The Star Wars prequel trilogy has, for the most part, seemingly gotten better with age. At a minimum, fans are finding new appreciation for the prequels in the wake of the arguably forgettable sequel trilogy.  Notwithstanding, the prequels raised some big questions with respect to everyone’s favorite astromech droid. Namely, why could R2-D2 fly in the prequels but not in the original trilogy? Lucasfilm seems to have definitely answered that question once and for all yesterday on its social media platforms. See below:

R2-D2; Star Wars
Image: Lucasfilm Ltd.

In a “fun fact about one of the galaxy’s best astromech droids…” we learn, definitively this time, that someone had removed Artoo’s rocket boosters by the time Obi Wan Kenobi utters the words “hello there” for the first time in franchise history. According to the image above, the thrusters R2-D2 utilizes use a ton of fuel and were prone to breaking down. On that basis (presumably) his former owner, likely Captain Antilles of the Tantive IV, simply removed them.

Why R2-D2 can’t fly in the original Star Wars trilogy

R2-D2; Star Wars
Artoo flies alongside Ahsoka Tano during the Clone Wars. (Image: Lucasfilm Ltd.)

From a practical perspective, we all know exactly why Artoo didn’t fly in the original trilogy. To paraphrase from Howard Stark and another Disney franchise, George Lucas was limited by the technology if his time. The CGI necessary to allow R2-D2 to fly in Star Wars simply didn’t exist. From a canon perspective, however, there has been at least one prior attempt to explain away the overweight glob of grease’s lack of flight.

Notably, The Star Wars Book published in 2020 informed us that Artoo’s jets were “damaged at some point after the Clone Wars,” whenever that may have been. Incurring damage is one thing, though. If his jets merely had damage, then presumably he could fly in the original trilogy, if only someone had repaired them. This latest post, however, seems to put the issue to bed. R2-D2 couldn’t fly in the original trilogy because he no longer had the hardware.

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