'Mythbusters' Late Grant Imahara Also Operated R2D2 in the 'Star Wars' Prequels

While most famous as one of the hosts of Mythbusters, the late star Grant Imahara was also one of the operators for everyone's favorite droid, R2D2, in the Star Wars prequel films.

According to Imahara's IMDb page, the electrical engineer-turned-TV host worked on a number of projects for visual effects company Industrial Light and Magic. Besides Star Wars episodes I through III, he also served as a model maker on Galaxy Quest, The Matrix Reloaded, Van Helsing and more.

In a 2016 interview with StarWars.com, Don Bies, one of the team's other model makers and droid operators, revealed that Imahara was one of three "official" R2D2 operators on the films' productions. Bies explained that Imahara handled updating electronics for the R2 models for 2002's Attack of the Clones.

Imahara also made a brief appearance alongside Bies, who's listed as R2D2's personal trainer, in the mockumentary Beneath the Dome. In his short scene, Imahara can be seen starting a treadmill for R2 to get him back in shape for the prequels.

In a tweet, Industrial Light and Magic mourned Imahara's loss. "We're still processing and likely will be for some time. Grant was an amazing talent and forever an ILMer. Tonight our thoughts are with his family and friends," the company wrote.

We’re still processing and likely will be for some time. Grant was an amazing talent and forever an ILMer. Tonight our thoughts are with his family and friends💔.https://t.co/EsmkJgzSCF

— ILMVFX (@ILMVFX) July 14, 2020

LucasFilm and Industrial Light and Magic did not respond to Newsweek's emailed requests for comment in time for publication.

Despite no longer working on visual effects for the series after 2005's Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, Imahara still showed some interest in the franchise in a 2015 video from Nerd Alert. The video description says that the engineer made his own model of the most recent Star Wars trilogy's beloved BB-8 droid. In the video, he broke down the physics and mechanical workings of the droid.

He also spoke about seeing BB-8 at Star Wars Celebration, an annual gathering of Star Wars fans. "As a droid expert, having worked in special effects for a number of years, I saw that at celebration, and up 'til then I assumed it was all computer graphic, but when I saw that along with everybody else, lost my mind," Imahara said in the 2015 video.

Since his success on the Discovery Channel's Mythbusters, Imahara also pursued acting roles and other projects, such as The White Rabbit Project on Netflix. He also played Sulu throughout the series Star Trek Continues from 2013 to 2017.

Imahara died Monday following a brain aneurysm. He was 49 years old.

Grant Imahara
Actor Grant Imahara arrives for The Geekie Awards 2014 held at Avalon on August 17, 2014 in Hollywood, California. Imahara died of a brain aneurysm on Monday. Albert L. Ortega/Getty