Jimmy Vee has been officially confirmed as the replacement for Kenny Baker in the role of R2-D2. His first appearance as the astromech droid will be in Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Episode 8 in the franchise. The film is due for release on December 15.
His agency, Oh So Small, released the news, tweeting the following:
— Oh So Small (@OhSoSmall) February 13, 2017
Kenny Baker passed away in August last year. He had played R2-D2 from the droid’s first screen appearance in Star Wars: A New Hope in 1977 and was involved with the character right through to 2015 and Episode VII, The Force Awakens.
Jimmy Vee said in the press announcement, “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.”
Vee has appeared in Doctor Who – most notably as Bannakaffalatta in 2007 episode ‘Voyage of the Damned’ – and had roles as a goblin in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and a character named Lofty in Pan.
Carrie Fisher’s Swan Song
Star Wars: The Last Jedi marks the final film role of Carrie Fisher who finished filming scenes as General Leia Organa ahead of her death in December. It also stars Mark Hamill, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac and Adam Driver as well as long-serving cast members Anthony Daniels and Peter Mayhew. Warwick Davis is said to be taking on a non-specified role. The film is written and directed by Rian Johnson.
More news on Jimmy Vee’s casting looks set to follow, with the agency stating they’ll be posting more on the story soon.