R2-D2 (phonetically spelled Artoo-Detoo, and called "Artoo" for short), is a fictional character in the Star Wars universe. An astromech droid, R2-D2 is a major character throughout all six Star Wars films. He joins or supports Anakin Skywalker (Darth Vader), Obi-Wan Kenobi (portrayed by Alec Guinness and Ewan McGregor), and R2-D2's droid companion C-3PO (played by Anthony Daniels) in various points in the saga. R2-D2 was played by Kenny Baker. The original R2-D2 was designed by John Stears and specially created by Australian firm Petric Engineering and English firm C&L Developments. Many scenes also made use of radio controlled and CGI versions of the character. Both the original props of R2-D2 and C-3PO used in filming are used as audio-animatronics in the queue area of Disneyland's Star Tours ride.
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, both R2-D2 and C-3PO are introduced on board the Tantive IV, along with Princess Leia of Alderaan, when they come under attack by an Imperial Star Destroyer. Leia slips R2-D2 a disc containing a distress message and the plans for the Death Star battle station and jettisons the droids in an escape pod that crashes on Tatooine.
R2-D2 and C-3PO are abducted by Jawas and bought by Owen Lars, step-uncle of Luke Skywalker. While Luke cleans the sand out of R2-D2's gears, he discovers a fragment of Leia's message, and removes the droid's restraining bolt to see more; once free of the bolt, R2 claims to have no knowledge of the message. That night, R2 leaves the farm to seek out Obi-Wan Kenobi. Soon, by way of fate, Luke is forced to leave Tatooine with Obi-Wan, Han Solo, and Chewbacca, and they attempt to deliver R2-D2 to the Rebel Alliance. Along the way, they are captured by the Death Star, but eventually rescue Leia and escape. R2-D2 delivers the plans to the Rebel Alliance, and becomes Luke's astromech droid during the attack on the station. R2 is severely damaged during the battle, but is restored before the awards ceremony at the end of the film.
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, R2 accompanies Luke to Dagobah, and later to Cloud City, where he helps to rescue and repair a heavily damaged C-3PO and to override city security computers. He also manages to fix the Millennium Falcon's hyperdrive, resulting in a last-minute escape from the Empire.
Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, R2-D2 plays a critical role in the rescue of Han, Luke and Leia from Jabba the Hutt, and later joins the Rebel strike team on Endor.
Prequel trilogyStar Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, set 32 years before A New Hope, R2-D2 is portrayed as belonging to the Naboo defense forces and is one of four astromech droids deployed for repair duty on Queen Padmé Amidala's starship as it attempts to get past the Trade Federation blockade. The sole survivor of the four, R2-D2 becomes part of Qui-Gon Jinn's party on Tatooine and meets C-3PO and Anakin Skywalker. Later still, he serves as the astromech droid for Anakin's starfighter during the climactic battle scene.
In Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, set 10 years later, R2-D2 still serves Anakin and Obi-Wan. He accompanies Anakin and Padmé to Naboo, and then to Tatooine when Anakin tries to rescue his mother. Here, he is reunited with C-3PO, and the two get into various misadventures on Geonosis. He and C-3PO are later witnesses to Anakin and Padmé's secret wedding.
In Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, R2-D2 helps Anakin and Obi-Wan in their mission to rescue Chancellor Palpatine from Count Dooku's capital ship, the Invisible Hand. He is attacked by battle droids, but defeats both of them through ingenious tactics. Later, C-3PO's memory is wiped clean to keep the knowledge of the locations of Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia Organa a secret from their father, who has fallen to the dark side and become Darth Vader. However, R2-D2's memory is not wiped. (As a result, R2-D2 is the only surviving character at the end of Return of the Jedi who knows the entire story of the Skywalker family.) Both R2-D2 and C-3PO end up in the possession of Captain Raymus Antilles onboard the blockade runner Tantive IV at the end of Revenge of the Sith.