We’ve seen plenty of droids in the Star Wars universe, but none like the redemption-seeking Imperial security robot K-2SO in next month’s Rogue One.
Although… we’ve met his cousins.
The character, Kaytoo to his friends, is part of the Rebel team trying to steal the original Death Star plans in the film (out Dec. 16), and he was brought to life by actor Alan Tudyk using performance capture technology. This freed the design from having to make room for a flesh-and-blood human within the metal framework, allowing Kaytoo to take on a much taller and more skeletal shape.
“He’s tall, to intimidate people around him” says John Knoll, the executive producer and visual effects supervisor for Rogue One (who also first pitched the idea for the story). “He’s sort of anthropomorphic, in that he’s got two arms, two legs and a head, you know, et cetera… But then Kaytoo has a little bit more sinister aspect in his original design because he starts off as an Imperial enforcer droid.”
The goal was to create an original droid while incorporating elements from the past. “It’s not the first time we’ve seen an Imperial droid,” Knoll says. “There’s the Imperial probe droid and the sort of interrogation droid that have these black shells and a kind of sinister, evil-looking character to them.”
Specifically, Kaytoo is an offshoot of the Viper droid, seen scanning the surface of Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back (pictured above) and the IT-O Interrogator, the spherical torture-bot unleashed by Darth Vader on Princess Leia in 1977’s original Star Wars (seen below).
Just like humans in a time of political conflict, Kaytoo no longer sees eyepiece-to-eyepiece with his relatives who stayed loyal to the other side.
The filmmakers also went back to some unused imagery from original Star Wars concept artist Ralph McQuarrie. “Some of the McQuarrie designs for droids and the original Stormtrooper helmets influenced where his head ended up,” Knoll said.
Although he still looks like any other Imperial droid, and can blend in for undercover operations, Kaytoo’s mechanical heart beats hard for the Rebellion.
For more Star Wars news, follow @Breznican.