Like most people, podcaster John Roderick has been passing time in quarantine by revisiting the classics — namely, Star Wars. In a now-viral tweet, Roderick shared a question from his young daughter that has been tormenting Star Wars fans ever since Revenge of the Sith revealed that only C-3PO had his memory wiped, not R2-D2, following the events of the Prequel Trilogy:
My daughter just asked, “R2-D2 was there for the whole story and never had his memory wiped so why didn’t he just tell Luke that Vader was his father at some point?” I just sat there dumbfounded until she shrugged and walked away.
As Roderick’s daughter correctly notes, not wiping R2-D2’s memory means the spunky robot spent the whole time during A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back knowing full well that Anakin Skywalker is Darth Vader. He also knew that Luke and Leia are brother and sister, yet never divulged that fact either despite the two sharing a very awkward kiss. (Nice looking out, Artoo.)
Roderick’s tweet found its way in front of Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill, who’s usually not afraid to dive into Star Wars lore on Twitter. He’s just as much a fan of George Lucas’ world as everyone else. Only this time around, even Hamill was stumped and had to bail on attempting to explain the pretty significant plot hole:
I read this tweet, thought long and hard… then just shrugged and walked away. #NoPlausibleAnswer
You can see Hamill’s reaction below:
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) April 25, 2020
As for a definitive answer to this conundrum, well, there isn’t one, which probably explains why Hamill bounced. Again, Star Wars fans have been mulling this one over for years. The best theories they can come up with is that R2-D2 actually did have his memory wiped sometime before meeting Luke, or he’s just a robot who’s not programmed to divine human relationships, so he just assumed Luke already knew who his father was and that Leia is his sister. Anakin being Darth Vader was simply no big deal to the little guy.
And then there’s this very plausible Reddit theory from sirlionel13:
I think it has more to do with his personality in general. He doesn’t tell anyone any more than they absolutely need to know at any given time. He doesn’t tell C3P0 that ignoring the restriction on the escape pods to launch off to Tatooine was a direct order from the Princess. He doesn’t tell Luke that his finding Obi-Wan Kenobi was important for the sake of the entire galaxy. No one even considered giving him a memory wipe at the end of the Clone Wars, even though he knew Luke and Leia survived, and where they were, and that a fugitive jedi was with one of them, and that the other was being raised by someone plotting against the newly formed empire – like they trusted him to hold out against interrogation, even when as a machine he could have information extracted directly from his memory.
R2’s just a sneaky, witty, compulsive liar, pretty much.
R2-D2 is secretly the most badass droid ever made who’ll never crack under pressure? We can get down with that theory.
(Via Mark Hamill on Twitter)