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November 20, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

In all six previous Star Wars movies, the one constant performer in front of the cameras has been Kenny Baker, the 3-foot 8-inch English actor/comic wearing the R2D2 “costume.” Alas, it now appears that the 79-year-old Baker will not return as the character in Star Wars: Episode VII, the victim, ironically enough, of futuristic technology. It was disclosed on Tuesday that Disney has hired two fans of the series who have already built a remote-controlled, fully functioning R2D2, to work on the seventh episode of the series. The two, British droid enthusiasts Lee Towersey and Oliver Steeples, were recruited by producer Kathleen Kennedy at an exhibition in Germany during the summer. They are reportedly already working on additional droids at Pinewood Studios in England, where production of the next Star Wars episode is due to begin early next year.