The Rolling Robot From The Star Wars Trailer Actually Exists And It’s Awesome

Remember that incredibly neat soccer-ball lookin’ robot from the Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer? The fans started debating about it pretty much immediately, as they tend to do. How the hell did it work? It had to be CGI, right?


Its name is BB-8, and it’s totally real.

Well, “real” in the sense that there’s some dude off-camera puppeteering it — but still! Actual, physical hardware — not CGI. No strings, no wires, no Kenny Baker hiding inside — just damned beautiful engineering and design work.

The Force Unleashed crew rolled BB-8 out on stage today during a panel at the Star Wars Celebration event.

“Neil Scanlan and his incredible team… built and puppeteered BB-8 in the movie, and did an extraordinary job.” noted director J.J. Abrams ” It was better for the actors, better for the film itself — you’ll see their work. It was amazing.”

The way it moves is just incredible; I’ve got plenty of ideas for how they’re pulling it off, but now I’m itching for the behind-the-scenes stuff almost as much as the movie itself. It’ll be interesting to see whether they try to miniaturize this tech for the inevitable toy release, or if the BB-8 toys end up being a bit less dynamic.