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R2 D2 history
A resourceful, spunky and adventurous astromech droid, R2-D2 has saved the day time and again. His little .96-meter tall frame is packed with all sorts of tool-tipped appendages that make him a great starship mechanic and computer interface specialist. It's his bravery, however, that has made him an invaluable asset to his owners and friends.
R2-D2 comes from the peaceful world of Naboo, where he and a team of astromechs served the elected monarch aboard her Royal Starship. When the greedy Trade Federation invaded Naboo, Queen Amidala rushed away from her world and ran afoul of a blockade. When the Royal Starship sustained damage to its shields, it was R2-D2 who repaired the ship, allowing it to escape into hyperspace. The droid used his magnetized rollers to cling tenaciously to the chromed surface of the ship while deadly turbolaser blasts rained overhead. For his courage, Artoo was personally thanked and recognized by Queen Amidala.
To complete further repairs, the Royal Starship set down on the barren Outer Rim world of Tatooine. Artoo-Detoo accompanied Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn and Royal Handmaiden Padmé Naberrie to the port city of Mos Espa to gather spare parts. Artoo carried the technical details for the necessary parts. While waiting out a sandstorm in a local hovel, Artoo-Detoo met the homemade protocol droid C-3PO, and struck up a friendship that would eventually last decades.
Artoo later returned to Naboo with the Queen. He served as onboard astromech to Anakin Skywalker, a young rookie pilot who, despite not being authorized to do so, flew an N-1 starfighter into the Battle of Naboo.
Artoo would be reunited with Anakin a decade later. The little droid continued to loyaly serve Amidala, who was no longer Queen, but now Senator of Naboo. The droid acted as a little bodyguard, using his scanners to seek out any danger that might befall Padmé. His laser field sensors failed to detect a deadly kouhun attack against a sleeping Padmé, but Anakin's heightened Jedi awareness did. He was able to kill the poisonous creatures, but the Jedi weren't able to determine who wanted Padmé dead.
Amidala left for Naboo, to hide while the Jedi investigated. Artoo stayed by her side as she voyaged to Tatooine, where he was reunited with C-3PO, who again became Anakin's property. They all went to Geonosis, and as Padmé and Anakin wandered into a dangerous Geonosian droid factory, Artoo and Threepio followed. Artoo again came to the rescue, using his anti-grav boosters to fly to Amidala's aid and his computer interface to stop a deadly downpour of molten metal from killing the Senator. He even helped reassemble C-3PO after a decapitating tangle with droid factory machinery.
Years later, Artoo and Threepio would find themselves in the service of the Royal House of Alderaan. The influential family of nobles had secret ties to the burgeoning Rebel Alliance. While intercepting transmissions from Rebel spies, the Organa consular ship was suddenly attacked by an Imperial Star Destroyer laying in wait. The transmission carried information vital to the Rebellion -- the complete technical read-outs of the Empire's latest weapon of mass-destruction, the Death Star battle station. Unable to deliver the plans to Viceroy Bail Organa, Leia Organa instead hid them in Artoo's memory systems. She also tasked Artoo to continue her other mission, that of contacting the long-lost Jedi Knight and Republic General, Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Artoo commandeered an escape pod, and rocketed away from the captured consular ship, all the while dragging along his bewildered counterpart, Threepio. The pod crashlanded on Tatooine. There, the droids were taken captive by Jawa traders, and sold to moisture farmer Owen Lars and his nephew Luke Skywalker. Determined to complete his mission, Artoo ran away in the middle of the night, leaving Threepio and Luke to search for him the next morning.
Threepio and Luke eventually found Artoo, as well as Obi-Wan Kenobi. This started an incredible chain of events that culminated in the Battle of Yavin. Artoo and Threepio were crucial in assisting Luke spearhead a rescue mission to free Princess Leia from the heart of the gargantuan Death Star. Both droids navigated the complex Imperial computer system to provide the rescuers with timely assistance and status updates.
Once Artoo returned to the Rebel base with the newly liberated Princess Leia, Alliance technicians downloaded the Death Star schematics. From these, they were able to pinpoint a flaw in the station's design that could be exploited for explosive results. A small thermal exhaust port allowed access to the Death Star's sensitive reactor core. If hit with a precise proton torpedo volley, the entire station could be destroyed. The Alliance launched all available starfighters in an attack on the station. Luke Skywalker piloted an X-wing fighter and R2-D2 served as his on-board astromech, much like he did for Luke's father a generation earlier. Although Artoo sustained some damage in the attack, Luke successfully destroyed the station. Artoo was refurbished in time for the celebration of the Rebel victory.
Threepio and Artoo continued to be mainstays with the core group of Rebel heroes. Despite their constant disputes -- like the time Artoo took Threepio's complaining of Hoth's subzero temperature as an invitation to turn the heat up in Princess Leia's quarters, thus flooding her compartment with melted ice -- the two remained friends.
During the evacuation from Hoth, Threepio and Artoo were separated. Artoo flew with Luke to the mysterious planet of Dagobah, where Luke would receive training from the enigmatic Jedi Master, Yoda. Artoo was witness to Luke's growing skill and power, as the young Tatooine farmboy continued on his path to Jedi Knighthood.
When Luke's friends fell into an Imperial trap on Bespin's Cloud City, Artoo accompanied the young Jedi to the floating metropolis. There, he became separated from Luke, but he did find C-3PO, Princess Leia, and Chewbacca. The Rebel heroes were worse for wear, especially Threepio, who had been blasted apart by an Imperial stormtrooper. While escaping Bespin, Artoo helped reassemble his friend.
During a daring mission to rescue a captive Han Solo from the loathsome gangster Jabba the Hutt, Threepio and Artoo were sent into the Hutt's palace on Tatooine. There, they became the gristly crime lord's property. Artoo served as a waiter, distributing drinks aboard Jabba's sail barge. Little did any of the criminal dregs suspect that Artoo carried in him Luke Skywalker's lightsaber, which he launched to the unarmed Jedi. Supplied with his weapon, Luke subdued Jabba's minions and freed his captive friends.
Shortly thereafter, Artoo accompanied the Rebel strike force that was sent to knock out the Imperial shield generator on Endor. The generator protected the half-completed second Death Star high in orbit. Artoo attempted to bypass the high security lock sealing the Imperial generator complex, but was shot by a stormtrooper before he could complete the task. Fortunately, the Rebels were able to make their way into the complex, and destroyed the generator. Artoo-Detoo was repaired in time to witness the destruction of the second Death Star.
From the Expanded Universe
Though Artoo and Threepio parted ways after the Boonta Eve Classic, they were eventually reunited, and changed owners dozens of times. Time and again the two weathered strife and adventure, often the result of Artoo's headstrong zeal for excitement. It's little wonder Threepio berates Artoo for his thrillseeking nature. Blaster fights, speeder races and treasure hunts simply are matters that lack protocol.
At the start of the Clone Wars, Artoo and Threepio stayed close to Senator Amidala.
The two droids were aboard her starship when she flew to the frigid world of Ilum, to stop a Confederacy chameleon droid attack on the sacred Jedi caverns there.
Once jettisoned over the deserts of Ingo by a careless owner, Artoo and Threepio finally found some responsible masters in the form of the speeder racers Jord Dusat and Thall Joben. Joben's prize speeder, the White Witch, was equipped with an astromech socket, and Artoo rode with him as he won the famous Boonta speeder races.
During a short stint with the Intergalactic Droid Agency, Artoo and Threepio floated from odd job to odd job. The multi-skilled astromech droid even had the indignity of waiting tables at Doodnik's Café before helping out keschel miners Jann Tosh and his uncle Gundy. During Tosh's ownership, Artoo and Threepio became embroiled in the intrigue surrounding the ascendancy of Tammuz-an's royal ruler.
Artoo and Threepio came to be property of Mungo Baobab, a trader from the Manda system. When saving the world of Biitu from the cruel grip of the reigning droid known as the Great Heep, Artoo fell in love with a little pink astromech droid named KT-10. A droid of adventure, Artoo was hardly one to settle down, and soon he and Threepio were working for new masters on Kalarba.
The droids eventually came into the employment of the House of Alderaan, where Artoo became part of the labor pool of a royal vessel -- full circle, it would seem. While stationed aboard the Tantive IV Artoo became the receptacle of the stolen Death Star plans that made him the most important droid in the entire Alliance.
In the years that followed, Artoo and Threepio continued to have numerous adventures. With the rise of the New Republic, the droids became separated, as Threepio stayed on Coruscant to assist Chief of State Leia Organa Solo in her diplomatic duties and in raising her children. Artoo, meanwhile, stayed at Luke Skywalker's side, helping him run his Jedi academy on Yavin 4. Luke considers Artoo such a close friend and companion that the droid served as best man at his wedding to Mara Jade.
R2-D2 continued to serve Luke during his travels for the new Jedi Order. However, about five years after the Yuuzhan Vong were defeated, he began to show some serious glitches. The droid forgot where he was and was prone to miscalculations in his hyperspace routes, all of which worried Luke. A diagnostic showed that several of Artoo's deep memory banks had sequestered as private, and were causing blocks of information to be lost. Luke tried to bypass them -- only to stumble upon a holographic recording of his mother, Padmé Amidala. Luke asked slicer Zakarisz Ghent to extract the full recording. Ghent ex-plained that there were only two ways to get it: wipe out R2-D2's personality sectors, or locate the designer of the Intellex IV droid brain and learn the backdoor methods for reaching hidden or damaged sectors. Luke refused to wipe out R2?s memory, and decided to search the old Imperial archives for the Intellex IV design manual.
Eventually, he had to admit defeat in this pursuit, and chose to keep R2-D2 intact rather than risk ruining the droid in his search for informa-tion about his family. R2-D2 and C-3PO continued work together through the era of the Swarm War, although the astromech found himself more often than not grounded during space battles. Luke eventually gave R2-D2 a memory upgrade that allowed the droid to serve as his as-tromech copilot aboard a StealthX fighter.
In the decades following the war against the Confederation, R2-D2 was passed down from generation to generation within the Skywalker family until he was recovered by Jedi Master K'Kruhk in the wake of the Massacre at Ossus. The Whiphid later turned the droid over to Cade Skywalker, when Cade set off to rescue Hosk Trey'lis. Rather than put the droid to work in its true capacity, however, Cade chose to rely on his own skills and knowledge. This didn't go over too well with R2-D2, and the droid constantly pestered Cade about the quality of his piloting skills.
Behind the Scenes
Bringing R2-D2 to life on the screen has always been difficult. The droid has been realized through a combination of remote control units and a standing unit manipulated by actor Kenny Baker. The remote units continually malfunctioned through the filming of the classic trilogy, though with improvements in miniaturized technology, by Return of the Jedi, the remote Artoo ended up with most of the screen-time.
Still, Kenny Baker is required to handle the intricate performance of Artoo, and to imbue a sense of personality into the machine. A specially made R2-suit allows Baker to sit inside the droid, and manipulate his various lights and appendages. This R2-unit, though, is largely immobile. When Artoo is seen on wheels moving about, it's usually the remote control unit
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