R2-D2 and R3-S6 (AKA Goldie)
Have you ever wondered what is R2-D2 made of? Well audiences and Star Wars fans will find out, both literally and figuratively, as Duel of the Droids, an all-new episode of the hit animated series STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS premiers at 9 PM EST on Friday, November 14th on Cartoon Network.
Duel of the Droids which was written by Kevin Campbell (“Disney’s House of Mouse,” “Jackie Chan Adventures”) completes a two-episode story arc. Anakin, Ahsoka and replacement droid R3-S6 (aka “Goldie”) must embark on a dual rescue/sabotage mission when they discover R2-D2 is being held at General Grievous’s secret enemy listening post. In writing this script, Campbell created a little extra work for the Lucasfilm Animation crew when he used the unusually vivid word “splayed” to describe how R2-D2’s internal mechanisms would be removed and exhibited across an examining table. That gave the production team ample opportunity to delve into Artoos’s inner workings and have a little fun with director Rob Campbell to boot.
According to director Rob Coleman, R2-D2 is the ultimate Swiss Army knife. “We all love the myriad things that come out of him, but having to build and animate all of that is another story”, He say of the challenge of animating the ‘splayed out’ scenes for R2-D2.
To achieve the effect and have it stay true to the films and the history of this particular droid, they turned to Lucasfilm Animation’s Gary Scheppke, who got a box full of ‘Artoo bits’ and to the modelers who began basing all of their work off the actual hardware that has historically been shown as being part of R2-D2.
“We crammed it into the model inside the computer. There are definitely some recognizable pieces on that table from the films, as well as all the things that show up for the first time in this episode – a cutter wheel, suction cups, etc.,” Coleman says of the process. “Then they animated in a few things like a pea shooter and a boxing glove just to get my attention. They’re funny guys.”
As for getting the opportunity to write this episode, Campbell says he took pride in the chance to add some history for Artoo and his capabilities, showing some aspects of the droid that audiences haven’t seen before. “I love that we’re adding back story to the back story,” Campbell explains with enthusiasm. “We discover that when Princess Leia hid the Death Star plans inside Artoo in Episode IV, it’s not the first time he’s been entrusted with important information.”
Campbell says he also enjoyed that he and the production team get to play with Anakin’s emotional side. “The other Jedi are saying he gets too attached, that he’s willing to risk everything to get Artoo back. He’s a Jedi, and yet he assigns sentimental value to an inanimate object. I can relate to that, because that’s real loyalty.”