Sad news to report today, as Star Wars icon, Kenny Baker, who played R2-D2, has passed away…
The BBC News has reported that actor Kenny Baker, known for his role as R2-D2 in the Star Wars Original Trilogy and Prequel Trilogy, has passed away after a long illness. Baker’s niece, Abigail Shield had this to say, to The Guardian:
"“It was expected, but it’s sad nonetheless. He had a very long and fulfilled life. He brought lots of happiness to people and we’ll be celebrating the fact that he was well loved throughout the world. We’re all very proud of what he achieved in his lifetime.”"
Kenny Baker stole the hearts of movie-goers everywhere, as the feisty astromech droid, R2-D2, in Star Wars: A New Hope. He continued that role in The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, and all three Prequel Films. Baker was also a consultant for Artoo, in The Force Awakens.
According to BBC News, in a rather funny story about his original turn as R2, Baker initially turned down the role:
“I don’t want to be stuck in a robot, what for, for goodness’ sake?”
George Lucas, however, convinced him to take the part, telling him there was no one else for the job, as they couldn’t use children for the role:
"“‘I’ll help you out, I’ll do you a favour. You’ve got to do it, we can’t find anyone else. You’re small, to get into it [the costume], and you’re strong enough to be able to move in it.”"
The world lost a true film legend, in Kenny Baker, and even though in Star Wars, his face was hidden behind the tin-can that was R2-D2, he will forever be memorialized as one of the Star Wars greats. Rest in peace, Kenny Baker, we will miss you dearly.