Dear Star Wars, Stop Trying To Make Us Think BB-8 Is Secretly Evil
It’s safe to say that Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the most anticipated movie of the year (maybe the last 10 years?), and I’m pretty sure I know why: BB-8.
The adorably spherical droid at the center heart of J.J. Abrams’ The Force Awakens has not only launched a bajillion (that’s an accurate number, btw) merchandising opportunities for Disney, but it’s also become the new face for the franchise. A very cute, very round face.
Even Luke Skywalker himself knows BB-8 is the cutest thing to ever happen to this galaxy. “They never cease to amaze me with what they’re able to come up with, you know?” Mark Hamill told Yahoo! Movies. “I said, ’How are you ever gonna top R2-D2, the most adorable droid in movie history?’ And then they have [BB-8].”
He’s quite literally become the droid we’ve been looking for. So, why are the creative forces behind BB-8 trying to convince that’s he’s up to no good? (And yes, I know droids don’t have genders, but I cannot stop from referring to BB-8 as a male. Feel free to psychoanalyze me later.) The past few weeks, the Internet been bombarded with headlines like “Why Star Wars’ Breakout Star, the Seemingly Lovable BB-8, Is Having a Ball—But ’Shouldn’t Be Trusted’” and “What if BB-8 Is the New Jar Jar Binks?” — and this needs to stop.
Can we have nothing nice in this world? Must we always assume the worst in people and droids? Is it so hard to believe that a cute and plucky droid is nothing more than a cute and plucky droid?! Of course, the Powers That Be haven’t made it easy for us to avoid the skepticism.
“We always saw BB-8 as a naughty puppy or a very clever little child,” Neal Scanlan, chief of creature and droid effects on Star Wars: The Force Awakens, told PEOPLE. “They know how to be coy, how to be cute, how to sulk, how to pull at heartstrings to get what they want.”
“She or he is using all those little tricks to be able to get around Rey [the central character, played by Daisy Ridley] and be able to transport himself on this incredibly important journey,” he added. “He’s on a mission, and he has to succeed in this mission. He has a strong ability to be able to manipulate people—in the nicest possible sense of the word.”
A few weeks prior, Scanlan said something similar to EW. “We always imagined BB-8 as being quite manipulative. I think he knows he’s cute. He knows that he can win people over. And he uses that like children do to get his own way. In this film, he has a very important mission that he has to accomplish and so he uses his personality, his coyness, and all of those things.”
It’s a classic smear campaign.
They want us to think BB-8 has a nefarious plan hidden away in those secret panels of his because they know millions of people have already fallen in love with him. Fans are shelling out $150 a pop to have a mini, app-controlled BB-8 terrorize their cats. If that’s not the definition of love, then what is?
Is BB-8 hiding something important? Absolutely! But so was R2-D2 when Princess Leia gave it the blueprints for the Death Star. But look a little closer at the language Scanlan uses to describe BB—“naughty puppy,” “clever little child,” “manipulate people, in the nicest possible sense of the world.” Is that the way you describe an evil mastermind? BB-8 isn’t evil, but he is on a mission. (Personally, I think he’s on a mission from Luke. I’m basing that on knowing absolutely nothing about this movie, but this photo of BB-8 staring off into the sun on Jakku says it all.)
Like R2-D2 before him, BB-8 is a droid that’s meant to work on starships. We’ve already seen him helping Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron from the back seat of his X-Wing, so he should presumably perform functions similar to R2 when it comes to aiding pilots. However, BB-8 has a bevy of tools at his disposal, including a grappling hook and a taser probe. So he’s cute and badass—and even capable of love. Well, maybe.
Isaac most recently revealed during the Star Wars: The Force Awakens press conference that if his character, a pilot in the Resistance, did have a romance, it’s with “those two little balls.” Does that sound like an evil droid to you? Nope.
If anything, it’s our tendency to coo over BB that’s really started to stroke the flames in recent weeks. The more we dote over him, the more Abrams and co. feel the need to make us doubt our newfound allegiance. Since they can’t say anything about any of the other characters in the film, this is the perfect way to build tension and raise the stakes. Because right now, BB-8 is one of the only new characters we have any emotional attachment to. He’s the symbol of our great new hope for the franchise.
“I had a chat with BB-8, and I remember J.J. saying, ’He’s not a child,’” Ridley revealed to TIME magazine. Obviously, the impulse is, because he’s small and cute, to infantilize him. But he’s not a child—he’s a droid with a mission.”
A mission that in no way, shape or form involves killing Han Solo or any of your other faves. So let’s all give the little guy a break, and let him live, OK?