What is white and orange with a touch of silver and black, rather roly-poly, and resembles a figure 8? [Like you need me to answer that question for you. 😉 ] That just happens to be the character who stole the show when The Force Awakens hit movie screens a couple of years ago – BB-8, who happens to be my favorite character from the new trilogy of Star Wars films. Off and on over the past year and a half, I’ve been naming my favorite characters from TFA and explaining why they have struck a chord with me, and now that the next installment is set to hit theaters in a mere two weeks [can you feel the electric excitement coursing through the air? I can!], it is only fitting that I reveal who caught my eye and touched my heart most of all.
To be perfectly honest, I am a bit surprised with my pick for # 1. Oh, I’ve always been a fan of the Star Wars droids. From the scene in A New Hope when we see the two droids making their way down the corridor of the besieged Tantive IV, I could tell there was something special about the robots. That’s how I thought of them until the sandtrooper picks up a piece of hardware and utters, “Look sir, droids.” These were not going to be your run-of-the-mill robots. George Lucas infused human qualities into these machines. You can relate to them – sometimes more so than their human counterparts. There are times when I feel more like C-3PO, the droid who gets the least respect and is so often misunderstood. Sometimes I feel more like R2-D2. To get things done, I will take matters into my own hands, being inventive and creative when the situation warrants, just like the silver-domed real hero of Star Wars. Oftentimes, I feel more akin to K-2SO, one of the newest members of the Star Wars droid family. Loyal to his friends, there is nothing he wouldn’t do for them.
And then there’s BB-8 – that cute, roly-poly droid who stole every scene in which he appeared. 🙂 I couldn’t help but watch him whenever he was on screen just to see his each little movement and how it would convey whatever he was feeling. [Feeling? BB-8 is a machine! Truth be told, I do not think of him as such. Notice I used a pronoun denoting a human rather than its inanimate counterpart? 😉 ]
To get ready for this blog, I popped The Force Awakens into the Blu-ray player [I planned to do that anyway to remind me of everything I learned the umpteen times I saw TFA back in 2015/2016. 🙂 ]. Because TFA is a film that pays homage to A New Hope, I was happy to see that a droid appears very early on in the film – and that droid plays an integral part in what is happening in the story. The hemisphere-topped droid espies the First Order ships descending from the darkness above, and without even a moment’s hesitation, BB-8 speeds off, crashing through the doorway of Lor San Tekka’s home to sound the alarm. Much like Princess Leia did with the Death Star plans decades ago – secreting the sensitive information in the “rusty innards” of R2-D2 – Poe hides the map leading to Luke’s whereabouts in a hidden compartment in BB-8’s spherical body. The Resistance’s most daring pilot directs the droid to get as far away from the outpost as possible, hoping to return for his buddy [that is exactly how Poe refers to BB-8 when the two are finally reunited] soon. Thus begins BB-8’s adventure!
Two of my three favorite scenes involving BB-8 occur relatively early on in the film – when Rey and BB-8 run Finn down in the marketplace on Jakku and aboard the Millennium Falcon when Finn is trying to convince BB-8 to reveal the location of the hidden Resistance base while Rey toils to fix yet another broken part of the aged freighter. In both instances, BB-8 exhibits very human emotions – first indignation and anger before segueing to real sadness [the former scene], and downright wariness of Finn [it is obvious BB-8, a mere machine, does not really trust Finn, even after the former stormtrooper’s sad explanation of how he came to acquire Poe’s flight jacket] followed by a bit of comedy when our roly-poly friend “mirrors” Finn’s thumb’s up [the latter scene]. It makes me smile every time.
But my very favorite scene of BB-8’s appears much later in TFA. Han and company are back at the hidden base. The humans are otherwise engaged, and we watch BB-8 roll in from the left side of the screen. To the right is a shrouded … figure? stack of crates? cache of weapons? We learn the answer to our silent query rather quickly when BB-8 reaches out with one of his pincers and pulls the shroud away. A “sleeping” R2-D2 is uncloaked. Seeing the diminutive orange and white droid next to the larger, more massive form of R2 immediately struck a chord with me – especially once BB-8 kept nudging R2, beeping plaintively in an effort to wake what I’ve come to think of as BB-8’s big brother. At that moment, I am transported back in time – to a time long, long ago – when I’d be sleeping soundly beneath my cozy covers, and I’d feel a hand on my shoulder begin to shake me as a small voice beseeched, “Linny, Linny, wake up. Please, Linny, please wake up! There’s a spider, and we need you to take care of it!” The oldest of four, I was the only one not afraid to go head-to-head with those dastardly creatures that crawled creepily throughout the house. “Can’t you do it yourself?” I mumbled, trying to reclaim slumber. “No, Linny. We need you!” my younger brother and sisters would chime in tandem. Rarely did one stay behind to keep an eye on the creature’s whereabouts. Oh no! That was too frightening! It never was lost on me that that teeny creature of which they all were so afraid might move in the interim between its discovery and my arrival. “Oh, alright,” I’d acquiesce. It’s nice to be needed. [Just to finish the story, most of the time I would arrive to find said spider (or whatever offending insect) still situated where it was found, and I would dispatch my ‘opponent’ … much to the relief of my siblings. 😉 ] BB-8 may not have been as successful at waking R2 as my brother and sisters were at rousing me but that’s neither here nor there. That brief scene has such human elements instilled in it – to which anyone with younger siblings can identify. I love that scene! 🙂
BB-8 began as a simple sketch on a napkin that took a team of artisans to create, and I – along with many of you – am so happy they took on the challenge to craft a droid that was both unique and familiar to the Star Wars Galaxy. The last time we see BB-8 in TFA, he is standing [quietly, believe it or not 😉 ] beside Leia as she wishes Rey a soulful, “May the Force be with you.” He has come full circle [it doesn’t take a leap of faith to discern he and Poe began their adventure to Jakku from the Resistance base in the Ilium System], yet one thing we know about the diminutive, roly-poly droid is that his adventures are not over yet. I, for one, can’t wait to find out what he’s up to next. Luckily, the wait isn’t all that much longer! 🙂
Until next time,
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