Rogue One: 15 Things You Didn't Know About K-2SO

Rogue One A Star War Story - K-2SO Hot Toy rear view

Based on its first weekend in theaters, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has been a resounding success among most fans and critics. One of the most successful elements seems to be the latest lovable droid, K-2SO. But K-2 is lovable in a different way when compared to relatively friendly and innocent droids like C-3PO, R2-D2 and BB-8. As much as those droids have had their humorous moments, K-2 is downright hilarious, with a uniquely dry and disturbingly honest wit.

If you haven’t yet seen Rogue One and are okay with spoilers, you’ll learn some interesting things about the droid that we gleaned from watching the film and we've also got some behind the scenes details and trivia for those who've already seen the anthology movie.

As K-2 himself might say, there’s a 97.6% chance you’ll learn something new in this list of 15 Things You Didn’t Know About K-2SO.


Early concept art of K-2SO from Rogue One A Star Wars Story

It’s no secret that character designs, especially when it comes to Star Wars characters, have a tendency to change quite a bit from their initial concept sketches. So it’s no real surprise that K-2SO is no different. Entertainment Weekly recently released some fascinating images of what the droid could have looked like if they had gone with earlier sketches, and a lot of the ideas look quite familiar – very much, in fact, like C-3P0.

A couple of the designs look almost exactly like Threepio’s body, with the familiar circle on his torso and exposed wiring around his waist. One full sketch shows more exposed wiring than we’re used to seeing on a protocol droid and a head that’s similar in shape to Threepio’s, but with a straight line where his two eyes would normally be. Another group shot shows a version of K-2 with the protocol droid body but a different head with an antenna sticking out of it. Speaking of his head, EW also shows us a “head study” with seven different head options, none of which is the head they wound up with on the finished product.


Rogue One A Star War Story - K-2SO Hot Toy - Stromtroopers

Before he joined the Rebel Alliance, and, in turn, the Rogue One squad, K-2SO was an Imperial security droid. That’s right, he worked for the bad guys.

Specifically, he was a KX-series Security Droid (well, technically he still is in name-- and still wears the Imperial insignia on his shoulder, which allows him to get around Imperial forces). They were notable for being tall and lanky, but nevertheless quite strong. Their limbs are designed to be disproportionately long relative to their torsos and heads.

Not a lot is known about these long, lean fighting machines, but they could be seen wherever there was a heavy Imperial presence, whether in public or aboard Imperial starships or on bases. Their role seemed to be differentiated from stormtroopers in that they served more of a bodyguard duty, compared to the stormtroopers’ general soldiering duties. So this was K-2’s life before he came into the hands of Rebel Captain Cassian Andor, who reprogrammed him to serve his needs with the Rebel Alliance.


Rogue One - K-2SO poster

Presumably, your typical Imperial KX-series Security Droid follows orders and goes about its business without saying much. Certainly, they wouldn’t backtalk. Can you imagine Grand Moff Tarkin ordering one of those droids to guard a doorway and being met with some snarky comment like, “I’d really rather not. The odds of a Rebel barging through that doorway are one in 26 million, so there’s really no point.” That droid would wind up in the trash compactor.

However, when Cassian reprogrammed K-2, it somehow brought out a distinct personality in him. It made him say whatever he thinks, and apparently his thoughts are extremely sarcastic. Among the highlights of Rogue One was watching the Rebels react to his dry, sarcastic wit and one-liners.

When we’re first introduced to him, he knocks Jyn Erso to the ground and tells her, “Congratulations. You are being rescued. Please do not resist.” His free will also helps save Jyn and Cassian when he abandons his post on the ship to come and help them. And it's also reflected in director Gareth Edwards allowing actor Alan Tudyk to improvise on set.


Star Wars Rogue One - Jyn and K-2SO

K-2SO was voiced and played by cult favorite actor Alan Tudyk, known for his work in the Whedonverse and a lot of voice acting, in a motion-capture performance. You may have seen behind the scenes footage of other motion-capture performances, from Andy Serkis as Gollum in Lord of the Rings movies to Lupita Nyong’o in The Force Awakens. They’re often wearing body suits with weird gear on their heads and strange ping-pong-ball-type things all over their bodies.

Not quite so for Tudyk in this performance. He describes what he wore as “kind of a body panty” and he had to stand on stilts to boost him up to K-2’s full height of 7’1”. The technology the effects team developed for Rogue One provided him a little more comfort, aside from those foot-long stilts. Interestingly, Tudyk is uniquely qualified to play a motion-capture robot. He did the same as Sonny in the 2004 film I, Robot.


Anthony Daniels and C-3PO

Anthony Daniels made his name as C-3PO, the Star Wars universe’s original beloved humanoid droid. He played the gold robot in just about every appearance the protocol droid has made, from all eight movies to voicing him in many animated TV shows, and seemingly millions of other appearances across many types of media. The thing about playing Threepio, though, is that Daniels literally has to be bolted into the metal costume every day for filming.

When Tudyk spoke to Daniels about how he was performing K-2 through motion capture, without having to wear a cumbersome suit, Daniels’ response was, “You [expletive]!” Imagine having to sweat out long hours in that full-body suit, sometimes in deserts, over the course of nearly 40 years-- including at the age of 70 in Rogue One-- and then finding out there’s now technology that allows you to play a realistic-looking robot without walking around in your own personal sauna. We'd have some spicy language up our sleeves, too.


Alan Tudyk as Wash in Firefly

Well, the obvious Firefly/Serenity connection is Alan Tudyk, who starred as Hobun “Wash” Washburne in the beloved, but short-lived, TV series (2002-’03) and film (2005). Wash was the goofy, brave and highly-skilled pilot of the titular ship, Serenity. So it was surely not too much of a coincidence that his Rogue One character, K-2SO, was also a pilot. (Between this and the I, Robot connection, Tudyk really was born to play K-2.) As a pilot, both Wash and K-2 crashed ships.

That’s not the only connection between the two characters, though – and fair warning, there’s a Serenity spoiler here. When K-2 was trying to land the U-wing ship on Eadu, Bodhi Rook told him to "Bring it down now!" K-2 simply responded, "The wind," concerned about the gusts. This could very well be an allusion to Wash’s last words in Serenity. Earlier in the movie, he utters a quote said by Kamikaze pilots to calm their nerves: “I am a leaf on the wind, watch how I soar.” Just before he’s impaled by an enemy ship, he memorably says it again, but is killed just before he says the final word.


K-2SO and Chewbacca from Star Wars

K-2SO is very much an amalgam of a few familiar Original Trilogy characters. We’ll start with his similarities to Wookiee warrior and pilot Chewbacca. The most obvious would be that he’s a co-pilot. Just as Chewie was always next to Han Solo as the Millennium Falcon jumped to hyperspace, so, too,was K-2 next to Cassian aboard any ships they flew for the Rebel Alliance.

He’s also like our favorite Wookiee in that he’s a fierce warrior. Chewie could load up his bowcaster and pick off hordes of stormtroopers (or battle droids if you want to go back to his brief appearance in the prequels as well). Similarly, in Rogue One we saw K-2 destroy bands of stormtroopers, particularly toward the end of the film when he was alone in a control room, helping Jyn and Cassian transmit the Death Star plans. He mowed down trooper after trooper after they discovered him.


K-2SO and C-3PO from Star Wars

As we alluded to earlier, both C-3PO and K-2SO are humanoid droids – that is, both of their chassis have a head, torso, two arms, and two legs. That’s as opposed to other types of droids, like the garbage-can-shaped older astromechs (R2-D2) and the newer astromechs like BB-8, who are basically balls. So Threepio and Kaytoo share that physicality in common, but what else?

Odds! Both of those droids are constantly annoying everyone around them by explaining how likely or unlikely things are to happen, right down to the often depressing statistical odds. For example, he says, “There is a 97.6% chance of failure.” But there’s one memorable moment where K-2 doesn’t even bother with the actual numbers, instead using his trademark wry sense of humor to make his point. When Cassian lets Jyn keep her blaster, K-2 quips, “You’re letting her keep it? Would you like to know the probability of her using it against you? It’s high.”


K-2SO and R2-D2 from Star Wars

Obviously, K-2 looks in no way like R2, aside from the fact that they’re both useful droids made of metal and electronics. No, where these two cross paths is in their handiness. Of course, R2 doesn’t have hands, per se, but we’re talking about them being handy; their ability to fix things and make electronics do their bidding, often just in the nick of time.

It seems like we've seen it a thousand times; R2 extending a myriad of gadgets, from a saw to an electroshock prod to a utility arm, to help get his friends out of many jams. We can’t help but remember that Luke, Han, Chewie, and Leia would’ve been flattened into pancakes in that trash compactor if not for R2’s gadgets. In much the same way, K-2 was able to help out his friends with his amazing technical abilities and knowledge, including helping Jyn and Cassian to steal the Death Star plans and get them transmitted.


Cassian Andor Jyn Erso and K-2SO in Rogue One A Star Wars Story

The line, “I have a bad feeling about this,” and variations thereof, had been said in all seven of the previous Star Wars films. It’s one of the most iconic lines in a franchise of many iconic lines. So we couldn’t help but wonder if we’d hear it again in Rogue One. After all, we knew it was going to be a different kind of Star Wars film in a number of ways, including not having an opening scroll and not being scored by John Williams.

As it turns out, the first anthology film was different in this way as well, because it was both said and not really said.

That is to say, it wasn’t officially, fully said, but it was almost said. When the Rogue One squad was embarking on their climactic mission to retrieve the Death Star plans on Scarif, K-2, who as we know always says exactly what’s on his mind, said, “I have a bad feeling abou…” He was cut off by Cassian, who didn’t want to hear such pessimism, before he could officially say the line.


Viper probe droid in Star Wars Battlefront

Like all KX-series Security Droids, K-2SO was manufactured for the Empire by a droid-making company called Arakyd Industries. Not a whole lot is known about the company in canon, but it has previously appeared on an episode of Star Wars: Rebels called “Call to Action.” In it, we learn that Arakyd also created the Empire’s Viper probe droids, so they have a history with the bad guys. Viper droids, if you’re not familiar, are those droids the Empire deployed at the beginning of The Empire Strikes Back to search for the rebel base on Hoth, the ones with the circular heads and dangling limbs.

In canon, Arakyd produced four other droids for the Empire as well: the RA-7 protocol droid (a humanoid robot seen in both animated series and briefly in A New Hope), the ID9 seeker droid (similar to the Viper, seen in Rebels), internal systems probe droids (tiny little probes only mentioned in the short story “All Creatures Great and Small"), and the Separatist recon droid (also similar to the Viper, seen in The Clone Wars series).


Alan Tudyk as K-2SO in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Since droids are not organic and don’t require oxygen to breathe, it seems to stand to reason that they wouldn’t be too badly hurt, if at all, by being exposed to the vacuum of space. After all, we know that astromechs like R2-D2 don’t have a problem being exposed while serving as co-pilots for Rebel pilots in ships like X-wing and Y-wing fighters. Nevertheless, in one of his many amusing contributions to Rogue One, K-2SO felt the need to brag that he can survive out there in space.

While piloting a ship together with Cassian, the humans aboard talk about how disastrous their mission could potentially be, that if something goes wrong they’ll wind up thrust into the vacuum of space, where they would all die instantly. “Not me,” says K-2, plainly. “I can survive in space.” It’s not exactly what his friends needed to hear at that point, and so is proof that, as much as he says whatever he thinks, he needs to learn to read a room.


K-2SO and Jyn Erso in Rogue One A Star Wars Story

As much as his reprogramming made him less likely to obey every order he’s given, it also gave him the ability to think freely and decide who he likes and who he doesn’t like. And a big part of that is learning to be loyal to certain people who have been loyal to him. At the top of K-2’s loyalty list would be Cassian, since Cassian reprogrammed him and is always by his side. In fact, this is another way K-2 is like Chewbacca: he’s the Chewie to Cassian’s Han Solo.

But K-2 also learns to be loyal to Jyn Erso. At first he’s loyal to her only insomuch as he says he won’t kill her because Cassian said she’s to be viewed as their friend. He also says he’ll be there for her because, “the Captain said I had to.” But when Jyn jumps in front of a gun to protect him, everything changes. He doesn’t have any more snarky comments to make to her after that, seeming to be loyal not just because he’s been ordered to, but because he wants to.


K-2SO in Rogue One A Star Wars Story

Kaytoo is definitely hilarious when you watch him from the outside, as the audience. But he's not always the most enjoyable droid to be around if you're actually in his company. We all know someone whose first, and often only, gear is sarcasm. It can be funny at times but can quickly get a little tiring. When it's at your expense, it can be downright annoying.

This is how Jyn Erso views the former security droid early in their relationship. Kaytoo has violently shoved her to the ground and implied that he might have killed her had his boss not told him she was a friend. So, on the Rogue One squad's first mission, on their way to find Saw Gerrera on Jedha, things come to a head for Jyn and she hits the droid with some wit of her own at Kaytoo’s expense. She calls him “Target Practice,” implying that his best role on the mission would be to leave him behind to provide a target for the Empire, slowing down their pursuit of the rest of the squad.


Alan Tudyk as K-2SO in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

We have to return to that scene on Scarif when K-2 was helping Jyn and Cassian retrieve the Death Star plans, because it was truly awesome and heroic. Everything was going fine until the stormtroopers came knocking  and opened fire on the droid who had once fought for the Empire alongside them. As we mentioned before, K-2 showed he was a fierce warrior and a good shot, but he did get shot himself.

K-2 kept working after that first shot landed, despite the smoking hole in his torso. It didn’t seem to bother him at all, despite the fact that earlier in the film Jyn had shot another KX-series Security Droid who looked exactly like him. What happened to that droid? It went down after one shot. But not our K-2, who kept on ticking, helping his friends, fending off stormtroopers with his blaster, but still taking fire. Whether it was Rebel reinforcements or something about his reprogramming that made K-2SO so hard to take down, he made the ultimate sacrifice to help the Rebels.


Do you have any inside scoop on K-2SO? What are your favorite Kaytoo moments in Rogue One? Let us know in the comments!


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