30 Nov 2015 4:16 AM +00:00 UTC

R2-KT To Make Live-Action Debut in Star Wars: The Force Awakens

​BB-8 isn't the only droid that's about to make its live-action debut in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. R2-KT, the pink version of R2-D2, will also appear in the movie!

Back in November 2004, Albin Johnson, the founder of the 501st Legion (a Star Wars fan club focused on doing charity work in-costume), was informed by doctors that his daughter Katie had an inoperable brain tumor. While being treated, the family went to church, and on one occasion, Albin took it as a sign that one of the church's windows was shaped like an R2 droid. That's when the idea formed to get an R2 droid built to watch over Katie while she slept, like what R2-D2 did with Padme in Attack of the Clones. And that's how R2-KT was born.

In April 2005, Albin contacted R2 Builders Group and told them about his goal of getting a droid built for his dying daughter. The Star Wars fan club, led by Jerry Greene, did what they could to make Albin's dream a reality. Since the process took some time and Katie's condition was worsening, "one of the members of the group named Andy Schwartz generously shipped his R2 unit down to Katie's home, complete with a pink makeover." Katie greeted her new companion with a bear hug and a smile.

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In August 2005, Katie's cancer took over, and she passed away in her sleep. Nearly a year later, R2-KT was made. Since then, Albin has honored his daughter's memory by using the pink droid as a beacon of hope. He ha brought R2-KT to various charity events, to visit children hospitals and Star Wars events across the states.

Their story was so inspiring to the Star Wars community that in 2007, Hasbro created an R2-KT action figure that they showed on Comic-Con. The droid also made a cameo in the Star Wars: Clone Wars film.

Now, Albin has announced that R2-KT will make its live-action debut in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. "Mary Franklin of Lucasfilm asked me to pitch the idea to Kathleen Kennedy (Lucasfilm President), and after hearing the story of our pink ambassador of hope Lucasfilm requested we ship her off to London early last year," Johnson said (mygeeksnews). Quick repairs were made and off she went for six months."

The Force Awakens stars Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong'o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew and Max Von Sydow. Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams and Bryan Burk are producing with Tommy Harper and Jason McGatlin serving as executive producers. The screenplay is by Lawrence Kasdan & J.J. Abrams and Michael Arndt.

The film will be released U.S. theaters on Dec. 18.