In Rogue One we see R2-D2 and C-3PO in the Rebel base on Yavin 4. While Rogue One is on their mission at the end of the movie, R2-D2 and C-3PO see the X-Wings leave the rebel base and the droids make a funny comment, but don’t appear to be loading up to leave as well.

I seem to also remember a comment by one of the Rebel leaders that the Admiral had already gathered the fleet and was heading out.

And the next we see of R2-D2 and C-3PO seems to be shortly after the ending of Rogue One, aboard Leia’s ship (Tantive IV) with R2-D2 receiving the stolen Death Star plans at the start of Episode IV.

So when did R2-D2 and C-3PO manage to get aboard Leia’s ship?

  • 1
    That scene with the xwings leaving was well before the battle of scarif, that was the attack on the imperial outpost after which everyone returned to yavin 4
    – Bosc
    Commented Dec 16, 2016 at 14:59
  • 4
    @Bosc no the scene with R2 is at the end right as the rebel fleet heads to the battle of scarif. its the second time we see Xwings leaving the base.
    – Himarm
    Commented Dec 16, 2016 at 15:00
  • “R2 and 3P0 see the X-Wings leave the rebel base and make a funny comment” — well, C3PO makes a comment at least. Commented Dec 17, 2016 at 11:38

7 Answers 7


Alexander Freed's official novelization explains it. They were likely on the last wave of transports lifting off Yavin

{{ Mon Mothma discussing Admiral Raddus}}
“He’s left already.” The man was almost stammering. “He’s in orbit aboard the Profundity. He’s gone to fight.”

Note that he merely left Yavin, and was still in Orbit, gathering the forces there at the moment

“I see,” she said, and slowly smiled. ...
Less than ten minutes later, sirens were announcing the departure of Red, Blue, Green, and Gold Squadrons along with the U-wing transports. Raddus had already contacted all capital ships within range of Yavin or Scarif. ...

And as the last transports are filling, she sees R2-D2 and C-3PO going towards tarmac, meaning towards those transports being filled:

... As the last transports began to fill, she turned back to the corridors of the ziggurat and set out for the communications center. She had to step aside for a gold-plated protocol droid and an astromech unit hurrying toward the tarmac, and faintly overheard the former indignantly declare:
“Scarif? They’re going to Scarif? Why does nobody ever tell me anything, Artoo…?”
(Chapter 17)

  • The junior novel concurs; As Mon Mothma strolled through the hangar and watched the various ships prepare to leave, she spotted a pair of droids rushing through. She’d seen them with Bail Organa in the past, but she believed they were with Captain Raymus Antilles now. The golden protocol droid—C-3PO, she thought—chased after a blue-and-silver astromech, calling after him as he went. “Scarif?” the droid said. “They’re going to Scarif? Why does nobody ever tell me anything, Artoo?”
    – Valorum
    Commented Dec 25, 2016 at 22:14

I am pretty sure that the battle cruisers for the Republic scramble (take off) after the main fighters. Unlike imperial Star Destroyers, who fly in and then release swarms of TIE fighters. So even as we see the X-wings scramble, there is a substantial amount of time for the droids to board the Tantive IV and then for the Tantive IV to dock inside Admiral Raddus's ship. and then continue to what we see in the rest of Rogue one.

Leia does not return to Yavin 4 (where the droids are seen). Otherwise, Vader would have already have had the location of the Rebel base.


What happens is:

  • The fighters scramble after an operator tell Mon Mothma that Admiral Raddus, which had already left, is heading to Scarif to support the assault with his flagship. At that point the droids are at Yavin.

  • The Death Star data seems to have been received only at the Admiral's flagship.

  • When Darth Vader arrives, an officer reports him that the the rebel flagship cannot escape and Vader boards it.

  • The data is in the same ship Vader has boarded when it is delivered to Leia.

Possibilities for the droids to be in Leia's ship at the beginning of Episode IV.

  • The Admiral was contacted and waited to join the rest of the fleet before the battle started. Note that all the rebel ships seem to appear at the same time. Leia was going to travel with the droids in her mission but joined the fleet -although that seems a terrible idea, as it puts her and her mission in danger for no apparent benefit to the rebels.-1

  • Someone did a speed delivery of the droids. Why? They are not important.

  • After the battle, with Darth Vader in pursuit, Leia returns to Yavin and picks them up. The end of the film suggests that the beginning of Episode IV is right after the end of Rogue One. Also, if Leia had gone to Yavin she would have delivered the Death Star plans there, instead of all the works of Episode IV. Definitely no.

  • A plain old continuity error, just for the sake of showing off the droids and cashing on nostalgia.

  • A last minute idea, Leia joined the battle on her own ship (she had left Yavin with her droids), at the same time or later than the rest of the fleet, and she docked with the Admiral flagship to retrieve the data... still not very convincing, but possible.

1In fact if we dismiss the scene it all could fit well. Leia was on her mission in the capital ship (more secure that the small corvette she was in Episode IV) with her droids, but convinced the Admiral Raddus that supporting the Scarif operation was more important.

  • yeah seeing them on the ground like threw a wrench in a perfectly good timeline in my mind haha.
    – Himarm
    Commented Dec 16, 2016 at 17:51

Tantive IV was discerned moving among the fleet to end up in the vicinity of the flagship during the battle, so I surmise that the blockade runner was the last or one of the last rebel vessels to depart Yavin4 for Scarif. Ample time for Captain Antilles to pick up his droids.


Those droids we see may not have been R2-D2 or C3PO. Maybe they were made to look like the droids. And, while we all love nostalgia, maybe "they aren't the droids we are looking for."

I'm going with the mass production of protocol droids and R2 units being the source of confusion.

  • While plausible, this answer is just a speculation. Can think of any support for your argument? Commented Dec 18, 2016 at 4:54

At the end of episode 3 we see the droids aboard the ship. Suggesting this is were they will serve until the events of Star Wars.

  • 1
    I don't see how this answers the question.
    – Chenmunka
    Commented Dec 19, 2016 at 10:33

This is my understanding:

Leia's ship, the Tantive IV captained by Raymus Antilles, needed repairs as she was on route to Tatooine. The Tantive IV was docked onto Admiral Raddus' Profundity it was in the vicinity. Later, Admiral Raddus was suddenly rerouted towards Scariff, preparing the battle with the Tantive IV still being repaired, which also served as reserve fighting strength of one 100m long capital ship.

Bail Organa and the two droids were at Yavin IV when Mon Mothma heard the news that Admiral Raddus was gathering forces and heading towards Scariff. Shortly after, the fighter Squadrons and transports, on which the two droids boarded, left Yavin IV to the Admiral's rendezvous point. At that point in time, Bail Organa might have knew that the Tantive IV was with the Admiral and the droids were instructed to join up with them. Bail Organa left on a separate ship towards Alderaan.

There was a part where Bail Organa called for Captain Raymus, but I am not sure whether this was before the squadron scramble or not. This was probably the point where he acknowledged taht the location of their ship was with the Admiral Raddus.


Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.