R2-D2 (also spelled "Artoo-Detoo") is a robot character in the Star Wars universe. An astromech droid (referred as a 'thermocapsulary dehousing assister'), R2-D2 is a major character in all six Star Wars films. Along with his protocol droid companion C-3PO, he joins or supports Anakin Skywalker , Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and Obi-Wan Kenobi in various points in the saga. R2-D2 was played by Kenny Baker. Along with Anakin Skywalker (Darth Vader), Obi-Wan Kenobi, and C-3PO, he is one of only four characters to appear in all six Star Wars films.
R2-D2 was originally designed and built by Tony Dyson, at the White Horse Toy Company Ltd. Some involvement was by John Stears, who worked on the proto-types with models specifically created by the Australian firm Petric Engineering building club and the English firm C&L Developments. Many scenes also made use of radio controlled and CGI versions of the character.
George Lucas's creation of R2-D2 was influenced by Akira Kurosawa's 1958 feature film The Hidden Fortress , particularly Tahei and Matakishi, the two comic relief characters that serve as sidekicks to General Makabe. Lucas also drew inspiration from the robots Huey, Dewey, and Louie from Douglas Trumbull's 1972 film Silent Running.
R2-D2 stands for Second Generation Robotic Droid Series-2, according to a Star Wars encyclopedia published after the release of the film Star Wars: A New Hope.