Today R2 got to be on the Queen Latifah Show with Chopper! The segment was taped on Tuesday, September 30, 2014 and it aired today (2 days later). The appearance was authorized by Disney/Lucasfilm.
Michael McMaster and I teamed up have the droids help escort Star Wars Rebels voice cast member Freddie Prinze Jr. onstage.
I arrived at 8:30am after fighting 2 hours of traffic. As bad as that was, poor Michael McMaster was fighting cold symptoms, and driving from north of Bakersfield(!).
I arrived first, and was shown to R2 and Chopper's dressing room.
It wasn't huge, but it had its own snacks and bathroom (yea).
I was then escorted on set, which was absolutely huge, to prepare for a rehearsal.
As I waited, I got to watch the band Big and Rich rehearse one of their songs.
We did a few runs of R2's entrance from the tunnel, with the fog machine turned on. On some of the runs there was so much fog I could not see R2 at all!
I also got to watch Queen Latifah rehearse her monologue and some guest intros. And no, we did not end up meeting her (although we came close).
Yea! Michael McMaster and Chopper arrived from their endless journey! We got to rehearse together.
We had a lunch break from around 11:00pm-12:00pm, with the taping set to start around 1:00pm. Around 12:45 the audience arrived and took their seats.
They started the show just a little late, maybe 1:15pm or so. Michael and I watched from the right of the stage (as you face the stage), as our segment wasn't until around the 2/3 mark in the show.
Queen Latifah came out and did a little monologue/joke routine, some of which was cut from the broadcast for time. Next, Tom Arnold came on for a couple segments, followed by female football cornerback Shelby Osborne.
Next up was us! Michael and I were stationed just to the left of center stage, behind a steady-cam operator. You can actually catch glimpse of us in the wide stage shot (if you know where to look; we're all in black). Chopper lead the procession, followed by R2, followed by Freddie Prinze Jr. The droids stopped to "chat" with Queen Latifah and Freddie, and then made their way off to the right. Hopefully this Youtube link will persist; sorry an ad might play:
(R2's beeps were played over the house speakers, I was not playing them.)
As we operated the droids, we had to walk backwards and diagonally to stay out of other cameras' sight-lines as much as possible. It was a bit of a juggling act, but I'd say we pulled it off.
Once Queen Latifah said goodbye to the droids, we drove them off to the right, and parked them beyond Camera 3 (that was our direction, so that's how I'm describing it). Then, Michael and I had to exit the stage, go around the area behind the audience, and emerge on the other side, in order to have the droids make their cameo. As they went to commercial break, the droids came back out on stage to do their thing while Freddie and Queen Latifah lightsaber-dueled.
And then we were done! Phew. Michael said he was going to get going to get something to eat now, and I replied I was going to throw up now. :)
We watched the rest of the show from the right of the stage, and saw Big and Rich play. They played two songs, but again, one was cut from the broadcast due to the show running long.
And after the show, it was pics, pics, pics, as always. The guys from Big and Rich loved the droids.
A staff member took some video of R2 doing his Cantina Dance.
We retreated back to the dressing room, and I got one last pic while Michael fetched his car.
At last we were done, and loaded up our cars for the long drive home.
We had a great time, and were very grateful for the opportunity.
The full photoset is here.