George Lucas might not be running the show anymore, but he did frame the first six installments in the Star Wars saga. But who is actually telling the story?
In Chris Taylor’s book How Star Wars Conquered the Universe, the author recounts a story Lucas told animation director Rob Coleman on the set of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. Though the iconic opening crawl obviously works to set the scene for viewers, it also (literally) feels like someone narrating the story. According to Lucas, that character is R2-D2, who played a key role in all six of the first films.
Here’s the choice excerpt:
"The entire story of Star Wars is actually being recounted to the keeper of the Journal of the Whills -- remember that? -- a hundred years after the events of Return of the Jedi by none other than R2-D2.”
If you’re unfamiliar, the Journal of the Whills is a concept that’s pretty much as old as the Star Wars saga itself and does exist as part of the canon. Lucas originally conceived it as a narrative device to literally connect all the stories, but then backed away from that concept in a direct sense. But, behind the scenes, he apparently still kept it as philosophical approach.
Taylor also notes this is why R2-D2 typically saves the day in the stories, which does make some kind of sense. Of course, this narrative tool doesn’t exactly work for The Force Awakens — though BB-8 could certainly tell this chapter, right?