I can still remember sitting in a movie theatre in 1976 and seeing the preview for a little movie called Star Wars. The one thought that went though my mind was “WOW!” This is a movie I want to see.
It was like nothing I had ever seen before. That’s a difficult concept for people who have grown up post New Hope to understand. But they just didn’t make movies like Star Wars before STAR WARS. Do you remember the first time you saw…
- Luke and Leah swing across that chasm in the middle of the Death Star?
- When the Falcon made the first jump to hyperspeed?
- When Darth Vader first hissed his way onto the set?
I mean before it all became camp and expected and parodied and lego-ized? Do you remember the magic that happened in the cool of the movie houses in the summer of 1977?
Maybe it was me. I was prime movie audience fodder… a young teenager with no job (beyond babysitting) who liked a bit of sci fi and loved a well told story. I was happy to be taken far, far away and to be dazzled by the Luke, Leah, Han and friends. I saw the movie five or six times that summer (mostly at half price matinees — remember: unemployed teen == unstructured afternoons == cheap entertainment) And I had not one but two Star Wars t-shirts:
So for this weekend’s Secondary Character I thought I’d pull from the original Star War’s cast and present the real hero of the story…. R2D2WHO: R2D2
FROM: Star Wars
BY: George Lucas
PROS: Loyal, smart, funny, unassuming, brave, multi -talented, hard-working, friendly, good at problem solving. And per Wookieepedia he comes with the following equipment:
- Buzz saw
- Electric pike
- Drinks tray (only on sail barge)
- Fusion welder
- Scomp link
- Power recharge coupler
- Rocket boosters
- Holographic projector
- Motorized, all-terrain treads
- Retractable third leg [http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/R2-D2}
CONS: R2 needs a translator to communicate with most life forms and has trouble traveling on uneven surfaces.
BEST SHINING MOMENT: Interfacing with the Death Star’s computer system and turning off all the trash compactors.LEAST SHINING MOMENT: I honestly can’t think of a moment when R2 didn’t shine. He’s a bit of a trickster when he needs to be.
WHY I CHOSE HIM: Really, could there have been a movie with out R2?
- The Princess trusts HIM to deliver the message to Obi Wan. Yes, the old Jedi is her “only hope”, but with out R2’s delivery service there IS NO hope at all. The Empire wins, the movie ends.
- He brings Luke to Obi Wan. Our clever little hero escapes from Luke’s family’s farm in order to continue his personal hero quest of finding Obi Wan. Luke, who was duped into removing R2 restraining bolt, knows he’ll get into trouble for letting the droid go, and follows him into the desert. After an altercation with some pretty legitimately scary looking Sand People, Luke and Obi Wan meet. Thus R2 is a major factor in pushing the plot of the story forward. His little trip into the desert has the added macabre benefit of saving Luke’s life. If the teen had stayed home he would have met the same fate as his Aunt Beru and Uncle Owen at the hands of the Storm Troopers. So no trip to Obi Wan, Luke dies. Movie ends — or — Luke dies, Obi and R2 set off to save the princess alone (and we have a totally different movie.)
- As stated above R2 totally saves the human heroes from certain death in the Death Star’s trash compactors. No R2 in the control room… Luke, Leah, Han and Chewy die a smelly and unpleasant death. Movie ends.
- But they all make it back to the Falcon. Unfortunately Obi Wan has to give himself up in a light saber battle against Darth Vader and there’s nothing our little pal can do but watch. However, once they get off the Death Star, it is R2 who delivers the ship’s plans to the rebels. (See R2 delivery service note in bullet 1).
- As Luke’s x-wing fighter drone co-pilot he helps our young human hero navigate the canyons and cannons of the Death Star’s surface and hone in on the behemoth’s exhaust tube Achille’s heel. It is true that our brave little R2 takes a direct hit that disables him before Luke can let loose the fatal torpedo, but the movie is almost over by that point. R2 has done all he can.