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Science FICTION Reviews
Astromech’s are droids who’s primary function is to repair ships and fighters in flight, although some go onto do much more. They are fully aware and sentient, although they cannot talk in the traditional sense, preferring to communicate through direct interface with other computers as well as audio beeps. From their humble beginnings as the slow moving mostly stationary R1 units, the design hit all goals with the R2 units, three standard wheeled legs, a central body containing tools, and a highly sophisticated head which could spin independent of the body containing several sensors. The popularity of the R series lasted for about 30 years when they started being replaced, not long after the Battle of Endor with the BB series.
BB-8 is the first thing we see on the planet of Jakku in ‘The Force Awakens’. BB-8 at a height of 0.67m was slightly shorter than the R-series, but the significant change came from the body which had no legs, but simply rolled. The head was also domed similar in several ways to the original R2 units, with the head remaining upright always at the top of the rolling body. The head can be removed and reattached by BB-8 itself with no loss of function, with the head presumably where it’s memory and programing is contained.
As all Astromech’s before it, it is fully sentient, and can provide lot’s of emotions through varies slants of its head, display of equipment and movement reactions, along with the pitch and frequency of its beeps. BB-8’s rolling ability appears adaptable for all surfaces, including sand.
Off screen J. J. Abrams came up with the initial concept, with various people helping along the way with Matt Denton and Josh Lee bringing BB-8 to life in the real world with Dave Chapman and Brian Herring providing controls. This is by no means an extensive list, as there were several versions of BB-8 used through the film, each with their own unique challenges.
What were your initial impressions of BB-8 and how do you think it stands up against its predecessor R2-D2?

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