Oh, look, it's R2-D2.

People talk about how strange it's going to be to see a "Star Wars" movie that has the Disney logo in front of it instead of the Fox logo, and I agree, that will be an adjustment. At some point, there will be more movies that look like that than don't, though, and the first six will be seen as the oddballs. That's just the nature of this sort of IP sale.

It will be far stranger for me when they make the first "Star Wars" film that doesn't have R2-D2 in it.

George Lucas backed off a bit from his initial idea about having R2-D2 and C-3PO be the only characters who would appear across the entire "Star Wars" saga, a sort of metallic Greek chorus that would observe everything that happened. I think one of the biggest mistakes of "The Phantom Menace" was tying C-3PO's origin to Anakin Skywalker. It's pointless, and it complicates things, makes the entire universe feel small. I think it's important that you show that at some point, R2-D2 had been to Tatooine and that he had some knowledge of Obi-Wan, but that was possible simply by having them land there at some point.

If the "Star Wars" saga is going to truly become an evergreen, an ongoing series of movies that becomes a sort of non-stop ATM for Disney, then they're going to have to open things up and allow the entire Universe to live and breathe, and they have to stop tying every single thing back to the same basic group of 20 characters. I would imagine the Abrams trilogy will connect back to the first six films thematically and in terms of shared characters. That's certainly been the conversation so far. And if anyone's returning, then I assume R2-D2 and C-3PO are both going to show up as well. Are they still going to put Anthony Daniels in the costume? It's starting to feel cruel at this point.

But R2-D2? He's forever, right?

It will eventually happen. It may even happen with the first of the spin-off movies. But for now, this Tweet from the @BadRobot account confirms one of the most self-obvious things about "Star Wars: Episode VII." It appears that R2-D2 will indeed appear in the film.

 

 

it's funny... i have a photo of my son at ILM from when we went to the "Star Wars" press day, and he's with R2-D2, who they had rolling around the commissary while we were having breakfast. He has pretty much the exact same expression on his face in that picture as Abrams has on his face in this picture. I get it, too. It's the same look I had on my face taking the photo.

"Star Wars: Episode VII" will arrive in theaters December 18, 2015.