Rogue One didn’t take home either of the two Oscars it was nominated for last night. Hacksaw Ridge took sound mixing, while The Jungle Book won VFX. (Having Felicity Jones and Riz Ahmed present it was a bit weird when a win wasn’t really expected, but hey, that’s Hollywood.) Alas. Unlike last year’s Ex Machina upset, this was far from a surprise – and the ceremony had even bigger shocks later on with a Best Picture mixup.
Kenny Baker and Carrie Fisher were both part of the In Memoriam segment. Mom Debbie Reynolds and Carrie closed it out, with the “May the Force be with you” clip from The Force Awakens.
Alum Natalie Portman – who didn’t attend due to her pregnancy – lost out Best Actress to La La Land’s Emma Stone.
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.”
The bushfires that raged in the Australian state of Victoria earlier this year killed more than 200 and left over 7000 homeless. The fires may be snuffed, but the victims are still hurting, and Star Wars fans have banded together to help them.
Though there are plenty of items up on Ebay now, including signed photographs from David Prowse, Kenny Baker, Jeremy Bulloch and Bonnie Piesse. But of particularly of interest to EU fans is a chance to get a namesake (tuckerized) character in the fifth Clone Wars novel by Karen Miller or a yet-unannouncedStar Wars book (!) from Sean Williams. And Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta are offering an original manuscript from one of the Young Jedi Knights novels.