BB-8 - They see me rollin', they hear me going beep bop blurp beep....

Nov 30, 2014
Now that glow (and what a wondrous glow it was) of The Force Awakens’ teaser trailer has begun to dissipate, it’s time to explore things in more detail – but that’s for other people - I just wanted to point out some of the inspiration for the cute little rolling ball robot that featured ever so briefly, BB-8:

BB-8 robot force awakens
They see me rollin'
The internet was quick to suggest where the inspiration for the lil dude or dudette came from – the mind of Ralph McQuarrie – being the original concept artist / designer that George Lucas employed to bring his words to life by way of drawings.

early R2d2 concept idea
Here’s an initial sketch of what could have become R2D2 and has duly become a part of The Force Awakens (just like the series Rebels has been doing). 

You'll note the roller ball at the base of the draft sketch - it's clearly an inspiration. 

You can see how the top is very similar to the traditional R Type Mech droids we have been used to seeing over the years. 

What's an astromech you ask? The official Star Wars site says:

"Astromech droids are a series of versatile utility robots generally used for the maintenance and repair of starships and related technology. These small droids are often equipped with a variety of tool-tipped appendages that are stowed in recessed compartments. The R2 unit is a popular example of an astromech droid."

You might say this has been done before in the form of Eva from Wall-e - that's true in a sense but remember Star Wars did it first with the Droideka units in The Phantom Menace who rolled about....

And if you wondered how this draft design of an R unit became transformed into what we know and love as the R2D2 droid, check out this very early concept art which was considered pivotal by George Lucas in convincing Fox Studios to back production of the very first Star Wars movie:

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