Star Wars fans lost one of the original cast members of cinema's greatest space opera this weekend. Kenny Baker, the actor who played R2-D2 in the first six episode of the Star Wars, passed away. While Baker has many acting credits to his name – including Terry Gilliam's classic Time Bandits, Flash Gordon, and the BBC's Prince Caspian and the Voyage of the Dawn Treader – he will always be most fondly remembers as the actor who gave life to a little droid in a galaxy far, far away.
To the end, we decided to remember Baker by remembering some of R2-D2's greatest moments across the Star Wars saga. We've chosen five such moments, though there are plenty more, that show how important Baker was to the magic of George Lucas's sci-fi epic. Keep reading to remember Baker through five of his greatest moments as R2-D2.
Falling Over On Tatooine (A New Hope)
There's a reason that this moment from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope has become a fan favorite GIF. R2-D2, all full of confidence and determination despite being stranded in the desert, strikes out on his own, leaving his argumentative companion behind. And, for all of his plucky grit, the poor astromech droid still ends up falling on his face.
If that's not something that everyone – droid, alien, or human – can relate to, the I don't know what is. If that wasn't humanizing enough, R2 soon ends up reunited with C-3PO, the stalwart friend he had left behind, and the two mend their wounds. This is where we start caring about droids like they're people.prevnext
Stopping The Trash Compactor On The Death Star (A New Hope)
Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia, and Chewbacca struggling at the bottom of the Death Star trash compactor and is one of the most iconic and memorable scenes in the entire Star Wars saga. And behold, it is R2-D2 that must save the day.
While our heroes are busy falling over each other, bickering amongst themselves, and screaming for their lives, R2-D2 has the presence of mind to remind C-3PO to turn his comlink back on. If it hadn't been for R2, all hope for the Rebellion would have been, quite literally, squashed. Luckily R2 was there to interface with the Death Star's computers and stop the trash compactor before it became the heroes' unfortunate end.prevnext
Launching Luke's Lightsaber (Return of the Jedi)
The opening to Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi doesn't go terribly well for the heroes. Han Solo starts off the movie encased in carbonite, and Leia's attempt at a rescue mission ends with her in a bikini and chained to Jabba the Hutt. Luke Skywalker puts Plan B into motion, using his newfound Jedi swagger to enter Jabba's palace and get an audience with the big man himself. Unfortunately, the conversation ends with Luke wrestling with a rancor. While he survives that encounter, he's next loaded up onto Jabba's barge – along with Han and Chewbacca – and made to walk the plank into the sarlacc's pit.
It is here that R2-D2 once again saves the day. It turns out that Luke hid his brand new lightsaber inside one of R2's hidden compartments. At just the right moment, R2 fires the weapon into the air, aiming perfectly for the lightsaber to find Luke. This exciting moment trigger's a fantastic swashbuckling fight scene that is one of the highlights of Return of the Jedi.prevnext
Zapping Buzz Droids Off Of Anakin's Ship (Reven of the Sith)
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith hits the ground running. Chancellor Palpatine has been kidnapped by General Grievous and brought back to Grievous's master, Count Dooku. Have no fear, though, because the heroic Jedi generals Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi are in hot pursuit!
Well, have a little bit of fear. During the chase, Anakin's ship is swarmed by buzz droids who would like nothing more than to tear the ship apart and expose its insides. That's bad news Anakin, or at least it would be if he didn't have the bravest astromech droid in the galaxy by his side. R2-D2 wastes no time in meeting the buzz droids head on and clearing them off the ship. Another heroic moment for R2-D2.prevnext
Waking Up To Reveal The Map To Luke Skywalker (The Force Awakens)
Kenny Baker was only credited as an R2-D2 consultant for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but the power of R2-D2's presence in the film speaks to the magic Baker imbued him with through the saga's first six installments.0comments
R2-D2 is asleep through almost the entirety of The Force Awakens and has been since Luke Skywalker went missing. R2's withdrawal the events taking place serves as a kind of symbol for how off balance the universe has become in Luke's absence. When the moment is right, after Rey has awakened to her powers in the Force, R2-D2 comes alive and adds his portion of the map to the one carried by BB-8. It is at this moment, as R2 arrives to point our heroes in the right direction like he did in the very first Star Wars movie, that the saga truly feels like it has come full circle and is ready to begin again.
It is also in this moment that we see the power of Baker's legacy. He may be gone, but the personality he brought to R2-D2, and thus the Star Wars saga as a whole, will continue to live, carrying a part of Baker along with it.prev