The ‘Star Wars’ franchise was hit hard this past year, as we not only lost the great Carrie Fisher, but also the man who was inside everyone’s favorite astromech droid, Kenny Baker. Yes, the man who was R2D2 through all the 7 released films of ‘Star Wars’ died in 2016, and it will not be quite the same seeing the beloved droid on screen without knowing Kenny Baker will be credited for the role. Baker has been playing R2D2 since 1977 when ‘A New Hope’ was released, and in the 40 years since, he has always been game to come back and participate in George Lucas’s iconic universe, even as he got on in years (he was in his late 70’s when they were filming ‘The Force Awakens’).
Fortunately for the franchise, there is another actor who was already being taught the ropes by Baker, an actor by the name of Jimmy Vee, who worked with Baker on 2015’s ‘The Force Awakens’ and did some of the R2D2 work on the film (though all credit went to Baker), and is ready and willing to step up for the next installment in the franchise, ‘The Last Jedi.’ Vee’s production agency, Oh So Small, announced the news on Twitter recently (you can check out the Tweet below).
— Oh So Small (@OhSoSmall) February 13, 2017
In a statement released by Oh So Small, Vee had the following to say about the man whose shoes he will be filling:
“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 honor. 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.”
I am hopeful for Jimmy Vee and his work as R2D2, and I am sure fans will welcome him with open arms since he was a friend to Kenny Baker and has been so respectful of the late actor’s work on the franchise. Here’s hoping that we get to see some of his work in action soon with some kind of teaser or trailer for ‘The Last Jedi,’ though I doubt we will see anything before this coming summer.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter