R2-D2: The greatest gift to Star Wars

R2-D2 and BB-8 in Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (2015). Photo: Lucasfilm.
R2-D2 and BB-8 in Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (2015). Photo: Lucasfilm. /

We’re celebrating the holiday season with the greatest gifts Star Wars can ever give us: its characters! Here’s why R2-D2 is one of the best.

The Star Wars films are filled with many heroes and villains that have all impacted the mythology and our pop culture in their own unique way. Yet, one character stands out among the multitude for his bravery, humor, and unique, narrative perspective across the film saga. That character is R2-D2, the courageous, stubby astrodroid of the Rebel Alliance and C-3PO’s best friend/worst pain-in-the-aster ex.

The brave, little astromech that could

R2-D2’s bravery is perhaps one of the little astromech’s most endearing traits, and also the cause of much consternation for his unwilling participant in these adventures, C-3PO. Artoo’s gun-ho personality has put him in the midst of danger since the beginning of his earliest introduction on board Queen Amidala’s royal starship. Time and time again, R2-D2 has shown that he was reliably built to carry out whatever task was needed of him — perhaps even a few that he wasn’t — but he did so anyway. Whether this was part of his personality chip from the beginning, or acquired through being thrust into galactic events, Artoo emerged as much a rebel hero as any living, breathing sentient.

Records of his bravery can be found throughout the film saga, animated adventures like The Clone Wars and Droids as well as in comics. A personal favorite of this author’s Artoo adventures was featured in Star Wars v.1 # 36 (2017), titled appropriately Revenge of the Astromech. This story involved a solo rescue mission by Artoo after his droid pal C-3PO was taken away for interrogation by the notorious Scar Squadron.

The fearless little guy infiltrated the Star Destroyer that was holding C-3PO hostage and systematically began sabotaging the ship and taking down the ship’s crew that made the mistake of crossing his path on the way to rescuing his friend. Not only does Artoo successfully complete his mission, but he also survives a space dogfight with none other than the Dark Lord of the Sith and his former master, Darth Vader.


Artoo-Deetoo’s other endearing trait is his humor. Much of this amusement comes from C-3PO reacting to the funny, and often times vulgar things, that the little guy says in his series of beeps and twerps. I suppose then that it is befitting that he speaks in a language that mimics the censoring sounds we use to mask inappropriate speech.

Among the most humorous sounds that Artoo makes is the astromech equivalent of a scream. The WHEEEOOOO! sound is one that Artoo uses whenever he is chased by the enemy or struck by a bolt of electricity. A favorite example of this is the scene onboard General Grievous’s flagship when Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi trapped in an energy cage are suddenly met by a fleeing Artoo who is being pursued by a unit of Separatist droids.

Narrative Perspective

Artoo-Deetoo’s most significant contribution to Star Wars comes from his narrative perspective. Much like Tom Hank’s, Forrest Gump, a lovable character who finds himself in the middle of important historic events and people, Artoo has likewise been entrenched in Star Wars galactic history.

Artoo first came on the galactic scene when he helped repair Queen Amidala’s royal starship after it was fleeing from the blockade set up by the Trade Federation on Naboo. These humble but courageous beginnings soon led to a greater role in not just helping save the Queen but in meeting another integral character within the Star Wars saga, Anakin Skywalker.

Artoo’s connection to the Skywalkers gave him the unique perspective of watching the literal rise and fall of one of the Clone Wars greatest champions. As a matter of fact, he was present both at the first meeting of Anakin Skywalker, on through his rise in the Jedi ranks, and his eventual fall to the Dark Side of the Force.

Later, Artoo would be charged with carrying out the important mission of tracking down famed Jedi General and Vader’s former Jedi Master, Obi-Wan Kenobi. The Force, or serendipity, led to him crossing paths with Luke Skywalker — the son of his former master. This, in turn, put Artoo in the midst of the Battle of Yavin, where Luke struck the fatal blow against the Empire’s superweapon, the Death Star.

R2-D2 would even be a witness to events a generation later leading up to the rise of the First Order as he watched the destruction of Luke Skywalker’s Jedi academy. And, it would be Artoo who later helped the Resistance find Luke who had gone into self-imposed exile. More importantly, it was Artoo who helped Luke break out of his depression and embrace his responsibilities once again. Artoo even helped C-3PO regain his memories after the latter made his own personal sacrifice for the Resistance.

Finally, Artoo was there to witness Rey Palpatine rechristen herself as a Skywalker and take up the calling of finding and training a new generation of Jedi. What’s most special about all of these events that Artoo participated in and/or witnessed was that he never underwent a memory wipe. According to George Lucas, this all leads to the conclusion that R2-D2 is actually the narrator of the Skywalker Saga!

I believe that it’s because of these reasons and more that Artoo-Deetoo is a gift to the Star Wars galaxy. And, one of the greatest characters to come from the mind of George Lucas. In fact, Artoo is one of the Star Wars’ creator’s favorite characters too. Furthermore, Artoo-Deetoo’s popularity goes beyond the Star Wars films, as the little guy was a 2003 inductee into the Robot Hall of Fame, sponsored by Carnegie Mellon University.

Who are your favorite characters? Do you have a specific favorite? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section below. In the meanwhile, here is a special bonus video that a fan made about R2-D2 and Princess Leia during the Dark Times following Order 66.

Next. Cassian Andor: The greatest gift to Star Wars. dark

You can read more about R2-D2 at the official Star Wars Databank.