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R2-D2 in Star Wars: A New Hope

Star Wars has long imagined a world in a galaxy far, far away where droids roam freely in daily life as loyal companions to us. Now at Disneyland’s Galaxy Edge, visitors can get a taste of what that’d be like, because R2-D2 is regularly gliding across the land at the Anaheim park. After a series of “play tests” over the past few weeks, Artoo began exploring around guests on Tuesday.

The iconic astromech droid freely roams around the park, notably in front of the Millennium Falcon by the entrance to Smuggler’s Run and along the pathway that takes guests to the new Rise of the Resistance attraction opening at Disneyland on January 17. Take a look at a sighting of Artoo below:

So cute! As you can see, R2-D2 glides around the park with a couple friends to escort him around (and probably to protect him from Jawas snatching him up or something similar).

It took seven months for R2-D2 to come into the new world of Batuu, which first opened to the public over at Disneyland’s Galaxy's Edge in May. Rather than the droid having a specified meet-and-greet spot, R2 joins other free-roaming characters in the land such as Rey, Kylo Ren, Chewbacca and stormtroopers who walk around the attraction. It’s experiences such as these that make Galaxy’s Edge the most immersive wing of Disneyland.

The Artoo unit used to be confined to a space in the droid-building workshop where guests can make their own beeping and clicking friends for $100. R2-D2 was for sale for $25,000 at Droid Depot, according to Orange County Register.

Back in 2017, Disneyland debuted a free-roaming droid at Tomorrowland in the form of an orange and white maintenance unit called J4-K3 (also called Jake). It was being tested for inclusion in Galaxy’s Edge, but R2-D2 got the honor of becoming the first droid to roam around the Star Wars land.

When plans were being drafted for Galaxy’s Edge, apparently the idea of free-roaming droids were part of the long-term vision. Maybe R2-D2 is the first of many? It would be pretty cool if C3-PO could be recreated as a meet-able droid at Disney Parks (just take a look at all the times he was the hero of the Star Wars franchise)! That would likely mean someone getting under the gold suit in California or Florida heat, though. Plus, there’s a groping issue among Disney costumed characters.

R2-D2’s addition to Disneyland is certainly an exciting one, along with a recent cute nod to Baby Yoda! There’s no Star Wars movie coming in 2020, but another season of The Mandalorian is on the way in the fall.