R.I.P. R2-D2

August 14, 2016 | By Brent Almond | POP CULTURE

RIP R2-D2

Kenny Baker 1934-2016 Rest In Peace

While the character of R2-D2 will be around for a long, long time, I wanted to pay respect to the actor who played him in the first six Star Wars films. Special effects aside, Kenny Baker was the one who brought everyone’s favorite droid to life.

In October 1977 I was eight years old, and my dad took me and my younger brother to see Star Wars. There were so many moments in that first viewing that have stayed with me ever since. Certainly the adventure and fantasy are incredible, but the characters are what make the films more than just a thrill ride. Luke was the everyman I related to most; Chewbacca, the furry bodyguard I wished I had; and R2-D2 was the loyal friend — filling the screen with mischief and humor, all without a face or uttering a word.

Not long after seeing the movie (maybe the same day?), we got our first Star Wars t-shirts. My brother got the one with Sand People; I chose R2-D2, and I never really stopped…
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R.I.P. R2-D2

Me and my brother, Brad. Disney World, circa 1977.

 

R.I.P. R2-D2

Me and my brother, Bryan. Watching cartoons, circa 1979.

 

R.I.P. R2-D2

Jon, Papa, me (and Beth). Various, circa now.

Thank you Mr. Baker, for the many wonderful memories. You were, indeed, the droid we were looking for.

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One response to “R.I.P. R2-D2”

  1. Joe Nichols says:

    Beautiful post, Brent. Sad to hear that Kenny has left our world.

    It always amazed me, how much personality was created by R2D2’s well-timed beeps and boops. Where would Luke and the rebellion have been without that crafty little droid?

    It’s a real treat watching my own kids connect with BB8 in the new Star Wars movie as well. There’s just something about those characters that really speaks to children. Half friend, half pet… and just the right combination of innocent and troublesome.

    You made the right t-shirt choice 40 years ago. And those 70’s sweat socks are classic.

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