A year ago, a three-part video documentary lifted the lid of secrecy on R2-D2
's "true" story. That documentary, R2-D2: Beneath the Dome
is coming to DVD on December 26, exclusively at Best Buy and Musicland stores, which includes SunCoast Motion Picture Company, MediaPlay and Sam Goody outlets.
The idea started simply enough. Don Bies, ILM Modelmaker and head of the R2-unit crew, thought it'd be funny to pretend that R2-D2 was a real actor, with real history, and a real temperament that his fellow performers had to deal with. So, as the Lucasfilm documentary crew gathered interviews with the stars of Episode II during production, each would be asked about their experiences with Artoo, and each would ad-lib an anecdote.
Once principal photography in Australia had wrapped, the documentary crew took a look at this footage, and found it not only to be straight-faced believable, but also very funny. Using this as a starting point, writers Paul Ens, Mary Beth Bresolin, Kim Bromley and Nelson Hall joined Bies in crafting a full narrative arc to Artoo's past, and based on this, additional interviews were shot to bring the whole story into focus.
Soon, this little internal side project ballooned into something worth sharing with R2-D2 fans around the world. In November of 2001, it debuted first as a trailer accompanying the Thanksgiving television airing of Episode I, and then in three weekly installments. The trailer has been archived on the Episode II DVD, but the rest of the material has, until now, only been available online.
The 20-minute documentary includes appearances by George Lucas, Ewan McGregor, Francis Ford Coppola, Richard Dreyfuss, Samuel L. Jackson, Natalie Portman, Hayden Christensen and more.