‘Star Wars’ Signals: Remembering Kenny Baker, the Man Behind R2-D2

Welcome to our weekly Star Wars roundup! With Disney ramping up the franchise on all cylinders, there’s tons of exciting stuff in the way of news, rumors, and clips. We’ve picked out the best Star Wars stories the internet has to offer, bringing you everything you need to know about the world’s favorite sci-fi series.

1. Kenny Baker’s Star Wars co-stars remember the man behind R2-D2

Kenny Baker as R2-D2

Kenny Baker as R2-D2 | Source: Star Wars via Facebook

Tragedy struck the Star Wars fandom last week with the passing of Kenny Baker, the actor most known as the man who first played R2-D2. Baker was 83 and had been experiencing “problems with his lungs” and had been confined to a wheelchair for years now. As a child, he was told by doctors that he was unlikely to survive through puberty, due to complications linked to his size (Baker was 3 feet, 8 inches tall).

Baker’s Star Wars castmates took to social media to remember him fondly. Chewbacca actor Peter Mayhew even penned a touching tribute of his own on his personal website.

Although people liked to contrast the difference in our heights [Mayhew is 7′ 2″], we found we shared many of the same struggles, from finding clothes, driving cars, and fitting in airplane seats to health issues and the ever constant stares of strangers; we understood each other on a level that few others can. His talent and his wicked sense of humor never diminished even as his health did.

2. International trailer for Rogue One dishes on Jyn Erso’s father

The latest trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story had fans on the edge of their seats with anticipation, leading into the December release for the first standalone Star Wars movie ever made. The trailer was quickly followed by a brief international edition, featuring much of the same footage with one added wrinkle: The mention of Jyn Erso’s father.

The telling line comes in the opening moments, when Mon Mothma and Captain Cassian Andor are telling Jyn about a coded transmission intercepted by the Rebellion, sent by, you guessed it, her father, Galen (Mads Mikkelsen). This seems to confirm the prevalent theory that Galen Erso is one of the original architects of the Death Star, while creating a whole host of new questions regarding his own loyalties.

3. Editing for Episode VIII has officially begun

Rian Johnson editing Star Wars: Episode VIII

Rian Johnson editing Star Wars: Episode VIII | Source: @riancjohnson via Instagram

Even with Rogue One at the forefront of our Star Wars-centric attention right now, Star Wars: Episode VIII is slowly chugging along in the background. Rian Johnson recently took to Instagram to tease at the first stages of editing for the film, with Godzilla and Looper lead editor Bob Ducsay running point on the operation. And while it doesn’t afford us much in the way of specific details on what we can expect, it’s exciting to see that Episode VIII is already beginning to be assembled piece by piece. Is it December 2017 yet?

4. EA lays out the awesome new Death Star game mode for Star Wars: Battlefront

Star Wars: Battlefront - Death Star DLC

Star Wars: Battlefront | Source: EA Games

We’ve been hearing a fair amount about the planned Death Star DLC for Star Wars: Battlefront, set to finally include the ability to play as Han Solo’s Wookiee co-pilot, Chewbacca. We haven’t heard a whole lot concerning the actual game modes though … until now.

We now have a full layout of what the next big mode will entail. It’ll be called Battle Station and will run through three separate stages of combat. The first will put players in the cockpit as they attempt to disable the Death Star’s shields. Next, things transition to a battle inside the Death Star itself, where the Rebels are tasked with extracting a droid. Finally, you take to the sky once again, this time with the goal of blowing up the space station.

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