Immediately after leaving Hoth, Luke suddenly steers his X-Wing off course, and this exchange occurs:


Luke, looking thoughtful, suddenly makes a decision. He flips several switches. The stars shift as he takes his fighter into a steep turn. The X-wing banks sharply and flies away in a new direction.

The monitor screen on Luke's control panel prints out a question from the concerned Artoo.

LUKE (into comlink) There's nothing wrong, Artoo. I'm just setting a new course.

Artoo beeps once again.

LUKE (into comlink) We're not going to regroup with the others.

Artoo begins a protest, whistling an unbelieving, "What?!"

Luke reads Artoo's exclamation on his control panel.

LUKE (into comlink) We're going to the Dagobah system.

Luke checks his readouts and makes a few adjustments. He rides along with only the soft hum of the instruments to break the silence. Finally, Artoo chirps up.

LUKE (into comlink) Yes, Artoo?

Artoo utters a soft, carefully phrased stream of whistles.

LUKE (into comlink, chuckling) That's all right. I'd like to keep it on manual control for a while.

I've seen this movie and this scene dozens of times, but a few days ago I was watching it and suddenly realized that it seems like Luke catches R2D2 trying to trick him. The script seems to confirm this.

Here's the way I see it now: R2-D2 REALLY wants to go to the rendezvous and continue fighting for the rebellion. He is horrified when Luke tells him that is not what they are going to do. R2-D2 thinks about this for a while, then offers to take over flying the ship for Luke. R2-D2 is hoping that Luke will agree to this, and that R2 can secretly redirect the ship to the rendezvous while Luke is sleeping or simply isn't paying attention. Luke sees through the clever ruse and "chuckles", then says "That's all right. I'd like to keep it on manual control for a while". He chuckles and refuses to hand the controls over to R2 because he knows that if he lets R2 take over, the ship will end up at the rendezvous, not Dagobah.

Am I the only one who thinks this is what is going on?

  • 9
    That's certainly the implication :-)
    – Valorum
    Apr 6, 2015 at 20:49
  • 7
    I think it was more that R2 was worried about Luke and was offering to drive.
    – Omegacron
    Apr 6, 2015 at 21:25
  • 6
    That's the only other explanation that makes sense, but we don't see him worry about Luke's hand being hacked off in ESB and shot in RotJ. He finds his best friend, C3PO, in pieces on Chewie's back and only says "You've looked better", then launches into a story about what he's been through. He watched Anakin become Vader, and stayed with the ship while Anakin and Obi Wan fought, and didn't ask any questions when Obi Wan came back alone.
    – Wad Cheber
    Apr 6, 2015 at 21:30
  • 4
    @WadCheber R2 has quite a bit of snark for someone who communicates with beeps and whistles. It could be that "You've looked better" is how he expresses concern for his friend. Especially because C3P0 is clearly still "himself," despite not having his limbs attached.
    – KSmarts
    Apr 7, 2015 at 20:04
  • 5
    @KSmarts Jabba's droid wrangler was right - he's "a feisty little one".
    – Wad Cheber
    Apr 8, 2015 at 1:32

2 Answers 2


The movie's official novelisation gives us a little more info about what Luke was seeing on the screen during his conversation with Artoo.

Apologies for the length, but it's all quite relevant.

“No,” Luke replied, “we’re not going to regroup with the others.”
This news startled Artoo, who immediately emitted a series of galvanic noises.
“We’re going to the Dagobah system,” answered Luke.
Again the robot beeped, calculating the amount of fuel carried by the X-wing.
“We have enough power.”
Artoo gave vent to a longer, singsong series of toots and whistles.
“They don’t need us there,” said Luke to the droid’s question about the planned Rebel rendezvous.
Artoo then gently beeped a reminder about Princess Leia’s order. Exasperated, the young pilot exclaimed, “I’m countermanding that order! Now, be still.”
The little droid fell silent. Luke was, after all, a commander in the Rebel Alliance and, as such, could countermand orders. He was making a few minor adjustments on the controls when Artoo chirped up again.
“Yes, Artoo,” sighed Luke.
This time the droid made a series of soft noises, selecting each beep and whistle carefully. He did not want to annoy Luke, but the findings on his computer were important enough to report. “Yes, Artoo, I know the Dagobah system doesn’t appear on any of our navigational charts. But don’t worry. It’s there.” Another worried beep from the R2 unit. “I’m very sure,” the youth said, trying to reassure his mechanical companion. Trust me.” Whether or not Artoo did trust the human being at the X-wing’s controls, he only vented a meek little sigh. For a moment he was completely silent, as if thinking. Then he beeped again.
“Yes, Artoo?”
This communication from the robot was even more carefully put forth than before—one might even call the whistle-sentences tactful. It seemed Artoo had no intention of offending the human to whom he had entrusted himself. But wasn’t it possible, the robot calculated, that the human’s brain was slightly malfunctioning? After all, he had lain a long time in the snowdrifts of Hoth. Or, another possibility computed by Artoo, perhaps the Wampa Ice Creature had struck him more seriously than Too-Onebee had diagnosed?. . .
“No,” Luke answered, “no headache. I feel fine. Why?”
Artoo’s chirp was coyly innocent.
“No dizziness, no drowsiness. Even the scars are gone.”
The next whistle rose questioningly in pitch.
“No, that’s all right, Artoo. I’d rather keep it on manual control for a while.”
Then the stout robot delivered a final whimper that sounded to Luke like a noise of defeat. Luke was amused by the droid’s concern for his health. “Trust me, Artoo,” Luke said with a gentle smile. “I know where I’m going and I’ll get us there safely. It’s not far.”

Note that per the new Canon rules, the novels are considered a true source of canon info about the Star Wars universe, but only where they expand on what's seen on screen (e.g. by showing what a character is thinking or explaining what we're seeing).

This means that the passage above contains a mix of canon and non-canon info. Use your judgment accordingly.

  • 3
    Thanks for the quick reply. I saw that in an earlier draft of the script, but I like the R2-being-naughty explanation more. After all, he's "a feisty little one", not a medical droid. He regularly disobeys everyone around him, behaves recklessly, and generally acts in a very willful manner at (almost) all times. For example, he knows Yoda pretty well, but upon reaching Dagobah, he immediately picks a fight with him over a crappy flashlight. He never shows concern after Luke's hand is chopped off, or when Luke is shot in the hand on Jabba's barge.
    – Wad Cheber
    Apr 6, 2015 at 21:24
  • 1
    Since none of this is explicitly contradicted by the movie, wouldn't it all be canon, since it came from the novelization?
    – The Fallen
    Apr 7, 2015 at 1:03
  • 2
    @SSumner - Erm, kinda sorta. Since we see the events play out slightly differently, that's the true canon. For example, the line "no, no headache" wasn't in the film so we can't infer from that (although Artoo may have asked it after the camera switched off).
    – Valorum
    Apr 7, 2015 at 5:29
  • @Richard - that's kind of my point. We don't know that they didn't say these lines, and since their statements don't actually contradict anything we do see, it sounds like canon to me
    – The Fallen
    Apr 7, 2015 at 11:22
  • 2
    @SSumner - unless you're saying that Luke and R2 had two conversations on the subject, one ending with "That's alright..." and the other ending with "I'm alright...", we have to assume only one of these exchanges took place; since one is in the movie, making it canonical, the movie is the correct version. You can say both versions of the conversation happened, but if you do, you're not telling us what the original story says - you're just writing your own version of the story.
    – Wad Cheber
    Apr 7, 2015 at 18:31

Yes, he is definitely trying to pull something on Luke. Simple reasons, flying in space does not require autopilot. Space is a lot of nothing, there is just point, accelerate and wait. You do have to watch out for space junk, but autopilot in that degree is not really the same. You would probably need an alarm at least(Would be easily handled other ways like lasers and shields, but I don't know if an X-wing is equipped with that so I'm going on the facts that I've got) which would be R2 in this case. Even if you were on autopilot, you would have like to have this alarm, so you don't get questions when you wake up by the sound of rain and drunk driving. So basically, in space autopilot is useless. Even if you are going across the whole galaxy, with simple calculations, same used when jumping to light speed, you might have to turn twice maximum, and you wouldn't wanna take that flight without a long nap.

Back to the story, the big question is why R2 wanna deceive Luke. Does he wanna stay fighting, is he afraid of getting lost without managing to locate the planet? Or did he forget to tell C3P0 something? Maybe he didn't dare pull that kiss move Han tried on Leia... Maybe we are missing some love scenes not yet accepted by today’s social norms?

  • 3
    This was posted as an answer, but the last paragraph seems to be a new question, which you can ask by clicking the 'Ask Question' button in the top right.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Dec 20, 2015 at 1:37
  • This seems to be only speculation
    – cat40
    Jan 4, 2018 at 18:45

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