Well, I’m sure you’ve seen it, but Kenny Baker, the man who played R2D2 has passed away.
2016 has been rough for cast members from the original Star Wars films. The actors who played Red Leader and Admiral Ackbar passed away earlier in the year. Kenny, like the others, was a British performer and made his living primarily in the UK, though he would occasionally dip over to the US for special events.
Kenny brought life and personality to the droid, or as C-3PO would say “nearsighted scrap pile”, we all know. While Ben Burtt did the sound design and gave voice to Artoo, Kenny was actually inside the droid and controlling him.
There were several “Artoo’s” on set, but anytime the droid needed to turn his head, move his eye, or basically emote in any way, Kenny had to get inside. While Mr. Baker did not reprise his role in The Force Awakens, he was in each film of both the prequel and original trilogies.
There’s not a lot of I can say. R2D2 is one of the most iconic characters, you know…ever, so I’m pretty sure everyone knows who he is. I’m fairly bummed; Star Wars means a lot to me. As time goes on, there’s going to be fewer and fewer people who worked on the original movies, people who had key and irreplaceable roles. But rather than dwell on the negative, let’s honor Mr. Baker, his hard work, and the joy he brought to countless fans.
Goodbye, Mr. Baker, and may the force be with you!