One of the great aspects about J.J. Abrams’ production of Star Wars: The Force Awakens is that the director is taking the franchise back to its practical effects roots. After Star Wars creator George Lucas went overboard with the CGI wild in the Prequel trilogy, fans found it refreshing to know that there’d be less green screen this time around.
Once of the practical effects we’ll see in Star Wars: The Force Awakens is BB-8, the rolling ball droid that made its debut to the public last month in the film’s teaser trailer.
Mark Hamill, who’s reprising his original trilogy role as the Jedi Luke Skywalker in the highly anticipated film, told Yahoo! Movies that BB-8 is a live prop and that he got to play around with the little ball droid on set.
They never cease to amaze me with what theyâ€™re able to come up with, you know? I said, â€œHow are you ever gonna top R2-D2, the most adorable droid in movie history?â€ And then they have this new one….
And when they were demonstrating how they did this thing, live on set â€” because itâ€™s not CGI, thatâ€™s a live prop â€” I was just amazed. They let me play around with it. [Laughs] I was running it all around at the creature shop up in Pinewood. Iâ€™m telling you, itâ€™s an absolute delight. And not having thought that Iâ€™d ever go back there, to go back into that world, is just â€“ I get the chills. Itâ€™s just so much fun.
In EW‘s reveal of the new droid’s name, the accompanying bio says that BB-8 is a “bouncing baby droid” who “likely serves a similar role to R2â€”the sweet, childlike, non-threatening David that plays a small but critical role in facing down an intergalactic Goliath.”
It’s obvious that BB-8 is destined to be a beloved character; fans have already expressed their love of the new little droid, including one super-fan that went out and got a tattoo of the droid right after seeing it in the trailer! (@B_wreckin via Making Star Wars)
Along with Hamill, other original trilogy actors are returning for this seventh film: Harrison Ford as Han Solo, Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia, Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca, Anthony Daniels as C-3PO, and Kenny Baker as R2-D2. They are joined by characters played by John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Lupita Nyongâ€™o, Gwendoline Christie, Crystal Clarke, Pip Andersen, Domhnall Gleeson, and Max von Sydow.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters on December 18, 2015.