By Jay Krebs
BB-8...that round little ball-droid who’s gotten everyone’s attention in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. He’s easily a fan-favorite among the new characters. According to The Daily Dot, BB-8 currently has dominated overall merchandise sales, surpassing all other characters in the movie (although, I suspect Rey will be catching up very quickly)!
I fell for BB-8 the moment I laid eyes on him at Celebration Anaheim. Admittedly, I am one of those fans who is gladly supporting the BB-8 merchandise trend.
However, how much do we really know about BB-8?
Where did he come from?
Who or what manufactured him?
How did Poe acquire him?
There’s really not a whole lot of canon or Star Wars history to go with at this point. Even the available literature, including the novelization of the film itself, does not shed much light on the origins of BB-8.
Amidst all of the other character speculations out there, this one has me the most intrigued.
According to Wookieepedia, BB-8’s characteristics are unlike any other manufactured droid. Most programmed droids have a particular “personality” - bossy, grumpy, etc. Yet Poe describes BB-8, as unique and how he actually has the propensity to daydream from time-to-time. In The Force Awakens, as Poe is describing BB-8 to Finn for the first time, he firmly expresses that BB-8 is “one of a kind.” Is Poe referring to his affection for BB-8’s personality or something more?
Many Star Wars fans are familiar with Mike Klimo, who has popularized his ideas of “Star Wars Ring Theory”...a “what-goes-around, comes-around” set of ideas surrounding events in the Star Wars continuum. There are many corresponding themes and patterns that tie the stories and films together. We are seeing a lot of parallels in The Force Awakens to other Star Wars films, and many have already been pointed out by fans and critics alike.
One idea in particular has the wheels in my head spinning…
BB-8 was constructed by Ben Solo as a child.
Let that sink in.
With Star Wars Ring Theory in mind, here is a story I created in order to illustrate that theory's plausibility:
As a child, Ben Solo was most likely a very inquisitive and high-maintenance individual, often demanding attention from anyone who would give it to him. He probably inherited many of the mechanically-inclined traits of his father (Han) and grandfather (Anakin). Having presumably very busy parents, this left Ben with a lot of time to tinker with his skills. Given his upbringing and home environment, Ben had some interesting resources at his disposal.
Ben built BB-8 before he left with his uncle Luke for his Jedi training. He designed BB-8’s personality into a droid version of himself at the time - a childlike daydreamer. A dedicated soul, willing to help anyone who needed it. When he departed for his training with Luke, he left BB-8 in the hands of his mother, Leia.
As the Resistance increased their need for resources to fight The First Order, a young pilot named Poe Dameron stood out among the rest. Poe became one of General Leia Organa’s most trusted and revered pilots. Leia also knew Poe’s parents, who were amazingly gifted pilots during the Empire era. It would make sense that Leia would bestow her son’s creation to Poe, as a gesture of trust, admiration and respect.
Fast-forward to the events of The Force Awakens. There are a few instances in the film that made me question Ben Solo/Kylo Ren’s connection to BB-8:
After Poe is interrogated about the map to Luke, Kylo Ren is seen speaking to General Hux and mentions Supreme Leader Snoke’s orders to “capture the droid if we can, but destroy it if we must".
Kylo Ren replies that he wants the droid -- “unharmed” -- to which Hux replies: “Do not let your personal feelings get in the way.”
Was Hux simply referring to the idea that Kylo Ren was obsessed with finding his uncle, or that Kylo Ren had a deeper attachment to BB-8, one that could possibly jeopardize their plans?
Another instance of Kylo Ren ‘protecting’ BB-8 was in the scene in which Kylo Ren first encounters Rey. He remarks that Rey has seen the map, and tells the Stormtroopers to “forget the droid. We have what we need.”
Again, was it just Kylo Ren’s obsession with finding Luke, or something more?
This short clip of Kylo Ren shows his face when Snoke tells him that BB-8 is in the hands of his father. The actual scene was later replaced with a CGI image of Kylo Ren’s helmet covering his reaction:
What’s going on in that head of yours, Kylo??
At the end of the film, when Rey is departing the Resistance base to locate Luke, we see BB-8 with Leia as she says goodbye. BB-8 is with LEIA. Not Poe. Not leaving with Rey. Perhaps BB-8 actually wanted to stay with Leia, to comfort her. After all, she had just lost her husband, Ben’s father. Also, her son, “The Maker,” seemed all but lost to the evils of the Dark Side. Due to his attachment and history with her, BB-8 felt a sense of dedication to Leia in her time of need.
So, where does this theory and these ideas lead us in the future?
BB-8 is obviously a central character in the new era of Star Wars. He is not just going to fade into the woodwork. Just like our beloved R2-D2, BB-8 is going to be a pivotal piece of the galactic puzzle.
What if BB-8 has something crucial hidden in his programming that's been placed there by Ben Solo? This could be a holocron (of sorts) that can only be activated in Kylo Ren/Ben’s presence or by a turn of events we have not yet seen?
What if BB-8 has a failsafe mechanism that orders him to return to his master at some point? Would BB-8 turn to the Dark Side and Kylo Ren's bidding?
If we think about The Ring Theory and compare the history of BB-8 and C-3PO, it would seem evident and may actually prove that BB-8 was, in fact, constructed by Ben Solo.
C-3PO was constructed by Anakin Skywalker and went on to eventually serve Leia. BB-8 is now serving Leia and the Resistance by being Poe’s droid companion. Both droids have a unique personality, unlike any others of their kind. This is more the case with BB-8 since at this point, we have seen no other BB-units.
BB-8 can also be seen as a “morph” between Threepio and Artoo. BB-8 is an astromech, like Artoo. Both droids carried sensitive, vital information that was central to the outcome of both storylines. BB-8 and R2-D2 each encountered a central character on their journeys - both on desert worlds, and presumably both Skywalkers (if you believe the theory of Rey to be Luke’s daughter). All three droids end up with Leia.
BB-8 is the perfect blend of Solos and Skywalkers.
(Note: I’ve also seen some information that ties BB-8’s name to his true creator, JJ Abrams. Mr. Abrams is an avid fan of the musical group Beastie Boys, and it has been noted that BB-8’s name could be his homage to the fact that the Beastie Boys have released eight albums. It could be just about that or both! My theory is way more fun. Wouldn’t you say?)
Everyone has their theories after seeing The Force Awakens, and my love of BB-8 has lead me to this one. Let me know what YOU think!
Baker-Whitelaw, Gavia. "A Guide to the Best BB-8 Merch on the Market." The Daily Dot Geek. The Daily Dot, 8 Dec. 2015. Web. 12 Jan. 2016. <http://www.dailydot.com/geek/best-star-wars-bb8-droid-toys/>.
"BB-8." Wookieepedia. Web. 12 Jan. 2016. <http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/BB-8>.
Klimo, Mike. "Ring Theory: The Hidden Artistry of the Star Wars Prequels." Star Wars Ring Theory. 31 Oct. 2014. Web. 12 Jan. 2016. <www.starwarsringtheory.com>.
Video clip: https://pbs.twimg.com/tweet_video/CYt9jJbWYAAKCdU.mp4
Jay Krebs has been a Star Wars fan since the age of 7. She is a mom cosplayer and blogger. She is a highschool teacher that is actively involved with Star Wars in the Classroom. Her blogs have been featured on Star Wars KidsCast, as well as Coffee With Kenobi.
Geek topics from AoG hosts and contributors.