Take a second and think:
How would Padme, Qui-Gon, and my all-time favorite Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi survive if an astromech hadn’t fixed the hyperdrive in The Phantom Menace?
In A New Hope, what would Leia have done with the Death Star plans if she didn’t have R2-D2?
How would Luke have gotten away from Uncle Owen’s moisture farm if not for the “malfunctioning” R2?
And how would the Millennium Falcon have escaped Vader’s super star destroyer in The Empire Strikes Back if not for R2 talking to a strange computer.
How would the rescue of Han worked out if R2 wasn’t there to hide Luke’s newly built lightsaber in The Return of the Jedi?
And what about Chopper?
How would the crew of the Ghost have rescued Kanan when he was captured by the Inquisitor if not for Chopper’s hacking skills.
Or who would have gone to retrieve Fulcrum, who ended up being the long-lost Ahsoka Tano, and saving the day as Tarkin was moving in for the kill?
Ok we don’t know about BB-8’s role yet, but its safe to say he is already a fan favorite when it comes to the upcoming The Force Awakens.
There have been many droids through the saga: mouse droids, protocol droids, etc. Yet no droid type has had the impact that the astromech has had. It has been a staple through every movie and TV show to date. Plots have been built around them. Whether it's the plans hidden away inside of R2 or Chopper keeping the Ghost safe while everyone is off the ship, George Lucas and, as result, Dave Filoni and J.J. Abrams heavily involved the astromech droid in the saga.
But why has the astromech grabbed the attention and hearts of fans everywhere?
Is it their slick design? Their multi-functionality? Their limitless ability to serve?
What draws me to the astromech is their uniqueness. Even when built to the exact same specifications, the ‘personality’ of each droid differs, depending on the experiences each goes through. Like us, they adapt to their surroundings. Look no further to the droid arc of The Clones Wars to see this in action.
They are also very loyal droids. Whether it's in their programming or apart of their adaptive nature, astromechs remind me of K-9s. Always on their master’s heel, their devotion keeps them ready to leap into action no matter what the situation calls for.
Fans have proven their loyalty to the astromech droid as well. Through fan clubs like The R2 Builders and Florida Droids & Fabrication, fans have built their own R2s, Choppers, as well as other astromechs seen in the movies and shows. At least one fan that I know of has even built a working BB-8.
Let's not forget the now famous R2-KT, created by the founding member of the 501st Legion, Albin Johnson, his oldest daughter Allie and members of the R2 Builders for his late daughter Katie. R2-KT has become a symbol of hope and charity throughout the Star Wars world.
It's plain to see our beloved saga and our fandom would not be the same without the astromech droid. So tell me, who is your favorite astromech? R2-D2? Chopper? BB-8? Is it another one I haven’t mentioned? (Trust me, I know there are a lot of them) My favorite astromech is Chopper. There is just something about this banged up, overworked bucket of bolts that draws me in.
Remember you can always contact me through email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @taharris121079. Check out my recent appearance on The ForceCast's Rebels Roundtable where I joined host Spencer and fellow guest John to discuss the first episode of season two of Rebels, “The Lost Commanders.” You can find links to the show here.
Remember to leave your comments below with your thoughts on all things droids!
Until next time — May the Force be with you, and remember…
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