R2-D2 (Often spelt as Artoo Detoo or just pronounced as Artoo) is an Industrial Automaton astromech droid from the Star Wars universe. As an astromech, Artoo is designed to facilitate starship maintenance and repairs, with a multitude of tools and gizmos housed within his cylindrical chassis. He can walk on two stubby legs or use a third leg to roll between locations. He is one of the few characters to have appeared in every Star Wars film and has gone on to become a prominent character in the Expanded Universe both between the films' events and long after.
R2-D2 began his service as part of a droid repair crew aboard a Royal Naboo starship, which at the time was attempting to flee the planet Naboo after it had been blockaded by the Trade Federation. After the ship had sustained damage, its compliment of astromechs were deployed on to the outer hull to repair it. One by one the droids were picked off by enemy fire, with Artoo being the only survivor. His actions were recognized by Queen Amidala and the crew of the ship and he was received as a hero. Little Artoo would rise to the challenge again during the Battle of Naboo, when he co-piloted the starfighter that was accidentally launched by Anakin Skywalker. Together, Artoo and the young Anakin were instrumental in destroying the droid control ship and bringing about the end of the conflict on Naboo.
Years later, R2-D2 would fall into the service of Amidala (now a Republic Senator) personally, serving as a mechanic and aide. He would also become a close companion to Jedi Padawan Anakin Skywalker and even Anakin's own handmade protocol droid, C-3PO. During a mission on the planet Geonosis, Artoo disobeyed orders to remain aboard ship and went to investigate a local droid foundry, with C-3PO following him and urging him to go back to the ship. This would be the first of many misadventures that Threepio and Artoo would share in over the years, which ended with Threepio's head having to be reattached to his body after accidentally being welded to the body of a B1 battle droid and then sent to fight against Republic forces.
After Padme Amidala and Anakin Skywalker were secretly married, Padme gave Artoo Detoo to Anakin as a gift. The Jedi and the droid became quite inseparable, the pair facing many battles together during the Clone Wars. Though not designed for combat, Artoo has proven he is capable of defending himself. He has fought against a Seperatist R7 astro-droid, knocking out a Buzz droid with his electric pike and even destroying two B2 super battle droids by spraying them with oil, then igniting the oil with his leg thrusters.
After Anakin fell to the dark side of the Force and became Darth Vader, Artoo was no longer acknowledged by his master and friend. Taken by Anakin's former Jedi allies Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda, Artoo - along with C-3PO - found their way into the service of Raymus Antilles, captain of the Corvette-class ship, Tantive IV.
In the year 0 BBY, Artoo and Threepio would find themselves in the service of Luke Skywalker, son of their former master Anakin. They fled the Tantive IV together after Princess Leia Organa had entrusted Artoo with the technical schematics of the Galactic Empire's new weapon, the Death Star. They landed on the planet Tatooine and were picked up by Jawa junk dealers, who sold them to a couple of moisture farmers. While being cleaned up, Artoo's holo-projector was accidentally activated, revealing a message to Obi-Wan Kenobi, who was living on Tatooine. Unable to get the full message, Luke removed Artoo's restraining bolt so that the droid would be able to play back the complete recording. Artoo did not comply and snuck out of the Lars Homestead at night in order to find Kenobi. Luke and Threepio would find him the following morning and be ambushed in the Jundland Wastes by Tusken raiders. The Tuskens were frightened off by Obi-Wan Kenobi, who helped Luke and the droids and took them back to his home. There, Artoo played the complete message left by Princess Leia. Obi-Wan and Luke later travelled to the city of Mos Eisley to find transport to the Alderaan system, with Artoo and Threepio brought in tow. After several close encounters with Imperial stormtroopers, being captured and narrowly escaping from the Death Star, Artoo and the documents he carried were safely delivered to the Rebel Alliance headquarters on Yavin IV. Artoo would then serve as Luke's co-pilot aboard an X-Wing fighter during the Battle of Yavin, taking heavy damage during the conflict, but being fully repaired afterwards.
Artoo would later accompany his master Luke Skywalker to the planet Dagobah, where he would unwittingly assist in the young man's Jedi training under Master Yoda. His next great adventure would occur on Tatooine, where he and C-3PO were offered to the crime lord Jabba the Hutt as an apparent gift. This was all part of a plot devised by Skywalker to rescue his friend Han Solo, whose carbonite-suspended body was decorating Jabba's hall. Artoo contributed to the rescue attempt by hiding Luke's lightsaber inside his chassis, releasing it to his master before the latter was fed to the monstrous Sarlacc. Little Artoo would also assist Han Solo and Rebel Alliance commandos on the forest moon of Endor, hacking into the security systems of an Imperial shield bunker to allow the rebels access. Without Artoo's help, odds are that the Alliance would have failed to destroy the Death Star II and would have been wiped out.
Tools and Gadgets
- Manipulators - Artoo has several small clawed arms within his body for grasping objects.
- Interface Module - Artoo can plug himself into almost any computer terminal and access its functions.
- Holographic Projector - Artoo is outfitted with a projector that can display holographic messages.
- Parascopic Sensor - In the event that Artoo is submerged, a parascopic module can emerge from his dome, allowing him to see what is above him.
- Extinguisher - Artoo can put out small fires, whether fuel-based or electrical.
- Electric Pike - Artoo carries an electrical pike that can deliver a nasty shock. This primarily used for repair purposes, but Artoo has often wielded it as a weapon. The shock is not lethal, except to droids which are smaller and more delicate than Artoo himself.
- Welding Torch - A vital repair device for dealing with damaged starship components.
- Lubricant Drain - A small pipe which can expel excess oil from Artoo's reserves.
- Mini-Jets - Artoo has small rocket boosters in his legs that allow him to fly for short periods.