Rogue One: Alan Tudyk reveals the accent and origin story of K-2SO
As we await the new Rogue One trailer on Thursday, Entertainment Weekly is posting a week of new stories about the upcoming stand-alone Star Wars film. Here’s part three.
Getting at the core of reprogrammed security droid K-2SO isn’t easy, not even for Alan Tudyk, the actor who plays him in Rogue One via motion capture.
Sometimes the Firefly and Frozen voice actor describes Kaytoo as being like a little kid — blurting out whatever comes to mind. At Star Wars Celebration, Tudyk told the crowd the rehabilitated Imperial droid had a curmudgeon-like brusqueness. “If you know any old people, it’s like that.”
But in an interview with EW, Tudyk grapples with whether to illustrate how Kaytoo interacts bluntly with the more sensitive humans around him.
“He has no filter. There was an old line, it’s not in there anymore…. I don’t think I can say it…” Tudyk presses his knuckles against his mouth, squints, is silent for a moment, then decides it’s safer not to share it.
“I can’t say what I want to say, but Kaytoo can say what he wants,” Tudyk explains. “He can say insulting things very casually if he thinks they’re true.”
Does he feel emotion?
Tudyk, who played the synthetic-with-spirit Sonny in 2004’s I, Robot, shakes his head. “He’s not an overly emotional guy. He’s not like C-3PO, who’s like a f—ing neurotic mess. He’s flappable. Kaytoo is much more in the unflappable category.”
But he does understand right from wrong. Before being drawn into the Rebellion, Kaytoo served a different master. “He was a security droid in the Empire and they sort of enforce whatever needs to be enforced. They are imposing. He’s 7-foot-1, and follows orders pretty well. If you’re asked to be detained, he can detain you. They stand guard, and if somebody doesn’t mind them, they’ll…” Tudyk laughs. “They’ll enforce the sh– out of [people.]
For all his rough edges, Kaytoo also feels fierce loyalty, Tudyk says, especially toward Diego Luna’s character, Rebel captain Cassian Andor, who cleared the droid’s databanks of Imperial programming and allowed him to break free of service to the galactic dictatorship.
Their friendship goes back long before the start of Rogue One. “They’ve been around. They’ve been together for a while, a couple years,” Tudyk says. “He wants what Cassian wants. He loves Cassian, because he freed him. It’s also more paternal in that [Cassian] gave him life and took away the bonds of his programming.”
The actor described a scene from the film in which Kaytoo encounters other droids of his model, still serving the Empire without question, without recourse, without much hope. It’s a bittersweet moment for a droid who doesn’t feel that sort of thing.
“You do meet other Kaytoos and they don’t have as much free will. We see them, and … Yeah, that’s not him,” Tudyk says.
We haven’t yet heard Kaytoo speak, but Tudyk told EW how he came up with the voice.
“I have an English accent,” says the actor, who was born and raised in Texas. “I feel like a lot of the Imperial characters are English, and the Rebels tended to be like Han Solo, you think of the Americans. And because he was a droid, it made sense that it would be more of a proper accent.”
You might consider Cassian and Kaytoo’s relationship to be similar to Solo’s and his Wookiee co-pilot, especially since Rogue One director Gareth Edwards previously described Kaytoo as “a little bit like Chewbacca’s personality in a droid’s body.”
Tudyk balks at this. “Now, how the hell is that true?” he says, twisting his face.
Well, Chewie is also blunt, big, intimidating, and not afraid to roar his mind.
Tudyk isn’t sold on the comparison, since Kaytoo is such a stoic. “I see Chewbacca as very emotional,” he says. “But I don’t speak Wookiee.”
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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story