$20,000 Star Wars 'Astro-Droid' appears in Carbondale - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

$20,000 Star Wars 'Astro-Droid' appears in Carbondale

R2N3 replica in University Mall (Source: Loreto Cruz, KFVS) R2N3 replica in University Mall (Source: Loreto Cruz, KFVS)

A life-sized replica of one of the “Astro-Droids” of the Star Wars franchise made a surprise appearance in Carbondale, Illinois as movie goers waited in line.

Folks began lining up outside the AMC Theater in University Mall as early as 6:50 a.m. on the morning before the seventh installment of the series was scheduled to open in theaters.

Several hours later, Star Wars enthusiast James Choklos piloted a full-sized replica of “R2N3” into the lobby.

The droid is similar in appearance to the more well-recognized “R2-D2” unit which appeared in all six previous installments of the franchise.

“N3 is green, D2 is blue,” Choklos explained. “You can see [R2N3] in Episode I for a second just before he gets blown up, right after R2D2 is introduced.”

Choklos said the remote-controlled droid took 10 years, and $20,000 to construct.

“I do it for the love of the characters and the love of the movies,” Choklos said at the theater on Thursday. "[The hobby] has opened me up to the community. I like working with the kids… both adult and small sized.”

 “It came out when I was four, so, it’s been a part of my life for my whole life,” said Christopher Parr, who was the first person in line for the 7 p.m. showing on Thursday. “I have been the first line for the last three Star Wars to premiere at this mall and I wanted to continue that, for bragging rights, I suppose.”

Choklos’s version of R2N3 makes regular appearances at conventions and builder competitions hosted by the “R2D2 Builders Club” of St. Louis, Missouri.

“What I’d like to do as well, is take them to children’s hospitals and mingle with folks,” Choklos explained. “People really light up when they see him.”

Choklos plans to build a working replica an orange droid debuted in the latest film, known as “BB-8.”

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