You’ll Definitely See R2-D2 In Star Wars: Episode VII – And He’ll Be Fan-Made

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We’ve already shown you this photo from Bad Robot’s twitter, which has the distinction of being Star Wars: Episode VII‘s first production photo. But did you know that the two guys in the middle built the droid in front of them? Or that they’re fans?

Lee Towersey and Oliver Steeples are members of the R2-D2 Builders Club, a fan organization dedicated to creating fully-functional reproductions of the droids in the Star Wars universe. They met Kathleen Kennedy, one of the producers on the new film, at a European Star Wars convention and half-jokingly told her they would be available to help out on the movie. Their work was so good that she took the offer seriously and recommended them to the rest of the team. Now, Towersey and Steeples are working full-time building and maintaining the galaxy far far away’s most beloved non-humans.

Both Towersey and Steeples have a lot of experience with working with R2-D2. Towersy said:

“We have a good knowledge of Artoo, with a large stock of parts for reference and drawings, plus we know what is involved throughout the whole building process, as well as potential problems we need to avoid.”

However, they don’t want to rest on their laurels, and the two builders have a new goal of making the design even better:

“What we do need to do is improve on the mechanics. We’re currently in a research and design phase where we’re looking at drive options for reliability on all possible terrains, whether it be a one-motor-does-all, or a system which is easily adjusted depending on terrain. We have a few mocked up ideas which we hope to road test very soon.”

Steeples called the experience a “dream come true” and said “and I hope I can live up to the expectations of the thousands of R2-D2 Builders around the world, let alone the millions of Star Wars fans.”

This news tells us two things: 1. Fans are awesome and 2. Artoo is not only in the new film, but he plays a pretty important role. The creators obviously wanted him to be well-made, durable, and visually consistent with the original films. Looks like the tough little guy will be witnessing another generation of Jedi adventures, cheerily beeping his way through it all just like he always has, and that’s a great thing.

(via: Star Wars Blog)

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