In The Force Awakens, R2-D2 is

shown to be in what C-3PO called some "deep hibernation mode".

But my question is, how did this happen,

did R2-D2 deliberately do this, or is this some kind of droid coma that he was put in involuntarily?

Is this indicated anywhere or left open?

3 Answers 3


According to C-3PO, R2-D2 is in a self-imposed low-powered mode.

From the novelization.

“He’s been locked down in self-imposed low-power mode. He just hasn’t been the same since Master Luke went away.”

C3PO later mentions the condition again.

“Oh, do try and cheer up, Artoo. This enforced immobility is no good for you. Your cognitive circuits will atrophy from lack of use.”

The novelization also describes the condition as being in "minimum maintenance mode"

The squat droid he was addressing sat quietly in minimum maintenance mode, without so much as a single telltale blinking.

While 3PO is certainly fallible, we currently have no other information or quotes which contradict him.

  • 1
    Sorry, I fully disagree. That is C-3PO (or Leia) guessing, but if someone else did that they wouldn't know the difference. It may be true, but we simply don't know. Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 12:53
  • @DVK Good point, that's the impression I got from the movie as well which is why I asked this question. Seems there is no definite answer to date, but until then I'll accept this one...
    – Zommuter
    Commented Dec 22, 2015 at 7:02
  • But indeed, the quotes given merely state enforced immobility, but not by whom or how it was enforced. Might have been Ben or Luke as well, if 3PO's claim is actually true and R2 isn't really in some shock state - "minimum maintenance" would pretty much make sense for a sufficiently damaged droid as well, giving others more time to salvage/restore it at a more convenient time than an ongoing battle
    – Zommuter
    Commented Dec 22, 2015 at 7:04
  • 1
    as he comes "back to live" in the end by himself, I'd say the statement from C-3PO is correct.
    – Thomas
    Commented Dec 22, 2015 at 13:31
  • 1
    @Zommuter Like I said before, barring a word of god, or further explanation, it's the best in-universe answer we've been given so far as I am aware. I understand if that's not enough for you, but it is what it is. I've already updated my answer to reflect that 3PO is only relating what he assumes to be true.
    – phantom42
    Commented Dec 24, 2015 at 11:48

According to a summary of an interview with JJ Abrams:

'Ultimately, the writers decided to make Luke himself the MacGuffin – the thing Rey, Han, Finn and Chewie are trying to find. And they figured that if a horrific past trauma forced Luke to retreat from the world, maybe the same could be said of R2. The droid’s physical form is still present, but his personality is not – lost in the miasma of grief over what transpired in the past.'

So apparently it's due to

droid emotional trauma caused by the same event that made Luke go into exile: the fledgling New Jedi Order being wiped out by Kylo Ren. The EW article describes it as "the robot version of crushing depression", although that particular phrase may not have come from Lucasfilm.

As to why he wakes up:

'“BB-8 comes up and says something to him, which is basically, ‘I’ve got this piece of a map, do you happen to have the rest?’” Abrams said. “The idea was, R2 who has been all over the galaxy, is still in his coma, but he hears this. And it triggers something that would ultimately wake him up.”'

  • 2
    My only issue with this answer is that your first quote is the article writer's interpretation of events and what Abrams/Arndt said, not anything from Abrams himself. Abrams/Arndt actual quotes don't go into any of that.
    – phantom42
    Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 17:59
  • @phantom42 Good point--updated to clarify that it's a paraphrasing of what the writers (presumably) said. Interested to see the original transcript if it's available anywhere.
    – Milo P
    Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 18:02
  • 2
    hmmm they did not make a good point of the reason of the wkaeup. it was not clear in the film
    – Thomas
    Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 18:31

From the Visual Dictionary, page 65:

For several years now R2-D2 has not been operating at his peak capacity. His celebrated role in the Rebellion has afforded him semi-retirement rather than the standard recycling the resource-strapped Resistance would normally employ.

On most days, R2-D2 is kept underneath a tarp to prevent the D'Qar humidity from damaging his systems.

As R2-D2 recuperates in his self-imposed low power mode, his diagnostic systems are attempting to organise the vast trove of information in his databanks from over seven decades of uninterrupted operation. The defragmenting of millions of exanodes within his memory is causing R2-D2 to "dream" many of his greatest adventures.

Though R2-D2 remains unresponsive, C-3P0 still regularly talks to him, fusses over him and even finds ways to argue with him.

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