Two weeks out from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the world has already fallen in love with BB-8. But the little orange ball of joy isn’t the galaxy’s only new droid. According to Geeks Speak, the latest film will also feature an appearance from R2-KT, a fan-built astromech droid constructed years ago to comfort a sick girl.
As the founder of the 501st Legion (perhaps the biggest network of Star Wars cosplayers), Albin Johnson was a prominent member of the Star Wars fan community. When his daughter, Katie Johnson, was diagnosed with cancer in 2004, Albin hit upon the idea to provide her very own astromech droid to watch over while she slept, as R2-D2 does with Padme Amidala in Star Wars: Attack of the Clones. Another big Star Wars fan group, the R2 Builders Group, rallied to Katie’s cause and built her a custom R2, colored pink and named after her: R2-KT.
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Although Katie died in 2009, her droid protector lives on. Johnson told Geek Speak that Lucasfilm allowed R2-KT to appear in The Force Awakens (the droid has also previously been animated for an episode of The Clone Wars TV show).
“Mary Franklin of Lucasfilm asked me to pitch the idea to Kathleen Kennedy [Lucasfilm President], and after hearing the story of our pink ambassador of hope Lucasfilm requested we ship her off to London early last year. Quick repairs were made and off she went for six months,” Johnson wrote in an email to Geeks Speak.
It’s unknown at this time exactly how much we’ll see of R2-KT in the movie. Like everything else with The Force Awakens, we’ll just have to wait until Dec. 18 for answers.