|Star Wars character|
K-2SO in Rogue One
|First appearance||Rogue One (2016)|
|Last appearance||Rogue One (2016)|
|Created by||John Knoll|
|Portrayed by||Alan Tudyk (motion capture)|
|Voiced by||Alan Tudyk|
|Occupation||Imperial security droid|
K-2SO or Kay-Tuesso is a droid character in the Star Wars franchise, first appearing in the 2016 film Rogue One. He is a CGI character voiced and performed through motion capture by Alan Tudyk. In the film, K-2SO is a KX-series security droid originally created by the Empire.
K-2SO was part of the initial line-up of spies in John Knoll's pitch for Rogue One, as an Imperial protocol droid. Designs for the character's look focused on giving him both a unique silhouette as well as keeping him in tune with the Imperial aesthetic from A New Hope.:68 References of Imperial designs were used, and the character's chest plate draws on the armor of an AT-AT commander in The Empire Strikes Back.:76 Unused designs by Ralph McQuarrie for droids and stormtrooper helmets would influence his eventual headshape. Originally designed as a "black protocol droid", further story development and drafts that "accentuated" his ties to the Empire turned K-2SO into an Imperial security droid. His laid back personality became a "visual amusing" contrast to his "towering, monolothic form". Director Gareth Edwards wanted K-2SO to be "appealing" despite his figure, and designs continued to reflect elements of his personality with his form; his stoop is one example, showing his "casual kind of personality".:69
K-2SO is voiced and portrayed in motion capture by Alan Tudyk. Tudyk initially turned down the role as he felt he would be busy with Con Man, a webseries he had crowdfunded. The droid's height meant Tudyk had to wear 13-inch–tall stilts to perform the character, which he had difficulty taking off and thus would take to the bathroom. Tudyk called the stiltwalking the most challenging part of playing the droid, finding further difficulty in walking over things like sand and running. K-2, when rendered, had a slightly hunched over look. So to not have his own slouch be added to the character, the actor had to force himself to stand up straight. With K-2SO having an inanimate face, Tudyk tried to keep "emotion" in his body and his movement. The actor worked with a mask teacher, Orlando Pabotoy.
Tudyk auditioned with three different accents: an American accent, a mid-Atlantic accent, and an English accent. The English accent was chosen due to the character's Imperial roots, and as he was a droid Tudyk gave him a more formal "proper" accent. Tudyk improvised or altered many of K-2SO's lines. The actor was concerned about making the character an "outlier in his own movie" like Jar Jar Binks, hoping to keep K-2SO feeling like "part of the world".
K-2SO is an Imperial security droid who has been reprogrammed by the Rebel Alliance. He is co-pilot and "sidekick" to the rebel pilot Cassian Andor, and lends comic relief to the film. Ann Hornaday of The Washington Post noted K-2SO's "angular, spidery limbed" appearance, calling him "snippily sarcastic". IGN's Eric Goldman described the droid as "C-3PO's dark, amped up counterpoint. Like Threepio, he has a knack for giving troubling statistics, but instead of speaking with a worried attitude, K-2SO ... has more of a resigned and often amusingly cruel and blunt approach." Similarly, Chris Nashawaty of Entertainment Weekly called the character "C3PO’s more sarcastic, less fey cousin." Todd McCarthy described K-2SO as "a more useful, resourceful and sarcastic version of C-3PO" in The Hollywood Reporter. Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian compared the character to the titular robot from Ted Hughes' novel The Iron Man, writing:
K-2SO is hulking and dark, more like Ted Hughes's Iron Man in miniature, but with a droll way of objecting to orders; his style in backtalk involves a nicely timed deferred punchline. The arms are long, resulting in an almost knuckle-dragging, simian way of walking. In his taciturn way, K-2SO could almost be a quasi-Chewie presence.
A one-shot comic book, Star Wars: Rogue One: Cassian and K-2SO, was released in August 2017. Set some time before the events of Rogue One, it tells the story of how Cassian Andor and K-2SO first met. K-2S0 also appears in Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire, a virtual reality experience produced by ILMxLAB and The VOID for Disneyland Resort; Alan Tudyk reprises his role as K-2SO, who accompanies the player throughout the experience. He is also a major character in the junior novel The Mighty Chewbacca in the Forest of Fear!
Tudyk has been widely praised in the role. Recounting fan reaction on Twitter, Megan McCluskey wrote for Time that "there seems to be one aspect of the standalone Star Wars story that the majority of viewers have agreed on: the excellence of K-2SO." Justin Chang of Los Angeles Times dubbed the character "the requisite scene stealer" of the film, and A. O. Scott of The New York Times praised "the dry, sarcastic tones of the indispensable Alan Tudyk." The Hollywood Reporter's Todd McCarthy called K-2SO the film's "most entertaining" character, complimenting his design and Tudyk's "droll wit and exquisite timing". IGN's Eric Goldman praised the cast of the film but noted, "it's Tudyk's K-2SO who's often the standout", adding that the actor's performance gives the character "a sympathetic 'soul' (if such a word is appropriate for a droid)". Goldman also wrote that "K-2SO looks so good, it's easy to forget he's a CGI character". The Washington Post's Michael Cavna praised K-2SO, calling him "a droid for social-media times ... freshly armed with comedic snark." Ann Hornaday, also of The Washington Post, wrote that the character "provides precious comic relief in a film that is otherwise grim and unsmiling". Richard Brody of The New Yorker described the droid as "the one character with any inner identity ... and the only performance with any flair at all". Peter Travers of Rolling Stone and IndieWire's David Ehrlich dubbed K-2SO the best of the film's new characters, with Travers calling the robot "hilarious" and Ehrlich describing him as "a droll bot with killer comic timing, he's as delightful and alive as any animated character you could find in a Disney film".
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