After the first official behind-the-scenes-photo from "Star Wars: Episode VII" was released last week, many fans wondered if that meant that beloved droid R2-D2 would be appearing in the movie. Now, Lucasfilm has confirmed the robot's role in "Episode VII" -- and with it, the thrill of a lifetime for two diehard "Star Wars" fans.
Pictured between director J.J. Abrams and producer Kathleen Kennedy in last week's photo were two men no one recognized. Turns out, they're the newest members of the "Episode VII" creative team, and the ones who built the replica of R2 standing in front of the foursome.
Their names are Lee Towersey and Oliver Steeples, Brits and members of an international organization called the R2-D2 Builders Club, which is exactly what you think it is: a group of fans who build fully functioning replicas of everyone's favorite android from the "Star Wars" galaxy. Towersey and Steeples were showing off a collection of such replicas at the recent European Celebration "Star Wars" convention in Germany when their creation caught the eye of Kennedy.
"She posed for pictures with us, looked at all the droids we'd built and was very complimentary," Steeples told StarWars.com, adding that he joked with the producer that members of the UK R2 club were available to consult on the film. And then he got a call that every "Star Wars" fan has no doubt dreamed about: he and Towersey would be hired to work on "Episode VII"'s Creature Effects team.
The pair are already hard at work on prototypes to be used in the film, brainstorming solutions for how to operate the 'bots on rough terrain while keeping them in perfect working order. It's a challenge the two fans say is more than worth the work.
"It's a dream come true," Steeples told the site, "and I hope I can live up to the expectations of the thousands of R2-D2 Builders around the world, let alone the millions of Star Wars fans."
For more about Towersey, Steeples, and their plans for R2, check out the full story on StarWars.com.
"Star Wars: Episode VII" hits theaters December 18, 2015.