Watch BB-8, the Real Star of ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens,’ in Action
There was a lot of star power on the stage at Star Wars Celebration yesterday; John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac, and old Star Wars favorites Mark Hammil, Anthony Daniels, and Carrie Fisher. But one man stole the show and the spotlight from all of them.
Wait, was it a man? Do ball droids have gender?
Whatever you want to call him or her or it, BB-8, the new robot from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, became the unquestioned highlight of Thursday’s big panel (besides the new trailer, obviously). R2-D2’s cool, don’t get us wrong (no offense, R2). But BB-8 is a truly futuristic robot. He rolls around on his own without any visible wheels. And somehow his head stays up at all times without remaining stationary; it can look around and swivel and react to people around him. It’s real movie magic.
The smarty-heads at Mashable tried to figure out how BB-8 works, and while they had a few educated guesses, they left mostly baffled. By the time the film comes out, I’m sure there will be a big profile on the ’bot and his creators that will reveal exactly the mechanics that power this marvelously little critter. But honestly, I prefer not knowing. I’d rather just think, “Hey, there’s BB-8,” not “Oh look, two different robots with separate control mechanics and a gyroscope to give it the illusion of rolling.” The mystery is so much more fun.
Here’s what J.J. Abrams said about BB-8 on the panel:
There were a lot of discussions about how having a CGI BB-8 would be so much easier for shooting. But we also knew it would be so much better for the film, for the actors, for the set, for the look of it, if it were performed. Neil Scanlan and his unbelievable team ... built and puppeteered BB-8 in the movie and did an extraordinary job, and it was better for the actors and it was better for the film itself.
Keep rolling, rolling, rolling BB-8. Right into our hearts.