R2-D2: Wikis


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Position Astromech droid
Homeworld Naboo
Affiliation Galactic Republic, Rebel Alliance, New Republic, Galactic Alliance, Jedi Order
Portrayed by Kenny Baker
Ben Burtt (voice)

R2-D2 (phonetically spelled Artoo-Deetoo, and called "Artoo" for short), is a fictional droid in the Star Wars universe, an astromech droid. R2-D2 is one of the four main protagonists to appear in all six Star Wars films, the others being Anakin Skywalker (Darth Vader), Obi-Wan Kenobi (portrayed by Alec Guinness and Ewan McGregor), and R2-D2's droid companion C-3PO. R2-D2 was played by Kenny Baker. The original R2-D2 chassis was specially created by English firms Petric Engineering and C&L Developments and was precision-made to a high standard with small tolerances.[citation needed] Many scenes also made use of radio controlled and CGI versions of the character.


Prequel trilogy

In Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, R2-D2 is introduced as a droid belonging to the Naboo defense forces, which helps repair Queen Padmé Amidala's starship as it attempts to get past the Trade Federation blockade, ending up as the sole surviving astromech droid out of four deployed for repair duty. Later, 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 film's climactic battle scene.

In Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, set ten years later, R2-D2 is still in Anakin Skywalker's and Obi-Wan Kenobi's possession, and he accompanies Anakin and Padmé to Naboo when her life is threatened, and then to Tatooine when Anakin tries to rescue his mother. 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.

In Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, R2-D2 helps Anakin and Obi-Wan Kenobi in their mission to rescue Chancellor Palpatine from Count Dooku's capital ship, the Invisible Hand. He is attacked by B2 super battle droids, but manages to defeat both of them through ingenious tactics. R2-D2 accompanies Anakin throughout the rest of the movie, but does not play a large part in events. Later, C-3PO's memory is wiped clean to keep the knowledge of the locations of Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia Organa a secret from their father, who has fallen to the dark side and become Darth Vader. However, R2-D2's memory is not 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 onboard the blockade runner Tantive IV at the end of Revenge of the Sith.

Original trilogy

In Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, both R2-D2 and C-3PO are on board the Tantive IV along with Princess Leia of Alderaan, now an adult, when they come under attack by the Imperial Star Destroyer Devastator. Leia slips R2-D2 a disc containing a distress message and the plans for the Death Star battle station and jettisons the droids in an escape pod that crashes on Tatooine.

Once again R2-D2 and C-3PO are abducted by Jawas and bought by Owen Lars, step-uncle and surrogate father of Luke Skywalker, who does not recognize them from a generation earlier; Luke thus unknowingly inherits his parents' droids. R2 "accidentally" plays back part of the message to pique Luke's interest, although it is actually a ruse to get Luke to remove the restraining bolt the Jawas installed on all captured droids to keep them from escaping. Once free of the bolt, R2 claims to have no knowledge of the message. That night, R2 leaves the farm to seek out Obi-Wan Kenobi, his old master. (However, there is a slight continuity error here between the original and prequel films, as Kenobi states he doesn't remember owning a droid (in Episode I & II, R4 is under his service, and later destroyed) and doesn't seem to remember R2, even though he called on the droid time and again in the prequels. It is possible that Kenobi is not sure if this is the same droid and/or does not wish to give any information away before knowing why R2 is back on Tatooine. Another possibility is that Kenobi always considered R2 to belong to Anakin and truthfully never owned a droid himself. 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 captured by the Death Star I, but eventually rescue Leia and escape. R2-D2 delivers the plans to the Alliance, and becomes Luke's astromech droid during the attack on the station. R2 is severely damaged during the battle, but is restored before the awards ceremony at the end of the film.

In Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, R2 accompanies Luke to Dagobah where he is reunited with Yoda, and later to Cloud City, where he again 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 the Empire.

In Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, R2-D2 plays a critical role in the rescue of Han Solo, Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa from Jabba the Hutt, and later joins the Rebel strike team on Endor.


R2-D2 has many apparatuses and tools as part of his design and construction. Some of these include a taser, a gripping tool, a computer interface, a hologram projector and a periscope.

In the original trilogy, R2 has a very strict set of tools, using some, such as his computer interface arm, far more than others. This set was expanded afterward in the prequel trilogy, adding jets, oil spray, and more.


In the original Star Wars, there were two R2-D2 models, one that was remote controlled and walked on three legs, and another which was worn by Kenny Baker and walked on two legs.[1][2]

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.[3]

The sound effects for R2-D2's "voice" were created by sound designer Ben Burtt, using an ARP 2600 analog music synthesizer, as well as his own vocalizations processed through other effects.[4]

Anthony Daniels, who portrays C-3PO, has stated that Kenny Baker never filmed any scenes in Revenge of the Sith.[5] Baker himself has said he probably only appears in footage caught while shooting the previous two movies.[6]

R2-D2 in popular culture

Astronaut Jim Reilly helped welcome R2-D2 and Luke Skywalker's lightsaber from Star Wars to the Kennedy Space Center. The lightsaber was taken into space aboard the real-life Space Shuttle Discovery during mission STS-120 in 2007.


  • Lucas has stated that Akira Kurosawa's 1958 feature film The Hidden Fortress (USA release 1962) was a strong influence, particularly Tahei and Matakishi, the two comic relief characters that serve as sidekicks to General Makabe.
  • R2-D2 was partly inspired by the robots Huey, Dewey, and Louie from Douglas Trumbull's 1972 film Silent Running, which themselves resemble the "gonk droids" that function as mobile power supplies in the Star Wars films.
  • 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.[7]
  • In some Spanish-speaking countries R2-D2 is frequently referred to as Arturito ("little Arthur"), since it sounds similar to the English Artoodeetoo.
  • Around the same time that A New Hope was being shot, Ray Harryhausen had already created "Bubo" for the 1981 film Clash of the Titans. In the film, Bubo is a mechanical metal owl that flies heavily and communicates through whistles and tweets. Harryhausen denied a relation, stating "contrary to what some critics said at the time, Bubo was invented before R2-D2."[8]
  • T-Bob is a robot from the 1985 animated television series M.A.S.K. T-Bob bears an uncanny resemblance to an Industrial Automaton-developed Rx-series astromech droid, in particular to R2-D2, but appears to be a more advanced model. T-Bob's name may yield a clue: if written TB-OB, or T8-O8, T-Bob may be a Tx-series droid, fitting in with the established progression of the Industrial Automaton series of droids in alphabetic order: P2-series, Qx-series, Rx-series etc.

Expanded universe

  • 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. During the Black Fleet Crisis, for example, they were mostly out of the way, working with Lando Calrissian and Lobot to discover the mystery behind the Teljkon Vagabond. In the Expanded Universe novel The Swarm War, R2 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 Star Tours, he is seen in the queue with C-3PO repairing a StarSpeeder 3000 and during the ride as the navigator.
  • In the latest issue of Star Wars: Legacy (#12), R2-D2 is revealed to have survived the resulting 88 years after his last appearance and has been upgraded to the latest technology. He is presented to Cade Skywalker by the old Jedi Order member K'Kruhk and Cade's Master Wolf when Cade went to rescue a captured Jedi being held by Darth Krayt on Coruscant.
  • 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.


  • R2-D2 was inducted into the Robot Hall of Fame in 2003.
  • Ewan McGregor, who portrayed Obi-Wan Kenobi in the prequel trilogy, said in an interview, "As soon as R2-D2 comes on the set, everyone goes a bit silly." He recalled how his then four-year-old daughter announced she was in love with R2-D2, and then confessed his own affections for the astromech: "...there is something about him that makes you feel great affection for him. I think it is a combination of his shape, his high-pitched voice. He's just incredibly appealing. In fact, I believe he is George [Lucas]'s favorite actor." Lucas confirms this in the audio commentary of the Episode III DVD.

Notable appearances outside the Star Wars series

A R2-D2 themed mailbox in Boston, Massachusetts as part of the celebration for Star Wars' 30th anniversary
  • R2-D2 and C-3PO guest starred in a series of segments on the children's television show Sesame Street, aired in 1978, where he falls in love with a fire hydrant in one; In this appearance, the three-legged remote controlled R2D2 was used.
  • R2-D2 and C-3PO were featured as presenters at the 50th Academy Awards.
  • Together with Luke Skywalker and Chewbacca, R2-D2 and C-3PO appeared on The Muppet Show; In this appearance, the three-legged remote controlled R2D2 was used.
  • R2-D2 and C-3PO have appeared in numerous Star Wars-based commercials, television specials, and productions.
  • Both R2-D2 and C-3PO appear as hieroglyphs in the Well of Souls in Raiders of the Lost Ark.[9]
  • It appears hung upside down over the bottom side of the UFO mothership of Close Encounters of the Third Kind when it slowly appears over the Devils tower, following the making of documentary in the extra disc of the DVD special edition of Steven Spielberg's movie.
  • The PC video game Sam & Max Hit the Road features a bonus shooting gallery during the ending credit roll, and one of the moving targets is a miniature R2-D2. Sam & Max was published by LucasArts, which explains the cameo.
  • Beepboopbeep is R2's counterpart in the spoof, Thumb Wars.
  • R2-D2 and C-3PO were the hosts of the Imax film Special Effects: Anything Can Happen.
  • R2-D2 appears (directly) in three episodes of The Simpsons, and indirectly in a fourth.
  • In the British television comedy series The Goodies, R2-D2 (played by Kenny Baker) guest stars as a robot called EB-GB (Electronic Brain of Great Britain). The episode, "U-Friend or UFO?", is a spoof of the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind and has EB-GB (R2-D2) take on the personality of a Dalek. When asked by one of the Goodies characters, "EB-GB, how do you speak to aliens?" he replies, "Exterminate!"
  • R2-D2 makes a brief appearance in The Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny.
  • R2-D2 (along with Chewbacca and C-3PO) made a cameo in "Blind Ambition", an episode of the animated TV show Family Guy. The episode ends with a reenactment of the ending of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, allowing the appearance of these characters. He reappears in "Blue Harvest" and is portrayed by Cleveland Brown.
  • In the final Pinky and the Brain episode, which includes many of the Animaniacs cast. A parody of A New Hope features Brain as a spoof of R2-D2 called Brain2 Me2.
  • An R2-D2 likeness has been placed on numerous postal boxes around the US in anticipation of the release of a series of Star Wars-themed postage stamps.
  • R2 appeared on the April 2, 2007 episode of Dancing With The Stars at Joey Fatone's rehearsal for a Star Wars-themed Tango.
  • In one episode of the cartoon series Muppet Babies Kermit the Frog was turned into R2-D2 and was on a couple of occasions mistaken for a trash can.
  • R2-D2 is parodied in the online cartoon House of Cosbys. He is known as BCD2 (Bill Cosby D2) and is shaped similar to R2-D2, with similar voicings.
  • R2-D2 is parodied in the 13 minute Star Wars spoof HardWare Wars. In this spoof, he is known as Arty Deco and is accompanied by 4Q2 (a parody of C3PO).
  • R2-D2 appears in a few frames In the region 2 DVD version of the 2009 film Star Trek at 45 minutes and 48 seconds into the film (or 47 min. 37 sec. in the digital version) in the bottom left hand corner over the shoulder of helmsman Hikaru Sulu heading left and out of the Enterprise's viewscreen frame.[10][11]

See also


  1. 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.


  1. ^ Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope audio commentary. [DVD]. 
  2. ^ Empire of Dreams. [Documentary]. Star Wars Trilogy box set. 
  3. ^ Bad Karma Droid. Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace DVD. 
  4. ^ Ben Burtt. Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope audio commentary. [DVD]. 
  5. ^ Anthony Daniels interview. Set. April 2008. 
  6. ^ Williams, Andrew (2005-05-19). "Kenny Baker". Metro (Associated Newspapers). http://www.metro.co.uk/fame/interviews/article.html?in_article_id=1217&in_page_id=11. Retrieved 2009-01-28. 
  7. ^ Film Freak Central Interviews Editor Walter Murch (page 4)
  8. ^ Ray Harryhausen and Tony Dalton, Ray Harryhausen: An Animated Life, page 270 (London: Aurum Press Ltd, 2003) ISBN 1854109405. Quoted in Term Paper: Clash of the Titans: Gregory Gangemi.
  9. ^ http://s6.invisionfree.com/braltar_nirk/ar/t2001.htm
  10. ^ http://www.sciencefictionstuff.com/2009/10/finally-spotted-r2d2-in-star-trek.html
  11. ^ http://gizmodo.com/5405276/confirmed-r2%20d2-finally-discovered-in-star-trek

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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Wikipedia has an article about:

The following articles relate to the Star Wars science-fiction universe created by George Lucas:

  • Feature films
    • Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977)
    • Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
    • Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983)
    • Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999)
    • Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002)
    • Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005)
    • Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008)
  • TV specials
  • Video games
    • Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy
    • Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
    • Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords
    • Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
    • Star Wars: The Force Unleashed
    • Star Wars: The Clone Wars Lightsaber Duels
    • Star Wars: Battlefront
    • Star Wars: Battlefront II
  • Miscellaneous


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