Kenny Baker, the actor who played Artoo, has died at the age of 81. The 3 foot, 8 inch actor was the man inside the droid for the original and prequel trilogies. He also played Paploo the Ewok in Return of the Jedi, and appeared in Time Bandits and Flash Gordon
Baker has been ill for some time. “It was expected, but it’s sad nonetheless. He had a very long and fulfilled life,” his niece, Abigail Shield, told the Guardian. “He brought lots of happiness to people and we’ll be celebrating the fact that he was well loved throughout the world. We’re all very proud of what he achieved in his lifetime.”
Peter Mayhew posted “a final farewell to my little friend with the giant heart” on Chewbacca.com on Monday.
“Goodbye #KennyBaker,” Mark Hamill tweeted. “A lifelong loyal friend-I loved his optimism & determination. He WAS the droid I was looking for!” Fellow actors Ewan McGregor and Warwick Davis also posted remembrances on Twitter.
George Lucas and Kathleen Kennedy spoke about Baker on StarWars.com. Lucas calls him “a real gentleman” and “an incredible trooper,” while Kennedy says “There is no Star Wars without R2-D2, and Kenny defined who R2-D2 was and is. He will be greatly missed.”
Daisy Ridley shuts down her Instagram. She deleted her account on the social photo site after receiving harassment over an anti-violence message. Ridley has previously deleted both her Twitter and Instagram, though only the Instagram returned.
John Boyega is taking his Star Wars sci-fi cred to the Shatterdome – he’s signed on to play the lead in the upcoming sequel to Pacific Rim. Not much is known about the sequel, but his character will be the son of Idris Elba’s character from the original. Boyega will also be a producer.
The film will be directed by Steven S. DeKnight. The first film, directed by Guillermo del Toro, came out in 2013.
April Fools was not particularly fruitful for Star Wars fans this year, but there were a few highlights. The champion’s crown goes to Mark Hamill, who led fans on about an Episode VIII “plot point” in his quest for a “#HAMILLION followers.” Whatever, it was dad joke adorable. See the collected tweets.
Also on Twitter, Charles de Lauzirika faked up a shockingly on-brand cover for a big J.W. Rinzler The Making of the Star Wars Holiday Special, which we all almost wish was real.
I can’t say I’m particularly enthralled with it, but IGN got a lot of play for their fanboy-baiting trailer for Star Wars: Fury of Maul.
And yes, Club Hux was indeed a joke. (It started on Twitter, and was so well-received I took it to Tumblr and Facebook as well. Sorry about anyone who saw it on all three.) So yes, we will remain Club Jade, and the fic archive won’t be reopening for Kylux. Anyone who fell for it can expect a visit from Millicent.
Harrison Ford continues his rounds promoting The Force Awakens Blu-ray with a stop on Jimmy Kimmel Live, talking about the death of Han Solo, the return of Indiana Jones, and hanging out with MC Hammer.