The one constant — other than the force — is R2-D2 in Star Wars. He’s the Phil Coulson of the saga. There’s also C-3PO, but let’s face it: he’s just Artoo’s blinged out accessory. What I’m trying to say is that Artoo is officially in Star Wars: Episode VII.

Okay, we already knew that when director J.J. Abrams’ tweeted a photo that had Artoo in the forefront. But what we didn’t know was the people behind Artoo — yes, I mean literally.

Rather than rely on C.G., the production has hired the help of Lee Towersey and Oliver Steeples, members of the worldwide R2-D2 Builders Club.

“It all started when Kathleen Kennedy toured the R2-D2 Builders area at Celebration Europe this past summer in Germany. She posed for pictures with us, looked at all the droids we’d built and was very complimentary. I mentioned that the R2-D2 Builders in the UK were available if required, as a semi-joke. When I was contacted to work on the film by [executive producer] Jason McGatlin, it was on her recommendation.”

–Oliver Steeples

The two are going about their creation of Artoo with a lot in mind. They want it workable in various situations and scenes. Except for flying. Dear lord, I hope Artoo doesn’t fly again.

“We have a good knowledge of Artoo, with a large stock of parts for reference and drawings, plus we know what is involved throughout the whole building process, as well as potential problems we need to avoid…we’re currently in a research and design phase where we’re looking at drive options for reliability on all possible terrains, whether it be a one-motor-does-all, or a system which is easily adjusted depending on terrain. We have a few mocked up ideas which we hope to road test very soon.”

–Lee Towersey

As a fan of Star Wars since before my birth, I can’t help being a little envious of those two. It must be a dream come true for them to work on and contribute to Star Wars.

It’s going to be great to watch Episode VII and say, “That Artoo is a step closer to becoming a real droid”.

Star Wars: Episode VII is slated for release in theaters December 18, 2015.

[Coming Soon]