With the death in 2016 of Kenny Baker, the actor who literally brought R2-D2 to life from within the tight confines of the astromech’s blue-and-white chassis, “Star Wars” lost another of its original cast members.
But, it seems the iconic droid, who has appeared in every film in the franchise so far, including “Rogue One,” has been recast for the upcoming installment “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” with “Doctor Who” and “Harry Potter” veteran Jimmy Vee taking the role.
The announcement came in a press release from Oh So Small, the talent agency that specialises in “Short, Dwarf & Tall Actors.”
Vee already has plenty of sci-fi experience, playing a variety of different roles, including the Moxx of Balhoon, the Graske, the Groske, and Bannakaffalatta in “Doctor Who” and its spin-off “The Sarah Jane Adventures.”
Speaking about his new role, Jimmy said, “It’s been an absolute pleasure to have worked alongside the legendary Kenny Baker. Kenny was a fantastic actor and taught me all the ‘tricks’ on how he brought R2-D2 to life which I will continue to portray in his honour. I’m so excited to be a part of the Star Wars universe and can’t wait for everyone to see what we’ve been working so hard on for the last year.”
Although R2’s brief cameos in “The Force Awakens” and “Rogue One” were achieved without Kenny’s work operating the prop, the recasting of the part would seem to indicate an expanded role for everyone’s favorite astromech droid in “The Last Jedi.”
Written and directed by Rian Johnson, “The Last Jedi,” stars returning actors Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie and Andy Serkis, and is set to open on December 15.
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