When long-time R2-D2 performer Kenny Baker died last year, the Star Wars franchise quietly noted that actor Jimmy Vee—who worked without being credited on the character for Star Wars: The Force Awakens—would take over the role for the then-untitled Episode VIII. Now, Variety reports that Disney has made the casting official, with news coming that Vee will be the credited performer for the beloved droid in Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi. (R2 is largely created through CGI and remote control unit these days, but there are still scenes that require a human performer to control the suit.)
Vee’s past credits include a number of appearances on Doctor Who, as well as the 2015 film Pan. Vee released a statement today, praising Baker, who he worked with on the set of The Force Awakens: “Kenny was a fantastic actor and taught me all the ‘tricks’ on how he brought R2-D2 to life, which I will continue to portray in his honor. I’m so excited to be a part of the Star Wars universe and can’t wait for everyone to see what we’ve been working so hard on for the last year.” The Last Jedi arrives in theaters on December 15 of this year.