The Star Wars franchise is massively iconic, as is each frame, location, and character of George Lucas' epic space opera. You can't have Star Wars without droids, with characters like R2-D2 and C-3PO having delighted generations of fans and decades of blockbusters. The current Star Wars trilogy brought a trio of new human heroes, as well as one robotic one: the always adorable BB-8. Poe Dameron's droid is basically live, rolling merchandise, and was able to capture the hearts of Star Wars fans from the moment he popped up in the opening sequence of The Force Awakens. BB-8 will be back to finish the trilogy with J.J. Abrams' untitled Episode IX, and the lead puppeteer celebrating being back on set with a sweet message to the fans.

Brian Herring has portrayed BB-8 for the droid's entire theatrical run, so it makes sense that he'll be finishing up the trilogy with Episode IX. BB-8's every move is heartwarming and iconic, and Herring is responsible for each robotic side eye and live saving maneuver.

While Brian Herring's message and BB-8's return to the Star Wars franchise aren't surprising, J.J. Abrams' return to the director's chair for Episode IX does give it extra emotional weight. Abrams helped create the new characters that have carried the current trilogy, and BB-8 has managed to rival better known droids in regards to popularity. As with human characters Poe, Finn, and Rey, the director will be able to wrap up BB-8's narrative and possibly even set up future appearances in the galaxy far, far away.

With Rian Johnson developing his own Star Wars trilogy, and standalone films reportedly not going anywhere either, there are a multitude of developing projects within the Star Wars universe. It would likely be a major expense to bring back franchise stars like Daisy Ridley or John Boyega, but Lucasfilm has better control of its droids-- especially nonverbal ones like BB-8. It wouldn't be surprising if BB-8 made it into future movies, likely bringing Brian Herring along for another adventure.

Little is known about Episode IX, although small bits of information have begun trickling out regarding the film's cast, including the return of Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill. Unfortunately, we're likely going to be in the dark for some time as the untitled blockbuster begins shooting.

Star Wars: Episode IX will arrive in theaters on December 21st, 2019. In the meantime, check out our 2018 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

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