We already know that Jon Favreau’s Disney+ Star Wars show The Mandalorian will have a lot of recognizable human faces (Pedro Pascal! Werner Herzog! Nick Nolte!), but Favreau seems to be teasing that it’ll have some familiar robot faces as well—to the extent that Star Wars droids have faces, which is only true for some of them. Anyway, back around Christmas, Favreau posted a photo on Instagram of awesome bounty hunter droid IG-88, who first appeared alongside a bunch of other awesome bounty hunters in The Empire Strikes Back but never actually got a chance to do anything in the movies (possibly because the original version of him was just a glorified coatrack).
That could’ve just been Favreau having some fun at the Lucasfilm archives, even if the apparent greenscreen seems a little suspicious, but now he has shared another droid photo that seems like a strong hint that an even less useful droid will appear in The Mandalorian.
Star Wars nerds surely recognize this guy immediately, but for those who aren’t cool enough to keep up with the mythology, that’s R5-D4, the droid that Luke’s Uncle Owen initially tries to buy in A New Hope until he explodes due to a “bad motivator” and they leave with R2-D2 instead. The fact that R5 is on sand in this photo suggests that this is on a set and not a Lucasfilm warehouse, and since The Mandalorian takes place in between Return Of The Jedi and The Force Awakens, this implies that ol’ R5 has gotten his motivator patched up in the years since he exploded in the Tatooine desert.
Also, if we can nerd out even more, R5's apparent resurrection is also notable for the fact that he got a bit of a heroic journey of his own in the definitely canonical short story anthology Star Wars: From A Certain Point Of View. In a story by fantasy author Rae Carson, R5 actually has a conversation with R2 just before that fateful day, and R2 explains to him that he’s on an important mission for the Rebellion and needs to get free. Thus, R5 kills himself by purposefully blowing up his bad motivator (whatever that is) so R2-D2 can find his way to Obi-Wan Kenobi. R5 is a proper hero, and it’s about damn time that he gets the spotlight—even if he just shows up in the background of a Mandalorian scene.