When Did They Die: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
Who Were They: Obi-wan’s astromech during the battle above Coruscant
How Did They Die: Dissected in the midst of battle by Separatist buzz droids
For all the talk we’ve done here about how easy it is for Jedi to kill lifeless droids- or for audiences to watch them kill lifeless droids – there is still something left unasked: Why is it that most of us would feel a pang of regret if R2-D2 died?
Unlike the Droid Army or C-3PO, R2-D2 isn’t even trying to be human. He speaks in beeps and whistles. He looks like a trash can. He’s got wheels instead of feet. All of which should, in theory, remove him even further away from our ability to sympathize with him.
And yet, for the most part, no one wants to see R2 dead. Likewise, no one particularly wanted to see R4-P17 dead, even if we never got to know him really. Which is kind of a shame, because R4s death is pretty cool.
A missile launched from a Separatist fighter during the Battle of Coruscant exploded in front of Obi-Wan’s own fighter, sending a small cloud of tiny buzz droids back and onto the hull of the ship. Once deployed, the tiny droids began to slowly rip the ship and, alas, poor R4 apart.
The buzz droids – and really the whole battle above the Republic capital planet – is one of the best prolonged bouts of action in the prequel trilogy. It was creative and different and felt genuinely unique, unlike, say, the massive battle on Geonosis at the end of Attack of the Clones that very consciously tried to emulate the Lord of the Rings battle scenes.
It’s just too bad R4 had to die for our entertainment.
Next: 35. Ratts Tyerell