When it comes to iconic figures, Star Wars has given us some of the most memorable names in pop culture history such as the wise Yoda, the cunning Princess Leila, and the fear-inducing Darth Vader. In addition to this, each character brings with them an equally famous lines of dialogue like Yoda’s infamous do or do not line and Darth Vader’s iconic speech that he is the father of Luke Skywalker. One character, however, brings no famous lines with them let alone any dialogue at all and yet is one of the most well-known figures in the entire franchise that being none other than R2-D2 (Artoo-Detoo).
A Brief Background of R2-D2
Commonly referred to as simply R2, the comical astromech played a pivotal role in most major events throughout the films and won the hearts of millions with no more than a periodic series of beeps and shrills. Yet, in all of R2’s witticism, there is one question that is never truly answered: what exactly does R2-D2 stand for if anything at all? Many speculations have surfaced on this matter but so far only two explanations have been shown to have any truth behind them offering accounts of where the name came from and what it means within the Star Wars universe.
Explanation One – Reel 2 Dialogue 2.
The rumor here is that George Lucas was working on editing American Graffiti, a 1973 coming-of-age comedy film that was directed and co-written by George Lucas. According to several sources on Quora, a co-worker asked Lucas for the Reel Two, Dialogue Two film bit which Lucas then abbreviated to R2-D2. This made an impression on Lucas and he chose to incorporate it into the script for Star Wars which he was working on at the time. This ended up being the name for an astromech droid.
Explanation Two – A Make and Model
Another explanation for the abbreviation is that the original serial number for the astromech droid was far too long to speak in character. As depicted in the Phantom Menace, R2-D2 is brought aboard Queen Amidala’s ship after fixing the shield generator to be commended for his great work. Just after the blockade scene, one of the crew asks for R2-D2’s serial number, which is noted as just R2-D2. According to the Star Wars Encyclopedia, R2 stands for the product line which is R-series and the model is an R2 series astromech droid. The D2 in the name refers to the degree of the astromech which is class two.
Wrapping It Up
Although we may never know which one of these explanations is to be considered the true or right one both seem to hold down a considerable amount of weight. It is very likely that explanation one spurred on explanation two, where Lucas decided that he liked the ring of R2-D2 and thus incorporated it into the Star Wars script both as a serial number/name and as a make and model number. After all, R2-D2 is a droid and needed a form of identification.
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