R2-D2, though he never speaks a word, is one of the most recognizable Star Wars characters there is. Fans were saddened when Jimmy Vee, the current Artoo actor, finished filming for Star Wars: Episode IX. Why? That likely means the end of Artoo on film. And let’s face it; the diminutive astromech droid could very well be one of the most important characters in the franchise. But could he represent one of the biggest problems with the franchise as well?
Artoo and Threepio (C-3PO) are the first two characters we meet in Star Wars. Princess Leia gives R2-D2 the mission to deliver the Death Star plans and, well, the rest is history. Artoo would continue on all the way through to the upcoming Episode IX, but it’s what happened before A New Hope that raises questions, and issues.
The Phantom Menace and Prequels
When George Lucas created the prequels, he knew he needed some nostalgia factor to lure original trilogy fans to the theaters. He achieved that by including Artoo and Threepio in The Phantom Menace. In doing so, however, he created a continuity conundrum that would only spread from there.
By making Artoo Anakin Skywalker’s astromech, Lucas threw everything we knew in the original trilogy to the wind. If the droid belonged to Luke’s father, why didn’t he simply tell Luke all about him? Well, he is a droid, and droids routinely have their memories wiped. End of discussion, right? Not so fast.