Is this the droid you’re looking for?
Star Wars: The Force Awakens isn’t very far away, but despite the fact we’re close to seeing it in theaters there’s very little we know about the major characters in the film. Sure, old favorites from the previous installments are coming back but the new trilogy is definitely setting up a new characters. Those three newcomers all seem to have very interesting set ups… but how will the film be handling them? And how will they fit into the greater story being told of the new trilogy?
Well, when it comes to BB-8 we’ve created this handy dandy guide to keep you up to date with the character. We already have ones for Rey, Poe, Finn, Maz Kanata and Kylo Ren, so check them out if you’re curious to be up to date on all the characters.
What’s BB-8’s deal?
He’s a later generation astromech droid who belongs to Poe Dameron, a leading pilot in the Resistance.
If BB-8 belongs to Poe, why have we not seen them together?
Well, word on the street is that Poe get captured early in the film (which you can see in the trailer). We think he had BB-8 run off on Jakku, where it crosses paths with Rey and eventually Finn before they all head off Jakku together.
What’s so important about this little droid anyway?
Well, we don’t know for certain. However, we’ve done a lot of speculation and believe that BB-8 is actually the driving force of the entire plot of the film. We think Poe Dameron discovered the location of Starkiller base and stored the information in BB-8. When he was captured, BB-8 became the only hope for the Resistance. Hence, everyone is looking for this little guy.
Sounds very similar to R2-D2 in A New Hope.
That definitely isn’t a coincidence.
Where did the name BB-8 come from?
According to J.J. Abrams:
“I named him BB-8 because it was almost onomatopoeia. It was sort of how he looked to me, with the 8, obviously, and then the 2 B’s.”
Is BB-8’s movement a practical or digital effect?
Believe it or not, it’s actually a practical effect. No one believed that until they rolled out BB-8 on stage at D-23.
Originally, the design came from J.J. Abrams himself according to concept designer Christian Alzmann:
“J.J. wanted something rolling on a sphere, so I tried a lot of different designs developing that idea. He would give direction on the kinds of shapes to use, and that led to a personality for the droid. Of course, the original sketch had very pleasing, round shapes, so you kind of figured it wasn’t going to be a very serious or angry character. Ultimately, BB-8 developed out of a back-and-forth process with J.J. where he gave feedback on each iteration of the design.”
The actual on screen iteration of the character was performed by puppeteers Dave Chapman and Brian Herring.
What role will BB-8 have in the film?
Well, it seems like we won’t be seeing R2-D2 and C-3PO until much later in the narrative, which means BB-8 will probably take their mantle for a good chunk of the film. That means, aside from driving the entire plot, it’ll probably be a source of adorable comic relief. It’s possible BB-8 may have some of R2-D2’s sarcasm… but we haven’t seen enough to know for sure.
Will BB-8 be in Episode VIII?
We wouldn’t be surprised, but nothing has been officially confirmed.