When the trailer to The Mandalorian Season 3 was released at the Disney D3 Fan Expo event, many fans would notice that the astromech droid R5 has joined the lone bounty hunter and his adopted Force Sensitive foundling and son, Grogu on their request to redeem the latter’s Mandalorian status.
R5 first made his appearance in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope as a red astromech droid who malfunctioned by having a bad motivator when sold to future Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker and his Uncle Owen Lars. Luke would ultimately purchase R2-D2 and go on to have many adventures with the fateful droid who once belonged to his parents Anakin Skywalker and Padme Amidala.
However, R5 would eventually be given to Mos Eisley mechanic Peli Motto. The droid, despite having mechanical issues, would assist her and the Mandalorian with finding the town of Mos Pelgo (now Freetown). In the trailer for Season 3, we see Peli presenting R5 to the Mandalorian, who has some aversion to droids due to his traumatic childhood during the Clone Wars.
After seeing R5 in the trailer, one has to wonder: is there more to R5-D4 than we thought? Perhaps one comic from the Legends Continuity can answer that question.
The mini comic “Skippy: The Jedi Droid” , which takes place a little bit before A New Hope, centers around R5 who happens to be a Force-Sensitive droid. The comic was written by Peter David and illustrated byHoward S. Shum. The comic is a part of the Legends Star Wars Tales no. 1 anthology.
At the beginning of the comic, JedI Master Obi-Wan “Ben” Kenobi senses another Force sensitive on Tatooine and searches the streets of Mos Eisley. However, among the city that is wretched with scum and villainy, the old Jedi Master cannot find this potential. Little does he know, the Force sensitive is the red astromech droid R5, who is named “Skippy” who works for the Crime Lord Jabba the Hutt. The droid begins to become self-aware that he is meant for some great purpose.
When he tries telling his fellow droids of his purpose, they laugh at him and ostracize him from their social gatherings.
But one day, Skippy’s self-awareness would prove to be true when bounty hunter Boba Fett accidentally bumps into the droid while he is serving a drink to Jabba.
Knowing that dropping the crime lord’s drink would mean a hard punishment, Skippy reaches out to the Force to prevent it from spilling. The droid is able to serve the drink to Jabba without incident and begins to explore his hidden abilities. Later that night while everyone was asleep, the droid would realize that he is gifted with the Force after moving a rock. WIth his newfound ability, the droid would escape Jabba by removing his restraining bolt and using a Jedi mind trick by telling two Gamorean guards in the droid Binary language that “I am not the droid you are looking for.”
The newly liberated Skippy would find new trouble in the form of Tatooine’s harsh desert climate. As a result of finding no place to go and hiding from sand people and the heat from the twin suns, the droid would begin to malfunction and corrode. But eventually, salvation would come in the form of a sandcrawler where a group of Jawas would take the astromech droid and clean him up and restore him the best way they can.
One day, Skippy has a chance encounter with the heroic R2-D2 who tells him about his mission to deliver a message from Princess Leia to Obi-Wan Kenobi.
This would cause the Force to evoke visions of Princess Leia, Darth Vader, and stormtroopers. Eventually, the Sandcrawler would reach Lars Homestead where Luke and Owen would be waiting. Upon seeing Luke, the droid would sense that he was strong in the Force. With this revelation, Skippy thought that he and Luke would be a force (pun intended) to be reckoned with and would be able to free the galaxy and restore the Jedi Order.
Skippy would use a mind trick on Owen to choose him. As Skippy rolled toward Luke and Lars, he would notice the jaw preventing Artoo from moving. This would make the droid realize that he would not be compatible with C-3PO and that Owen would erase his memory if he saw him utilizing the Force. He also realized that Vader would eventually find Artoo and destroy him and harm Leia and the Rebel Alliance would have a horrible fate. Even worse, Skippy sensed that Luke would remain on Tatooine while trying unsuccessfully to leave only to have Uncle Owen give him another excuse. At that moment, the droid understood that Artoo was meant to be with the future Jedi, not him.
It is here when Skippy blows up his motivator and with his last ounce of strength, he uses the Force to get Threepio to convince Luke to pick Artoo. This would be his actual purpose.
The Jedi droid would meet his fate when the stormtroopers would murder the Jawas and blast him into pieces. Skippy would become one with the Force.
The comic ends on a somewhat humorous and melancholy note with the narrator telling the reader to “be kind to your droids and major appliances. And next time you’re alone and you feel something…a faint beeping in your skull, or the sound of motors whirring…you may be sensing…him.” The narrator also mentions that since Skippy is now one with the Force, he would seek others like him, whether they be “in your kitchen, or on your desk or in your briefcase.”
Since R5 is going to become a part of Clan Mudhorn, is there a chance that he might become “R5 the Mandalorian” droid? And since Dave Filoni is a huge fan of the Star Wars Legends lore, do you think he might have Pelli name R5 ‘Skippy?’
Overall, to circle back to the question from the beginning, do you think there is more to R5 than we thought? Please share in the comments and be on the lookout for more Mandalorian content on the Dork Side of the Force!