The following contains spoilers from The Mandalorian Season 3, Episode 2 (now streaming on Disney+).
When The Mandalorian (aka Din Djarin, played by Pedro Pascal) embarked on his mission to Mandalore, he brought an OG Star Wars character with him — and an unexpected one at that!
In the second episode of Season 3, Din returned to Tatooine, to seek go-to mechanic Peli Motto’s help in tracking down the memory chip needed to revive IG-11, the bounty hunter droid he first met in the Disney+ series’ first episode, and whom he wanted to accompany him to Mandalore.
Peli (played by Amy Sedaris), however, had no such outdated memory chip in stock, nor did her band of remarkably resourceful Jawa friends believe they could hunt one down. As a make-good, Peli offered up the services of R5-D4, the red-and-white striped astromech droid we’ve seen hanging around her Mos Eisley hangar bay in a handful of Season 1 and 2, plus The Book of Boba Fett, episodes. Though Din envisioned IG-11 as outfitted for spelunking in the mines of Mandalore, he agreed to instead work with the decidedly less nimble-looking R5-D4. FWIW, R5 didn’t seem too keen on the idea either, evidenced by his visible jitters and whimpering whistles!
Peli then re-retrofitted the domed seat she had made for Grogu back into a droid port from which R5 could help pilot Mando’s N-1 Starfighter. And once on Mandalore, R5 proved useful in collecting air samples, though he did get roughed up by some cave creatures along the way.
WHERE DID WE FIRST MEET R5-D4?
R5 aka “Red” first appeared in the seminal Star Wars film aka Episode IV: A New Hope.
In that very first Star Wars movie, besties R2-D2 (an astromech droid) and C-3PO (a protocol droid) had landed on Tatooine after escaping, via escape pod, Darth Vader and the stormtroopers who had boarded Princess Leia’s starship. Though they attempted to go their separate ways on the desert planet, both R2 and Threepio wound up captured by Jawas.
When Luke Skywalker and his Uncle Owen later met up with the Jawas to purchase a pair of droids to help out at their moisture farm, they first picked out C-3PO and R5-D4 — much to R2-D2’s disappointment. In fact, R2 protested so visibly that a Jawa quieted him down vis the restraining bolt that is affixed to all seized droids. But as chance would have it, R5 blew hip top, literally, when being led away by Luke, after which Owen scolded the Jawas for trying to sell them a droid with a bad motivator. (In the short story “The Red One” from the anthology From a Certain Point of View, it was revealed that R5 had let R2 sabotage him prior so as to malfunction on purpose, knowing that R2 had a galaxy-saving mission to complete.)
After R5 malfunctioned in front of Luke and Uncle Owen, C-3PO assertively vouched for R2, saying that the other astromech unit is in “prime condition” and thus “a real bargain.”
Did you enjoy (though he might not have!) seeing R5-D4 be put to important use in The Mandalorian 3×02?