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R2D2 sounds very similar to "Arturito" when spoken out loud. Arturito is a diminutive form of the name Arturo, which is the Spanish equivalent of the name Arthur. Furthermore, in the prequels he is often referred to as just "R2"/"Artoo", which sounds like "Arthur".

Was this on purpose? Or just a coincidence noticed only by Spanish speakers? My guess is thas it was on purpose, but I couldn't find any confirmation about it.

I know that people from Spain are not aware of this, since they are used to watching foreign movies dubbed. On the other hand, in Latin America we always refer to this character as "Arturito", probably because we usually watch foreign movies with subtitles, so we hear the English pronunciation of the name, but mainly because even our dubbed version of the movies calls R2D2 "Arturito". So maybe it's just a joke made by the Latin American dubbers?

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As a native spanish speaker, I always hated the name "Arturito" for R2D2 – tilley31 Jan 21 at 1:24
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"Artoo" sounds nothing like "Arthur", and "Artoo deetoo" sounds absolutely nothing like "Arturito". Just saying. – Martha Jan 21 at 1:53
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"absolutely nothing like"?? are you sure? at least you have to admit that is a bit similar – matiascelasco Jan 21 at 2:06
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@Martha I'm a native Spanish speaker, and "Artoo deetoo" sounds similar enough to "Arturito" that the playful decision of the Spanish language dubbers is understandable. – Andres F. Jan 21 at 2:09
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In Spain the character name is dubbed Erre Dos De Dos (the name of the letters and numbers as is). – Averroes Jan 21 at 8:04
up vote 17 down vote accepted

TL;DR: No, it seems to be unintentional.


According to Walter Murch, who was George Lucas' sound engineer on American Graffiti, he gave Lucas the inspiration for the name when he slated a tape of dialogue (reel 2, dialogue 2) in abbreviated form: "R2-D2".

Walter Murch: When I was working with Dick Portman on Godfather, I had picked up his habit of voice-slating each reel: "Reel Four, Dialogue One," for instance, would mean "Dialogue premix one for reel four," and so on. Except he abbreviated it to "R-4, D-1," something he had picked up from his father, Clem, who had been the mixer on King Kong and Citizen Kane. You can see where this is going. One day I was mixing the second dialogue premix for reel two of American Graffiti and voice-slated it "R-2, D-2," and George, who's sitting in front working on the script of "Star Wars", suddenly stood up: "What did you say?" "Ummm, I don't know.. R-2, D-2--is that what you mean?" "R2D2!!....What a great name!" he shouted, and went back to writing his script. The rest is history.
- Source

Wikipedia recounts the story:

The name is said to derive from when Lucas was making one of his earlier films, American Graffiti. Sound editor Walter Murch states that he is responsible for the utterance which sparked the name for the droid. Murch asked for Reel 2, Dialog Track 2, in the abbreviated form "R-2-D-2". Lucas, who was in the room and had dozed off while working on the script for Star Wars, momentarily woke when he heard the request and, after asking for clarification, stated that it was a "great name" before falling immediately back to sleep.

Star Wars Databank used to contain the story, but claimed that "Reel 2, Dialogue 2" was labeled on a can of tape from a different Lucas film, THX-1138:

enter image description here

Wookieepedia tells this story as well, then says:

However, according to a trivia question in Star Wars: Behind the Magic, the "Reel 2, Dialogue 2" explanation is just a tale. Lucas himself corrected it in Star Wars: The Annotated Screenplays and revealed the character's name was created by repeating common phonetic sounds until he discovered one that he enjoyed.

This isn't necessarily the truth - Lucas frequently says misleading or disingenuous things about the origins of his ideas - but whichever explanation is correct, no one in a position to know the truth claims that the name "Arturito" was a factor in choosing R2-D2's name.


On a side note, "R2" doesn't really sound like "Arthur" in English, because the "th" sound is soft.

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Re: R2 vs "Arthur", it obviously doesn't make sense in English, but it makes more sense in Spanish. Many Spanish speakers less familiar with English will mispronounce the "th" in Arthur as harder than it actually is, which would bring it a bit closer to the "Artoo" sound. This is one "play on sounds" which actually makes some sense to Spanish speakers, even if it doesn't to English speakers (of course, this doesn't change the fact the rest of your answer is correct!) – Andres F. Jan 21 at 2:13
    
@AndresF. - that's why I specified "in English". I only mentioned it because I speak some Spanish and know that "th" is usually similar to "t" in Spanish. – Wad Cheber Jan 21 at 2:14
    
literally every one of these stories sound like they're completely made up ... and they most likely are. There are no "reasons" for names, neither are there "intentions" of any kind, most of the time. Names in movies are simply made up on the go and thats it ... no magic, no background story, no nothing. – specializt Jan 21 at 4:57
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@specializt - They're all we have. Also, Luke Skywalker was named after Lucas. Indiana Jones was named after Lucas' dog Indiana (and in universe, Henry Jones Sr. says Henry Jones Jr. also adopted the name "Indiana" from his childhood dog). Darth Sidious is so named because his history shows how insidious he is. And so on. – Wad Cheber Jan 21 at 5:18
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@specializt the point is that names are often chosen for a reason, however trivial (or significant) that reason might be. – Wad Cheber Jan 21 at 5:32

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