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Rogue One had multiple never-before-seen Imperial Droids, so what happened to them between Rogue One and Star Wars IV? Episode IV starts exactly where Rogue One ends as far as I know, so why suddenly no Imperial KX-series Security Droids? I want the in-universe reason, not just 'Because Episode IV was filmed about 30 years ago'.

According to the story, why are there no Imperial Droids like K-2SO in the original trilogy? Why did they all disappear all of a sudden after Rogue 1?

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    Are you asking about about imperial droids in general, or specific types introduced in Rogue One? "Imperial droids" existed in the original trilogy. – suchiuomizu Jan 4 '17 at 0:53
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    There are a bunch of "imperial droids" in the original trilogy films; starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Viper_probe_droid / starwars.wikia.com/wiki/R2-Q5 / starwars.wikia.com/wiki/MSE-series – Valorum Jan 4 '17 at 0:57
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    “why did they all disappear all of a sudden” — because we weren’t looking at them. It’s a big galaxy, and Star Wars is a two-hour movie. They were all off-screen. – Paul D. Waite Jan 4 '17 at 11:04
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    @psubsee2003 Because the OP said: "I'm referring to the ones newly introduced in Rogue One [...] I only remember them being referred to as 'Imperial Droids'", and the only new droids in the movie referred to as "Imperial Droids" are K-2SO's type. The other answers seem to have been taking "imperial droid" generally, which doesn't answer the question. (I think "multiple never-before-seen Imperial Droids" means multiple K-2SOs, not multiple types of droid.) – Milo P Jan 4 '17 at 15:51
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    @ChristianF97 Clarifications like, "I'm referring to the ones newly introduced in Rogue One," should be edited into the question immediately, not left to linger in comments where a number of readers (and answerers!) won't see them. Providing this edit now would invalidate several highly upvoted answers, though. – jpmc26 Jan 5 '17 at 0:08
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Most of the answers here so far have not focused much specifically on the class of droid that K-2SO belongs to, the KX-series Security Droid (also known as "Imperial enforcer droids"), which is what sparked this question pertaining to their presence (or lack thereof) during the events of the Original Trilogy. Sadly, while it is a good question, it is admittedly a difficult one to answer, as these droids are found solely in Canon materials (therefore, there is nothing in Legends to draw upon for this specific type of droid) and their appearances in Canon are currently quite limited (almost all of it pertaining to Rogue One).

Security droids are designed with the purpose of protecting "objects of value" or to serve as bodyguards. The KX-series were technically classified as battle droids, but the Senate only knew them as sentry droids since it became illegal to manufacture battle droids after the events of the Clone Wars. Many enforcer droids were used in combat against the Rebel Alliance during the Galactic Civil war, such as during the Imperial campaigns on Tatooine and Dandoran.

Not much is known beyond that. Possible in-universe explanations for why they are not seen onscreen during the events of the Original Trilogy could be:

  • They were in limited supply (possibly to conceal their true purpose as battle droids).
  • They had a somewhat limited use.
  • They were assigned to tasks that were not presented onscreen.
  • Or, they simply were not stationed in any of the settings in the OT, and/or not utilized by the Imperial regiments that the main cast of characters encountered onscreen.

It is worth noting that many of the droids that we do see onscreen (including several mentioned here by other users) in the OT have relatively limited screen time (at least in comparison to droid characters like C-3PO and R2D2), such as:

And there are several other droids, as well as vehicles (both Imperial and Rebel) that have no screen time in the OT films, such as:

This appears to be the most information that can be provided based on the currently-available materials.

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    Really excellent answer! – AncientSwordRage Jan 4 '17 at 22:34
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    @Spar10Leonidas Our answers were to the original question, which asked about Imperial droids, and did not specify K2SO style droids specifically. Multiple people modified the question back and forth since then to alter (narrow) the meaning of the original question. People who answered before those edits should not be faulted for answering the original question. – RichS Jan 5 '17 at 2:47
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    @RichS I seem to remember the question mentioning K-2SO from very early on. In any case, the purpose of my answer wasn't to belittle other people's answers. I was simply explaining the purpose of my input. And, for the record, I upvoted your answer (along with almost every other answer here so far). – Spar10 Leonidas Jan 5 '17 at 3:59
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    @Spar10Leonidas Thanks for clarifying that. I was wondering about your intent. I also liked your answer. Mostly because it provides informative links in addition to answering the author's true intent. – RichS Jan 5 '17 at 5:02
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    I am the question author and I wanted to know specifically about the K-2SO droids, but originally did not specify that fact. The question was edited by someone to state my true question, which invalidated many answers, so someone edited it to include a bit of both - asking what I wanted to know as well as what it originally asked so that previous answers would still be valid but new ones would contain what I want to know. I accepted this answer because it was very detailed and helped me the most out of any of them. Thank you @Spar10Leonidas for such a great answer :) – cheesits456 Jan 5 '17 at 7:17
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According to the story, why are there no Imperial Droids like the K-2SO's in the original trilogy? Why did they all disappear all of a sudden after Rogue 1?

Because they weren't necessary for the plot.

The Star Wars universe is massive with thousands of star systems. We see a small and tiny fraction of this universe in the original trilogy.

We also see a small sampling of other droid types which didn't exist in Rogue 1 - do you need an in-universe reason why any of the other droids within VI, V, and VI were not in Rogue 1?

You're wanting an in-universe explanation for why only a small portion of a massive, massive universe was chosen to be shown in a few two hour snippets. That's not going to exist.

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    Supposedly the Galaxy has thousands of droid models. Maybe those models used in Rogue One weren't deployed in the ships shown in the movies. Heck, in my country there are hundreds of car models, I can go months without seeing a particular model. – Mindwin Jan 4 '17 at 13:32
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    This is the answer. – Kimberly W Jan 6 '17 at 21:49
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There are Imperial droids. Most notably the MSE droids, the probe droids, and Imperial R type droids.

Imperial R type

The droid that runs the droid prison in Jabbas palace was an imperial droid that ran away, according to legends.

There are also supervisor droids—such AV-6R7—as present on the death star and on different imperial ships:

enter image description here

An alternative explanation that isn't backed up by any sort of canon resource and entirely opinion: The Empire simply pulled them. After the events of Rogue One, the Empire could have mentioned how one of the supervisor droids was hacked. This would mean that the entire line might have been compromised, so they could have deactivated the entire line of droids, and replaced them with other droids we see in the series (AV-6R7's series could have been the replacement).

Source page for images

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    The fact that one hacked imperial droid performed better than any battle droid seen thus far is definitely a cause for alarm. – Slacklord the Terrible Jan 4 '17 at 18:37
  • @Terriblefan He's still no Mr. Bones. – CBredlow Jan 4 '17 at 18:38
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    And Mr. Bones is still no HK-47. – Slacklord the Terrible Jan 4 '17 at 18:38
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    Please edit to emphasize why the KX-series droids like K-2SO weren't in the OT (hopefully with more substance than an opinion). That's what the OP was asking about, as clarified in the comments. In the meantime I've downvoted this. – Null Jan 4 '17 at 20:17
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    That report (that a supervisor droid was compromised) would have had to have been made awfully fast. And it would have had to have been passed along to off-base commanders, not just reported to the local authorities. Pretty sure no one with first-hand knowledge of the droid hacking survived the blast. – Wildcard Jan 5 '17 at 0:02
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First, since this question implies it’s about K-2SO, I’d like to address K-2SO’s role in Rogue One (2016). Simply put there are tons of droids of all kinds in the Star Wars universe, but few have really been part of the core stories in the films past R2-D2 and C-3PO. K-2SO is different because he (it?) takes on a larger role in the story of Rogue One than any other Imperial droid ever has before.

But like I said, there are tons of droids of all kinds of allegiances in the Star Wars universe: Many of them being Imperial. For example, what about 5D6-RA-7 the RA-7 protocol droid from the original Star Wars (1977)?

5D6-RA-7 seen walking by Han and Luke when they were in Stormtrooper gear escorting Chewbacca to Detention Block AA-23 on the Death Star.

Chewbacca checking out 5D6-RA-7’s droid butt.

Or how about the E-3PO droid (aka: silver colored 3PO-series droids) who showed up at Cloud City on Bespin in The Empire Strikes Back (1980)? I mean E-3PO model was made specifically for the Empire and that specific unit walked out of a room filled with Imperial Stormtroopers, right?

E-3PO units were a subset of the 3PO-series protocol droid line. Developed for Imperial use, E-3POs possessed the TechSpan I propriety module, which allowed them to interface with a wide variety of networks employed by the Galactic Empire. Their obscure and rare status led to E-3PO units developing arrogant, superior, and haughty attitudes, which would gain them a degree of notoriety throughout the galaxy.

C-3PO meets E-3PO in Cloud City on Bespin.

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    Not that it really counters of your points, but in Rogue One you could actually spot an RA-7 somewhere in the background when they first came to that city on Jedha – daniero Jan 4 '17 at 22:13
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    What is the actual answer here? – AncientSwordRage Jan 4 '17 at 22:31
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    Your answer starts well, but ends on those examples rather than concluding something concrete. – AncientSwordRage Jan 5 '17 at 7:24
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Remember when Chewbacca growled at the Imperial mouse droid on the Death Star in A New Hope? It was when Han and Luke were leading their "prisoner" to the detention center.

Mouse droid

It's official name is the MSE-6 Series Repair Droid.

According to the Star-Wars Wikia, the Mouse Droid shows up in all three original films as well as in several Clone Wars episodes and The Force Awakens.

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    Please edit to emphasize why the KX-series droids like K-2SO weren't in the OT. That's what the OP was asking about, as clarified in the comments. In the meantime I've downvoted this. – Null Jan 4 '17 at 20:17
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    @Null I answered the original question, which was about Imperial droids in general. I and several others posted our answers before people edited the original post to narrow the meaning of the question. It's not fair to us to downvote or critique our answers for not matching the question's new meaning. While others may disagree, I don't think it was appropriate for people to edit a question and alter the meaning. – RichS Jan 5 '17 at 2:37
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    Um, you know that the "post-credit" scene you posted is fake, right? – Ben Miller Jan 5 '17 at 16:13
  • @BenMiller Aw! No! I thought it was real. – RichS Jan 6 '17 at 5:47
  • actually, @RichS, I edited my question to make it mean what I originally intended because of all the unrelated answers I was getting. I didn't know the model of droid when I asked the question because at the time, the only thing I remembered it being called was an 'Imperial Droid'. Once I found out the name, I edited the question and downvoted everything that has nothing to do with anything I care about – cheesits456 Apr 27 '17 at 4:23
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Maybe because the had serious security flaws that allowed them to be reprogrammed by rebels so the empire got rid of them after the horrible incident on Scarif.

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    Generally speculation answers aren't accepted on this site. Could you find some sources / quotes / photos where any of this things occur (e.g. if they were reprogrammed by rebels, say in which movie / book). – wizzwizz4 Jan 4 '17 at 18:33
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    This is definitely a good idea, but most droids (and a lot of humans ;) ) can be reprogrammed given the right time and tools in the Star Wars universe. Is there any indication that K-2SO type droids were more vulnerable than average, or that they took the fall for the Empire’s failure on Scarif? – Adamant Jan 4 '17 at 18:51
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    This is a nice answer, but it would be useful to see if any future novels or films support it. That would change your speculation into the correct answer. – RichS Jan 5 '17 at 3:14
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K2-SO aside, we only see other KX-series droids in imperial service on-screen inside the base on Scarif. This base was completely destroyed. While there isn't enough information for a concrete answer, the destruction of this base, and the method of such destruction can be used to explain the lack of appearance of many things found in the Rogue One movie that were not in Episode IV. (i.e. Tie Stryker, U-Wing, Many different Troopers, etc).

Also, the official starwars.com databank describes Scarif as "the principal construction facility for the vast Imperial war machine." It is possible that the destruction of a large portion of the planet also destroyed any manufacturing facilities for these droids.

Additionally, there are very few "Imperial Bases" that we visit throughout the original trilogy. All we know is that we have not seen any KX-series droids in service on Star Destroyers, or the Death Star, but that is not a large enough sample to assume that they simply do not exist during the Original Trilogy.

EDIT: For completeness. After rewatching the movie, we also see a KX-Series droid in service inside Jedha City. However, since this location was also completely destroyed, and the one we saw in service was terminated, I think the rest of my explanation still stands.

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There is a theory that when they learned what droid was involved in the theft of the plans, the empire probably destroyed the KX droids because of how easy it was to reprogram them.

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    Is there any evidence for this theory? – Blackwood Feb 17 '17 at 4:00
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    Interesting theory and it sort of makes sense, are you able to expand on this answer? – Möoz Feb 17 '17 at 4:52

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