Building Your Empire One Book at a Time


Graphic Novels
Novel Timeline
Young Adult Novels
Short Story Timeline
FREE Official Stories

In-Galaxy Reference
RPG Sourcebooks

Behind the Scenes
Unofficial Books

Other Media
Star Wars Audiobooks
Star Wars DVDs
Star Wars Magazines
Star Wars Sheet Music
Strategy Guides
Star Wars Games

Fun Stuff
Star Wars Interviews
Star Wars Articles

Author Biographies
Glossary of Terms
Star Wars Origins
FREE Star Wars Wallpaper

SW Book Zone
Contact Us
About Us
Site Map

Custom Search


One Piece at a Time
An Interview with Droid Builder Jerry Greene

By Kat
Staff Writer

June 24, 2010

Star Wars fans around the world know and love the astromech droid R2-D2. Fan Jerry Greene took his passion for Star Wars and affinity for droids one step further--he decided to build his own. From scratch.

Several years and several thousand dollars later Greene completed a walking, talking, full size astromech droid. His name is R2-R9. R2-R9 is the same in every way as R2-D2 except for his name and his red color scheme.

There were no kits, no drawings, and no parts in production when Greene set out to build his R2 unit. So how did he transform his dream into a reality? asked Greene a few questions to find out.

R2-D2 Meets R2-R9
Photo Credit: Jerry Greene (
The real ILM R2-D2 (left) meets R2-R9 (right) and Jerry Greene at Star Wars Celebration III in 2005

What inspired you to build your own astromech droid from scratch?
One day I was bored and came across the R2-D2 Builders Web site while surfing. My occupation is design and manufacturing. I said to myself, WOW this is something I could do! Imagine having a life size R2-D2 and it actually working like in the movies. Being a Star Wars collector, this was the ultimate collection piece!

When you started building R2-R9, how did you know where to begin?
At the time the R2-D2 Builders Club had just begun. There we're no drawings, no parts being made. So first step was to help get some drawings put together. I helped the founder of the Club get these going.

What was the most challenging part of the building process? How did you overcome it?
It had to be electrical. I was always scared of it. Maybe cause I had no knowledge of it. But there were so many helpful builders willing to share info and help. I slowly wired up my Droid. I blew up a few electrical components along the way.

How long did it take for you to build R2-R9?
It took several years to get him to the point I could drive him around. I got him completed just before Star Wars Celebration 3 in Indy [Indianapolis, Indiana]. It was there that I really learned how to drive him and interact with crowds. That was one of the best times using him.

How did you stay motivated along the way?
It was design. Sitting down and working on new ideas. Sharing those ideas with other builders and getting their reactions. Someone would make a suggestion. A change would be made and things would get improved. Soon you would actually have something that looked like a Droid. To see something grow from a idea to a drawing to an actual working item is the best feeling.

Do you call R2-R9 "him" or "it"?

Where has R2-R9 traveled and how do you transport him there?
I bought a mini van just before Celebration 3 just for the purpose of transporting him there. I needed a new vehicle, but he was the main cause. We needed to get to C3 and I needed the space for him. He fit perfect. R2-R9 has been around. All over the New England Area, Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Indianapolis, Baltimore and Los Angeles.

How do people react when they see R2-R9?
They love it. Even though he's not white and blue R2-D2, a rolling, talking life size Droid is cause for excitement! You get tons of questions and everyone wants to take a photo with him. Kids love it for what it is. Adults think its cool and want to know where I bought it. This is something people see in the movie, then to actually touch it and see it in person, WOW!

What's your favorite Star Wars character? Why?
Darth Vader. Who doesn't want to be a bad***

Any plans to build any more droids?
Another R2. There's always room for improvements and new technology.

What's next for R2-R9 and what's next for you?
R2-R9 now has another owner and lives in California. I'm working on another reincarnation of R2-R9 with updated designs.

A big thanks to Jerry Greene for taking the time to share his story with For more information, visit Jerry Greene's website

Back to Star Wars Interviews


© 2011 All rights reserved. This site is not affiliated with Lucasfilm Ltd.