Earlier today it was reported that one of the original Star Wars actors has passed away. Kenny Baker, who was best known as the man inside R2-D2, succumbed to a lengthy illness at the age of 83. Since news of his death was announced by his niece Abigail Shield, many stars and filmmakers from the Star Wars universe have come forward to remember the man under the dome.
Mark Hamill was the first from the Star Wars camp to respond. The actor appeared in three movies with Kenny Baker, including the original 1977 Star Wars: A New Hope, 1980's Empire Strikes Back and 1983's Return of the Jedi. Hamill and Baker spent a lot of time together on set, especially during the Empire production. It was Luke Skywalker and R2-D2 who traveled alone to the planet of Dagobah to meet Master Jedi Yoda. And throughout the original trilogy, R2 was often seen as Luke's loyal companion. About the actor's passing, Hamill had this to say on Twitter.
"Goodbye #KennyBaker A lifelong loyal friend-I loved his optimism & determination He WAS the droid I was looking for!"
Ewan McGregor, who played Obi-Wan Kenobi in the prequel trilogy, also spent a lot of time with Kenny Baker on set, as R2 was the Jedi's loyal friend and servant in those movies, much as he was for Luke in the original trilogy. McGregor also came forward on twitter with his condolences. He had this to say about Kenny Baker's passing.
"So sorry to hear about this. It was lovely working with Kenny. Kenny Baker, Star Wars R2-D2 actor, dies aged 81."
Among those mourning the loss of Baker include 20th Century Fox, Rogue One screenwriter Gary Whitta, director Edgar Wright, actor Simon Pegg, filmmaker Kevin Smith and many more. We've collected a few of the tweets that appeared after news of Baker's passing started to spread across social media.
Standing at 3-foot, 8-inches, Kenny Baker was one of the few actors capable of fitting inside the body of droid R2-D2, which needed someone to bring the practical character to life back in 1977. He was fully credited as one of the main cast members in the original movie Star Wars: A New Hope, and would return for the next two installments in the first trilogy, 1980's Empire Strikes Back and 1983's Return of the Jedi, the later of which also saw him donning the Ewok costume of Paploo. He even played R2-D2 in the 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special.
He would later return to the role for 1999's Star Wars: The Phantom Menace and its two sequels 2002's Attack of the Clones and 2005's Revenge of the Sith. Advancements in technology, coupled with his failing health, saw that he wasn't needed to get back in the can for last year's The Force Awakens, though he was still given a screen credit.
Kenny Baker and Anthony Daniels, who plays R2-D2's sidekick C-3PO, are the only two actors to have appeared in all 7 Star Wars live-action movies. Episode VIII only just wrapped earlier this month, and it isn't known if Kenny participated in the production at all. Even though he is quite active on Twitter, Anthony Daniels has yet to comment on the death of his co-star. The two actors are said to have been engaged in a long-time feud. It is not clear if the two ever got to put aside their differences and make-up.
Rest in peace, Kenny Baker, the heart and soul of R2-D2. pic.twitter.com/NqOpxotxyK— 20th Century Fox (@20thcenturyfox) August 13, 2016
So sorry to hear about this. It was lovely working with Kenny. Kenny Baker, Star Wars R2-D2 actor, dies aged 81 https://t.co/9HW6f3MWZl— Ewan McGregor (@mcgregor_ewan) August 13, 2016
RIP ‘Star Wars’ Kenny Baker. So sad. https://t.co/RAbQN5vnoP— Greg Grunberg (@greggrunberg) August 13, 2016
The galaxy weeps for our friend Kenny Baker, the man who brought R2-D2 to life. https://t.co/wvZt0QSgbf— ILM Visual Effects (@ILMVFX) August 13, 2016
When I was a kid nothing inspired me more than Star Wars and Time Bandits. Kenny Baker was a big part of both. Alas. https://t.co/NNh8vjU1NN— Gary Whitta (@garywhitta) August 13, 2016
RIP R2D2. Farewell Fidget, Time Bandit. Goodbye Mister Kenny Baker. pic.twitter.com/wuiQuCH7g6— edgarwright (@edgarwright) August 13, 2016
Sorry to hear of the passing of Kenny Baker.R2D2 to many,one half of "The Mini Tones" to me. pic.twitter.com/BRilcVDntW— William Regal (@RealKingRegal) August 13, 2016
Thanks Kenny Baker— Scott Grimes (@ScottGrimes) August 13, 2016