How Empire Strikes Back Inspired the K-2SO Droid in Star Wars: Rogue One



Have you met K-2SO yet? Some believe he will steal the show when Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens on December 18. While there have been many droids in the Star Wars universe, there has never been one like this towering inferno, who could go toe-to-toe with Chewbacca the wookie in a fair fight. He is a redemption seeking Imperial security robot. And while he is unique to the film, we’ve previously met his less Rebel friendly cousins.

K-2SO is known as Kaytoo to his friends. He is part of the Rebel Alliance team tasked with stealing the plans to the original Death Star to stop it from becoming fully operational. He is the first droid in a Star Wars movie to be brought to life via motion capture. And it’s Firefly cult icon Alan Tudyk who brings him to life.

New VFX technology allowed this particular class of droid to escape the more humanoid look of someone like C-3PO, who was played by Anthony Daniels in all 7 main Star Wars movies. K-2SO is allowed to take on a sleeker shape, he is taller and more skeletal. Executive producer and visual effects supervisor says this to Entertainment Weekly.

“He’s tall, to intimidate people around him. He’s sort of anthropomorphic, in that he’s got two arms, two legs and a head, you know, et cetera… But then Kaytoo has a little bit more sinister aspect in his original design because he starts off as an Imperial enforcer droid.”

The goal for the Rogue One VFX team in creating K-2SO was to bring in elements from the past. He is an offshoot of the classic Viper droid, who was seen scanning the icy tundra of Hoth in the beginning of Empire Strikes Back. The droid that Luke Skywalker mistakes for a meteor. Says Knoll.

“It’s not the first time we’ve seen an Imperial droid. There’s the Imperial probe droid and the sort of interrogation droid that have these black shells and a kind of sinister, evil-looking character to them.”

K-2SO is also partially modeled after the small IT-O Interrogator, the sphere droid that Darth Vader unleashes on Princess Leia in A New Hope after she’s been captured. K-2SO is unfortunately, at least for the Empire, a little more human than his keepers intended. He doesn’t agree with Imperial politics. As it turns out, K-2SO, like some of the new imagery in The Force Awakens, was also inspired by the work of Star Wars concept artist Ralph McQuarrie. And it was his vision for the Imperial Stormtrooper helmets that helped bring shape to Kaytoo’s head. Though he looks menacing, and can toss incoming enemies far into the air, K-2SO is a proud Rebel and helps lead his friends to victory.



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