R2-D2: What does he really know about the Star Wars universe?


R2-D2 has always been a mystery, here we dive into what our droid friend truly knows about the Star Wars Universe.

As a lover of everything Star Wars, from the Legends books to the most recent movie installments, I have always had one question pop into my head every time I delve into a piece of Star Wars content: What is in R2-D2’s brain?

Over the years, our favorite droid has shown us some hidden skills, like his ability to fly (where was this on Dagobah) and his innate sense of action in pressure situations. Whether it be co-starring in a General Grievous battle with Anakin and Obi-Wan or aiding in saving the crew on Tatooine with the same lightsaber trick, Artoo has proven to be man’s best (robotic) friend throughout the Star Wars Universe.

As detailed in Season, 1 Episode 6 of The Clone Wars, Anakin was adamant about saving his beloved metal friend because he refused to wipe the droid’s memory and it contained some of the Republic’s most sacred secrets. Throughout the rest of Star Wars Canon, we never catch a whiff of Artoo’s wipe again and it seems as though those secrets never left his memory bank.

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In Matthew Stover’s novelization of Revenge of the Sith, C-3PO and R2-D2 have an interesting dialogue during the scene when Anakin, post-Sith acceptance, and Padme reunite as the Jedi Temple burns. When pressed by C-3PO on what is going on with Anakin (as the golden droid gets a bad feeling when the now-Vader approaches), Artoo responds with a simple “I don’t know, Anakin doesn’t talk to me anymore.”

This quote gives us a few different insights with the first being, poor Anakin (or maybe poor Artoo) would constantly divulge his feelings to his droid throughout their time together. God knows the copious amounts of Padme stories or whining about Obi-Wan and the council that our little astromech had to deal with listening to during all those long trips to the Outer Rim.

This provides us with some context that Artoo had to know SOMETHING was going on as we also get a “the factors don’t add up” quote from the droid during that same ROTS passage. We also can assume Anakin was allowing our little droid into even more than just schematic secrets of the Jedi and Republic during their “conversations” as well.

An article written back in 2015 on Geek.com references a few other key points about what we know Artoo is aware of. Back in Attack of the Clones, he is privy to the secret wedding between Padme and Anakin on Naboo and in ROTS, he also witnessed the birth of Luke and Leia on Mustafar.

The Vintage Collection’s R2-D2 with a slightly weathered look. Photo Credit: Hasbro

His familiarity with Tatooine shows during the opening scene in A New Hope when he immediately makes his way to civilization after being dropped from the escape pod along with C-3PO. We also know of his role in saving Rotta the Hutt in The Clone Wars where he played an integral part both rescuing and then delivering Jabba’s son to his palace, furthering proof that he had prior knowledge of Tatooine.

Throughout his time on screen, Artoo’s advanced intellect and uniqueness are highlighted on numerous occasions, including Mace Windu chastising Anakin for “encouraging individuality in his droid.”

Probably the funniest realization made regarding Artoo and his memory is his relationship with Yoda. During the Clone Wars TV series, Yoda embarks on his final mission to find answers in the Force with R2-D2 as his sole companion, even taking the droid to Dagobah with him. Yet, when Luke arrives on the swamp planet in the original trilogy, Artoo haggles and bothers Yoda as if he is just another swamp creature. Now, this could be because he knows the mystery character is in fact the great Jedi Master and is hiding from Luke, but the play fighting still makes for a humorous moment between droid and Jedi.

A final piece of evidence covered by Star Wars Theory in this video further illuminates our little droid’s intentions as he, of course knows that Anakin Skywalker has turned into Darth Vader, yet refuses to divulge that information to Luke in the interest of protecting him.

As close to an omniscient character by Return of the Jedi as we have in the SW Universe, we have to assume that R2-D2 had more knowledge of the galaxy, both past and present, than any living being outside of Emperor Palpatine. Why he didn’t put most of his untapped memory bank to use, is left mostly unsaid, but luckily for our bucket of bolts things worked up just as the prophecy said. Being a droid surely played into how much Artoo could infer from the various situations that he was involved with, but as we know when it comes to Artoo-Detoo we can never underestimate our favorite astromech.

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Hopefully we get more R2-D2 action in 2019 with the final season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars and the final installment of the Skywalker saga in Star Wars: Episode IX.