R5-D4 — now there’s a name Star Wars fans haven’t heard in ages.
Actually, they’ve never heard it. This particular droid from 1977’s original Star Wars was only ever referred to by its color, as in young Luke Skywalker declaring, “Come on, Red, let’s go!” after buying the bot from a group of junk-dealing Jawas.
R5 was the one Luke and Uncle Owen purchase instead of R2-D2, but fate — or maybe it was the Force — intervened. Before they got more than a few steps away, “Red” blew a gasket.
Uncle Owen and his nephew swapped the defective robot for Artoo … and the rest is galactic history.
We never saw R5-D4 again, except in toy form, where this glorified background player received a full alphanumeric name.
Now, a new image posted by the producer of a new Star Wars TV series suggests that “Red” lived to fight another day.
Iron Man and The Jungle Book filmmaker Jon Favreau is currently crafting the Disney+ series The Mandalorian, due for release later this year, and on Monday evening he posted this image of the familiar droid.
Sure, these astromechs can look similar, but there’s no mistaking this droid.
The Mandalorian is set just after the fall of the Empire in Return of the Jedi, with Narcos and Game of Thrones star Pedro Pascal playing a masked warrior trying to survive that lawless time on the edge of the galaxy.
There are a few more burn marks and dents, and the “Red” has faded more to pink (blame that on the scorching twin suns of Tatooine?), but that just adds to the desperation of this unlucky droid.
What role will R5 play? There’s no telling. Maybe it’s just a wink to longtime fans, but Favreau has hinted at other classic Star Wars mechanical characters turning up.
On Christmas, he posted this image of merciless bounty hunter IG-88.
The nice thing for Lucasfilm is, unlike people, droids never age. So they can keep coming back again and again.
May the Force be with you, R5. You’re going to need it.