When Kenny Baker fell ill in 2016, it became clear that he could no longer carry on as R2-D2. The actor played the character since 1977, physically inside the diminutive droid. Even as technology progressed and many scenes could use a fully robotic and automated Artoo, Baker was still present for his emotional moments, even in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. While Baker passed in 2016, his legacy lives on, as actor Jimmy Vee has been officially announced as the new man that brings heart to everyone's favorite classic droid.
Vee was first rumored as the new R2-D2 actor in December 2015, but was officially announced by his agency Oh So Small just yesterday, along with a statement from the Scottish actor, in which he honored Kenny Baker.
"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 honour. 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," Vee said in his statement.
Mashable received confirmation from Lucasfilm on the casting.
The actor is a stalwart in genre entertainment already, before ever coming to Star Wars. Vee has played multiple roles in Doctor Who and its spinoffs, including a young Slitheen on Sarah Jane Adventures and Bannakaffalatta in the Christmas episode "Voyage of the Damned." He also played a Gringotts Goblin in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, which he reprised for the themed ride at Universal Studios Orlando.
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Star Wars: The Last Jedi, from writer/director Rian Johnson, is in post-production now for a December 15, 2017 release. The film follows-up and continues the story of the next generation of the saga as Rey, Poe, Finn, and Kylo Ren find their place in the galaxy and follow the legacy of Luke Skywalker, Leia, and Han Solo. Daisy Ridley returns to star as Rey, with other returning stars John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Domhnall Gleeson, Gwendoline Christie, Peter Mayhew, Andy Serkis, Anthony Daniels, Lupita Nyong'o Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher as General Leia Organa. Benicio Del Toro and Laura Dern join the cast in as-yet-unrevealed roles.0comments