The first thought for many - myself included - was that the picture meant R2-D2 is in Episode VII. I mean, I assumed he would be. He's a constant presence, a through-line. But, seeing the picture was reassuring. Now it's officially official. According to StarWars.com, the lovable droid will be in Episode VII.
Even cooler news though? The astromech was made by fans. You read that correctly. The two guys in the above picture are Lee Towersey and Oliver Steeples. They're members of the R2-D2 Builders Club. They were showcasing their work at Celebration Europe and none other than Kennedy herself stopped by for a tour of the builders' area. Steeples teased that the UK R2-D2 Builders were available if they needed them. She took them seriously, and they're now part of the Creature Effects team for Episode VII.
Talk about a dream come true! It makes me feel warm and fuzzy to see fans included like this. Star Wars fans are the best fans after all, and I love seeing their devotion rewarded.