R2 D2

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A Droid's Story

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A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far, away… you know the story, the Rebel forces transferred the Death Star plans from stolen data tapes over to a data-card for the hand-off from the rebel troopers to the troopers on Tantive IV, who gave it to Princess Leia, who gave it to R2-D2 who escaped with C-3PO in an escape pod, got captured by Jawas, bought by Owen and Luke, wandered off to find Obi-wan, who then brought it back to Leia and the rest of the rebellion to make some pretty spectacular fireworks.


Well, that wasn’t the end of the story and it certainly wasn’t the beginning. So let me fill in some of the gaps and tell you my story……a Droid’s Story.

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The Creation

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Industrial Automaton (IA) was formed over 850 years before the rise of the empire with the merger of Industrial Intelligence and Automata Galactica. Industrial Automaton became a vastly wealthy company and vied for control of the droid market with fellow manufacturing giant Cybot Galactica. these rival companies were known as the “big two” of droid production.


The R2-series droid, an astromech model produced by Industrial Automaton, boasted a level of success that was never equaled in industrial automaton’s long history. A combination of excellent design, high-quality marketing, and good timing made this astromech droid one of the most sought-after droids in history and one of the few vintage astromech series still in active production decades after it was first designed.

In the beginning

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Details of R2-D2’s early history are scant. He first came to the full attention of history during the Trade Federation’s Invasion of Naboo, some 13 years before the end of the Republic Era. As part of the droid pool of the Palace of Theed, R2-D2 was stationed aboard the Naboo Royal Starship: just one of a sizeable group of astromechs assigned to the rules of Naboo’s sleek, chromium-finished J-type 327 Nubian. His companions included other R2 units, as well as R5’s.


As R2D2 was state property of Naboo, Queen Padmé Amidala as the head of state exercised her control over R2D2 and the droid continued his service to Amidala while she was a Senator. After Anakin Skywalker was elevated to a Jedi Knight, Padmé gifted R2D2 to him and he became Anakin’s personal Astromech droid.

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The Mission

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During the Galactic Civil War, the Rebel Alliance succeeded in stealing secret plans for the Empire’s new superweapon, the Death Star. In possession of the Death Star schematics Princess Leia Organa was fleeing from Scarif to Tatooine aboard the Tantive IV when Darth Vader’s Star Destroyer attacked and boarded her ship.

The desperate Princess Leia uploaded the plans and a holographic message for Ob-Wan Kenobi into R2-D2’s memory bank, instructing him to seek out the Jedi Master.

C-3PO and R2-D2 suddenly, and unaware, became the most important droids in the galaxy. C-3PO didn’t know about the mission she’d given R2, but he followed his friend to the surface of Tatooine via an escape pod.

Technical Specifications

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Justifying their market leading position, R2-series astromechs were designed to interface with computers and keep starships repaired and on course. Part of their role is also to act as a sophisticated computer technician & information storage/retrieval droid.

R2D2 served under the Royal Engineers of Naboo who were famous making after-market additions to their droids especially the R2 units, which has many different systems for data capture, including a computer interface-arm, data card input, spacecraft linkage data slot, systems diagnostic input receptors, and a host of sensors. Hologram recording and projection is a standard capability of the R2-series, and without the ability to vocalise in Basic, is often the easiest way for these droids to communicate their stored data with a human master.

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Companion

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R2-D2 was one of the most trusted agents Bail Organa had, and, even after the many memory wipes, in C-3PO the little astromech found the perfect partner for future missions in the service of those battling against the Empire. C-3PO was a reluctant rebel at best, but despite his complaints, he was still a dedicated and loyal companion for R2.

And while C-3PO had a distinguished career before the Imperial Era, the memory wipe he received when transferring to the ownership of Bail Organa and the Royal House of Alderan saw him begin life anew. He was assigned to be the counterpart to astromech R2-D2, unaware that he and R2 has already faced many adventures together during the fall of the Old Republic.

This is the way

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R2-D2 had witnessed great tragedy and inspiring triumphs in his long life. He had seen the fall of the Republic and the original Jedi Order. After the Empire’s defeat, he might have hoped to see the rise of the New Republic and a new Jedi Order.

Travelling with Luke Skywalker as he tried to piece together the lost history of the Jedi, R2-D2 and his master would visit numerous planets, leaving the seeds of a growing legend behind them – the legend of Luke Skywalker. One of those stories, which may be true, but has grown in the telling, speaks of when R2 rescued, or helped rescue a child from the Order 66 massacre at the Jedi Temple.

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Although R2-D2 appeared to be just another astromech droid rolling off the production lines of Industrial Automaton he was part of a shipment of droids bought by the the Palace Space Vessel Engineering Corps. This little droid was programmed with technical specifications of the various craft used by the Royal House and by the Naboo Space Fighter Corps.

Primarily engineered for astro-navigational assistance and starship maintenance, R2-D2 also doubles as a general-purpose utility droid. His functionality extends to holographic recording, image projection, data storage, fire extinguishing, and sensor scanning. He’s even been known to serve drinks!

The R2 line was so successful that the Galactic Empire would later take credit for the design. The average cost of an R2 unit was about 5000 imperial credits for a starter model.

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When her planet was invaded by the Trade Federation, it was decided that Queen Padmé Amidala of the Naboo should leave the planet under the protection of the Jedi. Jedi Qui-Gon Jinn and his apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi assigned Anakin Skywalker to be her bodyguard and she, her courtiers, guards, and pilots were all ushed aboard the ship. Although it made it off the surface unmolested, the ship had to run the gauntlet of the blockading Trade Federation capital ships. Intense fire from those vessels struck the shield generator, overloading it. The droid pool was deployed to the outer hull, where R2-D2 and his companions did what they could to repair the ship. All of the other droids were blown apart, but R2-D2 managed to bypass the main power drive, patching back in through auxiliary systems, and restoring full power to the shields. The Royal Starship made it past the blockade and away.

R2 was given special attention by the grateful crew, the Queen, and her handmaidens, one of whom was assigned to clean him up a little. After being personally thanked by the Queen, from that point on R2-D2 served her more directly.

R2 took his job of looking after Padmé and Anakin very seriously. Travelling in steerage on a beaten-up old freighter, space and food were at a premium. R2-D2 managed to snag them food, risking the wrath of COO-2180, the cook droid, in doing so droid were usually not allowed to be in line to collect food!).


On arrival at Naboo, Padmé took Anakin to meet her family, with R2-D2 taking the attention he got from her nieces and nephews in his stride. For him at least, the sojourn to Naboo was uneventful. It wasn’t long, however, before they were off again. This time the trip was to Tatooine, where Anakin was trying to find his mother, Shmi Skywalker, whom he had had to leave behind so many years earlier. This quest led them to a moisture farm on the edge of the Dune Sea, and to an encounter with an old friend, C-3PO, now sporting some battered old plating, still serving Shmi. Tragically, she died at the hands of the Tusken Raiders, so C-3PO would travel with them on the next journey the group took.

Their destination was set when R2-D2 relayed a message from Obi-Wan Kenobi to Anakin. The Jedi Master was in trouble on nearby Geonosis, to which he had tracked the bounty hunter who had been after Padmé. There, the Separatists seeking to break from the Republic were arming themselves. Anakin and Padmé decided to try to rescue Kenobi, and R2-D2 and C-3PO went with them. Slipping past the lax Geonosian security, Padmé landed her ship inside what turned out to be a battle droid factory. Although ordered to stay with the ship, R2-D2decided to follow, with a reluctant C-3PO in tow. It was just as well he did, as Padmé and Anakin were under attack. Although R2-D2 was able to save Padmé from being roasted by molten metal, he couldn’t stop her from being taken prisoner, or C-3PO from blundering around and having his head swapped with that of a battle droid. Hiding from the Geonosians and their droids, R2-D2 looked for an opportunity to fly to the rescue again!

Meanwhile, the battered starship made a detour to Tatooine, a desert world where it was hoped a replacement hyperdrive could be found- though some repairs were beyond even R2-D2’s expertise. The astromech accompanied the small team sent to purchase the hyperdrive, in case his services were required to check over the new unit. Unfortunately, it was impossible to buy a new hyperdrive with Republic Credits, so a new solution had to be found 

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Falling in with farm-boy Luke Skywalker and finding Kenobi, R2-D2 passed on his message, and initiated a chain of events that led to a desperate escape from Tatooine and the pursuing Imperial Stormtroopers.
With new friends, smuggler Han Solo and his co-pilot Chewbacca, R2-D2 played a vital role in rescuing Leia from the depths of the Death Star itself.

After rescuing Leia from the Death Star and arriving at the secret Rebel Alliance headquarters on the moon Yavin IV.
With the Death Star closing in on the rebels, R2-D2 was able to provide the vital information that showed how a bold assault by small starfighters could destroy the station. Luke volunteered to participate in the attack on the Death Star with R2 being installed in Luke’s rebel X-Wing. R2-D2 performed the same function for him that he had for his father, interfacing with the X-Wing’s astromech slot to help the ship fly. During the attach he repaired a damage stabiliser abd boosted the power so Skywalker could fire a shot that destroyed the battle station and saved the rebels. R2 took serious damage in that battle, and C-3PO even volunteered to donate parts for his repair, but the Rebels, grateful to Luke for destroying the Death Star, did an exceptional job of repairing R2 on their own.

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All droids are given basic programming instructions, to which they add as they learn from the new experiences. An occasional memory wipe will restore the factory settings, preventing them from developing a “personality” and becoming too independent. However, this never happened to R2-D2.

All droids are programmed to obey their masters unquestioningly – under certain restrictions, of course. While this is a simple matter for more basic droids, for complex droids (usually those above Class Four status) things become more involved. For droids of Class Three and above (which naturally includes all astromechs), learned experience is bought into play. This is an essential part of their function. For example, the learning process is what allows protocol units to detect sarcasm and other moods in a particular master. This ensures that no such droid will act literally on his master’s exasperated statement that he would like to see a certain Senator being sent a explosive device, for example.

When a used droid is sold, it is normal to erase this type of temporary learned behaviour, so the process can start afresh. Luke Skywalker would naturally expect to wipe the memory of two recently acquired droids, C-3PO and R2-D2, as a routine procedure, but his Uncle Owen also wanted to erase some inconvenient data.

The memory wipes, however, were never performed. And in the case of R2-D2 – a droid with a long and varied history – this meant he had a wealth of occasionally contradictory experiences to draw on to help interpret the orders of his master. Having helped to save the rebel base on Yavin 4 (and with it, the future of the Rebel Alliance), the little droid would remain as Luke Skywalker’s astromech on many adventures.

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Utterly dominating the protocol droid market from the point they were released, Cybot Galactica’s 3PO-series provided unequalled communications solutions, thanks not only to their TranLang III communication module, but also to their excellent protocol and personal assistant programming.

When part of a droid pool, it was not unusual for a 3PO unit to be assigned a counterpart. This was most often a maintenance droid, or similar unit, which lacked the ability to communicate directly with it’s owner or supervisor. The protocol droid would provide translation services, and occasionally bring its sense of diplomacy to bear in order to defuse any potential flashpoints between the owner ad their “staff”.

When Amidala’s ship stopped on the planet Tatooine, they met C-3PO, a protocol droid that lacked his outer casing, which made him look a lot like a metal skeleton covered in wire. Anakin Skywalker, a young boy of extraordinary skill, claimed that he had built C-3PO himself, although later it was made clear that C-3PO had already existed and just fallen into disrepair until Anakin reconstructed him with new parts. Anakin and his mother Shmi were enslaved by a junk dealer named Watto, and Anakin had (re)built C-3PO to help Shmi with chores. When Qui-Gon saw Anakin’s potential to become a Jedi, he won the boy’s freedom from Watto, but Shmi was forced to stay behind. C-3PO stayed with Anakin’s mother, but it would be far from the last time that he and R2-D2 would be together.

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When Order 66 happened, R2-D2 was also at the Jedi Temple on Coruscant and from a distance witnessed Anakin and the clone army wiping out the Jedi.
Back from the time spent with Yoda, R2 had a secret recording stored in his system that instructed what to do if Yoda or his species was ever in danger. Already knowing that Grogu was so powerful, and that Anakin would quickly return to his ship, there was just enough time for R2 to also leave the ship and help hide Grogu to prevent him from becoming another one of Darth Vader’s younglings.

Then, roughly 28 years later, at about 9 ABY when the Mandalorian attempt to rescue Grogu from an Imperial cruiser falters, Luke, accompanied by R2, swoops in on a lone X-Wing to retrieve Grogu from Din Djarin to give him a proper Jedi training. It was here that there was a joyful reunion when R2 again came face-to-face with Grogu. What happened next….

...to be continued