Tripping Ball-Droids: Empire Magazine On The Chronicles Of BB-8

As part of the recent exclusive Star Wars: The Force Awakens content being released, Empire Magazine had a chat with some of the fine designers at Lucasfilm on how everyone’s new favorite droid came to life.


The new droid began as sketches done by J.J. Abrams and progressed from there. When asked how the original idea for BB-8 came to be, Concept Designer Christian Alzmann said: “J.J. wanted something rolling on a sphere, so I tried a lot of different designs developing that idea”. This truly makes us wonder how many concepts J.J. went through before arriving to a final decision. It also makes us wonder what BB-8 could have looked like. In early concept art leaks we saw more of a traditional astromech design and in later sketches we saw what looked like a mini “Frost the Snowman” without the arms or hat.

Practical effects played a huge role in this film as Mark Hamill has said previously. As easy as it would’ve been to do a CG BB-8 in post, Abrams pushed to find a way to bring this droid to a level of physicality in which it could interact with others. This brings us back to time when Star Wars actually pioneered in the film industry in the late 70’s.

As a recent member of the BB-8 Builders Club, I can say that many people have been trying to crack open the secrets of how this ball rolls. But it turns out no one has cracked it yet. After seeing this, it seems we’ve got more photo dissecting to do.

   “We watch, very avidly, the forums and the discussions that people are having on ‘How did they do that?’,” says Scanlon, “and no one’s yet cracked the actual problem…”  


Empire’s latest issue drops today and we’ll be sure to get coverage on all the exclusives! Until then keep updated with us on Social Media and let us know your theories on how BB-8 works!

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