Luke hid his Lightsaber in R2D2 to aid in the rescue.

So, how did Luke know that Jabba would bring R2D2 where they would be executed?

I could guess "Force vision", but I'm looking for canon confirmation.

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    Is there reason to believe that Luke specifically knew that the timing/location would work out the way it did? Perhaps it was merely a contingency plan where Luke hoped that the right opportunity would arrive. He never struck me as being particularly good at detailed planning; rather, the whole Jabba rescue seemed to rely on putting into place several different plans (e.g. Leia trying to rescue Han, R2D2 the lightsaber launcher, and Lando as a guard) in the hopes that some combination of them would pan out.
    – Beofett
    Commented Apr 23, 2014 at 16:15
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    He trusted in The Force to make it all work out.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Apr 23, 2014 at 16:19
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    @Richard It would seem a good bet that C3PO becoming Jabba's translator would be easy to predict. But R2 was an astromech. Tending bar on a party boat seems like a bit of a long shot compared to, say, working in maintenance below-decks, or tending to Jabba's other vehicles (I'm assuming he had some).
    – Beofett
    Commented Apr 23, 2014 at 18:05
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    @Beofett - Are you forgetting that Jabba would almost certainly want to have his new toys on display? Also, it's a way for him to mock Luke by showing him using his "gift" without compensating him
    – Valorum
    Commented Apr 23, 2014 at 18:14
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    R2 is pretty resourceful. He(?) may have found a way to volunteer as a bartender/waiter to stay close to everyone. Perhaps Luke gave him the lightsaber & just hoped for the best? Commented Apr 23, 2014 at 20:46

2 Answers 2


As Valorum points out, it is very like a Hutt Crime Lord to flaunt his spoils. This is a person known for keeping a giant carnivore under his living room for the express purpose of taunting and executing people who displease him. Everything else we see Jabba do confirms this trait:

  • Hanging Han Solo on the wall.
  • Enslaving/employing two droids given to him as gifts by a known enemy without even contemplating a trap or having them scanned/search for weapons, lockpicks, explosives, etc.
  • Paying out bounty for Chewbacca, even after having Han in hand.
  • Enslaving Leia in a very public fashion.
  • Taking prisoners out into the middle of the desert and monologue-ing over them through an interpreter before executing them, rather than just shooting them (TVTropes).

Jabba is practically a Bond villain (more Tropes). Luke knows that Jabba will be inclined to keep R2 and C3PO close at hand, because Jabba is an arrogant fool. He even employs other arrogant fools down to the droid he uses to enslave/"process" other droids. This droid could easily be reprogrammed to be more cautious and detect traps and deceptions in other droids in Jabba's palace, or have just do a simple x-ray, but Artoo slips right through with a weapon of Sith destruction. R2-D2 is a skilled astromech droid who could presumably be put to good use fulfilling his designed duties on one of many starship in Jabba's criminal armada, but instead is given a job serving drinks. How could Luke know? is your question, but a key to understanding that is Why?.

The RotJ on-screen plot contrivance only reveals that R2-D2 was assigned to the barge by the droid-overseer EV-9D9 without any indication as to the root cause for the waitstaff opening.

You're a feisty little one, but you'll soon learn some respect. I have need for you on the master's sail barge, and I think you'll fill in nicely.

Presumably Luke would have done his research before sending R2 and C-3PO into the lions den and known what types of jobs they would be assigned to. Even if Luke didn't have a Force Vision, Jabba isn't exactly a private person. He runs a sprawling crime organization and a palace that has shady and disreputable people passing through it all the time. His behavior and persona are well known to the galaxy. Even if they weren't, we know Lando was already on the inside, capable of gathering intelligence or even sabotaging the previous waiter-bot and interpreter ensuring that C-3PO and R2 will have duties assigned to them.

Even if Jabba (or more precisely EV-9D9) doesn't command R2D2 be brought along, R2D2 is an intelligent, self propelled, self aware android. Luke probably told R2, when storing the lightsaber inside his dome, what it was for and under what circumstances R2 should try to get near to Luke and get him the lightsaber. I don't think it's much of a stretch of the imagination to think R2 could discover the execution plans and get onto the sail barge on his own initiative. R2 could also arrange a handoff to Lando who is still undercover and winds up much closer to Luke's execution than even R2.

R2 does, after all, fake a malfunction to get a restraining bolt removed and complete his espionage mission to find Obi-Wan Kenobi, gather intelligence from the Cloud City central computer, fix a hyperdrive and lure a legion of Stormtroopers without direct orders. This is strong circumstantial evidence that R2 is actually one of the prime conspirators of the rebel alliance and one of the real hero's of the Star Wars duo-(soon-to-be-tri-)trilogy.

Edit: Oooh, apparently we can call Star Wars a hexalogy, soon to be ennealogy.

Regarding cannon evidence, the subject of R2D2 and C3PO is touched upon in the short story anthology Tales from Jabba's Palace, presumably in A Bad Feeling: The Tale of EV-9D9; plot summaries mention Lando Calrissian, but I can't find a solid reference for commenters Jeff and Codes-With-a-Hammer's recollections of a sail barge droid job opening being the result of intentional sabotage. One thing that is in evidence is that EV-9D9 is apparently an outcast and fugitive from Cloud City, which would lend credence to Lando being the experienced choice for infiltrating around EV-9D9.

This is of course 'Legends' canon. For Disney cannon, you're out of luck.

  • @DVK I can't think of any other angle to cover. Any feedback?
    – Dacio
    Commented Sep 18, 2015 at 20:49

Frankly, their plan stinks.

It should have worked something like this;

  • The droids arrive and deliver their message (and themselves) to Jabba. As a Jedi, Luke is honour-bound to give him the opportunity to simply surrender and more importantly this puts the lightsaber in easy reach if Luke should need it.

    • Lando infiltrates the base and identifies Han's location, releasing him if possible.

      • Leia infiltrates the base (with Chewie as bait) and releases Han and Chewie and the droids.

        • They all run away in the middle of the night and everyone lives happily ever after.

But what actually happens is;

  • The droids deliver themselves as scheduled.

    • Lando is useless.

      • Leia gets recognised almost immediately (after having handed over Chewbacca to Jabba), then gets stripped and sexually abused.

        • Luke finally manages to effect an escape by using the fail-safe lightsaber and incidentally murdering hundreds of people (including slaves and servants) in the process.

As far as I can see, had the plan had gone correctly, there would have been no need for Luke to turn up at all and the droids would have escaped with Leia (or just been left with Jabba).

In reference to the specific question of why R2D2 was on the sailbarge, it's likely that Jabba would have seen the value in a well-trained astromech droid. He'd want to keep his new "toys" on display and he certainly would have wanted Luke to see them in order to further humiliate him on his poor decision-making (which is why he has C3P0 read his pronouncement to them).

  • Sorry, but this doesn't seem to address my question. How in canon is it explained what Luke's reason was for stashing the lightsaber inside R2D2? Commented Apr 23, 2014 at 22:25
  • @dvk - I can't think of any other reason why, other than as a backup plan if the others got caught. Vader comments that he's now able to make more light sabers so they're basically disposable
    – Valorum
    Commented Apr 23, 2014 at 22:41
  • all of that is still just guessing "why". My question wasn't "why"; my question was "canon evidence of what made Luke think this unlikely outcome - R2D2 being right where and when Luke would need the Lightsaber - would happen". Commented Apr 24, 2014 at 1:59
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    I believe that in Tales From Jabba's Palace we learn that the R-unit that had served on Jabba's barge was damaged/destroyed recently (implied to have been set up by Lando) so Luke could expect R2 to be assigned there.
    – Jeff
    Commented Apr 24, 2014 at 15:48
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    @zovits - luke knows how to make more
    – Valorum
    Commented Apr 25, 2014 at 9:20

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