'Star Wars: Episode 7' Plans to Create a Better R2-D2 With New Droid Builders

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Lucasfilm

It's confirmed! After the 'Star Wars: Episode 7' team recently teased the return of the iconic R2-D2 with a behind-the-scenes photo, Lucasfilm has revealed that the droid will indeed be back for the seventh installment. But he's not alone. Two new production members, from the R2-D2 Builders Club no less, have been added to help mold a better bot.

The R2-D2 Builders Club is self described as "a community who exchange information relating to building the robots of the Star Wars films, most notably R2-D2," from which Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy found her two new additions to the creative team.

Announced through the official Star Wars blog, 'Star Wars' fans Lee Towersey and Oliver Steeples have joined to work full-time on the Creature Effects team for 'Star Wars: Episode 7.' According to Steeples:

It all started when Kathleen Kennedy toured the R2-D2 Builders area at Celebration Europe this past summer in Germany. She posed for pictures with us, looked at all the droids we’d built and was very complimentary. I mentioned that the R2-D2 Builders in the UK were available if required, as a semi-joke. When I was contacted to work on the film by [executive producer] Jason McGatlin, it was on her recommendation.

Towersey, who built the version of the droid shown in the first official behind-the-scenes photo (above), said, "We have a good knowledge of Artoo, with a large stock of parts for reference and drawings, plus we know what is involved throughout the whole building process, as well as potential problems we need to avoid."

Ultimately, speaking as both fans and builders of R2-D2, the pair are looking to bring a new and improved version of the fan-favorite droid to 'Star Wars: Episode 7.' Although the film is still in early production, Towersy and Steeples "have a few mocked up ideas which we hope to road test very soon."

R2-D2 is the first character Lucasfilm has confirmed for 'Star Wars: Episode 7.' While original 'Star Wars' director George Lucas previously said Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford would all reprise their roles, Samuel L. Jackson, having spoken with Hamill himself, made the surprising remark that J.J. Abrams has yet to make contact for a potential reprisal. Currently, the director took over script duties with Lawrence Kasdan, and says it'll offer a gritty Western vibe.

'Star Wars: Episode 7' is currently set for release on December 18, 2015.

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