Planet Comicon opens on Friday in Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - This year's Planet Comicon kicks off on Friday at Bartle Hall.

There are a lot of big named sci-fi celebrities who are attending, like William Shatner, Levar Burton and Wil Wheaton. But, the fans also become stars at this convention because of their homemade costumes and characters they recreate.

Travis Macken is the man behind a replica R2D2 you might see during this year's convention.

"It took some woodworking skills, painting, putting a lot of pieces together," Macken said. "It's pretty hard to go anywhere with R2 without stopping and taking a few photographs."

Macken spent six months building his R2 from scratch. It weighs about 100 lbs.

"He has a wood frame, wooden legs, the dome is actually fiberglass. A lot of the pieces are resin here, but once they're painted you can't really tell what they're made out of," Macken said. "There are people who make them out of all aluminum and metal and those can weigh upwards of 300 lbs. and those run about $10,000 to put together."    

Macken also takes R2 to Children's Mercy Hospital KU Medical Center throughout the year to visit patients. Travis explains R2 has more likability over his other Star Wars counterparts.

"Some of these guys are intimidating and R2 is not," Macken said.

Macken and R2 will be at a booth at Planet Comicon all weekend.

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