The 50 Greatest Robots in Pop Culture History 25-1


23 Jan 2015

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Short Circuit's Johnny 5. Still taken from Short Circuit 2

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Technology has never been able to move as quickly as the imagination of storytellers and the history of every medium is loaded with a roster of wonderfully conceived robots of all shapes, sizes and functions.

Technology has never been able to move as quickly as the imagination of storytellers and the history of every medium is loaded with a roster of wonderfully conceived robots of all shapes, sizes and functions.

This fascination is easy to understand. The concept of the robot is so open-ended it leaves room for a limitless number of designs and concepts. But perhaps more interesting is that, ironically, robots are often used to cut through to a greater truth about humanity. Others, meanwhile, simply cater to our most primal urges by smashing everything in sight. Either way, these cyborgs, androids, drones and more, are a staple everyone’s pop-culture diet. 

Using an incredibly complex polling method, we’ve compiled a list of the 50 greatest robots in pop culture history, opening the floodgates to all sorts of suggestions, whether it be robots from films, TV series, cartoons, books, songs or actual fully functioning robots (there may be one or two iffy selections – no letters please).

Read entries No 50-26 here

Compiled by Declan Aylward, David Bolger, Seán Earley, Colm Gorey, Brogen Hayes, Carol Killeen, Niamh King, Ian Maleney, Jesse Melia, Rachael Murphy, Laura O’Brien, Jason Robinson, Stephen Rogers and Dean Van Nguyen

25. Linguo

As seen in: The Simpsons

Linguo was a shooting star amongst Simpsons characters, come and gone in a single episode but with his pedantic grammatical corrections forever burned into our brains. His appealed most obviously to the type of people who correct others’ use of ‘seen’ instead of ‘saw’, or ‘who’ instead of ‘whom’. Probably the most ingenious of all Lisa’s various science projects, Linguo’s brief life saw him get drunk, fight mobsters and die in the arms of Homer. It was a short but fulfilling existence. Let us never forget his dying words, as a single-thumbed Homer cradles him and says, “Linguo, dead?”, “Linguo is dead” came the final earthly croak. Long live Linguo. Ian Maleney

 

24. The Mars Rover

Created by: NASA

While Philae and Rosetta may be stealing the show with their recent comet landing, the Mars Curiosity rover has been traversing the surface of Mars since 2012 having travelled of a little over 56,000,000 km. Since then, just over two years later, the curious robot has travelled a lot less accruing 40km from its original landing site which means it now holds the record for the furthest distance travel by an artificial object on another celestial body, not taking into account potential far-flung alien life.

Its mission, which has been expanded indefinitely, is to determine whether the red, barren planet could have ever supported life and to determine what its climate is and was in preceding millions of years. At least for the public, we have the opportunity to view the surface of Mars, and even Curiosity itself, with its high-resolution which regularly sends back pictures of our nearest neighbour. Maybe future humans can thank it in person one day for its valiant efforts.” Colm Gorey

23. The Pink Robots

Created by: The Flaming Lips

I imagine the Pink Robots colouring is a ruse to lull us into a false sense of security. I mean, who sees pink and thinks danger? But you’re not going to get anywhere in your career as a giant world beating anime-style ‘megabot’ if you don’t have at least a few tricks up your sleeves. Do giant pink robots have sleeves? Anyway, we can only theorise why the titular Pink Robots of the Flaming Lips excellent 2002 song were attacking Earth, or Japan, or wherever. Whatever their reasons, Wayne Coyne seemed confident that a young girl named Yoshimi could defeat them, amply prepared as she was with a vigorous karate and vitamin taking regime. What did she know that we didn’t? We don’t really know how she got on either, the only evidence being the indecipherable screaming heard in the songs second part. Maybe she didn’t defeat those evil machines. Stephen Rogers

22. Metal Gear Rex

As seen in: Metal Gear Series

One of the Sony PlayStation’s most memorable and influential franchises is undoubtedly the Metal Gear series. What started as a fairly straightforward running and gunning platform game on the SNES has evolved into a cinematic, blockbuster gaming franchise that has lasted over 20 years. The one constant in this genre-bending saga is that at the end of our hero Solid Snake’s journey of stealth and intrigue, he must face off against the latest iteration of the menacing bipedal walking tank known as Metal Gear Rex. Equipped with nuclear warheads along with an array of other destructive weaponry, the different Metal Gears have almost always posed much the same threat. They would fall into the hands of fiendish terrorist types who wish to use its nuclear payload to commit fiendish terrorist acts such as enslaving the government or something equally reprehensible. Luckily, Snake would always find the machine’s weak spot and destroy the abomination so we can all sleep soundly tonight. Thanks Snake. Jesse Melia

21. ‘Intergalactic’ Robot

As seen in: The Beastie Boys’ video

The Beastie Boys’ finest MTV moment saw the trio manning a robot that battles a giant octopus-headed creature armed with a pitchfork. The video is a nod to the old Kaju movies, right down to the scenes of the fleeing Japanese, with the battle itself somewhat resembling an episode of The Power Rangers. We’re treated to what can only be described as a Ranger-like dance moves by the boys down below, while the robot happily dances on the streets, that have been abandoned by the terrified natives. When the fight ensues, our blocky hero overcomes early octopus dominance by flinging his enemy into a nearby power line. This won Best Hip Hop Video at the MTV Video Music Awards in 1998. Carol Killeen

20. T-1000

As seen in: Terminator 2: Judgment Day

Among the wide variety of robots, cyborgs and machines that appear on this list, the T-1000 remains a true original. So perfectly formed was James Cameron’s creation in Terminator 2: Judgment Day, that it remains no less jaw-dropping over 20 years later. In fact, no other filmmaker has dared attempt copy the concept, with Cameron and co’s execution proving so definitive.

Intended to be a sleeker, sports car-like design to Arnie’s panzer tank, the T-1000 is probably best remembered not for his ability to take on the appearance of his victims, turn his limbs into sharp, lethal weapons or apparent indestructibility, but for his sharp, quick sprinting motion. Both terrifying to those he pursues, as well as effective in catching some slower vehicles, it’s one of the series most iconic images. Dean Van Nguyen

19. Maria

As seen in: Metropolis

A cold emotionless face combined with the sexy curves of the female body, all encased in steel, Maria is one of cinema’s most iconic images. She was played by Brigitte Helm, who technically took on the dual roles of the robot (or Maschinenmensch) and the human on whom it was modelled, in Fritz Lang’s sci-fi masterpiece Metropolis.

Constructed for the personal gain of scientist Rotwang, who is locked in a bitter love triangle with Metropolis elite Freder over Maria’s affections, the robot is fashioned in her image with the ultimate goal of destroying Metropolis and murdering Freder. However, after being instilled with sentience, the Maschinenmensch soon turns on its creator à la Frankenstein’s Monster and runs amuck. Seán Earley

18. Sonny

As seen in: I, Robot

I, Robot protagonist Del Spooner (Will Smith) believes that Sonny killed his creator, thus breaking one of writer Isaac Asimov’s three laws of robotics; rules the writer apparently formed to provide interesting plot lines when broken. Sonny himself is an NS-5 unit, seemingly just one in a long production line of similar robots. However, he has very distinctive features, including reinforced body armor, a secondary brain that is not governed by the laws and the ability to dream. But it’s his likeable personality that makes Sonny a real charmer. You could even buy a replica of his head for your home that lights up when approached by an intruder. Truly, the people’s robot. Carol Killeen

17. Number Six

As seen in: Battlestar Galactica

When seventies TV series Battlestar Gallactica was re-imagined for the 21st century, several key changes were made, most notable of which was the enemy. No longer were the nefarious Cylons limited to a mechanical appearance, they were able to mimic actual humans in every physical detail. The creative forces behind the show clearly knew what their audience wanted as the humanoid Cylon that got the most screen time was the sleek, platinum blonde temptress known as Number Six. Any excuse to put her in scenes involving seduction, manipulation and, yes, sexual intercourse, was conceived by the show’s writing team. Regardless, Six is a genuinely great character whose moral complexity and memorable image was integral to the success of this brilliant sci-fi series. But yes, she was super hot and was clearly created to mentally ensnare alpha nerds like myself. It worked. Jesse Melia

16. Gerty

As seen in: Moon

Tasked with assisting Sam Bell on the Sarang Lunar Base as he extracts helium-3 from the soil for much-needed clean energy back on Earth, GERTY seems as insidious and potentially dangerous as HAL was in 2001: A Space Odyssey. But while he stirs up the audiences memories of the murderous HAL, he then promptly dispels our fears. Kevin Spacey’s vocal performance is clearly related to, if not inspired by, the soothing and calming tones of Kubrick’s design. But where HAL failed, GERTY triumphs. Here is a robot gifted with artificial intelligence that does not want to over throw the human race, instead empathising with Sam’s struggle and his fear and confusion and does all he can to help him. While any fictional artificial intelligence is going to be burdened with comparisons to HAL 9000, GERTY was clearly created in an attempt to embrace this, rather than fight to be free of it. And this is why the character works so well. Brogen Hayes

15. Kryten

As seen in: Red Dwarf

Kitchy robots have always been a part of cult sci-fi, and it doesn’t come more cult than Red Dwarf. Kryten, the robot butler rescued from a macabre pantomime of his own creation, is part C-3PO, part Hal from Malcolm in the Middle. Played by Robert Llewellyn, in the years before Scrap Heap Challenge claimed his soul, he brought his own brand of crazy to the table, with physical comedy and exaggerated doubletakes worthy of Fawlty Towers. Kryten has an earnest desire to serve humanity, even the miserable specimen that is Lister, the last human. His wilful glee in debasing himself to that end is hilarious, even as it can’t help but make us think about the concept of creating what amount to worshipful slaves from a rather uncomfortable angle. Declan Aylward

14. WALL-E

As seen in: WALL-E

By most yardsticks, WALL-E is an unlikely concept for an animated feature. Based around a lonely, old, disheveled robot on an isolated and abandoned Earth, if any studio other than Pixar received this idea, it would have died a quick and lonely death. Yet here the studio created a truly loveable, however unlikely, hero in the form of WALL-E (standing for “Waste Allocation Load Lifter- Earth Class”). A colourful, small yellow robot, with a binocular-type eyes that manage to convey both the happiness (during his time with his love, Eve) and worry (such as when he is nearly destroyed in a sandstorm) that comes his way.

WALL-E is both resilient and sweet, with a love of old films and a collector of knick-knacks on the abandoned planet he inhabits. That the robot doesn’t even speak actual words is testament to the depth and power his emotions and actions hold throughout the feature and the rare instance where an audience is rooting for a machine to find true love with his beloved other. Jason Robinson

13. Gort

As seen in: The Day the Earth Stood Still

One of the best known robots in movie history, Gort was completely indestructible and capable of destroying all life on Earth. Despite this, his mission in The Day the Earth Stood Still was to bring about world peace. This was carried out via the threat of global Armageddon.

Gort spent most of the film motionless, waiting outside his spaceship for his companion Klaatu. He was examined by the military but gave no indication that this upset him. This stillness is part of what makes Gort such a memorable robot; the lack of movement creates amazing suspense. That feeling of untapped raw power paid off at the climax of the film with perhaps science fictions best known line: “Klaatu. Borada. Nikto,” meaning roughly: don’t kill everybody in the world. David Bolger

12. Rosie

As seen in: The Jetsons

Rosie was always more than just a maid to the Jetson family. She was there to give advice when it was needed, and to roll her eyes when Judy Jetson professed that she was in love yet again. She generally had little to do with the storyline, (except in the episode she snags herself a robot boyfriend) but rather acted as the comic relief when things got in anyway serious. There was more to Rosie though than just the humour in her character, or the fact that she is oddly dressed in a little French maid’s outfit. She was like supporting wall that prevented our favourite space-age family from falling apart.

Rosie was ordered by the Jetsons from U-RENT A MAID when they needed a little help. They never looked back. Why would they? Who wouldn’t love to have a machine in your home that cleaned up after you, getting out the hover when the dog has rolled mud on the carpet and making sure you jeans are clean when you need them? As soon as you stop living at home you need something like that around. Rachael Murphy

11. Robby the Robot

As seen in: Forbidden Planet

An icon of science-fiction, Robbie was created for 1956 movie Forbidden Planet. The film was famously based on Shakespeare’s The Tempest, and Robbie himself was inspired by the powerful wood sprite Ariel. He was designed by the same man who gave us Lost in Space’s Robot B-9, but his greatness lies not just in his lineage, but in what he did afterwards. Unlike most robots in film and television, Robbie went on to have an amazing career spanning 30 years and appeared in a string of successful movies (Gremlins, Earth Girls Are Easy, Star Wars: Episode I) and television shows (Lost in Space, The Twilight Zone, The Love Boat). If you thought “robot” in the sixties, odds are you’re thinking of Robby. David Bolger

10. AWESOM-O

As seen in: South Park

The AWESOM-O 4000 is the robotic alter-ego of one Eric Cartman. A creation that only Cartman could surely have envisaged. Hardly a fully functioning robot, AWESOM-O is no more than young Eric in a cardboard suit, speaking in a robotic voice. It’s more than enough to fool South Park simpleton, Butters Scotch, and Cartman hopes to utilise his devious costume to glean embarrassing information about Butters by becoming his dream companion: a robot friend.

In gaining his victim’s trust however, AWESOM-O discovers that Butters has some blackmailing material of his own to use against Eric, in the form of an incriminating videotape, forcing Cartman to maintain the charade in order to obtain the tape. During his time spent with Butters, AWESOM-O helps him insert anal suppositories, inspires a ragtime ode entitled ‘My Robot Friend’ and accompanies him a trip to Los Angeles to visit his aunt. It’s on this trip that the robot attracts the attention of a Hollywood studio, faces the perils of the casting couch and is captured by the US Military for research purposes.

In short AWESOM-O is the definition of a joke going too far, backfiring, but being in too deep to do anything about stopping it. He has no cool powers or fancy technological wang-dangs, but hey, he had us in hysterics. Reason enough for his inclusion. Seán Earley

09. Optimus Prime

As seen in: Transformers

I’m sorry, what was that? You were the one little boy growing up in the eighties who didn’t think transforming robots were frickin’ deadly? Well, that must mean you are a figment of my imagination, because you don’t exist. Quite simply, Transformers took everything any little boy could want in a Saturday morning cartoon/toy and rolled it all up into one. Big and badass vehicles of all descriptions? Check. Robots. Check. Aliens. Check. Intergalactic laser battles over the resource Energon that was actually a metaphor for oil based conflicts in the Middle East… Ok so maybe not the metaphor bit, but definitely the rest.

Optimus Prime was the fearless leader of the Autobots (the goodies), tirelessly battling the Decepticons (the baddies) week after week, with virtue, and honour, and a baritone voice I prayed would be mine when puberty hit. And his name! Think about that name! OPTIMUS PRIME. Optimus – the best. Prime – the first. C’mon people, what more does a name need to say about you? As awful as those movies were I still got goose bumps seeing him transform on the big screen for the first time. Then in the second flick he took on four Decepticons single handed and was bested in one devastatingly emotional scene. No, I didn’t have something in my eye. That was a tear. A manly tear. Roll out! Stephen Rogers

08. Robot B-9

As seen in: Lost in Space

All too frequently in classic science fiction, robots are portrayed as baddies: perfect soldiers, focused killers, emotionless tyrants. Countering this negativity, the accordion-armed robot from the classic series Lost in Space is entirely good. His concern lies almost solely in preventing his human companions from coming to harm. In fact, he is so benign that his creators beat Star Trek by almost 50 years and built it into his designation: “Robot B-9.”

Likable and benevolent, B-9 is one of the all-time most famous robots in television history. Repeating one of the most memorable catchphrases in television history every week, the robot protected the space family Robinson as they travelled the galaxy, warning of hidden danger on every planet. In fact, he often seemed to do little else. It was his personality rather than his abilities which made the character memorable. Although technically advanced and fantastically complex, the robot was also capable of expressing human emotions. He was frequently shown laughing at the crew, especially Dr Smith who referred to him as a "bubble-headed booby", and a "ludicrous lump" among other things. For many people, it was Smith’s relationship with the Robot which defined the show and made it a classic. David Bolger

07. HAL

As seen in: 2001: A Space Odyssey

HAL (Heuristically programmed Algorithmic Computer) is the sentient computer onboard the Discovery One Spaceship from Stanley Kubrick’s classic movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. HAL speaks with a conversational, polite tone and seems to take pride in his work – betraying the fact that the computer may, in fact, be more than just a computer, having developed genuine emotions and a form of artificial intelligence.

HAL has become synonymous with our fears about the rise of A.I. He insists that a fault in the spaceship is due to human error, before attempting to murder it’s crew by terminating the life support systems and attacking the crewmember that tries to identify the problem. HAL does this in the name of self-preservation, to avoid being deactivated.

This level of artificial Intelligence is a quality that, thankfully, does not exist in our modern technology. While many of us state how reliant we are on our iPhones, BlackBerrys or similar, if they started demonstrating emotions, manipulating us and preserving themselves from being replaced or shut down, we would run, screaming, for the hills. Although many people would argue this is already happening in a very subtle and insidious manner, with our utter dependence on technology that did not exist 10 years ago, until our iPhones start talking to us in creepily, soothing tones like HAL, we can presume we are safe. But maybe that’s what they want us to believe… Brogen Hayes

06. The Terminator

As seen in: The Terminator

“Listen, and understand. That Terminator is out there. It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead.” Those were the cautionary words of Kyle Reese, which served as a perfect introduction and summation of one of sci-fi’s greatest and scariest villains. And if there’s one thing watching the Terminator films has taught me it’s that Kyle Reese knows what he’s talking about and you’d be damn smart to listen to him.

The Cyberdyne Systems Model 101, if you want to get technical (and I do), was terrifying in the first Terminator film because of all the reasons Reese gave and then some. What I think makes the T-101 a truly great character however is that after becoming one of sci-fi’s most iconic villains in 1984, Arnold Schwarzenegger returned to the role in the 1991 sequel and created one of the genre’s best and most enduring heroes by being a slightly softened version of same thing. Having a character switch sides morally or literally is a risky prospect in storytelling at the best of times, but the Terminator managed to be the ultimate murderous bad guy initially and in the next instance be the valiant protector, father figure, and martyr only to be loved even more. This is why The Terminator is a pure and true icon of cinema. Stephen Rogers

05. Johnny 5

As seen in: Short Circuit

Ah, the eighties. When runners were boots, jumpers were huge and the most advanced piece of technology we could imagine looked rather like Meccano mounted on a remote control car. In a way, it’s that retro harking back to a time before Steve Jobs and Apple managed to convince us that every iRobot worth its malware has to be shiny and white that keeps all of us in love with Johnny 5.

The tale of Number 5 (as he is known in the first Short Circuit movie) has more in common with ET than the Terminator. Future Governor Arnie may have begun stomping about the 20th Century a couple of years before but we still hadn’t been hard-wired to distrust intelligent robots on sight just yet. When Ally Sheedy finds him hiding out in her van it’s all delightful misunderstandings and adventure; even his Cylon voiced evil brothers wind up as Larry, Curly and Moe, hardly the sight to inspire dread of the robotic menace. 

The world (or the USA at least) had a bigger menace in those days anyway: the Ruskies. In the midst of cold war paranoia movies like Red Dawn and Invasion USA, Johnny 5’s cheery fascination with the world told us all to stop and smell the roses, even as his high-tech construction subtly reminded everybody of the superiority of western technology. In the end though, all that really sticks with us is the image of Johnny 5 chasing happily after a butterfly and the robot’s earnest message to an anxious and materially obsessed decade: Life is not a malfunction. Declan Aylward

04. Marvin the Paranoid Android

As seen in: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

What makes movie and TV robots so dangerous is that they are full of data and information about life, the universe and everything in it, yet their artificial intelligence is accompanied by a stone cold lack of emotion. They know everything but care about nothing. No wonder they try to destroy the planet even 10 minutes.

Marvin from the book The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (as well as it’s TV and film adaptations) does not lack emotion. In fact, he’s is infested with it. Marvin is the robot embodiment of the human condition. He gets how people think and, more importantly, how they feel. He just doesn’t care very much. As the most depressed robot in history, Marvin's motto is that life, and his position in it, suck. After all, anyone with a brain the size of a planet who is asked to do nothing but menial tasks, unworthy of his great acumen, would get kind of bored.

Marvin is the failed prototype of Sirius Cybernetics GPP (Genuine People Personalities) programme and due to unresolved flaws in his programming he is stuck with the intelligence to do great things but the will and drive to do very little. He is a good guy to have around when you are in a bad mood because no matter how bad you feel you know he is going to be more down than you are. I think that is why we love him. He has a hard time of it and no other robot knows, or could know, what it is like to be that under appreciated. So we’re appreciating him. He needs the love. Rachael Murphy

03. Bishop

As seen in: Aliens

Bishop will no doubt remain a polarising figure, both within the narrative of the Alien saga, and in how viewers approach the character after viewing both Aliens and Alien 3. Played by Lance Henriksen who, much to his misfortune, looks like a slimy, second-car salesman, Bishop is an android ‘The Company’ send along with the crew of high-tech colonial marines as they return to LV-425, the site of Ripley’s first encounter with the infamous Alien creatures. Indeed, his appearance of deviousness, and the unease which Ripley engages him, points to the multi-faceted nature of his place within the series. Claiming to adhere steadfastly to the first rule Isaac Asimov sets out for Robots (never to injure or harm humans), Bishop is a robot the audience is never entirely sure of, and indeed, countless fans have speculated on how entirely benign his actions in Aliens truly were compared to his ‘changed’ nature in Alien 3. The implication, as Ripley strains to withhold saying, is that Bishop was indeed complicit in the laying of the Alien eggs.

The positing of Bishop as an android, (although he himself states: “I prefer the term ‘Artificial Person’ myself”) adds to the unease as he displays human emotions and engagements, but with a precision the viewer knows only a robot could possess. As robots go, he’s is a tricky customer, but on account of saving Ripley’s life, I think we’ll have to give him the benefit of the doubt. Jason Robinson

02. Bender

As seen in: Futureama

Hard drinking, cigar-chomping and more foulmouthed than a drunken Mel Gibson, Bender is perhaps the best loved character in Futurama. He is certainly the show’s greatest breakout character, having appeared not only in The Simpsons, but also having a background cameo in Family Guy.

Built in Mexico by his industrial robot mother, Bender’s full name is Bender Bending Rodriquez, and he is alternatively 40pc titanium, lead, zinc, dolomite, chromium and osmium. Bender requires near constant intake of alcohol to recharge his power source but probably drinks more than is necessary. Underneath it all though he just wants to be loved and struggles with feelings for humanity, alternating between expressing fondness for his friends to declaring his intention to kill all humans. Perhaps the best example of Bender’s nihilistic nature comes when a bomb is planted inside him, set to detonate if he says a certain word. His reaction is to start listing words at random in the hope of setting it off. Despite being created as a mere bending unit, Bender is able to turn his hand to anything; from folk music to cooking to being a god, with the last being the only job suitable to his huge ego.

One interesting aspect of Bender is his age. Although he is built only two years before the show’s pilot, in season three he travels back in time to 1947. His head is left behind in the desert as the ship departs, where it waits the intervening 1,055 years for rescue. Subsequently, in 'Bender’s Big Score', he travels back 955 years to kill Fry. There, he waits the same amount of time before arriving in the “present” at the climax of the episode. As of this latest season, Bender’s head is over 2,000 years old, and his body (and ass) almost half that. David Bolger

01. R2-D2

As seen in: Star Wars

At a glance, R2-D2 is an unremarkable robot. Gliding around on little wheels, making gentle beeps and squeaks that somehow people can understand, he seems like an unlikely candidate to top this poll. Yet, when you think about it, no other machine comes close. Over the years hundreds of different robots have appeared in popular culture. They’ve been servants, overlords, invaders; the list goes on and on. Yet R2-D2 stands alone at the top of the pile. A robot who is, quite simply, a friend. A mildly snarky, but undeniably lovable, friend.

While most robots have multiple functions R2-D2, for the most part, wasn’t capable of much more than just wandering around, getting into peril and hacking the occasional mainframe. The prequel trilogy tried to imbue him with incredibly random extra abilities such a highly convenient mini saw which I found diluted his charm somewhat. After all, this is a robot that has always been greater than the sum of its parts. He’ll journey with you to distant planets, he can pass important messages, serve drinks if needs be; he is there for you.

Regardless of the more recent changes, since the original Star Wars R2 has become deeply rooted in every generation’s subconscious since. Any one of his trademark sounds, like his nervous squeak, or his playful whistle will instantly stir the inner child within most of us. Really, when you think about it, he is quite the pop culture heavyweight. Star Wars has spread its influence over movies, music, books, video games… there really is no part of the world of entertainment that it hasn’t touched, and if I had to choose a character from this gargantuan media empire to represent it, it would be R2-D2, standing in some desolate desert wasteland, staring at you indifferently. Darth Vader may have been tall, dark and menacing, Luke Skywalker may have been the main character, Han Solo may have been Harrison Ford, but R2-D2 is the face of Star Wars and in a way, that makes him the face of popular film, which is funny because he’s just a robot that can’t really do much apart from prodding you with his unnecessary electric baton thing that he has inside himself somewhere. Jesse Melia

A version of this article originally appeared in One More Robot.