Sad news came a few days ago when the wonderful actor Kenny Baker, known for his portrayal of the droid R2-D2 in the Star Wars franchise, passed away. While Baker was never actually seen, the character has been an integral part to what Star Wars stands for. Not only was R2-D2 just a beloved fan favorite, the droid also played a major role in the storylines. And one of the people who had the pleasure of working with Baker in helping bring that talent to the screen was director George Lucas.
Whether or not if you are a fan of the franchise, the charming droid never goes unnoticed. And Baker was a big part in crafting the final product that is R2-D2. He helped to create a child-like feel the droid, which allowed the audience to easily relate to the vast world that Lucas had created. The director, himself, even stated during the DVD commentary for Revenge of the Sith that the droid was his favorite character. And in honor of Baker’s passing, the obituary (posted on starwars.com) featured Lucas reflecting on his late friend.
Kenny Baker was a real gentleman as well as an incredible trooper who always worked hard under difficult circumstances. A talented vaudevillian who could always make everybody laugh, Kenny was truly the heart and soul of R2-D2 and will be missed by all his fans and everyone who knew him.
It’s bittersweet that we don’t get to see Baker outside of the R2-D2 suit. But he was clearly loved by Lucas, not to mention what he has done for the franchise. It’s unlikely that there will ever be another character in future Star Wars films that will have that level of iconicism. He truly will be missed by all.