The Mandalorian Brings Back A Surprising Star Wars OT Character And Confirms His Heroic History

The Mandalorian is well-known for burying deep-cut Star Wars Easter eggs and references into its episodes, and the second episode of The Mandalorian Season 3 was definitely rich with them. As Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) and Grogu finally traveled to the homeworld of Mandalore, they needed a robot guide to both to confirm the state of Mandalore's atmosphere and lead them into the Mines of Mandalore. What they get is help from one of the biggest unsung heroes in Star Wars lore: R5-D4! 

Star Wars: The History of R5-D4 Explained

If you don't recognize R5-D4, the astromech droid was one of R2-D2's fellow droid prisoners in the Jawas' sandcrawler on Tatooine, during the opening act of Star Wars: A New Hope. In the original version of A New Hope, fate (or the Force) intervened when the Jawas were selling droids to farmer Owen Larson and his nephew Luke Skywalker; Owen originally chose R5-D4, but the droid malfunctioned in a big shower of sparks, that left R2-D2 as the default candidate for purchase, bringing his message and mission from Princess Leia and the Rebel Alliance to Luke Skywalker. The rest was history. 

...Until it wasn't. 

(Photo: Disney/Lucasfilm)

In the many rounds of retcons to Star Wars canon, R5-D4's role in the franchises has been drastically changed. First, R5 got a canonized short story called "The Red One" in the 2017 anthology From A Certain Point of View. That story by author Rae Carson reframed what happened on the Jawas' sandcrawler to be a story of heroism between droids. It was revealed that R2-D2 tried to purposely sabotage R5-D4, a long-suffering prisoner of the Jawas. R5 fought back, so instead the two droids had a "conversation," in which R2 implored his fellow droid to help him with his Rebel mission. R5 then purposely self-destructed in order to pull off the ruse and let R2 escape into Owen and Luke's care. 

After "The Red One," R5-D4's story continued in the wings of Star Wars canon; reference books mention that he was eventually repaired and found his way into the Rebellion, inspired by R2-D2's example. The Mandalorian Season 3 is now confirming that history, with mechanic Peli Motto (Amy Sedaris) making a grand sell to Mando that R5's status as a 'hero of the Rebellion' would aid him well on his quest into the unknown depths of Mandalore. 

Well, R5-D4 may not have had the most glorious showing while on Mandalore, but he definitely pitched in. That's more glory than 90% of fans ever expected from him. 

The Mandalorian Season 3 is streaming new episodes Wednesdays on Disney+