How do you create a Star Wars droid that’s different from what’s come before, but authentic to a galaxy far, far away? How do you push forward in the spirit of Star Wars innovation, but not push too far? How do you hold on to the magic of Star Wars robotic design, but still make something imaginative? Those were the questions faced by the designers, engineers, and puppeteers working on Star Wars: The Force Awakens. They answered by blending the old with the new, by staring down expectations, and by eagerly jumping into the unknown. They answered with BB-8: the lovable, practical-effect, ball-shaped droid.
I’ve never owned any Star Wars toys or merchandise, other than shirts, but I’m going to invest in the best BB-8 I can find.