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9 Things You Didn't Know About R2-D2

by Culture Slate about a month ago in star wars
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Little Known Stories About The Little Droid

To most casual viewers of the Star Wars movies, R2-D2 is just the cute little droid, a mascot of the saga, and a toy salesman's dream. However, under the dome of that little astromech lies an entire lifetime of secrets and experiences that most who encounter him are unaware of. The little droid was allegedly named after Walter Murch shouting out “Reel 2, Dialogue 2” during the sound mixing stage for George Lucas’ American Graffiti. Lucas, who was writing the script for Star Wars at the time, included the reference in his screenplay. Influenced by both the robots from the 1972 sci-fi movie Silent Running and the two peasants from Kurosawa’s 1958 Hidden Fortress, R2-D2 (or Artoo) would become a favorite of cinema-going audiences and an instantly recognizable icon of the 20th century. But just how much does anyone know about that plucky little droid…?

1. No One Is Exactly Sure Of Artoo’s Age

According to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: The Visual Dictionary, manufacturer Industrial Automaton, listed the astromech’s age as at least 67 standards year. Taking into account the passage of time between that movie and the Battle of Yavin in A New Hope, it would place Artoo’s manufacture around 30 or so years before said battle (32BBY). However, no official details have ever been given and there is no information on any events prior to his appearance on Queen Amidala's Naboo Royal Starship either in canon or Legends.

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2. He Holds The Record For Most Appearances in Star Wars

In addition to appearing in every movie from The Phantom Menace through The Rise of Skywalker, R2-D2 has also appeared in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, The Clone Wars, and Rebels. He is accompanied by long-time partner C3-PO. Unlike his golden counterpart, however, Artoo has a cameo in both The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett. The only projects in which he has not cropped up are the Star Wars: Resistance and the movie Solo: A Star Wars Story.

Not only does Artoo hold the record for most appearances for in-universe stories, the little droid also has cameos outside of Star Wars. Eagle-eyed viewers will have seen the familiar shape in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, J. J. Abrams’ Star Trek, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, and Raiders of the Lost Ark as a hieroglyph alongside C3-PO in the well of souls. He has even turned up on Sesame Street!

3. He Has The Most Pivotal Role In The Entire Saga

From saving the Naboo Royal Starship upon its breaking the Naboo blockade to carrying the plans for the original Death Star, thus bringing both Luke and Han into the Rebel Alliance, the little droid has been the glue that holds the Star Wars universe together. Without R2, Luke would not have had his lightsaber at the Great Pit of Carkoon. He carried the star map to Luke’s whereabouts when Luke went into self-imposed exile on Ach-to. He also helped the Millennium Falcon track the binary signal device to Leia’s location on Crait, allowing the remnants of the Resistance to escape with their lives. That is not counting the number of victories won during the Clone Wars because of the actions of that one droid. Artoo is the linchpin of the entire saga. Little wonder why he is George Lucas’ favorite character. And speaking of the Clone Wars…

4. War Hero And Spy

After being shrouded in mystery for so long, the adventures of R2-D2 prior to A New Hope have since revealed that the droid had an immense part to play in galactic events leading up to his crash-landing in the escape pod on Tatooine. As the character has been fleshed out in both the prequels and animated series, more details of just what he was up to during the events of the Clone Wars have come to light.

In The Clone Wars episode “Secret Weapons,” Artoo was a part of the D-squad, a special droid military group under the command of Republic Colonel Meebur Gascon that was involved in a plan to steal an encryption module from a separatist Dreadnought. Even though the mission went awry, the droid team unveiled the Separatist’s plot to blow up a station where a strategic Republic conference was being held. Artoo and the rest of D-squad managed to destroy a star destroyer filled with Rhydonium before it reached the station.

After the fall of the Republic, Artoo’s missions became more covert. Though mostly assigned to Captain Antilles on the Tantive IV, he occasionally was sent out on missions to help the Rebel Alliance. In Rebels episode “Droids in Distress,” Bail Organa assigned Artoo and Threepio to escort an Imperial Minister and arms dealer to Garel, officially to translate the deal. Unbeknownst to his companion, Artoo was given a directive to prevent the arms deal. The mission succeeded with the added benefit of encountering a certain previously unknown Rebel cell, which would eventually help join the fight against the Empire.

5. He Once Launched A One-droid Assault On An Imperial Star Destroyer

In the comics Star Wars #36 by Jason Aaron and Salvador Larroca, Artoo stole an X-wing and stormed a Star Destroyer in an attempt to rescue his friend C-3PO. Believing the X-wing to be empty, the Imperials brought the craft onboard only for Artoo to cause havoc, taking out entire squads of troopers and leaving devastation in his wake. Imperials were found burned to death. dumped in a trash compactor, even floating in the cold vacuum of space. To add insult to injury, this all happens aboard a Star Destroyer while Vader himself was on board. Vader pursued the droids in his fighter only to be thwarted by Luke and Han in their respective ships, allowing the droids to make their escape.

You could imagine how Vader must have felt knowing the doid that once accompanied him on missions back in the days of the Clone Wars was now thwarting his own plans.

6. Not Only A Fighter…

As if being a galactic spy and lethal adversary wasn’t enough to cement Artoo as a definite candidate for the role of James Bond, in The Great Heep, the prequel to the 1986 Droids television special, Artoo ended up romantically involved with another droid. Finding themselves on the Outer Rim planet Biitu, Artoo was captured and deposited into the droid harem of the Great Heep, a droid assigned to the planet by the Empire to drain the agriworld of its resources. The harem was filled with astromechs that the Heep devoured for energy. There he met fellow droid KT-10, and struck up a romantic relationship, much to the chagrin of his fellow droid prisoners. Although technically droids don’t have genders, KT was programmed with feminine characteristics. Their friendship was cut short, however, when KT was devoured by the Great Heep. After the defeat of the Great Heep, Artoo, with the help of KT’s fellow droids, managed to revive her. However, the relationship was not to be as our little blue astromech refused to settle down, preferring the life of an adventurer.

7. Artoo The Revolutionary

In The Clone Wars episode “A Friend in Need,” Artoo and Ahsoka were captured by a group of Mandalorians led by Pre Vizsla. The astromech was put to work repairing droids damaged during target practice. Not only did Artoo repair said droids, but he organized a droid uprising, turning them into an army against the Mandalorians that had treated them so badly. In the chaos that ensued, Artoo freed Ahsoka and returned her lightsabers to her, allowing her to take on Vizsla.

8. An Unknown Future

Even though Artoo accompanied Poe Dameron in his X-wing on the assault on Exegol, what happened to Artoo after the events of The Rise of Skywalker remained a mystery. However, according to Legends, Artoo passed from owner to owner (in so much as the unit would consider being “owned”)  in the Skywalker family, eventually landing in possession of Cade Skywalker, a distant descendant of Luke Skywalker, around 130 ABY. This would make Artoo the longest surviving individual present at the Battle of Yavin.

9. Artoo’s Knowledge Of The Universe

It could be argued that Artoo’s knowledge of the events of the Star Wars universe is second only to Palpatine’s. Some would even say that the droid is privy to knowledge the Sith lord himself is unaware of. Throughout the saga, while C3-PO’s memory is wiped on more than one occasion, R2-D2’s memory is left intact. During the Clone Wars, Anakin made a point of not wiping his droid's memory and divulged many secrets to the astromech himself. At the end of Revenge of the Sith, Captain Antilles was ordered to wipe Threepio's memory, but once again Artoo escaped this fate. This implies that Artoo knows everything from the very beginning.

While this is left open to audience interpretation, in Star Wars: The Annotated Screenplays, Lucas revealed that his original intent was to have R2-D2 recount the tales of the entire Star Wars Saga many generations later to a mysterious race called the Whills. Maybe that fate is what lies in store for the little droid after all. Perhaps it was never about the Skywalkers. It was about Artoo all along.

READ NEXT: Why The 501st Could Have Been Ordered To Kidnap Grogu During Order 66

Written By DK

Source(s): StarWars.com, ComicBook.com, Screen Rant, Independent

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