Greetings organics, and welcome to the Sarlacc Pit. This week’s post is all about everyone’s favorite astromech: R2-D2. For this post instead of a straight up biography of the character, I am going to give 10 reasons why R2-D2 is the most important character in Star Wars canon (these reasons appear in order of occurrence). Normally in a post like this I would say that this is opinion, but I believe that by the end of this post you will see that it is fact that R2-D2, more than Anakin Skywalker, Luke Skywalker, or anyone else, is THE most important canon Star Wars character. This will cover pretty much all of current canon, so read at your own risk!
Reason #1: Without R2-D2, Anakin would have remained on Tatooine and Darth Sidious would have won much sooner.
In “Star Wars: Episode I,” Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi assisted Queen Padmé Amidala in escaping from the clutches of the Trade Federation. The Federation was attempting to gain control of Naboo’s plasma export at the behest of Darth Sidious. We can assume that this would allow Palpatine to quickly gain power in the Senate through sympathy or something like that, honestly, the politics are confusing but this is not the point. The heroes took Queen Amidala’s Naboo Royal Starship to Coruscant, but took a hit to the shield generator. Still taking on heavy fire from the Trade Federation’s blockade ships, several astromech droids were deployed to the hull of the ships to fix the shield generator. Enter our hero, R2-D2. Out of all the droids deployed, only R2-D2 managed to not get hit by enemy fire, and was able to repair the shield generator, allowing the group to escape into hyperspace. So considering that this allowed Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi to travel to Tatooine, meet Anakin Skywalker, save Naboo, and train Anakin as a Jedi, it is safe to say that without R2-D2 Darth Sidious would have succeeded in his plot, become the Emperor, and remain so until he died since Anakin would never have been able to father Luke Skywalker. R2-D2 would never forget the droids that died at his side that day, and would never let their heroic sacrifice go to waste.
Reason #2: Without R2-D2, Padmé would have died at the Battle of Geonosis, Anakin Skywalker would never have married Padmé, and Luke Skywalker would never have been born.
Years after the Battle of Naboo, Anakin Skywalker and Padmé Amidala infiltrated a Separatist droid factory on Geonosis. They were attacked and had to escape by running through an assembly line that probably could have doubled as a Legend of Zelda dungeon. At one point, Padmé found herself stuck in a large crucible that carried molten metal. Just as the molten ore was about to pour down on her, our hero, R2-D2, shut down the lava-pouring machine and saved her from a truly horrific death. Thus allowing Anakin and Padmé to have a secret wedding and eventually give birth to R2-D2’s strongest sidekick, Luke Skywalker.
Reason #3: Without R2-D2, the Republic would have lost the Clone Wars.
On one side of the Clone Wars was the Republic with their clone army led by the noble Jedi Order. On the other side was the Separatists and their droids led by the vile Darth Tyranus secretly working under Darth Sidious. However, no power in the galaxy was stronger than R2-D2. Throughout the Clone Wars the Republic would have failed without the strong leadership of R2-D2. Many times he carried the team, both literally and figuratively. Throughout the Clone Wars R2 routed out spies, exposed Sith plots, and saved the lives of just about every Jedi you can think of. He single-handedly foiled a young Boba Fett’s plot to kill Anakin Skywalker and Mace Windu, worked alongside the Jedi to save lives, and briefly worked with the highly decorated Colonel Gascon in the illustrious D-Squad to retrieve Separatist code information. Without R2-D2 the Republic’s forces would have failed at the start. To what can we attribute his mighty strength in battle? R2-D2’s young apprentice, Anakin Skywalker, admired the droid and encouraged R2 to maintain a sense of individuality. Against war protocol, Anakin very rarely wiped R2-D2’s memory, allowing the droid to keep records of past scenarios and learn from them. This allowed for R2-D2 to have a bit of creativity and better strategic abilities. Certainly, having Anakin Skywalker as a sidekick was a strong advantage, but R2 is still the main hero of the story.
Reason #4: R2-D2 was a important founder of the Rebellion, working behind the scenes before the Rebellion officially formed.
After witnessing the betrayal of his partner Anakin Skywalker, R2-D2 and his close friend C-3PO were taken in by Bail Organa. Knowing that C-3PO could not be trusted to keep a secret, Bail had the protocol droid’s memory banks wiped. R2-D2, unwilling to lose another friend to the chaos that life had thrown at him remained by C-3PO’s side. The pair were sent on many diplomatic missions where R2-D2 found a use for his old friend. C-3PO made an excellent distraction for times when R2 needed to carry out missions sabotaging the Empire for the good of the galaxy. R2 always answered to Bail, continuing to keep C-3PO in the dark until it was time to reveal his true heroic nature to the galaxy. During this time R2-D2 carried out numerous missions for the fledgling Rebel Alliance, such as gathering intelligence from Imperial droids and destroying Imperial weapons.
Reason #5: Without R2-D2, the Rebels would never have gotten the plans to the Death Star.
After the Tantive IV was captured by Imperial forces while attempting to escape with plans to the Death Star, Princess Leia knew that their was only one person up to the task of escaping with the plans: R2-D2. Leia hid the plans in R2’s memory banks and sent him to find General Obi-Wan Kenobi of the Grand Army of the Republic. It took some doing, but he eventually found Kenobi, picking up a naive farmboy and a couple of smugglers on the way.
Reason #6: Without R2-D2, Luke would have been burned along with his aunt and uncle.
In order to complete the mission Leia gave him, R2-D2 had to escape from the Lars compound. This forced Luke to leave as well, leading him away from his home when the Empire came, saving him from a harsh fate. Sure, it can be argued that if R2-D2 never landed on Tatooine, Luke’s aunt and uncle might have lived a little longer, but if a frog-dog had wings it wouldn’t bump its butt every time it hopped (note: search for frog-dogs on wookiepedia, you will not be disappointed).
Reason #7: Without R2-D2, Luke would never have learned about the Force.
Eventually, R2-D2 led Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi, who had been living on Tatooine for years watching over Luke in secret. If it were not for R2, Luke would have never met the hermit, and never had learned the secrets of the Force.
Reason #8: Without R2-D2 Leia probably would have died on the Death Star.
After R2-D2 and his team were brought onto the Death Star, the rest of the team’s main goal was escape. R2, however, had other ideas once he discovered that Princess Leia was being held capture on the space station. R2 then insisted his team leap into action, despite whatever personal harm may come to himself. If not for R2’s bravery, Leia would have probably remained captive on the Death Star, undergoing more torture at the hands of Darth Vader, and ultimately getting blown up during the Rebel’s attack at the Battle of Yavin.
Reason #9: Without R2-D2, Han Solo would have remained Jabba’s wall decoration.
After their friend Han Solo was taken captive at Jabba’s palace, R2-D2 and the team knew they had to jump into action. R2 and Luke hatched an ingenious plan, send R2 into deep cover as a server on Jabba’s sail barge while other rescue plans were attempted. Leia attempted a covert rescue operation, which failed. Luke then went in to negotiate with Jabba, and ultimately failed. It was at the sarlacc pit (ha!), the Pit of Carkoon, where R2-D2 jumped into action, supplying Luke with his lightsaber during his time of need and freeing Princess Leia from her chains, allowing the two to free Han and take out Jabba the Hutt once and for all.
Reason #10: Decades later, R2-D2 breathed new hope into the Resistance by finding Luke Skywalker.
The many years and many battles wore down on R2-D2. Never having his memory banks wiped, R2 was plagued by the memories of battles won and friends lost. When his sidekick, Luke Skywalker, failed to bring back the Jedi and left in search of answers, R2 became adrift in a sea of emotions. No longer able to keep up appearances, and slowly beginning to feel inferior to the new BB model of astromechs, R2 decided to go into low power mode, resigning himself to becoming a dust-covered scrap heap. However, even the deep pull of depression could not stop our hero from saving the day. R2-D2 knew that with the decades of accumulated data there had to be some sort of way to find Luke Skywalker, and R2 knew that one day his friends would need to find Skywalker again. The young pup BB-8 won some recognition when he was able to retrieve a partial map supposedly leading to Luke’s location, but it was ultimately R2-D2, the true hero of the galaxy, who found the rest of the map, thus being able to bring Rey, the next in line of succession of the Jedi, to Luke Skywalker. Once more, R2-D2 brought hope to a galaxy in need, though I expect we shall see more heroics from this brave astromech in the future.
And so, with these ten great moments in R2-D2’s story, we must acknowledge that more than any Skywalker, Solo, or mystery desert girl, it is R2-D2 who has time and time again saved the galaxy from darkness. He did not achieve this great feats alone, having many sidekicks and lackeys in his time who helped, but it was him more than anyone who shouldered the massive burden of the galaxy. However, with his return to action at the end of “The Force Awakens,” we must assume that we have not seen the last of his heroics, and we may expect great things to come from him in the future.
As for next week, I want to do a post that I have been thinking about ever since I first started the Sarlacc Pit. Next week will be all about Salacious B. Crumb and his role in my interest in extended Star Wars canon. Thanks for reading, and may the Force be with you!