BB-8: From Napkin Sketch to Starring Role in The Force Awakens
We're just hours away from the premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and here's a great, spoiler free way to pass the time until you see it—a featurette on the new droid BB-8.
BB-8 is perhaps the most emblematic creation in all of The Force Awakens because this adorable "soccer ball" droid represents a return to the practical effects that director and co-writer J.J. Abrams was insistent upon. Abrams has said in multiple interviews, and in the featurette below, that it was how real everything looked (and much of it was) in the original Star Wars that put such a spell on him when he was an 11 year old kid. When you watch R2D2 moving through the Tatooine deseret before being captured by Jawas, you are not seeing some digitized creation conjured against a green screen by CGI experts, you are watching actor Kenny Baker as R2D2, and this tactile, real effect manages to make R2D2's droid-napping that much more breathtaking. The same was true for Anthony Daniels' C-3P0 and so many other characters, sets and props in the original trilogy. It was in this spirit that BB-8 was created.
From a sketch on a napkin by Abrams to the design and creation by a team of gifted engineers, BB-8 is the prime example of The Force Awakens commitment to recapturing the magic of the original trilogy. While some of BB-8's scenes were improved with CGI, the droid was controlled off-screen by puppeteers and interacted with on screen by the actors, and is a primary example of why critics are claiming The Force Awakens is a worthy, perhaps superior (in some important ways), successor to the original trilogy that enraptured millions. Enjoy.