After the passing of Kenny Baker last year, you’d be forgiven for assuming that Lucasfilm and Disney would go the all-robot (or part-robot-part-CGI) route for the rest of R2-D2’s movies appearances. Instead, the role has gone to Jimmy Vee (Doctor Who).
It’s legitimately surprising—and weirdly impractical—that there’s still going to be an actual person inside the astromech droid. As it is, Rogue One’s K-2SO was created with computers, and The Force Awakens built themselves a BB-8. But it’s also pretty cool that Star Wars wants to keep a real actor playing Artoo, even if remote-control or CG would probably be easier.
In a statement, Vee said, “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.”
He’ll be, well, not seen exactly, but you know what we mean, when The Last Jedi comes out in December.