BB-8, sometimes spelled Beebee-Ate, was a BB-series astromech droid who operated approximately thirty years after the Battle of Endor. It had a dome head, similar to that of R2 series astromech droids, with the bulk of its body made up of a ball on which the droid's head rolled. BB-8 was mostly white, with some silver and orange on its body, as well as a black photoreceptor. The droid belonged to Resistance pilot Poe Dameron, whom he accompanied during his flights on his T-70 X-wing fighter.
New Republic service
A BB-series astromech droid who operated approximately thirty years after the Battle of Endor, BB-8 became the companion of the New Republic Commander and flight leader of Rapier Squadron, Poe Dameron. During one of Rapier Squadron's routine patrols in the Mirrin sector, BB-8 and Poe's squadron responded to a distress message from the freighter Yissira Zyde, which had been boarded and hijacked by the First Order, a remnant of the Old Empire. Rapier Squadron failed to stop the First Order from escaping with the Yissira Zyde and its cargo of high-capacity charging areas. One of the Rapier pilots Muran was killed when the hyperspace wave generated by the Yissira Zyde slammed into his T-85 X-wing.
Despite receiving orders from Major Lonno Deso not to intervene, Poe Dameron decided to track down the Yissira Zyde. BB-8 accompanied Poe on an errant mission to pursue the First Order. Prior to departing on the mission, Poe got his fellow pilots Karé Kun and Iolo Arana to comlink their astromech droids to his starfighter and upload all telemetry from the Suraz engagement into BB-8. Using the combined data stored in BB-8, Poe decided to randomly visit the five places that the Yissira Zyde had traveled to. At the third stop, BB-8 picked the OR-Kappa-2722 star system. BB-8 squealed in fright when their ship exited hyperspace near a fleet of First Order Navy warships.
BB-8 managed to track down the stolen freighter to one of the Star Destroyers. Following a pursuit, Poe managed to escape into hyperspace and return to Mirrin Prime. Upon returning to the Mirrin Prime Republic Base, BB-8 and Poe were detained by Shore police, who brought Poe before General Leia Organa, the leader of splinter faction of the New Republic military that monitored the activities of the First Order. BB-8 followed Dameron when he left the New Republic fleet and joined the Resistance. Poe was joined by Karé and Iolo.
Poe and his fellow pilots later undertook a secret mission to hijack Senator Erudo Ro-Kiintor's yacht Hevurion Grace in order to obtain data that he was planning to transmit to the First Order. BB-8 did not take part in the mission because Poe had to fly a vintage Z-95 Headhunter which lacked an astromech socket. As a result of the mission, the Resistance discovered that Ro-Kiintor was colluding with the First Order and the existence of the explorer Lor San Tekka, whom Leia believed could help them find her brother Luke Skywalker.
First Order–Resistance conflict
Mission to Ovanis
Following the events of Operation: Sabre Strike, General Organa assigned Poe Dmaeron on a secret operation to search for Lor San Tekka. BB-8 accompanied his master on this operation. They were joined by the Galactic Civil War veterans Temmin Wexley and L'ulo L'ampar, Karé Kun, and Jess Pava, whom Poe formed into a squadron called Black Squadron. For their first mission, Black Squadron traveled to the rocky world of Ovanis where Lor San Tekka had visited the Crèche a long time ago. While Poe talked with the Crèche elder, BB-8 discovered a tracker on Poe's T-70 X-wing fighter. Poe realized that the First Order had learned of their mission and convinced the Crèche cultists to hide him and BB-8.
While the Crèche elder tried to distract Agent Terex and his stormtroopers, Poe and BB-8 hid with their starfighter in one of the smaller caves within the Cave of the Crèche. When Terex torched the Crèche egg, Poe surrendered himself and confronted Terex. After the Crèche egg hatched and released a large blue winged creature that attacked everyone, BB-8 stole Terex's blaster when Poe attacked him. Poe tried to force Terex to call off his forces from Ovanis but Terex fought back. The blue winged creature was then attacked and killed by a black winged creature. BB-8 managed to stun Terex with his electro-pod.
Poe managed to force Terex to call off his forces from Ovanis. BB-8 was present with Poe and the other Black Squadron pilots when Poe made the decision to release Terex and his surviving stormtroopers in order to avoid war between the New Republic and First Order. After the Crèche cultists departed for their new home on the back of the black winged Crèche creature, Black Squadron refueled their starfighters and departed into space. Once in space, Poe reassured BB-8 that the Crèche elder had told him where Lor San Tekka had gone when he had left Ovanis.
Mission to Megalox Beta
After returning to the Resistance base on D'Qar, Poe chatted with BB-8 about the First Order tracker on his ship. Poe reassured BB-8 that he believed that none of his fellow Black Squadron pilots were traitors. He also told BB-8 that General Organa had assigned C-3PO and his droid spy newtork to ferret out the spy. Poe told BB-8 to focus on flying straight and not to go "all droid detective." For their next mission, BB-8 accompanied Black Squadron to Megalox prison on the planet Megalox Beta. Poe planned to question the prisoner Grakkus about Lor San Tekka's whereabouts.
While Poe and the other pilots ventured into the prison, BB-8 and the other astromech droids O-R10N, R2-HA, and R4 stayed with their starfighters aboard the space station. After the mission was complicated by the presence of Terex, Poe instructed BB-8 and the droids to implement Operation Upside. To gain leverage over both Grakkus and Terex, Poe planned to use the droids to deactivate the space station's gravity field, which protected the prison from Megalox Beta's heavy gravity. Poe wanted to rescue Terex in order to obtain the information about Lor San Tekka.
Proceeding with their mission, the droids began accessing a control panel. When several prison guards arrived, they activated their rocket boosters. When R4's rocket booster's malfunctioned and crashed into a guard, the other droids were forced to knock out the guards. The four droids soon made their way to Deck Twelve but their presence was noticed by a security droid. The security droid crushed O-R10N and threw him down the bridge. BB-8 managed to fight the security droid and used his electric cable to electrocute the droid, short-circuiting it.
The three surviving droids were then able to deactivate the deflector shield, foiling Terex's plan to storm Grakkus' fortress with hired criminals. Black Squadron, who donned gravity belts, were able to rescue Grakkus and convinced Warden Luta to let them leave with the Hutt. BB-8 and the other droids then reunited with their pilots. BB-8 personally informed Jessika Pava about the loss of O-R10N. After leaving on their starships, BB-8 remotely reactivated the station's gravity field. When Terex attacked the space station and blasted several shuttles, Black Squadron turned around and attacked his ship Carrion Spike, forcing Terex to retreat. They then returned to the Resistance base.
Mission to Kaddak
Following the events on Megalox Beta, Poe suspected that he had a spy among their ranks and distrusted his fellow Black Squadron pilots. BB-8 stayed behind at the Resistance base on D'Qar while Poe undertook a solo mission to meet with the journalist Suralinda Javos, who had incriminating information on the First Order. While Poe was working out in the gym, he confided his suspicion that Terex had a spy among Black Squadron. Poe admitted he was sad and angry at Terex for sowing discord among his friends.
After General Organa assigned Poe to escort her spymaster C-3PO on a mission to recover a droid spy on the planet Kaddak, BB-8 accompanied Poe, C-3PO and the Resistance technician Oddy Muva, the only one whom Poe trusted. They traveled to Kaddak in a freighter to avoid drawing attention. Unknown to everyone else, Oddy Muva had been blackmailed by Agent Terex into spying on Black Squadron. Terex had taken Oddy's wife Sowa Chuan hostage.
On Kaddak, BB-8 and the others headed to a cantina on the Sliver's Level 45. When the group encountered a mouse droid, BB-8 allowed the droid to access his terminal while C-3PO explained that the mouse droid had found that their spy droid had been captured by the Ranc gang. The group traveled to the Ranc gang's headquarters where the gangsters stunned Poe and surrounded the rest of the part. However, C-3PO turned the tables on the gangsters by activating his hidden spy droids. As a result, they were able to rescue the spy droid N1-ZX, a BX-series droid commando. N1-ZX refused to give the information until he had safely been delivered back to the Resistance base.
Heading back to the freighter, the group were pursued by locals who wanted to collect Terex's bounty on Poe. They were separated from Oddy Muva but managed to return to the freighter. The droids and Poe traveled in Poe's T-70 X-wing Black One; with BB-8 sitting in his astromech socket and the other droids residing in storage compartments built into the ship's S-foils. Oddy Muva meanwhile stowed aboard Terex's ship Carrion Spike, intent on rescuing his wife Sowa Chuan and breaking Terex's grip on his life.
During the journey, BB-8 and C-3PO listened as Poe voiced his suspicion that Oddy Muva was Terex's spy and that the information that N1-ZX was carrying was a ploy by Terex to find the Resistance base. Poe dropped out of hyperspace above a desert planet to test the latter theory. As expected, Terex's ship Carrion Spike and a fleet of Ranc gang "Uglies" appeared. Poe's X-wing was shot down and crashed on the desert planet.
BB-8 and his comrades managed to evade Terex's Uglies by fleeing into a cave. Once inside, BB-8 sought to delay Terex and his landing party by attaching himself to a stalactite. When Terex and his gang arrived, BB-8 collapsed a stalactite on top of the group. BB-8 used his cable to dodge the gangsters' blasters. Terex however recognized BB-8 from their encounter on Ovanis and shot down the cable holding the droid. BB-8 fell much to the distress of Poe and C-3PO.
Later, BB-8 resurfaced and electrocuted Terex before he could kill Poe during in a confrontation in the cave. Poe thanked BB-8 for saving his life and patted him. Meanwhile, Oddy Muva managed to free his wife Sowa and the slaves aboard the Carrion Spike. Poe's Black Squadron comrades arrived and fought with the Ranc gang fleet. Despite the death of L'ulo, the squadron managed to provide covering fire for Oddy's escape pods to land on the desert planet. Terex's criminal fleet was wiped out by a First Order fleet led by Commander Malarus. Malarus had been dispatched to apprehend Terex for insubordination. BB-8 was present when Poe handed Terex to Commander Malarus.
- "Where do you come from?"
- ―Rey, to BB-8
After accompanying Dameron on many missions for the Resistance, BB-8 went with his master to Tuanul on Jakku to meet with Lor San Tekka. While Dameron spoke to Tekka in his hut, BB-8 waited outside and saw four First Order Atmospheric Assault Landers approach. He then alerted his master of the Order's arrival, so Tekka handed Dameron a memory drive containing a map to Jedi Master Luke Skywalker's location. BB-8 and Dameron then fled to their T-70 X-wing fighter, but before they could escape, Stormtroopers disabled its engines. Unable to escape, Dameron gave BB-8 the map and an order to get as far away as possible, which BB-8 did.
With BB-8's tracking mode disabled prior to landing on Jakku, the droid had no choice but to find his own way, trekking through the desert alone for several hours. BB-8 eventually encountered a Teedo, who proceeded to capture him, but another scavenger, Rey, intervened and convinced the Teedo to leave BB-8 alone. Rey fixed his antenna then gave him directions to Niima Outpost and sent it on its way, but BB-8 insisted on traveling with her. Unbeknownst to them, BB-8 had become the target of a determined search by the Resistance, the First Order and the galactic underworld. Shortly into their journey, they were followed by a nightwatcher worm seeking its next meal. The pair were pursued, with BB-8 being briefly swallowed by the worm and then spit out. Rey and BB-8 were then able to make it to Rey's homestead.
The next morning, whilst on their way to Niima Outpost, Rey and BB-8 were attacked by three bandits attempting to steal BB-8. Rey was able to force two of the bandits to crash into each other's speeder bikes. The last bandit, Teedo, had his bike eaten by a nightwatcher worm. Once they reached Niima, Rey went to Unkar Plutt to exchange her scraps for foodstuff, and the Crolute offered to buy the droid; while tempted, Rey declined the offer.
Plutt then sent thugs to kidnap BB-8, but Rey successfully fought them off. Immediately after, BB-8 noticed a man wearing his master's jacket, prompting Rey to chase after the man, Finn. He explained that he had met and helped Dameron escape the Finalizer, but that Dameron had apparently perished during their crash; he also claimed to be with the Resistance. Just then, two stormtroopers noticed BB-8 and called in an airstrike. As two TIE fighters began firing at them, the three fugitives managed to board the Millennium Falcon and escape from Jakku.
Journey to D'Qar
While in the Jakku system, Rey had to repair the Falcon, and asked Finn where the Resistance base was. Not knowing the answer, he admitted to BB-8 (but not to Rey) that he wasn't part of the Resistance and asked where the base was. After some consideration, BB-8 revealed the base's location in the Ileenium system. Just then, the Falcon was caught in a tractor beam and captured by a larger ship. Believing themselves to have been captured by the First Order, the three hid in a compartment, preparing to release gas to neutralize any boarding stormtroopers. Instead, they encountered Han Solo and Chewbacca, the Falcon’s former owners. Rey and Finn recognized Solo and Finn told him about BB-8's map, with the droid displaying the fragmented map in a hologram.
However, Solo and Chewbacca's current freighter, the Eravana, was boarded by members of the Guavian Death Gang and Kanjiklub. While Rey and Finn hid, BB-8 remained with the famed smugglers as insurance, but this resulted in Guavian member Bala-Tik recognizing BB-8 and demanding Solo hand the droid over. But as Rey accidentally released the Eravana's cargo (three rathtars) and a firefight began, BB-8 fled with Solo and Chewbacca to the Millennium Falcon, where they met with Finn and Rey and escaped.
Solo took Finn, Rey, and BB-8 to meet his old friend Maz Kanata at her castle on the planet Takodana. There, spies for both the Resistance and the First Order recognized the droid and alerted their organizations. BB-8 followed Rey into a basement room, where she found the lightsaber that had belonged to Luke Skywalker and his father Anakin before him. Upon touching it, she received a vision, which frightened her and caused her to run off into the woods. BB-8 followed her. Shortly after, the First Order attacked, and BB-8 and Rey were spotted in the woods west of the castle. Rey told BB-8 to go further into the woods, while she attacked, but was subdued by, Kylo Ren. A Resistance counter-attack forced the First Order to retreat, but with Rey having seen the map, Ren decided that they could get it out of her and would no longer need BB-8.
Solo, Chewbacca, Finn, and BB-8 were brought to the Resistance base on D'Qar by General Leia Organa. There, BB-8 eagerly was reunited with Poe, who had managed to survive the crash on Jakku. BB-8 also removed the cover off of R2-D2, hoping to get a response, but C-3PO explained that Artoo had been in low power mode since Master Luke had gone into exile. BB-8 wondered if Artoo had the rest of the map in his backup memory, to which Threepio replied that it was unlikely.
Assault on Starkiller Base
BB-8 accompanied Poe Dameron during the assault on Starkiller Base, navigating for Poe in his custom Black One X-wing. The X-wings would attack the base's thermal oscillator after the shields had been disabled by Han Solo, Chewbacca, and Finn, which could cause the charged weapon to become unstable and self-destruct. BB-8 flew with Dameron as he led the X-Wings on an initial attack on the oscillator, but it failed to do significant damage. After the first attack run, General Armitage Hux of the First Order ordered all TIE squadrons to attack. During the battle, over half of the Resistance's attack force was destroyed, and the X-Wings failed to do any significant damage to the thermal oscillator. However, Chewbacca detonated several explosives along the oscillator, providing Dameron with an opening. With less than a minute to spare, Poe and BB-8 flew down a trench to the regulator, squeezing through a very narrow opening into the regulator itself, where Poe fired several proton torpedoes into the infrastructure. The damage was enough to destroy the regulator, causing the planet-weapon's core to become unstable, ripping apart the surface and destroying the planet.
After the battle, the X-Wings returned to D'Qar, along with the Millennium Falcon carrying Chewbacca, Finn, and Rey, with Han Solo having been killed during the mission. Upon Rey's arrival, R2-D2 woke up from his low-power state. He revealed the map to Luke's location, with only one piece missing. BB-8 then projected its piece, fitting it into the hole in Artoo's map and revealing Luke's location. With the location discovered at last, BB-8 and the others bid farewell to Rey, Chewbacca, and Artoo as they set off to find the fabled Jedi.
A BB-series, BB-8 had a dome head, similar to that of R2 series astromech droids, with the bulk of its body made up of a dense, well-sealed ball on which the droid's head rolled. BB-8 was mostly white, with some orange and silver on its body, as well as a black photoreceptor.
Though BB-8's self-preservation protocols meant the droid was skittish and easily frightened, its experiences formed a strong loyalty subprogram. BB-8's manifest personality was, to his master and friend Poe Dameron, somewhat of an unpredictable one: while most droids were predictable to certain stereotypes (bossy, sullen, grumpy) within their respective programming, BB-8 was his own case, sometimes childlike, sometimes precocious. In fact, Dameron sometimes wondered if the droid daydreamed, even though that implied the absurd—that BB-8 had an active imagination. When communicating, BB-8 spoke in 27th generation droidspeak code, a compressed version of binary.
BB-8 was loyal to his master Poe, who regarded him as a confidant. When Poe could not trust the rest of his squadron, he turned to BB-8 as a "sounding board." BB-8 knew how to operate a T-70 X-wing and was familiar with the model's design and accessories. BB-8 also knew how to fight. On two occasions, he helped Poe outsmart and disarm the First Order Agent Terex. BB-8 also played a supporting role in Poe's operations. On one occasion, he led the other astromech droids on a successful operation to disable Megalox Beta's gravity shields. BB-8 also outwitted and defeated a security droid during the course of the Megalox mission.
BB-8 was courageous and daring enough to put his existence on the line to aid his Resistance comrades. On one occasion, he used a cable to hang on to the top of a cave while he collapsed a stalactite on top of Agent Terex's Ranc gang. While BB-8 was shot down, he survived the fall and electrocuted Terex, saving Poe's life a third time.
All of BB-8's equipment was stored within six swappable, circular tool-bay disks embedded in the ball, that could be replaced or upgraded with minimal reprogramming. Being an astromech droid, BB-8 had several features such as an arc welder, a welding torch. and a holoprojector.
Behind the scenes
- "They never cease to amaze me with what they’re able to come up with, you know? I said, 'How are you ever gonna top R2-D2, the most adorable droid in movie history?'"
- ―Mark Hamill on BB-8
BB-8 was first revealed in the first teaser trailer for Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens on November 28, 2014. Its name was revealed by Entertainment Weekly in an exclusive trading card. The character was realized by the Pinewood Studios creature shop as a practical, functioning robot.
BB-8's name was chosen by Episode VII director J.J. Abrams because of the droid's round and bouncy look. Abrams is also quoted with saying, "I named him BB-8 because it was almost onomatopoeia. It was sort of how he looked to me, with the 8, obviously, and then the two B's." The name was conceived early on in Episode VII's production and was one of the few to never be changed.
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Notes and references