So at the beginning of Star Wars (1977) R2-D2 and C-3PO escape the captured Tantive IV blockade runner in a class-6 escape pod and land on Tatooine.

R2-D2 and C-3PO on Tatooine; escape pod in the background.

We see them leave the escape pod to go off and do whatever they were doing on Tatooine—mostly getting captured by Jawas at the start—but is there any explanation anywhere—in “Legends” or canon—that addresses what might have happened to that actual escape pod? It’s fate is ambiguous in the film. Did Jawas grab it? Was it scrapped and refurbished to be refitted in another ship? Did the desert sands on Tatooine bury it out of sight?

Everyone knows that Imperial stormtroopers found the pod and even a few stray parts of droids that fell off, but what the heck happened to the actual class-6 escape pod itself after all of that nonsense?

“Look sir, droids.”

Please provide citations—expanded universe, canon, “Legends” and such—to put it all in proper context.

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    The Imperials found it, and subsequently found droid parts in it (and of course started hunting for the droids because of that evidence). Whether they took it back to the Star Destroyer after that is unknown, but if I were looking for plans to the Empire's latest super-weapon, I would utlise every possibility to find them (nothing to back this up that I could see in canon, so a comment rather than an answer). The bigger question is, how did they know exactly which droids they were looking for? It's not like they signed their serial numbers in the escape pod!
    – Jane S
    Commented Jan 15, 2017 at 6:27
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    @JaneS IMHO your comment is as good as an answer. Not finding what they were looking for, possibly made the stormtroopers just leave the pod lying there in the sand. I suppose the tracks of a 3-legged and wheeled droid, and a 2-legged walking droid traveling together were the only leads for them. And maybe the piece they found also gave some idea (which leads us to ask, was the part from 3PO or R2, and why did he drop it? Crash landing of the pod?).
    – Essen
    Commented Jan 15, 2017 at 6:48
  • @Essen I've converted my comment to an answer, hopefully it won't get shot into too many pieces :) The tracks are a good call, it would at least let them determine the types of droids, of not their designations. I assumed that the crash landing caused a couple of bits to fall off.
    – Jane S
    Commented Jan 15, 2017 at 7:06

3 Answers 3


It was (likely) destroyed.

If any part of the pod was found on the ground, it would contradict Vader's cover story that the ship was destroyed in orbit. It's not clear whether the troops on the ground blew it up or if it was lofted back into orbit to be investigated, then vaporised on board the Star Destroyer but either way, Vader was very clear about not leaving any evidence.

The Commander pursed his lips, shook his head slightly, perhaps a bit sympathetically, as he considered the woman. “She’ll die before she gives you any information.” Vader’s reply was chilling in its indifference. “Leave that to me.” He considered a moment, then went on. “Send out a wide-band distress signal. Indicate that the Senator’s ship encountered an unexpected meteorite cluster it could not avoid. Readings indicate that the shift shields were overridden and the ship was hulled to the point of vacating ninety-five percent of its atmosphere. Inform her father and the Senate that all aboard were killed.”


As the officer and troops departed, Vader turned his gaze back to the Commander. “Vaporize this fighter—we don’t want to leave anything. As for the pod, I cannot take the chance it was a simple malfunction. The data it might contain could prove too damaging. See to this personally, Commander. If those data tapes exist, they must be retrieved or destroyed at all costs.” Then he added with satisfaction, “With that accomplished and the Senator in our hands, we will see the end of this absurd rebellion.”

Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope - Official Novelisation

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    For the record, there's no indication what happened in the official novelisation, old junior novelisation, new junior novelisation, Junior Adaptation, Marvel comic serial, manga serialisation, New Hope storybook, Scholastic comic edition nor in the Inside the Worlds, Star Wars Visual Guide, Ultimate Visual Guide, Ultimate Star Wars, Star Wars in 100 Scenes, Absolutely Everything you Need to know factbooks
    – Valorum
    Commented Jan 15, 2017 at 14:57

As we know, the Imperials found the pod, and subsequently found droid parts in or around it. Of course they then started hunting for the droids because of that evidence.

Whether they took it back to the Star Destroyer after that is unknown, but if I were looking for plans to the Empire's latest super-weapon, I would utilise every possibility to find them. So I would assume that they would have taken it back to the Star Destroyer, just in case the plans had been hidden somewhere inside the pod.

* Please note that I was unable to find anything to back up this conjecture in canon or legends but it is an offered possible outcome.

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    I'm inclined to agree. If the Imperials were willing to destroy the entire Jawa sand-crawler that once held C3P0 and R2D2 (not to mention the Lars' moisture farm) then they would certainly have either destroyed or confiscated the escape pod as well. This is the SW equivalent of a government cover-up after all. Destroy everything.
    – Steve-O
    Commented Jan 15, 2017 at 14:16

In DK's Star Wars: the complete vehicles the Jawas used it for spare parts.

enter image description here

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    You might want to expand the image to include the captions
    – Valorum
    Commented Jun 22, 2019 at 6:42
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    I've changed my upvote to a downvote. This isn't the escape pod, it's clearly listed as one of the decoy pods fired off by the Tantive IV; i.sstatic.net/9fmk1.png
    – Valorum
    Commented Jun 22, 2019 at 13:26
  • Was it ever explained what the actual part was? Did C3PO give it a "by the way Master Luke, I'm in need of a new ankle gimble, type xl5" or anything like that in the books?
    – Danny Mc G
    Commented Jun 23, 2019 at 4:57
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    @DannyMcG Sounds like a good question for this site. Commented Jun 24, 2019 at 1:29

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