ByAllen-Michael Harber, writer at
Quiet Down, I Can't Hear The Subtitles
Allen-Michael Harber

If you're a fan of science-fiction movies and television, chances are you've heard the name Alan Tudyk. He is best known for playing Hoban "Wash" Washburne in the short-lived Firefly, but was also in Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story as Steve the Pirate and has lent his voice to a few animated classics, including Big Hero 6, the Ice Age movies and Frozen.

Most recently Tudyk starred as the former imperial droid K-2SO in . Being the lovabl dorky actor that he is, Alan Tudyk made K-2SO a dorky but lovable robot who quickly took the place of C-3PO in the hearts of Star Wars fans.

However, some might be surprised to hear that this isn't the first time that Tudyk has played an iconic robot. Previously he played Sonny in 2004's I, Robot. While the movie received mixed reviews, one of the strong points was Tudyk's ability to make Sonny a convincing and relatable character.

As I watched Rogue One for the first time, I couldn't help but see the similarities — and differences — between the two robots. (Rogue One spoilers follow.)

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They Have Similar Character Arcs

The biggest similarity between the two robots is their relationships with the main human characters. In the beginning, both K-S20 and Sonny have one person who trusts them and one who is mistrusting of them.

In Rogue One, when Jyn Erso firsts meets K-2SO, she is nervous around him because he is a reprogrammed Imperial droid. Cassian Andor on the other hand uses K-2SO as his co-pilot in a Han Solo/Chewbacca way. By the end of the movie Jyn finally trusts K to watch her back, which is signified when she gives him a blaster pistol.

'I, Robot' [Credit: 20th Century Fox]
'I, Robot' [Credit: 20th Century Fox]

In I, Robot, the robot Sonny is accused of murdering his creator Dr. Lanning. Will Smith's character Del Spooner is mistrusting of robots because they saved him from drowning in a car crash instead of a little girl.

Spooner believes that Sonny committed the murder of Lanning. Robopsychologist Susan Calvin, on the other hand, believes that Sonny could not have committed murder because of the Three Laws of Robotics which prevent it. Through their adventure, Spooner is able to trust Sonny and realize that robots are not inherently evil.

They Both Have A Full Range Of Emotions

In Rogue One, K is the snarky sidekick to Cassian Andor, throwing out quips every chance he gets. He's a character who finds himself in one seemingly unwinnable situation after another, and just seems to see the irony in it all, though he does occasionally show his soft side, and he chooses to sacrifice himself for his friends.

Sonny, on the other hand, is trying to find his place in the world. He was built with emotions and the ability to dream, so everything is confusing to him. During the events of the movie, he is caught in an existential crisis trying to figure out the why of his existence. It is this that drives his character to act irrationally and by instinct, much like regular humans.

Both Sonny and K prove that Alan Tudyk is capable of using his full range of emotions no matter what character he plays.

Their Importance To The Story Is Different

'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' [Credit: Lucasfilm]
'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' [Credit: Lucasfilm]

Because of K's origin and attitude, he does stick out from the Rogue One squad a bit. His big character moment comes at the end when he takes on an oncoming swarm of Stormtroopers, allowing Jyn and Cassian to transmit the Death Star plans. Much like some of the other characters in the movie, he basically shows up to help and then die.

'I, Robot' [Credit: 20th Century Fox]
'I, Robot' [Credit: 20th Century Fox]

With Sonny, he shares the screen with and , but it is his story. All the events that play out from the robot uprising, to the death of his creator and everything in between, surround him and why he was created. While it does have Will Smith doing awesome Will Smith things, the film is about Sonny's journey to accept who he is.

Which Bot Is Better?

K-2SO is a funny character, but that's all that he really has going for him. Unlike the other droids seen in Star Wars such as R2D2 and C-3PO, we don't get enough time to see K fleshed out.

And personally, I got tired of hearing the same, 'the chances of failure are...' line over and over. 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' [Credit: Lucasfilm]
And personally, I got tired of hearing the same, 'the chances of failure are...' line over and over. 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' [Credit: Lucasfilm]

In I, Robot, Sonny is able to achieve a full character arc. He goes from confused robot accused of murder, to a Jesus allegory for the robots themselves. He is able to set things right and hopefully be a bridge between man and machine. He also displays real emotion, such as the fear of dying. He is a more well-rounded character.

From an acting standpoint, Sonny is better performance as well. K-2SO is classic Alan Tudyk, which we've seen many times before. Sonny, on the other hand, allowed Alan Tudyk to play a different kind of character. It allowed him to break free from his normal dorky characters, as lovable as they are.


Which is your favorite Alan Tudyk character?


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