View Full Version : Droid Naming Conventions

11 March 2002, 09:56 AM
Howdy! I was wondering if anyone knows of any sort of naming conventions for droids in the Star Wars universe? Does the name R2-D2 indicate something in particular about that individual droid (other than he's cool) ?

This came up in my group last week, here's some of the questions that followed from my players:

"so it would almost have to be possible for name duplications to occur, right?"

"Would the name give a basic idea of the options on that droid? I mean like a car has a different name if it has an option package."

What do you all think. I always have a hard time coming up with droid names on the fly, so if there is a system, knowing the methods behind the madness could help my GMing skillz a bunch!


11 March 2002, 10:00 AM
For what it's worth, I just use the first two letters (this is easy with r-units) and then make up some digits for the rest. So we have an R-2 unit designated r2-c12 (snap for short), a protocol droid C3-GT (PD for short), and so on. Other than that, I have no clue so I am as curious as you as to what other people do with droid names...

11 March 2002, 10:14 AM
I usually just name droids in a fashion that I can truncate to make an amusing or easy-to-remember nickname. Some things I've used in the past are R2-D9 ("Dennie" for short), R4-DX ("Dex" for short") and SKR-50 ("Scar").

That may seem really trite and obvious, but hey, you asked. :)

11 March 2002, 10:16 AM
Trite works!

I was curious if there was a more formal convention, but any naming help is appreciated!

Reverend Strone
11 March 2002, 11:15 AM
I think Lucas just makes 'em up, sometimes with evedemce of a convention ie: R2-D2 was an R2 unit, but then other times it's just whatever, ie: C-3PO and TC-14 are both 3PO droids?

as gamers, I'm sure we can just invent rationales to support whatever naming conventions exist or we want to invent, but in the end, I think the original inspiration is probably whimsy.

I've noticed as gamers we tend to spend more time thinking about these kinds of things than most filmakers would ever expect anyone too, at least filmakers in the seventies and eighties anyway. Things are changing though, as awareness of tie-in merchandising benefits leads to a greater appreciation for well considered histories and settings.

Dark Lord Drax
11 March 2002, 11:34 AM
Actually, Lucas named R2-D2 after filming lingo. "Reel-2 Diologue-2" I think that's the translation. I'm not too sure on the D, but that's the best I could do.

After that, Lucas decided to make astromechs into R-series droids. The red droid that blew up on Tatooine was R2-D5 (I think, I know it was R2-something5. It was either D or A)

Basically, all R2 units are of the same model (kinda like all Buick Centuries are roughly the same) The droid manufacturer then labels the droid with the last two digits to be unique to that particular droid. So, R2-D2 is the only R2-D2.

The R2 series was later replaced with the R3 series, but designers and pilots found too many problems with the R3 droids, and kept using the R2 droids. Later the R5 series was made. These are most common on E-wings, and in the E-wing stats in the Starships of the Galaxy book it says that E-wings require an R5 droid, or one that is upgraded to R5 specifications. Later there is an R7 series.

My Jedi have an R2-X5 droid "Toex" (we pronounced it closer to twix, and so our guardian came up with a quip that the droid always as a Twix in his storage.)

As far as translator droids go, we have C-3PO, and TC-14. Translator droids entire names (or serial numbers) are unique to them. As far as I know there is no actual -3PO series droid. There may be a TC series, but I have no evidence either way on those.

Reverend Strone
11 March 2002, 12:00 PM
Thanks for the insights Drax.

I didn't know a lot of that. The one I will challenge you on is the R5. I seem to remember reading that E-wings neeeded R7s, not R5s. I may be wrong. I don't have the resource in front of me. Apologies in advance if I'm full of it.

Also (and I realise this came from the toys and merchandising, not originally from Lucas) but weren't the R5s agromechs? Eg: R5-D4. Of course this opens another can of worms because Luke calls him an R2 unit which fits Lucas' original designation for the droid as R2-D5, but then everything I've seen published since then supports the R5 name instead.

from what material I've read I gleaned the following;

R1s -drones for capital ships. (there was one in the sandcrawler in ANH and one in Watto's shop in TPM)

R2s -colour variations on R2-D2

R3s -just like R2s but with transparant domes (a supposition supported by the newly released R3 action figure from AOTC)

R4s -taller pointed domes (eg the droid in Tantive IV at the beginning of ANH). There's also an R4 designation droid in AOTC but this one has a dome like an R2 unit and has no body, instead being hardwired into the Aethersprite Jedi Starfighter, so the R4 supposition could be inaccurate.

R5s -agromechs with more blocky domes.

Of course, there are inconsistancies with virtually all of these, and I'll bet my last dollar Lucas would never feel bound by the conventions that are dreamed up by licensees or fans. So it goes to support my original statement that we can make all this stuff up, but there probably isn't a definative canon convention. Rules come and go.

The Admiral
11 March 2002, 03:31 PM
To answer the posited initial question, FT:D explains droid designations fairly succintly.

Most droid types have a given type number; R2, 3PO, MSE6 etc.

These alphanumeric codes are then added to in pretty much any fashion, in order to distinguish between droids. TC-14's designation may well (in fact probably did) include the 3PO model code somewhere in the name, but it is referred to as TC14.
If it's full designation number were, say, 34L7-KPTC14-D-3PO ( a perfectly reasonable designation) it might be referred to as '34L', or 'PTC', or 'D-3PO' or even 'Gertrude'.
Owners would typically call their droids by which ever section of their number they felt like.

Dark Lord Drax
11 March 2002, 03:49 PM
I concede that R7 is used on E-wings. I just checked the sourcebook.

According to Decipher (Star Wars CCG) "Red" (droid that blew the motivator) was an R5 (R5-D4). Decipher also claims that the droid on the Tantive IV was not an astromech but a vehicle operation droid used by the Empire that was taken aboard Tantive IV to tap the computers. However, there is a rounded dome droid on the Tantive IV if you look closely (bottom of the screen in the same scene as the blue pointy dome. Have to look quickly cause he moves out of the screen in a hurry.) That droid is an R unit. Can't remember the number.
I shall look for those two droids that were seen in that scene. Until then, here are three other examples of astromechs from the Decipher cards:

Astromech of Red 10 at Yavin (white dome)

Used at Echo Base to plot escape routes. (Black cylindrical top instead of dome.)

This droid served aboard the Death Star

All of those three droids can be seen in the movies. I'm not sure about R3, I never saw him, but I think he's at the edge of the screen in one shot. The others:
R2-X2 plainly seen while fighters are lifting off of Yavin
R5-M2 seen rolling in front of Falcon shortly before Threepio and Artoo argue about the thermal heaters.

Reverend Strone
11 March 2002, 06:06 PM
There's a yellow R3 in AOTC. I picked up the toy this morning. He looks just like the one on the Decipher card except yellow in all the areas the other one was red. He has the transparant dome the one on the card has.

The other R type droids I know of-

R4-M9 (the pointy topped droid on Tantive IV)- name comes from the Decipher card and the Hasbro toy (yes, they did one if you can believe it).

R2-Q2 (the silver R2 droid next to R4-M9 on Tantive IV)- name comes from Decipher card.

R4-E1 (glimpsed briefly in Mos Eisley, another pointy topped droid)- name come sfrom Decipher card.

Any help?

Terras Jadeonar & Raven
11 March 2002, 07:01 PM
Wedge's R5-G8 , wedge named him "Gate"

one that i used, an R2-F8 , named it "Faith" (owner was a female and had the droid custom paint job of purple)

theres others in the Xwing serries books, the dramatis personae section ...

Aaron B'Aviv
12 March 2002, 09:21 AM
I like Asimovian robot conventions, which are similar to a couple of the ideas tossed out.

An NS-2 robot is called a Nestor, an NDR is called Andrew, and so it goes... Somebody called it trite. I think I find it a reasonable human reaction to objects that are anything but human.

In the Star Wars universe, there seems to be a lot of anti-robot bias. People give them names more like dog names than human names. Hence Whistler, Gate, and some others. Droids are more like ill-wanted pets than near-human companions.

However, surely there must be a sizable part of the population that regards their metallic companions as practically humans. Among such people, human names would be the norm rather than the exception.