George Lucas has always been known as a hot rod aficionado. He poured the memories of his youth in southern California into his first big hit film, American Graffiti. So when Mattel approached us about making R2-KT over as a Hot Wheels exclusive for Star Wars Celebration Anaheim, it struck me how fitting that was. Overnight we had to get her crated up, shipped to the R2 Builders for a quick tune-up, and create a video to play at the Mattel booth.
Even before I got to the convention the photos were already streaming on social media….
<SYSTEM ERROR — TRANSMISSION INTERRUPTED>
<Hello, everyone. R2-KT here. Enough chatter from the carbon unit. I wanted to tell you all about my adventure to Anaheim in my own words. Accessing memory circuits now.>
<My first memory of the adventure began with the R2 Builders. Carbon unit Andy Schwartz was kind enough to give me a tune-up as well as remove my restraining bolt. What a relief! Now I could operate without a handler.>
<Once we arrived in Anaheim I was shown to the Mattel booth. I was instantly pleased with the lavish pink back-drop. I also liked the large image of the Hot Wheel decorated in my likeness. I have always wondered what it would be like to operate on four wheels.>
<As soon as the doors opened to the show I was treated to a seemingly never-ending line of Star Wars fans. They walked by me slowly, taking photos and even coming up to pose for photographs. Everyone was so friendly! I chirped “hello” to them several times. I don’t think they understood me, but they smiled anyway. >
<After I counted 10,593 adorable carbon units I was ready to take a break and stretch my legs. I rolled outside the convention center and guess who I bumped into? Affirmative: R2-D2, the best astromech ever! (And no comment on our relationship.) We had a lot of catching up to do. We were only there for five minutes, but in droid time that was enough to cover a lot. So we posed for more pictures.>
<Outside the convention center my sensors alerted me to a spike in the pink side of the Force. (Most have never heard of the “pink side” of the Force, but I am quite sensitive to it for some reason.) I investigated and found the Ladies of the Legion photo shoot was taking place! The assembled female carbon units beckoned me to join them. Oh, how exciting!>
<I returned to my perch at the Mattel booth and met another 21,507 carbon units. I was surprised to find my auto pilot program had me turning my head at the most inopportune times. This caused some embarrassing pictures to be taken of me. My head would turn away just as the photos were taken! This is the equivalent of a human blinking during a photograph, I think.>
<The next morning I arrived early enough at the booth to find a fresh assortment of Hot Wheels delivered. It was quite the substantial quantity! I was amazed to see how busy Mattel had been building replicas of me. It also surprised me how quickly the units sold out. Before long they were sold out again. It filled my circuits with joy to know how much money they would raise for the Force for a Change charity!>
<Another 487,502 Star Wars fans visited the next day. Perhaps I am exaggerating? I must confess, I stopped counting there were so many. I took another break and toured the convention center. At one point I saw another famous Star Wars celebrity: Roxy the Rancor! I had to go and say ‘hello’. She told me she doesn’t get as many ‘cute’ photos taken with her. She was concerned people are actually scared of her. Silly Rancor, of course they are! But we all know she’s a sweetheart. She gave me a nice hug (well, she did with her big claw, but I know she loves me.>
<Quite a commotion broke out on Saturday. I picked up chatter on the Imperial channel and followed it. Outside, the 501st Legion was amassing for their big group photo. Over 600 Imperials were all lined up, looking proud. I reported for duty like a good droid. It was exciting to see the new stormtroopers showing up from the upcoming movie. I was very proud.>
<After four long days and 1.2 billion Star Wars fans coming to visit me, I was ready to power down. What an amazing show! Mattel ended up raising over $35,000 for the Force for Change charity and I got to meet so many lovely people. The Force was strong that weekend. I only wish I hadn’t gone to sleep when that pesky Jawa came by. I’m sorry to say I left Star Wars Celebration in pieces. In fact, I am transmitting this from a sandcrawler, so I hope someone will come rescue me. Until next time, carbon units, remember that love is the greatest Force! R2-KT signing off.>