“Death is a natural part of life. Rejoice for those around you who transform into the Force.”
The wise words of Jedi master Yoda take on special meaning today following the news of the death of Tony Dyson, a behind-the-scenes icon within the Star Wars universe.
While his name might not be as recognizable as George Lucas or Harrison Ford’s, Dyson left his mark on Star Wars in the form of the franchise’s most beloved droid: Dyson built R2-D2.
Learn more about Dyson and his impact on Star Wars.
It’s sad news across the galaxy today after police found Tony Dyson dead in his home in Malta.
Neighbors hadn’t seen Dyson for several days, reports the Times of Malta, so officials wen to his residence to check in on him. No foul play is suspected at this time.
Best known for his role in building the original and lasting design of R2-D2, Dyson was 68 years old at the time of his passing.
Though R2-D2 was the brainchild of many individuals, Dyson was the man who gave the droid physical life.
Dyson owned The White Horse Toy Company in the 1970s when he was commissioned to build eight different versions of R2-D2. He would later say that his time working on Star Wars “was one of the most exciting periods of [his] life.”
The droid was originally designed by concept artist Ralph McQuarrie and acted by Kenny Baker, but it was Dyson who built four working versions of R2: two remote-controlled units for Kenny Baker and two units for the initial swamp scene on Dagobah.