A few years back, I co-hosted a movie review show at Central Florida News 13 and Joel Fritzinger was the Senior Director. Makes sense that Joel’s hobby is building screen-accurate Star Wars droids. I wanted to show you something cool Joel is doing.
Joel has a few droids under contruction at any time — R2-D2, BB-8, an MSE-6 mouse droid. The most unique is R2-P49, a tribute to honor the 49 victims of the Pulse shooting and “to spread love and increase awareness for LGBTQ issues.” Eventually, the rainbow R2 unit will be available for charity events and hospital visits.
Joel doesn’t personally know anyone who was in Pulse on June 12, 2016, but as Operations Manager at the Garden Theatre in Winter Garden, he says a lot of friends and co-workers were affected and he wants to use his droid-building hobby to do some good.
Lucasfilm and Disney own the right to the look and language of astromech droids, but generally let builder clubs do their thing as long as they don’t profit from the hobby. Joel’s been getting help from other builders who trade parts and plans, but he’s also taking donations to help him finish R2-P49. You can buy embroidered patches and stickers at R2P49.com with the cash going to finish the rainbow droid. I’ll keep you posted on how R2-P49 is coming along.