This is R2-KT, an astromech droid with a strong resemblance to R2-D2. But R2-KT (sometimes referred to as "Katie") isn't just any droid. She has a very special backstory that involves a very sick little girl and her loving father.
This is Katie Johnson, a little girl who loved riddles, Lord of the Rings and (of course) Star Wars.
In 2004, Katie was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor and given only months to live. Her dad Albin wanted to do something special for his little girl, so he decided to create a brand new droid to watch over her while she slept.
As it turns out, Albin is the founder of the 501st Legion, "a worldwide Star Wars costuming organization," so he had a lot of friends who were willing to help him with his touching project. Thus, the idea for R2-KT was born!
In 2005, Albin asked the R2 Builders Group for help in making his dream a reality. Knowing time was short, one of the group members named Andy Schwartz generously donated his own droid (complete with a pink paint job!) to the cause.
However, Albin Johnson recently received news that R2-KT will be taking on her biggest movie role yet. It has now been confirmed that R2-KT will appear in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, released later this month. We can't wait to catch a glimpse of our favorite pink droid!
You can follow R2-KT's adventures online at r2kt.com, and by following the #R2KT hashtag on Twitter.
The 501st Legion has actually done a lot for people in need. Earlier this year, they donated custom-made StormTrooper armor to a little girl named Layla who was teased mercilessly for liking Star Wars and other "boy" things. Layla also got to meet Weird Al Yankovich at a concert where members of the 501st Legion were performing on stage.
Also earlier this year, Kevin Doyle (another member of the 501st) completed a walk from San Francisco to San Diego (and back) in his Stormtrooper armor in order to raise money for a nonprofit he started to honor his wife Eileen, who passed away from cancer in 2012 You can still donate to this worthy project here.
In December of 2013, Matthew Tillyer lost the ability to walk due to complications from a lung infection that left him paralyzed below the neck. Matthew decided to make his wheelchair one-of-a-kind by making it into a TIE Fighter. Once again, the 501st Legion stepped up to help, and pulled together a TIE Fighter Pilot costume. You can follow Matthew's story on Facebook here.