Actor Jimmy Vee Finally Confirmed to Play R2-D2 in Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Back in September 2015, during the filming of Star Wars: The Last Jedi on Skellig Michael, we first reported (here) that actor Jimmy Vee is playing R2-D2 in the sequel to The Force Awakens. Now Vee’s agency officially announced that fact.




We’re proud to officially announce that our client Mr Jimmy Vee has taken over the role of the Star Wars droid ‘R2-D2’, originally played by iconic actor, Mr. Kenny Baker.

Jimmy says, “It’s been an absolute pleasure to have worked alongside the legendary Kenny Baker. Kenny was a fantastic actor and taught me all the ‘tricks’ on how he brought R2-D2 to life which I will continue to portray in his honour. I’m so excited to be a part of the Star Wars universe and can’t wait for everyone to see what we’ve been working so hard on for the last year.”

Jimmy is no stranger to the world of Film and Television having previously starred in Doctor Who & the Harry Potter movies.



Jimmy Vee is taking over the role of Artoo after Kenny Baker passed away in August 2016. Mr. Baker, although having sever health problems, served as consultant on The Force Awakens. He will always be in the hearts of the Star Wars fans as the man who brought the iconic astromech droid to life.



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Founder of SWNN, MNN and The Cantina forums.Born on April 24, 1980.

38 thoughts on “Actor Jimmy Vee Finally Confirmed to Play R2-D2 in Star Wars: The Last Jedi

  • February 14, 2017 at 1:00 am

    Artoo Vee too

  • February 14, 2017 at 1:03 am

    Why do they still need a guy in there if the radio controls have advanced significantly since ’77?

    • February 14, 2017 at 11:27 am

      Radio controlled is okay but no more CG for him like in the PT, That looks terribly dated today.

      • February 14, 2017 at 10:21 pm

        Yep. R2 flying around lighting Battle Droids on fire just looks like shit.

        • February 16, 2017 at 4:38 am

          Not to mention the stupidity of him ever using those jets again throughout the OT, especially when he could’ve really used them.

      • February 15, 2017 at 8:07 am

        You do realize that Artoo was partially CG’ed in The Force Awakens?

    • February 14, 2017 at 3:18 pm

      Having a person in there gives it a bit more life.

      • February 14, 2017 at 10:26 pm

        Re: “gives it a bit more life”

        Agreed – I’d say “quite a bit” more life.
        The way Kenny shifted his body weight & bounced R2 around gave the droid quite a bit of character/personality & felt more *alive*… difficult & probably far less cost effective trying to reproduce that bounce/randomness with an actual robot.

  • February 14, 2017 at 1:03 am

    That’s great that this guy has the role and can bring R2 to life, although I’m a bit surprised they still need a human inside with today’s technology.

    • February 14, 2017 at 1:10 am

      Honestly he really can be pulled off with no person inside nowadays, I guess they want to do it for traditional reasons.

      • February 14, 2017 at 3:00 pm

        Of course it CAN be pulled off without a person, but the real question is does it make that much sense from a production standpoint. Technology always holds the promise of better and better efficiency, but it is rarely the case. Do CGI effects really cost the production less money, save time, give the greatest artistic freedom? And if so, is the result worth the savings? With regard to a person operating R2, the question isn’t whether or not you should use remote control for R2, but whether or not it is better OR more efficient for the production. My guess is that what they know about the limitations of BB-8 on the production process, helped them make this particular decision.

    • February 14, 2017 at 1:23 am

      I think the little bounces R2 makes when excited would be hard for a machine? And to brag about being practical effects and old school: “Look we got a little person inside, like in 1976.”

    • February 14, 2017 at 2:48 am

      Oh, don’t worry. Disney has already kicked R2 and 3PO to the curb. Gotta sell those new toys doncha know!

      • February 14, 2017 at 11:26 am

        I always thought the Droids should be the only OT characters who don’t die as Lucas intended them to be in all 9 before he lied and said he never had anything planned beyond VI.

        • February 14, 2017 at 10:23 pm

          Agreed – I always liked that original idea that the droids would be the only characters surviving (/living through) the entire saga … & the story basically being told “through their eyes”.
          To a degree this was setup/supported via the droids “splitting up” with R2 following Luke & 3PO following the other heros.

          BB-8 is fine & all… but I don’t think we needed new&shiny droids to replace the original pair.
          It’s already a crowded cast with the human actors (OT & ST mixing).

        • February 15, 2017 at 8:05 am

          And Chewbacca.

      • February 14, 2017 at 3:18 pm

        eye roll.

    • February 14, 2017 at 7:17 am

      Seriously… I like all the new stuff. I’d be happy to see them remain center stage with the legacy stuff in supporting roles.
      This is coming from an OT lover! Although who isn’t? πŸ˜›

  • February 14, 2017 at 3:33 am

    It is completely ridiculous to have a person in there. I have enjoyed Kenny Baker’s involvement as much as anyone, but does anyone seriously think it is necessary anymore? Does anyone get excited by a human operating R2D2 in a few scenes?

    • February 14, 2017 at 10:18 pm

      Re: “It is completely ridiculous to have a person in there”

      Disagree completely.

      The movement we got out of R2, via Kenny shifting his weight around in a real-world physical prop (read: practical & in-scene effect) would be very challenging to replicate well with only CG or actual robot.

      • February 14, 2017 at 10:38 pm

        Nah, you’re just being sentimental. BB8 moved just as realistically — maybe even more so — and there’s no tiny human in there rocking it back & forth.

        • February 14, 2017 at 11:03 pm

          Re: “being sentimental”
          Nah, I’m perhaps just more observant.

          Re: BB8 – “rocking it back & forth.”
          Umm…. rocking back&forth on WHAT? BB8 is a ball.
          R2 has legs.
          Besides a turning head, their body movement has nothing in common.

          Oh yeah, and I’ve also been an engineer most of my professional career & have programmed/worked-on actual robots (stepper motors/pulleys/gears) … & I can tell you that replicating R2s rocking/body movement (when Kenny was in him & *animated*) would NOT be easy to do with an actual robot.

          • February 14, 2017 at 11:30 pm

            I guess you’re not aware that BB8 never stands still and is constantly rocking the TFA?

            You apparently are also unaware that it is totally unnecessary to put a motor inside R2D2 in order to rock it back and forth without a human inside. You’re thinking too much like an engineer. (Making everything more complicated than it needs to be.) BB8’s rocking motions were accomplished quite easily with puppeteers wearing green suits. Yes, it would be just as easy with R2D2.

          • February 15, 2017 at 12:02 am

            Re: “BB8 never stands still and is constantly rocking the TFA”
            I never said BB8 “stands still”.
            I said BB8 is a ball – it *rolls*.
            R2 has *legs* …& rocks/shifts weight/wobbles.
            Easiest way to realistically re-create that way R2 moves is with a person inside.

          • February 15, 2017 at 8:04 am

            BB-8 had a real-life human operator that was digitally removed in post production and he was not CG all the time.

            Regarding R2, Kenny Baker did bring life to the little droid… but to be honest, how hard is it to rock back and forth in a tin can? I think Jimmy Vee will play the part easily.

          • February 15, 2017 at 8:28 am

            I understand how they brought the BB8 character to life: a great mix of robot/actors moving & CGI.

            My point was to OP that it wouldn’t be so simple to replicate with only a robot or CG, as well that BB8 & R2 gave us very different performances based upon: 1) type of droid 2) how their performance was achieved
            As well that I think it’s MORE pragmatic to put Jimmy Vee in a suit (where necessary) to best capture a performance matching R2 from OT.

            It seems we’re in agreement here.

  • February 14, 2017 at 3:55 am

    Since there was minimal contact between R2-D2 and BB-8 in TFA, I wonder what their relationship will be like. Best pals? Rivals? Like Siblings? Of course, it is also a possibility that they will once again not have too much interaction. Oh, and C-3PO! Maybe all 3 droids will not interact much because. I hope that is not the case.

    • February 14, 2017 at 11:24 am

      Yeah, That’s another minor but real complaint why it never really felt like SW to me. Hopefully they don’t gloss over the droids in this one too but there is like a dozen other characters that need to fleshed out so it’s a good possibility they will be again.

    • February 14, 2017 at 10:16 pm

      Re: “I wonder what their relationship will be like. Best pals? Rivals?”

      I think that BB-8 would be in for a rude awakening if he tried piloting LUKE’s x-wing.
      That aside, I think they’d tolerate ea other just fine. πŸ˜‰

  • February 14, 2017 at 8:02 am

    So it’s going to be traditional for R2 in TLJ regarding his movements in the film..

    Nethertheless, great to see him get the role and continue on Kenny’s legacy. ^_^

  • February 14, 2017 at 11:23 am

    His name sounds like a DJ and he looks like the Benjamin Button version of Kenny Baker aged in reverse.

  • February 14, 2017 at 1:26 pm

    He actually looks like a Jimmy Vee

  • February 14, 2017 at 3:59 pm

    At first I was kind of surprised about this news thinking: But can’t they just make a mechanical one? Surely we have the technology and the ability to now. But then I also thought: Yeah, but we also have the ability to just CG in creatures instead of having the makup department do their thing like we saw awesomely done in Rogue One and TFA. So sure, can we do it and it’d look okay? Yeah. But Giving Artoo more life I see in the same way they’re using a lot of people in suits. Good show.

    On a secondary note, maybe Artoo will get more screen time? I want a BB-8 and Artoo adventure comic now.

    • February 15, 2017 at 8:12 am

      Most of the time there’s no one in artoo-detoo anyway.

      • February 16, 2017 at 12:13 am

        True, but I think that the little rock left and right he did a bunch in the orig trig was when they needed somebody. I totally want to see artoo do that when he see’s Luke, it’s his little happy dance!

  • February 14, 2017 at 4:06 pm

    We are probably going to see a few R2 recasts now that there is no end in sight for the movies. I’m sure this guy will suit.

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