|Star Wars character|
|First appearance||Star Wars (1977)|
|Created by||George Lucas|
|Portrayed by||Kenny Baker (Episodes I-VII, The Star Wars Holiday Special)|
|Voiced by||George Lucas/Ben Burtt (vocal effects)|
Rebel Alliance/New Republic/Galactic Alliance
R2-D2 (called "R2" for short) is a robot character in the Star Wars universe created by George Lucas. An astromech droid (referred to in the novel as a 'thermocapsulary dehousing assister'; technically, someone who pops corks), R2-D2 is a major character in all Star Wars films. Along with his protocol droid companion C-3PO, he joins or supports Anakin Skywalker, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Padme Amidala, and Obi-Wan Kenobi in various points in the saga. English Actor Kenny Baker has played R2-D2 in all six original Star Wars films and is due to reprise the role in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the first installment of the upcoming sequel trilogy, making him one of just two characters/actors along with C-3PO (portrayed by Anthony Daniels) to appear in all seven films.
R2-D2 was designed in artwork by Ralph McQuarrie and co-developed by John Stears but actually built by Tony Dyson, who ran his own studio called "The White Horse Toy Company" in the UK. Many scenes also made use of radio controlled and CGI versions of the character. Original props of R2-D2 and C-3PO are used as audio-animatronics in the queue area of Disneyland's Star Tours—The Adventures Continue attraction.
- 1 Design
- 2 Film appearances
- 2.1 Original trilogy
- 2.2 Prequel trilogy
- 2.3 Sequel trilogy
- 2.4 Expanded universe
- 2.5 Other films
- 3 Production
- 4 Cultural Influence
- 5 See also
- 6 Notes
- 7 References
- 8 External links
George Lucas's creation of R2-D2 was influenced by Akira Kurosawa's 1958 feature film The Hidden Fortress (USA release 1962), particularly Tahei and Matashichi, the two comic relief characters that serve as sidekicks to General Makabe. Lucas also drew inspiration from the robots Huey, Dewey, and Louie from Douglas Trumbull's 1972 film Silent Running.
The name is said to derive from when Lucas was making one of his earlier films, American Graffiti. Sound editor Walter Murch states that he is responsible for the utterance which sparked the name for the droid. Murch asked for Reel 2, Dialog Track 2, in the abbreviated form "R-2-D-2". Lucas, who was in the room and had dozed off while working on the script for Star Wars, momentarily woke when he heard the request and, after asking for clarification, stated that it was a "great name" before falling immediately back to sleep.
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
In Star Wars, both R2-D2 and C-3PO are introduced on board the Tantive IV, along with Princess Leia of Alderaan, when they are fired upon by an Imperial Star Destroyer. Leia inserts in R2-D2 an information disc containing the plans for the Death Star battle station, along with encoding a distress message on the droid's holographic projector. The droids then escape in a pod that crashes on Tatooine near Obi-Wan Kenobi's desert abode.
R2-D2 and C-3PO are then abducted by Jawas and bought by Owen Lars, step-uncle of Luke Skywalker. While Luke cleans the sand out of R2-D2's gears, he discovers a fragment of Leia's message, and removes the droid's restraining bolt to see more; once free of the bolt, R2 claims to have no knowledge of the message. That night, R2-D2 leaves the farm to seek out Obi-Wan. Soon, by way of fate, Luke is forced to leave Tatooine with Obi-Wan, Han Solo, and Chewbacca, and they attempt to deliver R2-D2 to the Rebel Alliance. Along the way, they are pulled in by the Death Star's tractor beam, but eventually rescue Princess Leia and escape. R2-D2 delivers the plans to the Rebel Alliance, and serves as Luke's astromech droid during the attack on the station. R2-D2 is severely damaged during the battle, but is restored before the ceremony at the end of the film.
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
In The Empire Strikes Back, R2-D2 accompanies Luke to Dagobah, and later to Cloud City, where he helps to rescue and repair a heavily damaged C-3PO and to override city security computers. He also manages to fix the Millennium Falcon 's hyperdrive, resulting in a last-minute escape from Imperial forces.
Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
In Return of the Jedi, R2-D2 plays a critical role in rescuing Luke, Leia and Han from Jabba the Hutt. He later joins the Rebel strike team on Endor. He is badly damaged during the fight between the Imperial troops and the Rebels, but is repaired in time for the celebration marking the second Death Star's destruction and the end of the Empire.
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
In Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, set 32 years before Star Wars, R2-D2 is portrayed as belonging to the Naboo defense forces and is one of four astromech droids deployed for repair duty on Queen Padmé Amidala's starship as it attempts to get past the Trade Federation blockade. The sole survivor of the four, R2-D2 becomes part of Qui-Gon Jinn's party on Tatooine and meets C-3PO and Anakin Skywalker. Later still, he serves as the astromech droid for Anakin's starfighter during the Battle of Naboo.
Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
In Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, set 10 years after The Phantom Menace, R2-D2 still serves Anakin and Obi-Wan. He accompanies Anakin and Padmé to Naboo, and then to Tatooine when Anakin tries to rescue his mother Shmi. Here, he is reunited with C-3PO, and the two get into various misadventures on Geonosis. He and C-3PO are later witnesses to Anakin and Padmé's secret wedding.
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
In Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, R2-D2 helps Anakin and Obi-Wan in their mission to rescue Chancellor Palpatine from Count Dooku's capital ship, the Invisible Hand. He is attacked by battle droids, but defeats them through ingenious tactics. After Anakin falls to the dark side of the Force and becomes Darth Vader, he takes R2-D2 with him when he goes to assassinate the Separatist council, but tells him to stay with the ship. After the Galactic Empire is established at the end of the film, C-3PO's memory is erased to keep the knowledge of the locations of Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia a secret from their father. However, R2-D2's memory isn't wiped (as a result, R2-D2 is the only surviving character at the end of Return of the Jedi who knows the entire story of the Skywalker family). Both R2-D2 and C-3PO end up in the possession of Captain Raymus Antilles on board the Corellian corvette Tantive IV.
- R2-D2 and C-3PO had their own animated series, Star Wars: Droids, set before they came into Luke Skywalker's possession.
- In the various Star Wars novels and comics, the droid duo have played a small but significant role. In the Star Wars expanded universe novel The Swarm War, R2-D2 inadvertently helps Luke and Leia come to grips with their heritage when an electronic glitch unearths long-concealed images of Anakin relating his fear of losing Padmé, and of Padmé's death.
- In issue #12 of Star Wars: Legacy, R2-D2 is revealed to have survived the resulting 88 years after his last appearance and has been upgraded to the latest technology. In this series, he now serves another member of the Skywalker family — reluctant Jedi Cade Skywalker.
- R2-D2 appears in the 2008 animated film Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and the spin-off series of the same name, which provide a canonical bridge between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith.
Along with the Star Wars films, R2-D2 makes non-canon cameo appearances in several other films, such as Star Trek and Star Trek into Darkness, seen flying in debris, Close Encounters of the Third Kind on the underside of the alien ship, Raiders of the Lost Ark, seen on the wall of the room containing the Ark, and in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, seen flying among rubble and debris in the sky. R2 was desired to be a main character in The Lego Movie, but due to Disney acquiring the Star Wars rights in 2012, and refusing to let the studio use him, his role was cut from the movie.
In the original Star Wars films, there were two R2-D2 models, one that was remote controlled and rolled on three wheeled legs, and another which was worn by English actor Kenny Baker and walked on two legs.
There were a total of 15 R2-D2s on the set of Attack of the Clones. Eight were radio-controlled; two were worn by Baker; the remainder were stunt models that could be moved by puppet strings or towed by wires. The robotic R2s were prone to failure, particularly while shooting the Tatooine scenes in Tunisia.
Although Kenny Baker is credited, Anthony Daniels (who portrays C-3PO) has stated that Baker did not film any scenes in Revenge of the Sith. Baker himself has said he probably only appears in footage caught while shooting the previous two movies.
For The Force Awakens, producer Kathleen Kennedy hired two fans, Lee Towarsey and Oliver Steeples, to build new R2-D2 robots for the film, after being impressed by their working replicas that were brought to Star Wars Celebration Europe in 2013. Kenny Baker was also confirmed as part of the cast, once again reprising his role from previous films.
R2-D2 was inducted into the Robot Hall of Fame in 2003. The Smithsonian Institution included R2-D2 in its list of 101 Objects that Made America. Marc Rotenberg of the Electronic Privacy Information Center called a security robot intended for schools and malls R2-D2's "evil twin"; William Santana Li, who co-founded the company that built the robot, said he wanted people to think of the robot as "a mash-up of 'Batman,' 'Minority Report' and R2-D2”.
Ewan McGregor, who portrayed Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars prequel trilogy, said in an interview, "As soon as R2-D2 comes on the set, everyone goes a bit silly." He said "there is something about him that makes you feel great affection for him". In the DVD audio commentary for Revenge of the Sith, George Lucas says R2-D2 is his favorite character, and that it is intentional that R2-D2 saves the day at least once in every film.
R2-D2 is parodied in several episodes of Family Guy; The final scene in "Blind Ambition" where Peter Griffin receives a medal of honor after a blind Peter saves Horace's life parodies the ending in Star Wars: A New Hope. In the episodes parodying the original Star Wars trilogy, Cleveland Brown plays R2-D2's role, while Quagmire plays C-3PO.
- Wallace, Daniel. (2002). Star Wars: The Essential Guide to Characters. Del Rey. p. 138. ISBN 0-345-44900-2. Note: Canon sources are mixed as to whether R2-D2 has a gender, but Wallace (an official source) indicates that the droid has masculine programming.
- Bill Chambers (2000). "Film Freak Central Interviews Editor Walter Murch (page 4)". FilmFreakCentral.net. p. 4. Archived from the original on August 10, 2011. Retrieved March 23, 2014.
- "‘Star Wars’: R2-D2 Officially Confirmed to Appear In ‘Episode VII’". Variety. 19 November 2013. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
- Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope audio commentary (DVD).
- Empire of Dreams (Documentary). Star Wars Trilogy box set.
- Bad Karma Droid. Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace DVD.
- Ben Burtt. Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope audio commentary (DVD).
- "Anthony Daniels interview". Set. April 2008.
- Williams, Andrew (2005-05-19). "Kenny Baker". Metro (Associated Newspapers). Retrieved 2009-01-28.
- Cast & Crew Highlight at Star Wars Celebration Panel Anaheim. YouTube.
- "R2-D2". 100 Objects that Made America. Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved October 31, 2013.
- Markoff, John (November 29, 2013). "A Night Watchman With Wheels?". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved December 11, 2013.
- R2-D2 on Wookieepedia: a Star Wars wiki
- "Tony Dyson The man behind Star Wars R2-D2".
- "How the Robotic R2D2 was made, His Automated Periscope".