley and potentially finding the Rebellion.[8]

Serving the Rebellion[]

R5's malfunctioning led to Skywalker discovering a message within R2 from Leia Organa, the Princess of Alderaan, which was soon delivered to Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi as per Organa's instruction to R2. As a result of owning R2 instead of R5, Skywalker joined with Kenobi and soon destroyed the Death Star during the Battle of Yavin.[12] At some point, he later found his own new place within the Rebellion,[1] just like his friend R2.[8] He served with Carson Teva.[13]

New Republic Era[]

Working at Chalmun's[]

"You're late, Arfive."
"Sorry about the scratch, boss. I'll fix it right now."
"I'll hold you to that. And do make sure not to bump into customers. They are less forgiving than me."
―EV-9D9 and R5-D4[7]
EV Droid The Mandalorian


The Galactic Civil War came to its end in 5 ABY.[10] After his service to the Rebellion,[4] and after suffering a tragedy R5 ended up back on Tatooine, where R5 found himself wandering aimlessly across the dunes. After many days of this, R5 made it to the Mos Eisley spaceport on the planet right before a sandstorm hit. He eventually ended up at Chalmun's Spaceport Cantina in the spaceport and wheeled randomly by its garbage masher until he was discovered by EV-9D9, a former torture droid who worked as a bartender at the cantina. He then started working at the cantina as EV-9D9's trainee, the bartender liking that he was nervous and understated instead of snippy like newer droids. However, R5-D4 still hoped for a permanent home.[7]

Around 9 ABY,[14], when the Mandalorian bounty hunter Din Djarin entered the cantina in search of work. R5 strolled by him and later bumped into one of the patrons by the counter.[15]

One day, R5 ran into the bar during his shift, earning a reprimand from EV-9D9 but promising to fix the scratch it made. When R5 retreated into a memory echo state that EV-9D9 thought was a result of undergoing many memory wipes in the past, EV-9D9 offered to take him to a droidsmith after their shift. When a rowdy Trandoshan entered the bar and disparaged it for being only run by droids, EV-9D9 reminded R5 that all sentients were equal. When the Trandoshan then kicked R5, EV-9D9, believing the patron had crossed a line, poisoned the Trandoshan's drink and quickly left with R5.[7]

In service of Motto[]

"R5! Bring the map of Tatooine!"
―Peli Motto instructs R5 to show Din Djarin the location of Mos Pelgo[5]

R5-D4 came into the service of Peli Motto.

After the incident with the Trandoshan, R5 was walked to Hanger 3-5 at dusk by EV-9D9, who had suggested that he might be useful to the hangar's patron, Peli Motto. On the way, R5 offered to tell her the story of his service in the Rebellion and asked her why she always held a restraining bolt, EV-9D9 explaining that she did it to remember she could make choices and urged him to remember he could make choices too.[7] At the hangar, he was acquired by Peli Motto, and eventually once again crossed paths with Din Djarin in Mos Eisley. R5 projected an old map of Tatooine at the request of Motto, who thought that he took an unacceptably long time to do so. The map revealed the location of Mos Pelgo.[5]

R5 accompanied Motto to the Mos Eisley Cantina when she helped Din Djarin find someone who knew of the location of Mandalorians.[16] Later, BD-72 was attacked by a womp rat. Motto asked R5 and her other droids to assist, but they refused. Eventually Djarin rescued Motto and her BD unit by killing the rat. While Motto helped Djarin to modify his N-1 starfighter, she asked R5 to check if Jawas were still in the area.[17]

After Djarin left with his new ship, R5 was reunited with R2-D2, as he was present at Motto's hangar when R2-D2 arrived with Grogu on a X-wing starfighter.[18]

Joining Djarin[]

"This R5 astromech is built for adventure."
―Peli Motto[4]

After reuniting with Grogu, Din Djarin visited Motto looking for a replacement for IG-11's memory circuit. Motto questioned some Jawas, but they did not have the part Djarin was looking for. Instead, Motto offered to sell R5 to Djarin, who was in need of a droid to aid him on his quest to find the Mines of Mandalore and bathe in the Living Waters. R5 was hesitant to go with Djarin, but was eventually convinced to join him on the mission after Motto threatened to sell him back to the Jawas. Djarin acquired R5 at a discount of half the price Motto would have supposedly sold him for.[4]


R5-D4 explores Mandalore's surface

When they arrived on Mandalore, R5 was sent out to retrieve an air sample of the ruins beneath the planet's surface. After R5 disappeared from Djarin's scope, the Mandalorian went in search of the missing droid. Djarin was ambushed by a group of Alamites but defeated them and rescued R5, and they both returned to their ship. R5's sample revealed that the air on Mandalore was in fact breathable, so Djarin and Grogu ventured further into the mines.[4]

Later, Djarin had become captured by a cyborg, so Grogu and R5 visited Bo-Katan Kryze on Kalevala in search of help. The three of them then returned to Mandalore in Kryze's Gauntlet starfighter to save Djarin. R5 remained with the ship while Kryze and Grogu went back underground for Djarin.[4]

Kryze successfully rescued Djarin and, following Djarin completing his mission to the Living Waters, the group departed the planet on Kryze's starfighter. However, they were pursued by a swarm of TIE interceptors. In the resulting dogfight over Kalevala, R5 was thrown around in the starfighter's cockpit. Kryze and Djarin escaped to an unidentified planet where the Children of the Watch's covert is based, and R5 stayed aboard Kryze's starfighter as she, Djarin, and Grogu disembarked.[19] R5 was later contacted by Adelphi Rangers Captain Carson Teva. He revealed the location of the Covert to Teva, who wanted to Djarin's help in fighting the Pirate Nation at Nevaro. He continued as Djarin's co-pilot when fought Gorian Shard's Corsair[13] and as Kryze's when she found the Mandalorian fleet at Plazir-15.[20]

R5 later accompanied Djarin, Kryze and their volunteers as they went to Mandalore's surface and met with more survivors on a langskib. Together, they traveled to the Great Forge.[21] He then assisted Djarin and Kryze's forces in fighting Moff Gideon's Imperial remnant's Beskar-armored commandos at the Imperial base. R5 was able to get past several MSE-6 series repair droids. He was able to transmit the base's schematics to Djarin from a terminal. R5 then deactivated the base's first, second, third and fourth shield on Djarin's command. He was then found by a mouse droid, but was able to push it over the edge. He then escaped before the base was destroyed by Wove's light cruiser.[6]


"Did the motivator get fixed?"
"No, but these guys won't know the difference."
―Two Jawas belatedly realize they forgot to conduct repairs on R5's bad motivator[22]

R5-D4 was able to analyze the atmosphere when on the surface of astronomical objects.

R5-D4 was an R5 unit with a white and red chassis.[12] As R5 faced the same problems that plagued his line of astromech droids, he became frustrated over time as a result.[2] R5 was once part of the rebellion but was captured by Jawas who wiped his memories. For the next four years, R5 longed to be sold so that he could find a new master and escape the sandcrawler, which had become his prison. R5 was angry when R2 tried to sabotage him to ensure that he could continue his mission for the Rebellion. R5 regarded the well-maintained R2 unit as snobbish initially. However, R5 became sympathetic to R2's cause when the other droid explained that the fate of the galaxy depended on him being sold. This led R5 to make the difficult decision to sacrifice his own opportunity of being sold by blowing off his own head plate. R5 kept a low profile while the stormtroopers killed his Jawa captors, allowing him to escape and find a new master.[8] R5 had a holoprojector which could be used to project a map of Tatooine. While working for Peli Motto, the woman commented that R5 was slow and ancient, apologizing to Djarin for R5's performance.[5]

Behind the scenes[]

"Every day we would lose an hour or so due to those robots…"
George Lucas describes the frustrations of filming Star Wars[23]

After the character appeared in the 1977 film Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope,[12] R5-D4 was featured in a number of Star Wars Legends stories. One such story was "Skippy the Jedi Droid," an Infinities story from the 1999 comic book anthology Star Wars Tales 1. The story posited that the character, nicknamed Skippy, could use the Force. After seeing a vision of Luke Skywalker's future, Skippy made it appear that his motivator malfunctioned so that Owen Lars could purchase R2-D2 and Skywalker could fulfill his destiny as a Jedi Knight.[24]

R5-D4 Photo Mandalorian

A set photo from The Mandalorian featuring R5-D4

Another storyline, first included in the 1989 roleplaying game sourcebook Galaxy Guide 1: A New Hope, had R5-D4 as an ordinary droid who was eventually purchased by Rebel Alliance historian and spy Voren Na'al. As part of the Rebel Alliance, R5-D4 helped Na'al spy on the Imperial forces on Tatooine and provided background information for official Alliance profiles for R2-D2 and C-3PO.[25]

Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope began location filming on March 22, 1976. One of the first scenes shot was Scene 26, where Luke Skywalker purchases the droids. Originally, R5-D4's head was supposed to be where an explosion occurred, although this could not be done for the radio–controlled robot. Production designer Les Dilley fixed this by repainting the stand-in for R2-D2 red, and used that for the explosion instead.[26]

R5-D4's canonical origins story was retold in Rae Carson's short story "The Red One," which was published in the 2017 anthology collection From a Certain Point of View. As in the Legends Star Wars radio adaptation, R2-D2 still attempts to sabotage R5-D4 but relents when the droid wakes up. R2-D2 instead convinces R5-D4 that the fate of the galaxy depends on him being sold. After R2-D2 mentions he is fighting for the Rebellion, R5 decides to sacrifice his own opportunity of being sold in order to guarantee the success of R2-D2's mission.[8]

R5-D4 appeared in the fifth episode of the 2019 Disney+ television series The Mandalorian,[15] whose appearance was teased by the show's creator Jon Favreau many months prior to its release.[27]


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Non-canon appearances[]


Notes and references[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Ultimate Star Wars
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 ToppsDigitalLogo Star Wars: Card Trader (Card: R5-D4 - Astromech Droid - Base Series 1)
  3. 3.0 3.1 StarWars-DatabankII R5-D4 in the Databank (backup link)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 The-Mandalorian-logo The Mandalorian — "Chapter 18: The Mines of Mandalore"
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 The-Mandalorian-logo The Mandalorian — "Chapter 9: The Marshal"
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 The-Mandalorian-logo The Mandalorian — "Chapter 24: The Return"
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 "The Key to Remembering" — From a Certain Point of View: Return of the Jedi
  8. 8.00 8.01 8.02 8.03 8.04 8.05 8.06 8.07 8.08 8.09 8.10 8.11 8.12 8.13 "The Red One" — From a Certain Point of View
  9. 9.0 9.1 Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones
  10. 10.0 10.1 Star Wars: Galactic Atlas
  11. Star Wars Character Encyclopedia: Updated and Expanded
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope
  13. 13.0 13.1 The-Mandalorian-logo The Mandalorian — "Chapter 21: The Pirate"
  14. Star Wars: Timelines dates the events of "Chapter 1: The Mandalorian" and "Chapter 16: The Rescue" to 9 ABY. The events of Chapters 1–16 must therefore also take place in 9 ABY.
  15. 15.0 15.1 The-Mandalorian-logo The Mandalorian — "Chapter 5: The Gunslinger"
  16. The-Mandalorian-logo The Mandalorian — "Chapter 10: The Passenger"
  17. The Book of Boba Fett logo The Book of Boba Fett — "Chapter 5: Return of the Mandalorian"
  18. The Book of Boba Fett logo The Book of Boba Fett — "Chapter 7: In the Name of Honor"
  19. The-Mandalorian-logo The Mandalorian — "Chapter 19: The Convert"
  20. The-Mandalorian-logo The Mandalorian — "Chapter 22: Guns for Hire"
  21. The-Mandalorian-logo The Mandalorian — "Chapter 23: The Spies"
  22. Star Wars: Datapad
  23. BYOR2D2 logo small Star Wars: Build Your Own R2-D2 4 (Building the Galaxy: Filming R2-D2, Part 1)
  24. StarWarsTales-Icon "Skippy the Jedi Droid" — Star Wars Tales 1
  25. Galaxy Guide 1: A New Hope
  26. BYOR2D2 logo small Star Wars: Build Your Own R2-D2 4 (Building the Galaxy: Filming R2-D2, Part 1)
  27. Instagram-Logo Jon Favreau on Instagram: R5-D4 photo on the set of The Mandalorian (January 29, 2019) (backup link)