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One Of Mandalorian S3's Greatest Accomplishments Is Unveiling R5-D4's History

If there's one thing "The Mandalorian" specializes in, it's cramming in all manner of exciting cameos and callbacks to the greater "Star Wars" universe. Rarely does an episode go by without an appearance from some niche character, such as the surprising "Empire Strikes Back" droid cameo in "The Mandalorian" Season 3, Episode 1. However, there's also one throwback character that the series has consistently been doing a lot more with — and it deserves credit for doing so.

R5-D4, the small red-splotched droid that fans know best for being the droid that was originally sold to Luke Skywalker's Uncle Owen in "A New Hope" before R2-D2, has repeatedly appeared across "The Mandalorian." Season 3 takes things a step further, with Mando himself purchasing the droid to assist with his mission to the Living Waters of Mandalore. Not only does R5 play a crucial role in the plot, but the audience even gets to learn more about its backstory.

During "The Mandalorian" Season 3, Episode 5, Captain Teva mentions at one point that he personally served with R5-D4 during the rebellion against the Empire. Indeed, it seems that the little droid was also fighting the good fight off-screen during the original "Star Wars" trilogy, a revelation that adds yet another layer of depth to a deep-cut character.

There's actually even more lore behind R5-D4

"The Mandalorian" may be delving deeper into R5-D4's history, but it's actually not the first time that "Star Wars" has expanded on the droid's character and motivations beyond its original appearance. The anthology novel "From a Certain Point of View," which featured short narratives embedded all throughout the entire "Star Wars" story, included a canonical retelling of the events from the beginning of "A New Hope" from the perspective of R5.

As the story reveals, R5 and R2-D2 were having quite the impassioned conversation at the time that the Jawas were selling the droids to Uncle Owen and Luke. R2, knowing it had been equipped with an important message from Princess Leia to Obi-Wan Kenobi, pleaded with R5 to purposely sabotage itself so that the pair would purchase R2 instead. Recognizing the significance of R2's mission, R5 obliged and deliberately short-circuited itself, thereby helping to kick off the lengthy series of events that would lead to the Empire's eventual defeat.

By all accounts, R5-D4 is far more than the faulty R2-D2 knock-off viewers may have seen it as when the original "Star Wars" movie first released. In truth, it's a revered hero and served as one of the Rebel Alliance's greatest assets. Only time will tell what other majestic exploits the droid might get up to as its role in "The Mandalorian" continues.