So when you make your way to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens next month, keep an eye out for R2-KT. If you cry…just say the air vents have dust or something. Of course you actually might just feel the urge to tear up at the majestic beauty of watching The Force Awakens. Happy #GeekyFeelz Moment for you in advance everyone.
Every time I get one of these stories on my desk, I can’t help but go into a corner and cry just a bit. Star Wars will never stop amazing me as to how the incorporate and service their fans,especially those who are in the last stages of life due to illness or unforeseen circumstances. So settle in for the “dust in your eyes”-“Onion-cutting”- “Eye-sweat” inducing story, of how R2-KT entered the Star Wars Canon and soon your heart.
Over the past few years, a pink astromech droid called R2-KT has popped in the animated Star Wars series here and there. While at first it may have seemed like it was a way to pander to the young female fans of Star Wars, seeing as it looked like the obvious (in name and style) counterpart to R2-D2. But R2-KT is actually a touching memorium to young Star Wars fan, Katie Johnson.
Johnson was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor in 2004, and her family was shocked to learn she only had months to live. Katie grew up with Star Wars as big part of her life due in part to her father Albin Johnson, one of the founders of the 501st Legion. In an effort to make his daughter comfortable in her last months of life, he enlisted the power of the “force” to make his daughter comfortable in her last months of life with a little help from his Star Wars family.
He commissioned the R2 Builder’s Club, the same group that worked on the droids for The Force Awakens, to create an R2 Astromech Droid to accompany his daughter in her final days. But the timing couldn’t be less perfect, the droid wouldn’t arrive in time, so Andy Schwartz, a fellow droid builder, who was made aware of the situation decided to paint one he had already created for himself in Katie’s favorite color, pink.
The arrival of the little droid, as seen in the photo above, brough Katie much joy. She enjoyed its company until her passing on August 9th of 2005. At the time it prompted a great outpouring of support from the Star Wars community, which lead to including the original commissioned droid from the R2 builder’s club as a limited edition action figure of the droid that came to be called R2-KT; and thanks to Clone Wars showrunner Dave Filoni, who was so moved by the story behind the droid, that he included it in the series under the name QT-KT, a droid owned by Jedi Aayla Secura.
Of course now R2-KT will be part of a new generation of Star Wars fans cinematic memory as Geeks Speak and Albin Johnson have revealed that she will appear in Star Wars: The Force Awakens this December. In an e-mail from Johnson, he explains:
“Mary Franklin of Lucasfilm asked me to pitch the idea to Kathleen Kennedy (Lucasfilm President), and after hearing the story of our pink ambassador of hope Lucasfilm requested we ship her off to London early last year. Quick repairs were made and off she went for six months,” Johnson says in his email. While he could not disclose just when we could expect to see the pink droid, he was assured that she will definitely appear.”