REFRESH FOR UPDATES “A lifelong loyal friend-I loved his optimism & determination. He WAS the droid I was looking for!” So said Mark Hamill this morning about his Star Wars co-star Kenny Baker, who died today after a lengthy illness. Baker portrayed iconic droid R2-D2 in six Star Wars films and in the original Star Wars trilogy was the constant companion of Hamill’s Luke Skywalker, sharing as much if not more screen time with him than the other main cast.
As the news became public, Baker’s Star Wars family, along with fans and admirers influenced by his work, began to weigh in publicly with condolences and tributes to the actor also known for turns in Time Bandits and The Elephant Man among many other films. Among those mourning Baker, 20th Century Fox called him “the heart and soul of R2-D2,” while Ewan McGregor, who played the young Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars prequels said “it was lovely working with Kenny.” Gary Whitta, screenwriter on Rogue One: A Star Wars Story also joined in, saying that as a child, “nothing inspired me more than Star Wars and Time Bandits.”
Many of Hollywood’s biggest Star Wars geeks also paid tribute, including Edgar Wright and his frequent collaborator Simon Pegg (who had a small cameo in Star Wars: The Force Awakens), and Kevin Smith.
Other famous fans also mourned Baker.