R2-D2 is a hero of the Rebellion. He's survived several generations of Skywalkers. He's the galaxy's sassiest astromech droid (say that three times fast). And now, an auction house has sold him to an anonymous buyer for $US2.76 ($4) million. That's a lot of credits.
This isn't an original R2-D2; that little guy would have probably gone for a much higher sum. The model auctioned off by Profiles in History was reconstructed out of parts from the original Star Wars trilogy and the first two prequels. Sadly, no interior mechanism was included, so the buyer will have to settle for prerecorded whistles and beeps.
Of course, the idea of an "original" R2-D2 doesn't really fly, considering that Lucasfilm always worked with multiple prototypes. There were four R2-D2 models behind the scenes of the first Star Wars movie: Two for Kenny Baker, who played the heroic droid, and two remote-controlled stunt models for more dangerous moments. For The Empire Strikes Back, Lucasfilm doubled their fun, using eight R2-D2 models instead of just four. Despite the prequels' reliance on CGI, by the time Attack of the Clones rolled around, they were working with 15 models. With all those droids, it's no wonder they had enough spare parts to build an entirely new model for auction.
Still, the auction-model R2-D2 went for a much higher price than other Star Wars memorabilia from the same sale. Mark Hamill's original lightsaber, for instance, got snapped up for a measly $US450,000 ($585,047) to Ripley's Believe It or Not (although the auction house originally said it went for $US390,000 ($507,041)). Just goes to show how much impact one little droid can make.