In Star Wars, R2-D2’s character is mainly defined by his snarky personality. Whether he’s bickering with C-3PO or brazenly disobeying Luke’s orders, Artoo marches (or rolls around on his treads) to the beat of his own drum. Ben Burtt’s masterful sound design has given Artoo a cheeky edge with just beeps and whirs.
The little astro droid is also well-known for his impressive collection of weapons and gadgets hidden in his tincan torso. From his buzzsaw to his scomp link to his lightsaber ejector, what is Artoo’s best gadget?
Artoo first showed off the buzzsaw he used during Return of the Jedi’s middle act. Chewie races to eat an animal carcass that Chewie has spotted while the Rebels are walking through Endor’s forests. Han can see that it’s obviously a trap and tries to stop his Wookiee friend, but he’s too late.
Chewie grabs the carcass and triggers the trap. The whole group is trapped in a net. Thankfully, one of Artoo’s old gadgets is still functioning. He releases a little buzzsaw from the top of his chest and sets everyone free. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a gadget to break their fall.
6 Fire Extinguisher
One of Artoo’s gadgets is a fire extinguisher. Whenever there’s a fire on a damaged ship or a building burning down, Artoo is there to put it out. This fire extinguisher is very useful in a galaxy where people constantly shoot out blistering beams at each other.
Artoo can spray out fire-extinguishing foam as well as an oil slick. This was shown in Revenge of the Sith, when he used oil on super battle droids to make them slip over.
5 Scomp Link
A scomp link, in Star Wars, is a small accessory that allows astromech and BD units hack into computers via nearby sockets. This gadget is used more often by R2-D2 then any other. Artoo uses his Scomp Link to open all locked doors when Leia and Chewie are trying to escape Cloud City.
Artoo uses his Scomp Link to close down the trash compactor in the most difficult scene of the 1977 original movie. The Lego Star Wars games use the scomplink to open any door with Artoo’s image on it.
4 Lightsaber Ejector
After all the Rebels’ attempts to rescue Han from Jabba’s palace fail in the opening act of Return of the Jedi, they’re all flown out to the middle of the Tatooine desert to be sacrificed to the Sarlacc Pit for the Hutt’s amusement. It’s clear that Luke has a plan up his sleeve, but it’s not clear what it is until he nods to R2-D2 up on Jabba’s barge.
Artoo reveals that he has a little internal compartment where he’s holding Luke’s lightsaber. The compartment also has a lightsaber ejector. Artoo shoots Luke’s weapon out at him as he’s being made to walk the plank on Jabba’s skiff, allowing him to turn the tables on the bad guys.
His holoprojector is the most critical Artoo gadget from the original 1977 Star Wars movie. Luke Skywalker’s hero’s journey begins when his uncle buys Artoo and he uncovers a message on his hard drive in which Leia Organa says, “Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope.”After some programming work Luke uncovers the full message and gives it to Kenobi. Kenobi invites Luke to join him for the ride.
If Artoo wasn’t fitted with a holoprojector — and not only that; one that can record messages as well as playing them back — then Leia wouldn’t have been able to reach out to Obi-Wan, so the Empire might’ve won and Luke might’ve never become a Jedi.
2 Electro-Shock Prod
One of Artoo’s only defensive tools is an electro-shock prod. If he’s in danger, Artoo can stick a little electric rod out of his torso to shock his attackers.
Artoo is able to fight in fights with Lego Star Wars games because this is his only defense. Artoo can only stun an assailant with his electro-shock prod whenever he is attacked in the Mos Eisley Cantina or on one of the levels. Artoo can only do damage for one second so if Artoo is challenged by another character, his best option is to simply run away and turn around.
1 Rocket Booster
Attack of the Clones. C-3PO accidentally is attached to two battle-droids that aren’t fully constructed. R2-D2 uses his rocket booster to fly across the factory floor, saving him.
While this was undeniably cool, it did leave Lucasfilm with the burden of explaining why he never used his rocket booster in the original trilogy, despite the many occasions it would’ve been useful. In the canon, it’s been explained that Artoo’s rocket booster (and most of his other gadgets) had stopped working by then and the warranty had expired.