25 Facts About R2-D2 That May Catch You By Surprise

Posted by , Updated on November 10, 2022

Many Star Wars characters have become integral parts of pop culture over the last forty years but only one has touched so many people’s hearts, the one and only R2-D2. With his chunky cylindrical silhouette and lively whistles and beeps, the adorable Artoo is not a human but nor is he just a machine either. Arguably the most loved robot in entertainment history, R2-D2 is the loyal friend everyone would want to have by his/her side and today we proudly present 25 Facts About R2-D2 That May Catch You By Surprise.



For some strange reason many people tend to spell it wrong but R2-D2 is phonetically spelled Artoo-Detoo.


According to an interview with George Lucas, R2-D2 and C-3PO were originally called A-2 and C-3. As a matter of fact, according to the same interview Luke was a girl, Han Solo was an alien, and the Wookiees were called Jawas.

R2-D2 and C-3PO

According to IMDb, R2-D2 is only 0.96 meter (3'1" ft). Although R2-D2 might be less than a meter tall, he is equipped with an awesome array of tools such as an arc welder and buzz saw. In other words, don’t you ever mess with R2-D2.


R2-D2 was infamously given the ability to fly in the prequel films which bugged many fans. This was rather roughly explained in other fiction that after the Clone Wars the company responsible for the development of his boosters went out of business. When his rocket boosters were damaged they were unable to be repaired.


R2-D2 was designed by Ralph McQuarrie and co-developed by John Stears but actually built by Tony Dyson, who ran his own studio called The White Horse Toy Company in the UK.

The White Horse Toy Company

During the Clone Wars, R2-D2 was a secret weapon to the Republic. In one of his many adventures, he joined four other droids in D-Squad: an elite unit tasked with recovering an encryption module from a Separatist ship.


R2-D2 and C-3PO guest starred in a series of segments on Sesame Street in 1978. The two droids were also featured as presenters at the fiftieth Academy Awards.

Sesame Street

In 2003, R2-D2 made history by being part of the inaugural class inducted into the Robot Hall of Fame.

Robot Hall of Fame

Artoo was ranked the best robot from film or television of all time by Amazon.co.uk and the Internet Movie Database in 2004, and the best movie robot of all time by Rotten Tomatoes in 2009.


The May 2014 issue of the illustrious Smithsonian magazine paid tribute to the iconic robot in an article written by Clive Thompson titled “Almost Human: How R2-D2 became the most beloved robot in the galaxy.”


In early drafts of the Star Wars (1977) script, R2-D2 could speak standard English, and had a rather dirty vocabulary. Although all of R2’s English speech was removed, many of C-3PO’s reactions to it were left in.

Star Wars

Created by sound designer Ben Burtt, R2-D2’s signature "speech" is actually 50% synthesizer and 50% Burtt doing baby sounds.


George Lucas’s original idea for R2-D2 came after he saw Silent Running and its trio of drones. The likeness of R2-D2 and the drones prompted a lawsuit from Universal Studios, which was retracted when Fox counter-sued, noting the similarities between Battlestar Galactica and Star Wars.


In case you’ve ever wondered, R2-D2 is an astromech droid. What is that exactly? Well, astromech droids are a series of utility robots generally used for the maintenance and repair of starships and related technology. The first time we meet, R2-D2 is on Queen Amidala’s Royal Starship.

astromech droid

Being the property of Queen Amidala means that R2 is originally from the planet Naboo. Close to the border of the Outer Rim Territories, it's inhabited by the Naboo and the Gungans.

planet Naboo

The name of the company that manufactured R2-D2 is Industrial Automaton. It also created the R4-P17 and R5-D4 droids

Industrial Automaton

The R2-D2 wind-up action figure made by Takara in Japan was one of George Lucas’s favorite toys. Lucasfilm itself ordered thousands of them for company employees




The Lego Movie wanted R2 as a main character, but due to Disney acquiring the Star Wars rights in 2012, and refusing to let the studio use him, his role was cut from the picture.


R2-D2 and C-3PO were inspired by the famous comic duo Laurel and Hardy and the two peasants, Tahei and Matashichi, from Akira Kurosawa's 1958 film The Hidden Fortress.

Laurel and Hardy

The small actor hiding inside R2-D2 is named Kenny Baker and is less than four feet tall.

Kenny Baker

When Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace was being filmed in 1997, around eighteen R2 units were used, including the costume originally worn by Baker over twenty years before, modified to be more comfortable.


Baker did not actually film anything for Revenge of the Sith, his parts were a mix of CGI and footage recycled from Attack of the Clones.


R2 makes brief cameos in both of J.J. Abrams' Star Trek movies. Around the 47:38 mark in "Star Trek" and in "Into Darkness" about 1 hour and 17 minutes in, when the Enterprise is under attack and several officers get sucked into space.


In the DVD audio commentary for Revenge of the Sith, George Lucas says R2-D2 is his favorite character, and that it is intentional that R2 saves the day at least once in every film.

george lucas

Lastly, the name R2-D2 was first uttered by sound editor Walter Murch, who was editing Lucas’s film American Graffiti. While Lucas was filming American Graffiti, Murch kept asking him to retrieve reel #2 of the second dialogue track, which in editing parlance would be, “Could you get R2-D2 for me?” And this is how the name was brought up for the very first time.

American Graffiti

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