Although C-3PO and R2-D2 both returned for the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy, the droid who got the most screen time during this batch of movies was BB-8. The adorable ball droid has not only been charming Star Wars fans ever since they caught their first look at him in the teaser trailer for The Force Awakens, he also proved invaluable to The Resistance’s efforts across that movie, The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker.
As his name indicates, BB-8 is a BB-series astromech droid, informally known as a BB-unit. As it turns out, this droid design could have also been applied to a vehicle in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Picture it, folks: a BB-8 tank!
You can head over to io9 to see the concept art for the BB-8 tank that’s in the new book The Art of The Rise of Skywalker, but it basically looks just like it sounds. Enlarge BB-8’s body to the size of a small house, outfit the head with a gun battery and insert some Resistance operatives to drive the thing. Not only can it blast enemies to oblivion, it can roll over any stragglers that weren’t hit the first time.
Although Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker concept designer Jake Lunt Davies took the time to visualize a BB-8 tank, it sounds like the chances of the vehicle actually appearing in the movie were rather slim. As Davies said in The Art of The Rise of Skywalker:
I was just having some fun with this tank. I’m not sure I would have actually wanted to see it realized in the final film.
I doubt I’m alone in thinking the BB-8 tank isn’t well-designed, but then again, this is a franchise where giant two or four-legged walkers make up a large part of the Empire and Resistance’s heavy firepower in land battles. The Star Wars universe is know for its weird-looking vehicles and ships, so it’s not totally insane to think that this tank could have made it into the final version of The Rise of Skywalker.
Along with being portrayed through the use of a rod puppet and a remote-controlled robotic unit, BB-8’s “voice” was provided by comedians Bill Hader and Ben Schwartz, who were credited as “BB-8 vocal consultants.” Director J.J. Abrams recorded their voices through a talk box attached to an iPad and subsequently manipulated them through a sound effects app. One can only imagine how the BB-8 tank would sound when it’s up and running.
With the Skywalker Saga over, it’s hard to say if we’ll ever see BB-8 in live action again. It’s doubtful it would happen in future movies since they’ll be exploring other corners of the Star Wars galaxy unconnected to Luke Skywalker, Rey and the rest of the gang we’re used to. Still, with Disney+ becoming an important destination for Star Wars content, perhaps a project set not too long before The Force Awakens, or even after The Rise of Skywalker, will get the green light, allowing for BB-8 to roll into our hearts again.
Whether that happens or not, keep checking back with CinemaBlend for all the important updates concerning the Star Wars franchise on both the big and small screens.