I’ve never considered R2-D2 to be my favorite Star Wars character, but if I had to buy a life-sized version of any character from the movies, I’d think long and hard about choosing this robot with an attitude. It’s too bad I don’t have a million dollars laying around, because if I did, I could purchase this R2-D2 unit assembled from original components from the original Star Wars trilogy (plus some parts from Episodes I and II). This baby is located in the UK, so if you somehow miraculously have that much money and put down a winning bid for this unit, you’ll need to spend some extra cash figuring out how to ship it to yourself.
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A complete film used R2 unit is not known to be in the public domain – this R2-D2 offering represents the pinnacle of the Star Wars collecting universe. For the productions following Star Wars: A New Hope, to save time in meeting production deadlines, R2 components were reused from the previous Star Wars films. As filming progressed, R2 units were upgraded and refurbished, with outdated components being retired. This process has been confirmed by numerous crewmembers who worked on theStar Wars film franchise. This R2-D2, constructed of aluminum, steel and fiberglass elements, measuring 43 in. tall x 29.5 in. wide x 20 in. deep (in current pose), was put together over many years by sourcing original components and assembling them as a complete R2-D2.
The dome was one of the few hero aluminum domes made for R2 actor Kenny Baker in the first film (A New Hope, 1977) and is the only one known in the public domain. It was used throughout the original trilogy as well as Episode I and can be screen matched by the fiber optic array to scenes in Return of the Jedi and Episode I. It features a handle to articulate the front eye from inside the unit by Kenny Baker. The metal “greeblies” (fine details added to make the device appear more complex) inserted into the front and rear of the body, and those on the feet, were made for A New Hope and used on R2 units throughout the original trilogy. The left and right legs were made for Empire Strikes Back and were acquired as complete items. One leg retains the Empire paint scheme and the other fromJedi. The middle and left foot were used on an original trilogy R2 and were used as the master pattern for the feet created for Episode I. The right foot is production made for Episode I but not used. The small opening hatch on the back of the body was used in Episode II.
The barrel of the body was made for Episode I and it was subsequently painted and detailed for this R2 unit. Given the ad hoc nature of production practices, any “complete” existing R2-D2 units from the first trilogy (in studio hands) would be a compilation very similar to this R2-D2 unit offered here. No internal mechanics or workings are present. Not merely a prop, costume piece or filming miniature, R2-D2 is a major, beloved character in the Star Wars universe. Without question, this is the finest piece ever offered from this incredible franchise.