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Disney Parks’ life-size, fully functional remote control R2-D2 going up for auction 

Contributed by
Apr 6, 2018

If you’ve been looking for a Force-filled sidekick to help power up your X-Wing, open locked space doors, and basically get you out of every conceivable jam, then get your wallet ready, because the next great Profiles in History auction has got just the droid you’re looking for.

This life-size, fully functional R2-D2, the only one to roam the hallowed streets of both Disneyworld and Disneyland from 2004 till 2014, is the “anchor piece” of Profile In History’s upcoming Animation & Disneyana Auction. CEO Joseph Maddalena, who founded the company back in 1985, tells SYFY WIRE exactly why they built the auction around this particular droid, which could fetch an estimated six figures when it hits the block this May.

“Disney Park attraction vehicles and things like this are really, really popular right now,” says Maddalena. “So to have a fully functioning R2 that was used at both Disneyland and Disneyworld is a real rarity.”

How rare? “One.”

One per each park? “No, one for both parks.”

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Credit: Profiles in History

Maddalena expands on the rare droid’s origin story: “So this gentleman that owned it was contracted I believe in 2003, Disney wanted a fully functioning R2-D2 unit to use, starting off at Disney World. It would be used in the parade and such and such. So he was granted access to the Lucas archives, where he was able to examine all the existing R2 units, and he built the most exacting replica ever built, I mean this is literally built from the originals, using the archives. He would take every measurement by micrometer, and he built the most exacting R2 unit ever built. “

Like the character from a galaxy far, far way upon which it is based, this droid has seen plenty of action, including meeting George Lucas as Star Wars Celebration 2010, and presenting Luke Skywalker’s screen-used Light Saber to a Space Shuttle Discovery astronaut, who brought it along for the ride. Alas, after 10 years of dutiful Disney service, this little droid, who makes 53 different sounds from the original Star Wars trilogy and utilizes working fiber optic lights, had seen enough. So in 2014, R2 II went back to the original builder, who should make a good bit of change from the sale. 

“We have it at $100,000 to $150,000 dollars. I mean, you couldn’t build it for that, so who knows, it could bring a lot more,” says Maddalena. “The fact that this was built for the parks, used in the parks, it makes it really special. It’s the next best thing to having one that was used in the movie.”

Speaking of ones that are used in the movie, an R2-D2 prop used in the original trilogy sold for a whopping $2.76 million at a Profiles In History auction last year. There’s likely nothing in their upcoming May 5 Animation & Disneyana Auction that’ll fetch that much, but there’s plenty of great stuff to bid on. Check out a little preview in the gallery below — featuring, among others, Walt Disney's signed Last Will and Testament, an animatronic Pirate head from the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, and animation art from the Cinderella Ballroom scene — then head over to their website to get all the details.        

UPDATE (5/7/2018): The R2 unit in question sold for $156,000, just above the estimate.