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Star Wars: The Force Awakens has introduced an entirely new generation of Star Wars characters to an entirely new generation of Star Wars fans. From Rey to Finn to Kylo Ren, the latest installment in the series has done an amazing job of stepping out of the shadow of the original trilogy. One character that seems to have captured everyone’s heart is the loveable droid BB-8. Beyond merely having a personality that’s different from R2-D2, she also has a very different look – a look that went through numerous revisions.
Movie Web has revealed some of the concept art created during the droid’s development, check it out below:
These images have been pulled from a new book titled The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens which, as one would likely assume, chronicles the artwork (and the development of said artwork) within the latest entry of the Star Wars saga. In terms of size and shape, BB-8 has remained relatively consistent throughout her development, but the original version of the character was somewhat different from what we got on screen. The earliest versions of the helpful little astromech droid (seen above) featured a much more prominent connection between her ball body and her head. Over time the connection was slowly reduced until the developers got her head to seemingly float on top of her body as she rolled along.
From these images it’s patently obvious that J.J. Abrams and the rest of the creative team behind The Force Awakens knew exactly the direction they wanted to take the design of the droid even from the earliest of stages. Her general size, shape, and even her orange and white color scheme all eventually made it into the film with very little alteration between page and screen. This makes sense, as her design appears to be a perfectly logical upgrade from the design of a droid like R2-D2, who is well over 50 years old by the time The Force Awakens takes place. We're not calling the little guy obsolete, we're just saying there's room for improvements. The new BB-8 droid has gone on to become an incredible merchandising opportunity for Disney, even selling remote control versions that 5-year old (or the 5-year old inside you) will go crazy for.
Are we saying that BB-8 surpasses the cuteness and glory of R2-D2? The answer to that sort of question remains to be seen in future installments. For now, we simply are going to enjoy the fact that the franchise is clearly in the hands of creative people who understand how to literally create new characters that remind us of what we love, but that also carve out their own identity as the franchise charges forward.