Yesterday morning we lost another cast member of the original Star Wars film, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. One month shy of his 82nd birthday Kenny Baker, known for his portrayal of the lovable droid R2-D2, passed away peacefully in his sleep. Kenny was suffering from a long-term illness, the details of which I’m not fully aware. What Kenny brought to the character of R2 was a human touch. As the sounds of R2’s boops and beeps were made by sound designer, Ben Burtt over a synthesizer, giving R2 that child-like quality — mischievous, curiosity, and of course the occasional back-talk. The physical, visual movements of curiosity, and quizzical looks were 100% Kenny, and no one could have done it better.
It has always been a fault of mine as a child to ignore the actors inside the suits; David Prowse, Peter Mayhew, Anthony Daniels, and Kenny Baker. I could not see their faces and therefore they did not catch my attention, nor did I recognize any of their names. It wasn’t until my teen years that I started to pay any respect or heed to the likes of Kenny Baker; it’s an unforgiving profession, being cooped up in a suit where no one can see your face. But Kenny did it with the utmost profession and dignity. The scene in The Force Awakens where BB-8 pulls the sheet off R2 and he is in his self-imposed coma, awaiting his masters return, will forever give new meaning. We will miss you Kenny. There is only one R2-D2, and now, he is with the Force. May the Force be With You Kenny.
Cantinacast.com, thebeardedtrio.com, coffeewithkenobi.com, beltwaybanthas.com, and thegalacticroundtable.net