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R2D2-The Unsung, Under Appreciated, Hero of Star Wars: A Lesson in Humility

Updated on July 14, 2014

R2 D2

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R2-D2: The Real Hero of Star Wars

The film Star Wars: Episode IV by George Lucas was first released in 1977 and has been re-released many subsequent times. The movie portrays the misadventures of a young farm hand, an evil empire and a people with special powers called Jedi. There are two robots that start off the whole catastrophe, when the main protagonist Luke is repairing them. He learns of Princess Leia’s Cry for help to a man unknown to him, named Obi wan Kenobi. Luke knows of a man with the same surname as this man Obi Wan, and sets out to find out what is going on. After a series of events we find Obi Wan and Luke looking for Leia’s Father after acquiring the services of Han Solo, a starship pilot of questionable character. The search for Leia’s father ends up with the rough and tumble crew aboard an Empire battle ship, the Death Star, where they become aware the princess herself is aboard. The new focus of the crew’s mission is to destroy the ship that is holding them captive. The most interesting character of the mismatched squad is R2-D2. R2-D2 is a droid, a type of robot used to assist humans in the story. There are many reasons why R2-D2 is the most interesting character in the film.

R2-D2 or Artoo as Luke affectionately calls him, is first introduced as Princess Leia’s ship is overtaken by Darth Vader’s storm troopers. He is at this point tasked with delivering a message to Obi Wan Kenobi and becomes a storage medium for the stolen plans of the battleship Death Star. Artoo cannot speak English unlike other droids. He is only vocalized by various series of beeps. Most of the communication from Artoo is translated by C-3P0 another droid first seen aboard Leia’s ship. Artoo has quite a sense of humor as portrayed through the translations, and provides comic relief throughout. R2-D2 is one of the most underappreciated characters in the Star Wars movie, especially since he is extremely pivotal to countless triumphs and continuity of plot points.

R2-D2 is determined to complete his mission at whatever cost even separating from C-3P0 at one point in their journey. R2-D2 sets out alone to find Obi Wan after Luke releases a restraint on him. R2-D2 is also a great help when the crew finally boards the Death Star, as he is able to patch into the main control systems and locate various things the rest of the crew needs. For instance, the Millennium Falcon, Han Solo’s ship, is being held in place by a tractor beam and Artoo locates the control panel so that Obi Wan may disable it to allow them to escape. Artoo also is the one who alerts Luke to Princess Leia’s whereabouts, as well as releases them from certain doom when the group finds themselves inside a trash compactor the has begun to contract on them. The small droid is also pivotal to Luke’s success as a pilot, as he rides along as a repair droid on Luke’s fighter ship. Being that Artoo is a droid no emotion is seen out of him, but he is motivated by his mission that is assigned and also by ensuring the safety of the people in his team.

The actor portraying R2-D2 is never seen and in most scenarios he is simply a remote controlled animatronic robot. There is really no difference if the actor was famous or not as he is not seen and the acting is simply movement, not verbal. It would not have made a difference which actor played the part so long as the actor could follow the director’s instructions about movement.

In conclusion, R2-D2 is the most pivotal yet unappreciated character of the Star Wars movie, and without his presence the movie may not have been nearly as successful and would definitely have been at a loss to remain coherent.. Artoo ties many seemingly unrelated plot points together and is an unsung hero. R2-D2 could almost be recognized as the main protagonist albeit his droid heritage.


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    • Infobrowser profile image

      Infobrowser 5 years ago from UK

      I agree that R2D2 is in fact the star of the films. I think when the space age kicks in, George Lucas will be mass producing the R2D2 and selling out at 20 space credits a droid. I look forward to having one.

      Great Hub! Voted up and a follow =)

    • DreKiss profile image

      Drea 5 years ago from Wisconsin

      I am an IT Major but I had a Gen Ed credit to fulfill so I took Film in Society

    • tschaunerb profile image

      tschaunerb 5 years ago from Medicine Hat

      what program are you taking. My motion picture arts instructor was also obsessed with Star Wars.

    • DreKiss profile image

      Drea 5 years ago from Wisconsin

      We had to write about Star Wars, Professor's choice not ours. I wouldn't have chosen Star Wars personally but I made it work.

    • tschaunerb profile image

      tschaunerb 5 years ago from Medicine Hat

      Its a bit of a stretch, Maybe a unique observation, but a stretch,

      I get irritable when people use Star Wars as scholarly examples tho... *grumble*

    • gabrielthomas72 profile image

      gabrielthomas72 5 years ago from Shrewsbury, England

      Being a Star Wars fan I can't whole heartedly agree with you that R2-D2 is the main protagonist in the Saga, but both he and C3-P0 are incredibly important to the the storylines all the way through.

      What R2-D2 does do as you say, is link many of the stories and creates light relief to some more serious situations. His relationship with C3-P0 is more like one of a married couple, but it is obvious to see they have a very special bond.

      Voted Interesting and up! Nice Hub!

    • DreKiss profile image

      Drea 5 years ago from Wisconsin

      Thanks, It was for a film class assignment but I couldn't help but share it. I am very proud of this assignment especially since the teacher hadn't even consider someone writing about R2-D2 as the protagonist of Star Wars. :)

    • Ebower profile image

      Erin Bower 5 years ago from Georgia

      This was well-written and I quite agree; R2-D2 is an important Star Wars character. I think he provides humor and displays heroism in an unlikely way. I voted this up and awesome!