Over the past forty years, it’s been proven that Star Wars is timeless. Sadly, though, its actors are not.
Last year, the world said goodbye to Kenny Baker, the original actor who was strapped into a metal can in order to breathe life into the spunky three-legged droid, R2-D2. While health challenges had meant that Baker wasn’t able to reprise his role in The Force Awakens, he’d been credited as the movie’s “R2 Consultant”, in tribute to his legendary impact on the franchise.
Instead of Baker, another actor took on the role of shuffling within the R2-D2 shell in The Force Awakens, and despite not being credited in the movie, he’s now finally getting the recognition he deserves.
Jimmy Vee, who has appeared in numerous popular movies and TV shows, will be formally credited in The Last Jedi as the actor who plays Artoo in the final film.
Science fiction and fantasy fans have seen plenty of Vee’s work in the past – the star has appeared in several episodes of Doctor Who and the spin-off show The Sarah Jane Adventures. He’s also played a goblin in various Harry Potter movies and shorts, and appeared in Pan, the 2015 adaptation of the Peter Pan story which also stars Hugh Jackman.
Recasting for costumed characters in Star Wars is an unfortunate necessity of the franchise’s longevity – characters including Chewbacca and Darth Vader have also been played by new actors, and this is likely a tradition that will continue, in order to keep these classic parts of the Star Wars saga relevant.