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R5-D4: Misc



Up to date as of February 04, 2010

From Wookieepedia, the Star Wars wiki.

Production information



Industrial Automaton

Product line



R5-series astromech droid


Astromech droid

Technical specifications

0.97 meters


Masculine programming

Chronological and political information

(audio) Hear R5-D4 (A New Hope)

R5-D4 was a white and red striped astromech droid.



"This R2 unit has a bad motivator. Look."
Luke Skywalker

R5-D4, also known as Red, was a part of the low cost Industrial Automaton R5 line, a line plagued with malfunctions. As a result, R5-D4 was owned by many beings and in a constant state of used sale. His programming became jealous of other droids that were capable of serving without failure and had loyal masters.

R5-D4, with R2-D2 at the Lars homestead.

The droid came into the possession of Chief Nebit's Jawa tribe, that sold used droids to Owen Lars. Aboard Nebit's Sandcrawler, the new arrival R2-D2 sabotaged R5-D4's motivator, acting under the orders of Princess Leia aboard the Tantive IV to find Obi-Wan Kenobi by any means possible, even if it involved modifying other droids, an action usually prohibited by basic droid programming laws.[1] Eventually, the sandcrawler arrived outside the Lars homestead. Owen Lars purchased the inexpensive R5-D4, but within seconds of the transaction, the droid's motivator malfunctioned. After Lars accused the Jawas of selling faulty merchandise, the Jawas hastily let Owen have R2-D2 as a consolation.[2]

After failing to make a sale, the Squib trader Macemillian-winduarté stole R5-D4 from the Jawas, saving the droid from destruction at the hands of stormtroopers. R5-D4 then changed hands once again, being sold to Voren Na'al, Rebel Alliance historian and spy. Na'al refurbished the maltreated droid and installed an intelligence gathering software package. Decades of low self-confidence and jealousy were reversed: R5-D4 had a purpose.

R5-D4 was placed as an intelligence gathering source in the government offices of Mos Eisley. He continued to serve in that capacity for many years, providing important and valuable data to the Alliance.

Behind the scenes

Three action figures of R5-D4 have been made so far. The first figure was part of the original vintage toy line from that ran from 1977 to 1985. R5-D4 was one of the second wave of 8 cards released in 1978, a total of 20 Star Wars cards being released before 1979. The R5-D4 figure was similar in design to that of R2-D2, using the same hollow, white plastic tube shaped body, topped with a band of silver detail separating the head from the body. A printed body sticker was used with same picture detail as R2-D2's, except the details were printed in an orange/red color, orange/red paint details finished off the two side legs. The second figure was to be released in 1996 as part of the Power of the Force 2/3 and 3/4 scale toy line. This figure has become reviled as a terrible rendition of the droid. The addition of its leg-mounted blaster cannons and spring-loaded missile launcher, a feature accessed by opening up the two molded halves of the R5-D4 body, the missile is then released by a small yellow plastic tag that protrudes from the bottom of the body. Neither of these unnecessary additions were featured in the character's film appearance. As an aid to the secret missile design, the two side legs were joined together at the base of the feet via a piece of plastic, this made the figure's legs unable to move independently of each other. The figure was cumbersome, large, and out of proportion with other R2 droid figures. However, it is interesting to note this missile launcher design spawned a rare variant of this figure. The first Power of the Force 2 release came on a red card with gold picture border and featured a "straight" missile release lever, this was soon replaced by an easy to use lever with a downward 90 degree bend, so nicknamed the "bent" release lever. This "bent" lever figure was released on a green Power of the Force 2 card. The earlier "straight" lever has become a sought after item by variant collectors. The next figure is based on an R2-D2 mold and was released in 2006, this was a far superior version of R5-D4 that was part of the Hasbro Saga Collection within the Tatooine wave. This figure had a removable dome antenna and a damaged motivator that popped up when the head was moved from left to right or vice versa. This figure had one mistake in the fact that the rear panels were not painted red.

On the DVD of A New Hope, there is a menu screen-shot which displays a clearer image of R5-D4's malfunctioning motivator sky-rocketing into the air.

There is a continuity error in Episode IV, involving R5-D4. Just after the red droid's motivator has blown, C-3PO puts a good word in for R2. For a second, we are shown R2, with R5 inexplicably replaced beside him. The next shot shows the Jawas running over to retrieve the droid from where he stands (correctly) next to Luke and Threepio.

The explanation for this is that the act of sabotage by R2 was edited out of later versions of the film, the 'continuity error clip' was shown seconds before the act as R2 looks around to see if anyone is watching him. This scene was in versions of the film shown at UK cannon cinemas (Sheffield) in 1978

Luke refers to R5-D4 as an "R2 unit". Whether or not this was an intentional generalization on the part of the character, or actor, or scriptwriter, is unclear. The later introduction of the R2-AG-series agromech droid seems to be a retcon for this discrepancy. R2-AG units were established in the Star Wars Technical Journal as being a line of R2 units housed in R5-series droid casings, implying that Luke mistook R5-D4 for one of these agromech droids.

The non-canon humorous story Skippy the Jedi Droid identifies R5-D4 as "Skippy", a Force-using droid who is responsible for the entire Star Wars saga. The article Droids, Technology and the Force: A Clash of Phenomena alluded to this story as a wild rumor.

During the assault on the Death Star in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, the X-wing piloted by Jek Tono Porkins appears to have a droid identical to R5-D4 in the astromech socket. This droid has been identified as a different R5 unit, R5-D8 in Star Wars: Power of the Jedi

In the Christmas in the Stars, Star Wars Christmas album, R5-D4 accidentally stood beneath some mistletoe at C-3PO's party, and was kissed by Chewbacca. R5 did not sound happy about it afterward.

The vintage R5-D4 figure had no major variations but there was a variation in the way R5's name was written on the card. The Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back card releases featured the name "R5-D4", while the Return of the Jedi and the later European Tri-Logo card featured two versions of the name. Arfive-Defore was to be found at the top of the name plate whilst R5-D4 was found directly underneath.


Non-canon appearances


External links

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This article uses material from the "R5-D4" article on the Starwars wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

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