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The Mandalorian: R5-D4 Might Just Have The Series' Best Redemption Story

If there's one thing "The Mandalorian" loves, it's a good redemption story. Whether it's Din Djarin atoning for the removal of his helmet in Season 3, IG-11 sacrificing itself to save the lives of the people it once considered enemies, or even Dr. Pershing's struggle to adjust to life outside of the Empire, the show loves diving into characters moving beyond their problematic pasts. However, few redemption arcs in "The Mandalorian" can rival what the series has done with the once-forgotten droid R5-D4.

Prior to its role in "The Mandalorian," fans knew R5-D4 best as the droid that Luke Skywalker's Uncle Owen purchased along with C-3PO in "Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope." Of course, its role in the movie is quickly cut short, as it immediately malfunctions and gets replaced by R2-D2. That was essentially the small droid's entire legacy for decades, until "The Mandalorian" turned the minor character into a bonafide "Star Wars" hero.

In the Season 3 finale for "The Mandalorian" alone, R5 is critical to Din's victory in the battle for Mandalore. It notably saves the day by getting the schematics of Moff Gideon's hideout to Din, but it also helps the hero through some major obstacles, using its unique abilities to deactivate the blockades in an energy barrier hallway. This example isn't the only time the show has demonstrated the little droid's heroism, either.

The Mandalorian also reveals R5-D4 has a heroic backstory

If R5-D4's heroic exploits in the present narrative of "The Mandalorian" weren't enough to redeem the character, the show also reveals that the droid has a shockingly heroic off-screen backstory as well. In "The Mandalorian" Season 3, Episode 5, Captain Teva reveals that he and the red-splotched bot go way back, as they served together during the Rebel Alliance's battle against the Empire throughout the original "Star Wars" trilogy. Indeed, R5 was fighting the good fight alongside Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and the rest of the gang.

Previous canonical works in the "Star Wars" franchise have suggested that there's a little more going with R5 than what meets the eye in his initial appearance. The 2017 anthology novel "From A Certain Point of View" even revealed that the droid's malfunctioning in the original "Star Wars" was a conscious decision to ensure that R2-D2 could carry out its mission of meeting Obi-Wan Kenobi. However, "The Mandalorian" has clearly taken things a step further for the character by establishing it as a fully capable and experience asset in the anti-Imperial cause.

It remains to be seen whether R5-D4 remains a major player in any subsequent installments of "The Mandalorian" or the "Star Wars" universe at-large. However, even if its moment in the sun has finally concluded, it can rest easy with the distinction of being the minor "Star Wars" character that "The Mandalorian" has arguably done the most justice to.