What happened to the battle droids we see in The Revenge of the Sith? Why are they not mentioned / used in (chronologically) later episodes?

I know the separatist droid factory was destroyed in Attack of the Clones, and they are still featured in The Revenge of the Sith, but why are no droids used for combat in the original trilogy?

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    Please make your question a little clearer. What show / franchise are you referring to? (Droid makes a person think of Star Wars, but there are definitely droids in episode 4-6). Oct 23, 2013 at 15:26
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    I think what he's going for is something along the lines of wondering why droids don't seem to exist as soldiers in episodes 4-6 -- even if droid armies have fallen out of favor, those rolling droids from ep 1 managed to chase off a pair of jedi, so why aren't they used in conjunction with human(oid) soldiers/stormtroopers/mercenaries?
    – PeterL
    Oct 23, 2013 at 16:24
  • Oh, I was in the middle of editing this, and now I can't :/
    – Robotnik
    Oct 23, 2013 at 23:40
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    He's asking why the Battle droids aren't seen in Star Wars Episode 3 (and 4,5 & 6)
    – Robotnik
    Oct 23, 2013 at 23:40
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8 Answers 8


As per Wookieepedia:

At the end of the Clone Wars, Sith Lord Darth Vader turned off the Master control signal, deactivating most of the Separatist Droid Army. After this, battle droids were extremely rare.


The master control signal controlled all battle droids and warships of the CIS during the Clone Wars. Lord Vader used this signal to shut down the CIS's droid army and navy after he murdered the Separatist Council, thus paving the way for Palpatine's new Galactic Empire (source: The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia).

I didn't find reference to exact sources yet, so this is suspect as of now.

Also, this section of Wookieepedia article on Separatist Droid Army explains what happened to some droids post-Episode 3.

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    Just speculating, but after The Clone Wars, who would want an army that could be switched off all at once?
    – Omegacron
    Jan 5, 2016 at 16:05

The Star Wars: Rebels episode "The Last Battle" explicitly states what happened to the droid army and explains how at least one group continued to function.

Captain Rex: After Clone Order 66, the whole droid army was given a shutdown command. How are you even operating?

Kalani: The Jedi betrayal ended the war for most of the galaxy, but here on Agamar, I assumed it was a Republic trick and prevented the shutdown command.


There are actually a couple of reactivated droid forces and such. Here are the examples from canon materials I remember:

  • Lords of the Sith - Cham Syndulla's Free Ryloth movement/resistance used reprogrammed vulture droids, droid tri-fighters, and buzz droids to fight the Empire above Ryloth (unsuccessfully).
  • Tarkin - Berch Teller's rebel cell uses reprogrammed droid tri-fighters and vulture droids in an attempt to kill Moff Tarkin and Vader (also unsuccessfully).
  • Darth Vader (comic) - On Geonosis, the queens are rendered infertile. To combat this, one queen make "children" out of old battle droids. They are destroyed. Later, Darth Vader uses reprogrammed commando droids as a small army after he is demoted. Also, a Polis Massan reprograms super battle droids to act as security guards.
  • Aftermath Trilogy - Snap Wexley of Akiva uses various bones to help refurbish an old battle droid into "Mister Bones."

That's it.


All great answers, but let me add one more thing: There were still separatist holdouts on various planets, and a genosian actually tried to make a new droid army, but the factories were destroyed by the Empire. And since the one who made the droids was killed by Anakin at Mustafar, that was the full end of it.

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    Although it pains me to say it, this isn't canon anymore (if you're referring to the story from Battlefront 2). Jul 1, 2015 at 17:17

Darth Sideous first orchestrated the creation of the Droid army to provide a threat to the Republic and then had the clone army created to respond to that threat.

It therefore makes sense that he could (and absolutely should) totally destroy the capability to create a Droid army in the future.

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    It makes more sense for him to keep them in reserve in case of a rebellion
    – Valorum
    Jul 1, 2015 at 17:45

Battle droids were shut down after order 66, as they were programmed to attack clone troopers which would then become stormtroopers. So to eliminate this threat, darth sidious shut them down. The ones that were not controlled by a control ship were then destroyed by the clone troopers since the clones outnumbered them now.


The answer is in the 3rd film. Sidious says to Vader to contact the trade federation ships and tell them to shut down all droids immediately.


I think they were shut down, but salvaged by lots of people. As for what happened to the leftovers, maybe they were reactivated by some Trade Federation people who weren't killed at Mustafar or by the Empire and went back to their old business in secret.

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    It could be. Can you recall any details, though?
    – Adamant
    Sep 22, 2016 at 21:21

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