|R2-D2 & me.|
The first people we meet in the original “Star Wars” film aren’t people per se. They’re not humans, or members of the many sentient alien species George Lucas created. Instead, they’re artificial life forms, far more intelligent than most fictional robots, but not androids that look, act, and speak like humans. They’re called droids, and the first of their kind we meet are C-3PO and R2-D2.
C-3PO and R2-D2 may not share the limelight like Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, or Han Solo, but in many ways they are just as important. Princess Leia hides the plans for the Death Star inside R2-D2 at the beginning of the film, and the rebellion (and Luke) only succeed in destroying the Death Star because the human characters get R2-D2 to the rebel base. R2-D2 helps the primary characters in other ways. He leads Luke to Obi-Wan, reveals that Princess Leia is being held captive on the Death Star, frees them (and Chewbacca) from the trash compactor, and serves as Luke’s co-pilot during the assault on the Death Star. Were it not for the droids, and especially R2-D2, George Lucas would have needed to other ways to move the plot along, and enable his human characters.
|Something's gone wrong with my R2 unit!|
The droids also have lively personalities, which kept us entertained during the movie. Were it not for C-3PO’s constant complaints about why the others are not following the seemingly safe and convenient path of submission and surrender, the actions of R2-D2 and the humans might seem less heroic. The droids’ easy-going banter charms viewers, even if we cannot understand the beeps, chirps, and other sounds that constitute R2-D2’s dialogue. In these ways, the droids not only support their human masters, but also draw us into the movie. They lighten scenes with humor, and highlight aspects of life in Lucas’ universe that we might otherwise not see. I suspect that part of older audience members’ reluctance to accept the prequels stems from Lucas’ use of humans and other characters (such as Jar Jar Binks) in roles that R2-D2 and C-3PO performed, in a superior way, in the original trilogy.
It was a pleasure to meet up with R2-D2, and his astromech relatives, at Stan Lee’s Comikaze. I enjoyed talking with members of the R2-D2 Builders Club. These people exchange plans and information, build portions of the droids themselves, and help fellow members make or purchase items beyond the individual’s capability. Members can build other astromech droids aside from R2-D2, or even the mouse droids that skitter along the corridors of the Death Star and the Imperial Star Destroyers.
|You've got a lot of carbon scoring here.|
The R2-D2 Builder’s Club not only enables its members to build their own droid, but gives them the satisfaction from having done so. Members not only enjoy the camaraderie that comes with like-minded people pursuing similar goals, but they bring happiness to others outside the club. Faces light up when R2-D2 rolls by. Children of all ages want to stop and get their picture taken with him.
Unfortunately, R2-D2 doesn’t do autographs.
Somehow, it seems as if I never have enough time to do those I things I most care about, let alone complete all the tasks that life presents me with. I have trouble finding the time to pursue my existing hobbies, let alone build, maintain, and show off a droid. Yet every time I see him in the movies, or in person, or even think about the idea of…oh! It's too much!
I want to build my very own R2-D2!
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