Right now, it’s pretty difficult to say how R2-D2 and C-3PO will factor into Star Wars: The Force Awakens, though photos such as the one above appear to indicate that they’re faithfully serving General Leia as part of the Resistance. That likely means their role in this movie will be a small one as they clearly aren’t going to be too heavily involved in the main narrative, which involves Han, Finn, Rey and new droid sidekick BB-8.
It’s actually the focus on BB-8 which makes me think that R2-D2 is unlikely to make it into Star Wars Episode VIII. The incredibly marketable droid has been a big seller for Disney so far, and while a second wave of merchandise for The Force Awakens is expected in the coming weeks, it’s not hard to see that Luke Skywalker’s astro-mech has so far been overlooked in favour of the new and instantly loveable BB-8.
If I’m right about R2 and Threepio not being too heavily involved in the action, it’s tough to say when the movie might find a chance to kill the former off, but the fact that he was at one point in hiding with Luke has to make him an important part of this story in at least some respects. However, now that the Jedi Master appears to have fully embraced that life and moved on from fighting in his X-Wing, there’s not an awful lot of room left in this franchise for R2-D2 (George Lucas already desperately tried to keep him relevant in the prequels). Plus, with BB-8 accompanying Poe Dameron into battle, don’t be surprised to see old R2-D2 dropped.