J.J. Abrams Explains R2-D2’s Big Scene in ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’
By now, you’ve probably seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens (some of you more than once), and if not, be warned that we’re about to head into spoiler territory with new intel from director J.J. Abrams and screenwriter Michael Arndt regarding R2-D2 — specifically, what happens during the penultimate scene in The Force Awakens.
As you’ll recall (or if you don’t care about spoilers and you’re still reading this), it’s explained that R2-D2 entered low power after Kylo Ren betrayed Luke and went to the dark side, leading to Luke’s self-imposed exile in an unknown corner of the galaxy. BB-8 has a piece of the map that will lead General Leia Organa and the resistance to Luke, and it’s speculated that R2 might hold the rest of it — since it’s likely that he accessed the Empire’s data banks. (How the Empire acquired this information is unclear, as it would make more sense that Luke trusted R2-D2 with his location.)
BB-8 tries and fails to wake R2-D2, and it’s only after our heroes have suffered great injury and loss that our old droid friend magically wakes up and presents them with the rest of the map. Convenient, right? As Abrams and Arndt explain to EW, they are keenly aware that this is one hell of a coincidence, but they had their reasons:
Arndt: “We had the idea about R2 plugging into the information base of the Death Star, and that’s how he was able to get the full map and find where the Jedi temples are.”
Abrams: “But the idea was that in that scene where R2 plugged in, he downloaded the archives of the Empire, which was referenced by Kylo Ren, “BB-8 comes up and says something to him, which is basically, ‘I’ve got this piece of a map, do you happen to have the rest?’”
Abrams: “The idea was, R2 who has been all over the galaxy, is still in his coma, but he hears this. And it triggers something that would ultimately wake him up.”
Abrams: “While it may seem, you know, completely lucky and an easy way out, at that point in the movie, when you’ve lost a person, desperately, and somebody you hopefully care about is unconscious, you want someone to return.”
It makes sense in an almost mystical, inexplicable sense. Watching this scene, you definitely get some classic Disney princess vibes — the same way that the magic prince conveniently arrives in the darkest hour to deliver true love’s kiss and break some mortal enchantment, so does R2-D2 wake up when he’s most needed, seemingly sensing the pain and desperation of others.
Does that explanation make the scene work any better? Not entirely. It does feel a little rushed and a little too neat, but at least we now know the reasoning behind it, in case you were wondering.
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