“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” – R2-D2 Explained? (Spoilers)

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” – R2-D2 Explained? (Spoilers)

VexarDave – 12/21/15

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R2-D2 in low power mode in “The Force Awakens”

In Star Wars: The Force Awakens, when our heroes arrive at the Resistance base on D’qar, we learn that R2-D2 has been in low power mode ever since Luke Skywalker disappeared.

While watching the movie, I thought, R2 is a droid, a robot. I understand in the Star Wars Universe droids have feelings and can make their own decisions. Most droids get their memory wiped with each new owner to make them more compliant, but R2 is exception, because as far as we know, he hasn’t had a memory wipe since being introduced in “The Phantom Menace”. At the end of the day, R2 should still follow human command and “wake up” if required to do so. But, at the end of the movie, R2 suddenly wakes up with no explanation.

Director J.J. Abrams and original screenwriter Michael Arndt have now shed some light on that. Before getting to that, Abrams explained how exactly the dormant astromech had that map to Luke’s location in his system despite being in a coma of sorts for the majority of the movie.

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R2-D2 accessing the Death Star’s computers in “A New Hope”

“We had the idea about R2 plugging into the information base of the Death Star, and that’s how he was able to get the full map and find where the Jedi temples are.” Abrams elaborated on that by stating: “[The] idea was that in that scene where R2 plugged in, he downloaded the archives of the Empire, which was referenced by Kylo Ren.” 

I’ve only watched the movie once, but I don’t recall this being referenced by Kylo Ren. I was under the impression that Luke put the map in R2 except for the missing piece given to Poe at the beginning of the movie. Which made no sense.

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R2-D2 & BB-8 “The Force Awakens”

It seems like his awakening came as a result of an earlier interaction with BB-8. “BB-8 comes up and says something to him, which is basically, ‘I’ve got this piece of a map, do you happen to have the rest?’ The idea was, R2 who has been all over the galaxy, is still in his coma, but he hears this. And it triggers something that would ultimately wake him up. While it may seem, you know, completely lucky and an easy way out, at that point in the movie, when you’ve lost a person, desperately, and somebody you hopefully care about is unconscious, you want someone to return.” 

So, after Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) receives the map from Lor San Tekka (Max von Sydow), he gives it to BB-8. When they arrive at the Resistance base, BB-8 goes over to R2 and says, “Hey, bu’Uddy” (Say it like Pauly Shore.) “This cru’Usty dude gave us a map to our home slice Lu’Uke. Marinate all up in that juicy memory of yours and see where my piece fits, we’Easel.”

R2 actually hears BB-8 and begins searching through his memory banks. Remember, R2 has at least 50 years of information, including all the Imperial data files he now supposedly downloaded from the first Death Star which happened to include the locations of Jedi temples which Luke was searching for. Therefore, it takes him the rest of the movie to sift through the data, and convenient to the pace of the movie, finds it at the right time for our heroes to set off on their journey to find Luke Skywalker.

All of this makes more sense than what I originally perceived. And I wasn’t alone, because many reviewers thought the same thing. But, it should have been conveyed to the audience more clearly, and it wouldn’t have taken much to do so. I would have forgiven the timing of R2’s “awakening” had the hows been explained better.

Did you get the intent, or did you see it the way most of us saw it?

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