The filmmakers behind the Star Wars films have been known to go the extra mile to honor fans of the series. In recent years, Lucasfilm and Disney have done everything from holding early screenings for terminally ill fans who may not make it to the release date to the inclusion of a pink R2 droid by the name of R2-KT made for a girl with cancer in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
The story behind R2-KT’s appearance in the seventh installment of the Star Wars saga and the young girl who inspired the droid is one that has warmed the hearts of just about every stuck up, half-witted, scruffy looking nerfherder throughout the galaxy.
The Story Of R2-KT
The pink R2 unit gained a lot of attention following the 2015 release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the droid was first created 11 years earlier after the founder of the 501st Legion, Albin Johnson, learned that his daughter, Katie, was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor and only given months to live.
As we reported back in 2015, Katie’s final wish was to have a droid watch over her. When people started to hear about the young girl’s final wish of receiving a pink R2 unit to watch over her while she battled cancer, she received a placeholder unit while a proper, custom-built R2 unit was designed and constructed by the R2 Builders.
Katie passed away on August 9, 2005, but her memory would live on when the appropriately named R2-KT was delivered to her family. In the years following Katie’s death, The 501st Legion has taken the R2-KT unit on hospital tours where it has visited countless terminally ill children has even been used to help raise awareness and funds for children battling cancer.
Johnson published an article on the official Star Wars website explaining the outpouring of support he and his family received following his daughter’s death as well as the droid’s impact throughout the galaxy.
In 2007, Hasbro created an R2-KT action figure which raised $100,000 for the Make-A-Wish foundation. Nearly a decade later, Hot Wheels offered a hot rod collectible car in honor of Katie at the 2015 Force For Change event.
Is R2-KT Part Of The Star Wars Canon?
In addition to becoming a fixture of 501st Legion charity appearances at children’s hospitals across the globe, R2-KT has also become a full-fledged character in the Star Wars canon. This all started with the 2008 release of the Star Wars: The Clone Wars feature film, which was followed up with multiple appearances in the television series The Clone Wars.
Then in 2015, Johnson broke the news that the droid honoring his late daughter would be included in the “Skywalker Saga” with R2-KT’s appearance in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Eagle-eyed fans were quick to point out that R2-KT can be seen at least once at around the 1:21:30 mark in the film. You'll see it near the center of the screenshot above.
In addition to the canonical appearances in the Star Wars saga, R2-KT was also included as a playable character in the LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens video game a year later, though these games are not considered to be a part of the Star Wars canon.
Among R2-KT's most recent adventure was a trip to Star Wars Celebration in Chicago in 2019. You can check out a whole gallery of images from the appearance over at the official R2-KT site.
Through its multiple appearances in official Star Wars properties as well as charitable endeavors here on Earth, it’s safe to say that R2-KT and its legacy will live on for a very long time.