BB-8 Car Charger

An incredible amount of work and thought are put into each creature in the Star Wars galaxy. But what about the lovable droids who stand alongside the human heroes of the franchise? That includes BB-8, who was introduced in Star Wars: The Force Awakens as Poe Dameron’s best friend and, once he’s found by Rey, the impetus for the plot of Episode 7.

But it turns out that adorable galaxy-saving droid that everyone affectionately calls BB-8 could have had a totally different name.

BB-8 is a perfect, nonsensical droid name. It rolls off the tongue, it’s a cheeky reference to the rotund design of the cute machine, and it’s short enough for kids to spell when they’re writing their Christmas wish lists. But in an interview with Endor Express, special effects and make-up artist Neal Scanlan — who has worked on every Star Wars movie since The Force Awakens — revealed that BB-8 wasn’t always called BB-8:

“We work absolutely during the production process with codes for secrecy. We then often have a retrospective phone call with Pablo (Hidalgo) and the guys and he’ll ask ‘what were you thinking about when you designed this character?’ and I’ll maybe say that this one is kind of like the actor John Candy, he’s sweet at heart but he’s this, this, and that, and we have a bit of fun playing with ideas and that’s when we get to hear what their real names are. BB-8, for instance, started out as Snow Girl or Globe at one time – there were four or five names for BB-8. BB-8 didn’t come until VERY, very late, and that’s probably for very good reasons as he’s such an important character.”

Snow Girl? Does this put a stop to the endless arguments over BB-8’s gender? Probably not, because while the cast and crew saw the droid as a girl and merchandise plugged it as a boy, in the end, BB-8 is a robot. Globe too, is a little on the nose, but as a temporary name it does the trick.

We don’t find out the other names that the team tried out for BB-8, but hopefully it doesn’t come out that one of the droid’s original names was R2-D3 or something, or we’ll be subject to silly, frenzied speculation over whether R2-D2 is actually BB-8’s father. But it’s fun to learn the process by which some of our favorite characters are created — especially when it’s one as lovable as BB-8.

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