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As a resourceful astromech droid, R2-D2 served Padmé Amidala, Anakin Skywalker and Luke Skywalker in turn, showing great bravery in rescuing his masters and their friends from many perils. A skilled starship mechanic and fighter pilot's assistant, he formed an unlikely but enduring friendship with the fussy protocol droid C-3PO.

The design of R2-D2 was hugely influenced by the Japanese movie: The Hidden Fortress by Akira Kurosawa back in 1958, particularly the 2 comic relief characters that serve the General Makebe, Tahei and Matashichi. The name R2-D2 stands for Second Generation Robotic Droid Series-2.