I was wondering if astromech droids (like R2-D2) could fully control any unmanned ship they're mounted in.

8 Answers 8



We see R2 pilot Mace Windu's Jedi Starfighter in "R2 Come Home", an episode of The Clone Wars

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Not only does he do some pretty fancy flying (surviving a dogfight with Slave I), he docks with a hyperspace ring and flies all the way to Coruscant.

He also flies a Y-Wing bomber in "Nomad Droids", a later episode, and even blows up some vulture droids:

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In Revenge of the Sith we see Obi-Wan's R7 unit take his Starfighter back to the Republic ship with a message for Commander Cody, tricking General Grievous into thinking he has left Utapau so he can surprise the Separatist forces.



  • In Revenge of the Sith Obi-Wan has his droid take control of the flying for a bit.

    OBI-WAN: All right, R4. No, no. Nothing too fancy.

    and later he even says

    OBI-WAN: Flying is for droids!

  • He has his droid fly the ship again on Utapau.

    OBI-WAN: Take the Fighter back to the ship

  • In Empire Strikes Back R2 also makes a suggestion about taking control of the ship.

    LUKE: (into comlink) Yes, R2?

    R2 utters a soft, carefully phrased steam of whistles.

    LUKE: (into comlink, chuckling) That's all right. I'd like to keep it on manual control for a while.

    The little droid lets out a defeated whimper. Luke smiles, and continues on his course.

    - Ep. V script

So yes, droids can fly the ships they're mounted in, even without a pilot inside the cockpit.


Also answered by this scifi exchange post.

Does R2D2 Try to Trick Luke in Episode V - Empire Strikes Back?

R2D2 could control Luke's X-Wing in Episode V.

  • 3
    +1 And props for an answer based on the original trilogy. Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 18:43
  • 3
    This answer would be better if it pulled in the relevant quotes instead of just linking, especially since the entire (and long) passages there aren't completely relevant to this question; only a small section is.
    – jpmc26
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 21:29

The answer is yes. There are a few examples for this. One is an episode in The Clone Wars where R2-D2 even outmanoeuvred the slave one. Another is in the films in The Empire Strikes Back. There R2-D2 during the evacuation scene flies the X-Wing towards the landing zone and Luke.

  • is there a source for your claim that R2 did this: "R2-D2 during the evacuation scene flies the X-Wing towards the landing zone and Luke."?
    – RedCaio
    Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 22:03
  • youtube.com/watch?v=HgY3rOOascY 11:08 - 11:20 would be the time there. it is just a small movement though as he hovers the ship more towards luke
    – Thomas
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 18:32
  • @JakeGould the evacuation scene was not mentioned so far in any answer else I wouldn't have bothered making this an answer and instead had at max commented.
    – Thomas
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 18:32

During Empire Strikes Back, after leaving Hoth:

R2, set a course for the Dagobah system

Also, a droid can handle more G-Forces than a human, so outmaneuvering a bounty hunter was no big deal for him.

  • 8
    hmmm, 1) setting a course like a navigation computer isn't the same as flying the ship, and 2) I don't remember when that quote happens, do you have a source for that quote?
    – RedCaio
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 0:02
  • 36m:20s. I stand corrected. As luke was setting the course, R2 questioned him (Being able to see the nav controls from his vantage point was all but impossible, so I'm guessing he could see changes to the flight computer WHILE they were still being made. We all know R2 likes to hack into EVERY computer he comes in contact with...
    – Ronk
    Commented Dec 17, 2015 at 5:40
  • I thought BRIEFLY that I had confused a line from the Star Wars Gangsta Rap, at 2m:02s, but once again, Luke answers R2's question and says "Yeah, that's right Artoo, I just set a new course" youtube.com/watch?v=Ij4w7ChpuaM But yes, setting a course in the nav computer to let the ship fly itself IS different you are right... But we all know if R2 can hack a Deathstar , he could hack an X-Wing and control it. We see him PHYSICALLY rerouting ship systems from the outside on the Nubian ship in EP1.
    – Ronk
    Commented Dec 17, 2015 at 5:45
  • Also in EP1, when Anikin was told to "Stay in the cockpit" R2 did NOT have control of the gun, Anikin told R2 he was trying, instead of R2 taking over. BUT when the ship took off ON AUTOPILOT, Anikin asked R2 to try and override it. So, it was probably locked, but WAS hackable. When they got to the control ship Anikin was still asking him to turn it off, and after a few seconds said "Yeah! You did it!".
    – Ronk
    Commented Dec 17, 2015 at 6:13


In the new (canon) novelisation of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes back, we have the following passage, just after the Battle at Hoth.

A short distance farther sits your X-wing, a spaceship outfitted for one pilot and one droid. R2 is in his place. He’s the one who piloted it out here to the muster site, to wait for you.

The Empire Strikes Back: So You Want to Be a Jedi?


In addition to the above examples of droids piloting starfighters, droids are also capable of piloting capital ships. There are many examples of Separatist capital ships being piloted by droids in The Clone Wars, not to mention the scene at the beginning of Revenge of the Sith.

Further, some droids are starfighters, again, at the beginning of Revenge of the Sith. Obviously, a droid that functions as a starfighter is capable of piloting itself, and is therefore capable of piloting a starfighter.

  • 1
    The droid starfighters we see in Revenge of the Sith are largely not piloted by astromech droids.
    – Valorum
    Commented Mar 15, 2017 at 21:25

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