If you were to ask just about anyone who the hero of Star Wars is, you’re going to hear it time and time again: Luke Skywalker. You might get a few Reys, which is certainly cool, Rey is awesome. You might get a few Obi-Wans or Anakins from the severely misguided who have taken up defense of the prequels. Those people are incorrect, as only you can be the hero of the prequels by doing the right thing and THROWING THEM IN TRASH. No really, do it, I’m telling you, it’s liberating not having to make excuses for them anymore. As lauded as Luke Skywalker is, he’s not really the hero of the original Star Wars trilogy, either. No, dear readers, that honor goes to the most unlikely of subjects, “That Red One,” R5-D4.
That goes extra for you, Attack of the Clones
“Why?” you may ask. “Stop reading into things too much, Josh Look, you fool,” you might say. It’s simple. Think about Star Wars (or A New Hope if you’re one of those people) if R5-D4 hadn’t had a bad motivator. The Empire would have traced R2-D2 back to the Jawas, recovered the plans to the Death Star, and Luke would go on farming and maybe join the Academy, none the wiser to what could have been. Things wouldn’t have gone so well for Princess Leia but Han Solo might have made out a bit better. Who knows. The point is, Star Wars would have been a whole hell of a lot shorter.
Aside from being a stone cold bastion of the value of self-sacrifice, one of my favorite things about R5-D4 is that if Kenner’s Power of the Force line of toys from the 1990’s are to be believed, he was also a SECRET WEAPONS PLATFORM.
You read that correctly, “Concealed Missile Launcher.”
No other toy in the Power of the Force line made such a deviation from source material, but when I was a kid, I was sure glad they did. The hero of the galaxy deserved to kick some ass and kick ass he did.
So the next time you sit down to watch Star Wars and you get to the part where R5 blows his own top with only the slim hope that Uncle Owen will pick R2-D2 instead, stand up, take off your hat, and salute. It’s the very least that R5-D4 deserves.