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Remembering R2-D2 and the R2-D2 Merchandise I Owned

After the recent passing of Kenny Baker, the actor best known for playing R2-D2 in the Star Wars films, I decided that an article about how prevalent R2-D2 was in my childhood would be appropriate. He was my one of my favorite characters in the Star Wars movies, and I had a lot of merchandise related to his character.

Before I go into what R2-D2 merchandise I owned, though, I'd like to talk about how I got into Star Wars in the first place. My first brush with the Star Wars Universe wasn't actually seeing one of the films, but listening to a cassette tape where C-3P0 retold the story of Return of the Jedi. This cassette tape also came with a read-along book. I think they may have been given to me for Christmas along with some similar cassette tape and read-along books that told other stories, but I'm not completely sure. What I am sure of, though, is that this was my introduction to Star Wars.

From there, I decided that I wanted to see one of the actual movies, but they either weren't at any of the stores we went to or my mom decided that the Star Wars VHS tapes that were available were more expensive than she was willing to pay. My sister ended up asking her best friend if she had any of the Star Wars movies on VHS that I could borrow for a weekend, though, and it turned out that she did have one, Return of the Jedi. I would have preferred to have seen one of the others since I already had a good idea of what the plot of Return of the Jedi was from listening to my cassette tape version of the story, but I took what I could get. In the end, I was able to see all of the movies soon enough anyways when the first Special Edition set was released on VHS in 1997.

This takes us to the first R2-D2 toy I owned. I can't remember for sure if my mom bought it for me before or after I had seen my first Star Wars movie, but it quickly became one of my favorite toys in any case. I frequently carried it around with me wherever I went, which sadly ended with it getting lost.

Losing a favorite toy is never fun, but I was fortunate in that while an exact replicate was no longer in stores, there were plenty of other R2-D2 toys out there. My mom took me out and bought me another figure soon enough, and all was right in my world again. This new R2-D2 figure had Tatooine sand on his lower body and was able to beep when you pushed a button on his front panel. All in all, it was cool enough that I was able to soon enough forget about the one I had lost.

The last R2-D2 action figure I remember owning featured the booster rockets that were present in the prequels. I think that this one ended up getting broken eventually, but I didn't care all that much at that point because I was getting older and cared less and less about toys.

There was plenty of other R2-D2 merchandise that I owned over the years, though. For example, I also owned an R2-D2 watch that was packaged inside of a Millennium Falcon case.

There were also a couple of other items I owned that I couldn't find pictures of, including a wire controlled R2-D2 that I got one Christmas. I recall not very frequently playing with it because my mother said that the battery was expensive and that she wouldn't buy me a new battery for it if I wasted the original battery. When I did use it, though, I remember having a lot of fun.

I also owned an R2-D2 fanny pack at one point that I couldn't find a picture of. I don't think I used it that often, though, because I never had much money of my own to carry around at that age.

The last R2-D2 related item that I recall owning is perhaps the coolest of them all, an interactive robot that could light up, beep, and move around. It was about as close to owning your very own real R2-D2 as you could get.
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