Which Former SNL Star Provided the Voice For BB-8 in ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’?
When the lights come up at the end of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, you’ll notice a couple of delightfully surprising names listed in the credits — if you stick around long enough to see them and aren’t distracted by the need to run to the bathroom to get “something” out of your eye. Bill Hader and former Parks and Recreation star Ben Schwartz lent their vocal talents to The Force Awakens to help create the film’s most adorable star. Yes, really.
During the end credits, you’ll notice a line for “BB-8 Voice Consultant,” attributed to both Hader and Schwartz. They didn’t technically “voice” the cute little ball droid, but they did assist J.J. Abrams in creating the sounds, which probably helped give BB-8 that impossibly adorable personality of his / hers. HitFix contacted Hader directly to see what he had to say for himself, and the actor briefly explained:
JJ fucking around with this sound effects app on his iPad that was attached to a talk box operated by me. It looked ridiculous but it made BB-8’s voice. At first I tried doing a voice, but we all agreed it sounded too human.
Unfortunately, Schwartz hasn’t commented, but it’s fair to assume that he did a bit of the same tooling around with Abrams that Hader did. While neither actor actually voiced the character, it seems like they made some specific sounds that were processed by an effects machine — sort of like sound effects modified by more sound effects. These were likely fine-tuned by the actual sound design team to create BB-8's distinctive beeps and bloops.
You’ll notice when you see the film that BB-8 sounds different from R2-D2, not just in tone and rhythm, but in their individual droid dialects and personalities. You can thank Hader and Schwartz for that.
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