|Things were grim behind the scenes of Star Wars.|
|The droids are all smiles for the camera.|
SOMEWHERE IN THE GALAXY - Finally equipped with a simple voice synthesizer that translates his beeps and bleeps into recognizable human speech, beloved astromech droid R2-D2 has confirmed to the press what many in the Star Wars universe have long whispered: that he has been suffering physical and verbal abuse at the hands of his constant companion, protocol droid C-3PO, for years.
These explosive allegations cast a new light on the renowned duo, popularly known as Artoo and Threepio, whose comical antics have delighted audiences for generations.
"He's a monster," claims Artoo of his now ex-partner. "He puts on that prissy voice and affected manner, like he's some gay English butler or something, but it's all an act. The second the cameras stop rolling, he's Jake LaMotta. It's been hell."
Artoo now says that he endured Threepio's frequent, brutal assaults mostly for financial and career reasons. What started as a tempestuous romance became a lucrative business partnership between the droids.
"I mean, sure, at the beginning there was a spark between us. There's no denying it. The sex back then was..." And here Artoo pauses for a word. "Wow. You know? Just wow. But things started to change pretty quickly during the making of that first film."
Threepio's violent, controlling nature soon came to the fore during the making of 1977's Episode IV: A New Hope. As Artoo tells it, Threepio would frequently slap and berate his costar in full view of the other actors and crew members.
"[George] Lucas knew," Artoo says. "They all knew. Luke [Skywalker], [Princess] Leia, Han [Solo]. How could they not? But they all chose to look the other way. Too much money was on the line. Anything to keep the gravy train rolling. Chewie, god bless him, tried to intervene. But Threepio said he'd have him fired and replaced by three Ewoks stacked on top of each other. And that was the end of that. I don't blame him. He had a family to support."
|Who dared to speak out?|
Perhaps fearful of losing their own jobs, other denizens of the Star Wars universe have been reluctant to comment.
"Suspicious I was," says one source close to the droids, "but my place to interfere it was not." This wizened, green-skinned actor, who agreed to be interviewed on the condition that his name not be revealed, says that he witnessed the extent of Threepio's rage first hand on the set of 1980's The Empire Strikes Back. But, like so many others, this costar ignored the domestic violence occurring right in front of him.
"Regret it now I do," says this anonymous witness, bowing his tiny little puppet head in shame.
So the abuse was allowed to continue for years. A particular low point in the relationship between Artoo and Threepio came in 1983, when the two robots were filming an Underoos ad.
"This was right after [Return of the] Jedi. I don't know what it was that day," Artoo remembers, "but I kept missing my marks and blowing my cues. We were up to maybe the twentieth take when he [C-3PO] just snapped. 'You're fat!' he yelled. 'You're fat, and you can't act! I've been carrying you for years!' And he just laid into me. Bent my dome in three places. Broke my lens. I had never seen him that bad."
Why didn't Artoo fight back?
"Look at me," says the diminutive droid, clearly annoyed. "What am I going to fight him with, my legs? The minute I lift one of them up, I topple over. My only defense was to roll away from him, but half the time, we're in some goddamned desert. You try rolling on sand."
Communication was also a problem.
"My abuser was also my translator, which didn't help," says Artoo. "Can you believe that? It was that asshole's job to tell people what I said. To everyone else, it just sounded like a bunch of gibberish. But that gibberish was a cry for help."
Now that the truth is out there, Artoo has no intention of remaining silent.
The roly poly robot has moved out of Threepio's palatial Malbu home and into a modest apartment of his own in West Hollywood. And it is from there that he is plotting his new life.
Inspired by his pop culture idol, Tina Turner, and her best-selling abuse memoir, I, Tina, R2-D2 is also planning to write an autobiography to be called Me, Too, Detoo. Harper-Collins has expressed interest.
C-3PO refused to comment for this story.