The T-65 model X-Wing uses an astromech droid — such as R2-D2 — to handle miscellaneous tasks required to pilot an X-Wing: Tasks like navigation, small repairs, assist in piloting and such. Astromech droids are used in similar ways for other small craft such as the N-1 Starfighter or Jedi Starfighter shown in the prequels where they mount themselves from the bottom of the craft.
But this question is specifically about the T-65 model X-Wing where there is simply not enough clearance beneath the X-Wing’s fuselage for an astromech droid to roll underneath and mount themselves.
How exactly do astromech droids — such as R2-D2 — get into that droid hole in the back of the X-Wing to begin with?
For example, this is what I know about R2-D2 and X-Wings as seen in the original trilogy:
Star Wars (1977)
- Yavin (Rebel Base): We see R2-D2 being lifted into the X-Wing fighter by some kind of lifting device; clearly needs help in that instance. And when Luke comes back to Yavin after blowing up the Death Star R2-D2 is effectively disabled in the battle so he has to be pulled out again by that lifter thing.
The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
- Hoth (Rebel Base): During the Rebel evacuation of Hoth, we see R2-D2 is already in the cockpit of Luke’s X-Wing fighter waiting for Luke to return. So one can assume he was put back in the droid hole by some lifter in the Rebel base on Hoth.
- Dagobah (Yoda’s Front Yard): After Luke crash lands his X-Wing into a swamp on Dagobah, R2-D2 gets out of the X-Wing — via some elevator device that pushes him back out — but then falls into the swamp after the ship jostles just a little bit. Then when Luke leaves Dagobah later on, how did R2-D2 get back into the X-Wing?
- Bespin (Cloud City): We see Luke arrive with R2-D2 following right behind him. Assuming Luke landed on one of those Cloud City landing platforms, I can’t imagine there was some astromech droid lifting apparatus. How did R2-D2 get out?
Return of the Jedi (1983)
- Tatooine (Jabba’s Palace): The droids show up at Jabba’s Palace alone at the beginning of the film. But later on it’s clear that Luke arrived in his X-Wing. So how did R2-D2 get out — and get back into — the X-Wing while parked in the desert?
- Dagobah (Yoda’s Front Yard): Luke clearly lands safely here and leaves just as safely. R2-D2 is out of his droid hole and back in as well… How?
That said, under normal circumstances — for any X-Wing fighter; not just Luke’s — how does an astromech droid safely get out of an X-Wing get back into that droid hole?
The warranty expired on R2-D2’s rocket jets/boosters by the time of the Galactic Civil War so they could not be used in the original trilogy films.
FWIW, I fully realize that R2-D2 is shown using rocket jets/boosters to fly around in Star Wars: Attack of the Clones (2002); something that droid has never done in any of the Star Wars films before. But as this other question/answer thread explains, R2-D2’s jets/boosters stopped working — and the warranty expired on them — by the time the events of the original trilogy happened so they could no longer be used:
“Rescinding previous consumer documentation that guaranteed a ‘lifetime’ of reliability in their after-market astromech hover rockets, Industrial Automaton has now capped the warranty at 20 standard years. This decision affects all optional R2, R3 and R4-adapted leg-bracket and barrel-housed propellant rocket systems. IA is instead recommending feature swap outs after 20 years, regardless of actual logged hours of operation.”
Additionally, this bit of trivia on R2-D2’s operational state is official canon as well; bold emphasis is mine:
“However, by the time of the Galactic Civil War, R2-D2’s boosters had not worked in ages, and his warranty was long expired.”
So rocket jets/boosters can be ruled out… Unless there are non-movie references to them being used by astromech droids to get into and out of an X-Wing out there?
For reference, these pics…
Here is R2-D2 being lifted into the droid hole of Luke’s X-Wing fighter.
And in this picture, R2-D2 lifts himself out of the droid hole after Luke crash lands on Dagobah.
Looking for in-universe, canonical explanations; not armchair speculation and theories. If none (currently) exist, legends explanation would suffice. Regardless, please provide references and context.