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Star Wars Rogue One
by yo go re

Droid naming conventions are weird. Like, you've got R2-D2, who's part of the R2 series, but then you've got C-3PO, who's part of the 3PO series (and similarly, there are R5s and 3PXs). So can you guess what line K-2SO comes from? Why, naturally, it's the KX-series! Yeah, that makes sense.

A reprogrammed Imperial security droid now loyal to the Alliance, K-2SO is an alarming sight standing within a secret Rebel base. The pragmatic droid is an effective insertion agent, as he can blend in perfectly at Imperial installations and outposts.

That, right there, underscores the biggest problem with K-2. K-2SO was a really fun part of Rogue One, but the idea is that he's supposed to be an Imperial enforcer droid, right? So whenever anyone sees him, their first reaction is that he's a villain. Why, then, did the movie make him a brand new design we'd never seen before? His appearance means nothing to us. Make him a Death Star Droid or one of Clone Wars' Tactical Droids or anything we as an audience will recognize and have a visceral reaction to. Have you read the Aftermath novels? You know how people react to Mr. Bones? That's what seeing K-2SO should have been like. Instead, we only know him as our friend.

Which isn't to say they didn't at least try to make him look sinister. His head is vaguely skeletal, being a hemispherical bulb on top, with a narrow vocabular hanging beneath. The sunken white eyes seem to take a cue from the Commando Droids, though that's just a passing connection. The point is, the Empire didn't try to make him look comforting at all.

Heck, it barely tried to make him look human at all. Sure, he's got two arms and two legs, but the proportions are cuckoo-bananas. The toy stands more than 7¼" tall, and about 4½" of that is in the legs. His arms, meanwhile, reach all the way down to his knees, and the forearms are about twice as long as his upper arms. There are several nods to Imperial design on the body, such as the chest plate looking like the ones worn by AT-AT drivers, or the shape of his shoulder cuffs matching the lower edge of a Hoth probe droid. You definitely get a feel for which side of the conflict built him, but still: he's a new design lacking the emotional baggage the character should have had.

But hey, at least the toy looks good. It's molded from dark grey plastic, suiting the base color of the robot. His joints are silver, and there's a little bit of silver paint serving as weathering on the high points of the body. Thin lines of orange are painted around the hip and shoulder joints, but those can get kind of uneven - give them a once-over before you buy, if possible. He has Imperial logos tampoed on his shoulders, and a few tiny spots of color on the various buttons scattered around his body.

K-2SO was played by Alan Tudyk, who's really got a talent for being invisible in Disney movies, hasn't he? King Candy, the Duke of Weselton, Duke Weaselton, the scientist guy in Big Hero 6, the chicken in Moana, a pterodactyl in The Good Dinosaur... he just needs to pop up in a Marvel movie to complete the collection. And not one of them sounds remotely like Wash. You never know it's Tudyk until the credits roll, and K-2 is no exception. Anyway, Tudyk did the motion capture live on set, rather than just providing the voice later (*cough cough*), wearing 13" stilts to boost him up above the rest of the cast.

Since the droid is designed with a slight hunch, Tudyk had to be sure to stand very straight, lest his own bad posture end up making K-2 double over. The figure's articulation is on par with the rest of The Black Series, adapted to his mechanical body: rocker feet and swivel ankles, swivel/hinge/swivel knees, double-balljointed hips (one in the top of the thigh, one up against the body), a balljointed torso, swivel/hinge wrists, elbows, and shoulders, and balljoints at both the top and bottom of his neck. The hips and ankles are stiff, but that will just help him stand. The interior of the joints is made of clear plastic, so we really hope those don't break.

Rogue One was a fun movie, and immediately makes you want to watch Episode IV as soon as you finish it. The entire crew of heroes were good additions to the Star Wars legacy, but K-2SO is the clear standout. That's probably why his figure is harder to find than many of the others. And sure, Alan Tudyk is contracted for multiple movies, so maybe this mold will show up again in the future, by why wait? Get him now, if you can find him.

-- 03/12/17

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