The Mandalorian's new droid is actually a major Star Wars character

The Mandalorian season 3 episode 2
(Image credit: Disney/Lucasfilm)

The Mandalorian season 3 episode 2 finally gives Mando a droid to travel with – and the little astromech is actually a key Star Wars character. Before we go any further, a warning that the following contains spoilers for the latest episode! Turn back now if you're not up to date with The Mandalorian! 

In the new episode, Din Djarin and Grogu visit Peli Motto on Tatooine. Mando is still on a quest to repair IG-11 to help him explore Mandalore, but Peli instead advises him to take a different droid with him: a red and white unit named R5-D4. 

The droid has popped up in The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett multiple times before, but this is the first time he has accompanied Din on a mission. If the droid looks especially familiar, though, that's because he's actually a crucial Star Wars character. 

R5 is none other than the droid that Luke Skywalker and Uncle Owen nearly bought in A New Hope, until the astromech practically exploded, supposedly thanks to a bad motivator. As it turns out, though, R5's malfunction was no accident. 

R5 in A New Hope

(Image credit: Disney/Lucasfilm)

As revealed in the canon short story "The Red One," found in the Star Wars: From A Certain Point of View anthology book, R2-D2 intentionally tried to sabotage a memory-wiped R5 when both were held captive by the Jawas at the start of A New Hope. At this point, R2 was carrying the Death Star plans, meaning it was very important he escaped and found his way to Obi-Wan Kenobi. R2 told the red droid that the galaxy depended on him getting away, but, when the sale began the next day, R5 was picked by Uncle Owen over R2. 

As the red droid was led away, R2 again stressed that the galaxy was in serious peril. Finally, R5 remembered that he'd once been involved with the Rebellion, too, and deliberately popped his head plate free to fake a malfunction. That meant C3-PO was able to recommend R2 to Luke – and the rest is history. 

It seems R5's importance to the galaxy isn't finished yet, though, as he's already saved the day once by flying Baby Yoda to Bo-Katan Kryze after Din was captured by a terrifying cyclops on Mandalore. Who knows what the rest of season 3 has in store for the little droid that could, but it looks like he's shaping up to be a hero all over again. 

The Mandalorian continues weekly on Disney Plus, and you can keep up to date with the show with our The Mandalorian release schedule. For even more, see our guide to all things The Mandalorian season 3 and check out all the upcoming Star Wars movies and TV shows for everything else coming soon from the galaxy far, far away. 

Molly Edwards
Entertainment Writer

I'm an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering all things film and TV for the site's Total Film and SFX sections. I previously worked on the Disney magazines team at Immediate Media, and also wrote on the CBeebies, MEGA!, and Star Wars Galaxy titles after graduating with a BA in English.