Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker merchandise hints at either a redesign or injury for popular droid BB-8. With franchise stalwarts C-3PO and R2-D2 taking a backseat in the sequel trilogy, BB-8 quickly emerged as the new films' robotic star. His cute appearance made him the ideal character for Lucasfilm's licensing partners, and there are plenty of BB-8 products to be found on store shelves (he was omnipresent in the months leading up to The Force Awakens). BB-8 will of course be back for this December's grand finale, but he'll be competing for fans' affections with new droid D-O.
Based on the Star Wars 9 marketing materials released thus far, C-3PO is going to have a significantly larger role than he did in the previous two installments, but BB-8 isn't going to be shortchanged. He's seen accompanying the main Resistance heroes on their mission in the teaser trailer, so it'll be fun to see what kind of adventures he gets into this time. Whatever BB-8 is up to, it looks like he'll wind up in harm's way - if official merchandise is anything to go by.
Ahead of the Triple Force Friday products releasing in early October, Reddit user KoopalingArmy posted an image of the Star Wars 9 BB-8 Funko Pop. As you can see, BB-8 is missing one of his orange panels, implying he gets damaged at some point in the new film. Take a look at the photo in the space below:
Since very little is known about The Rise of Skywalker at this point in time, it's difficult to gauge much from this reveal. One thing it's fairly safe to say, however, is that Lucasfilm does not consider BB-8's new look an overt spoiler, if it's going to be part of the first wave of tie-in products. The studio is very careful about keeping plot details under wraps during promotional campaigns, and they aren't going to ruin a key story twist on a collectible that'll be available months before the movie premieres. It's possible BB-8 is in this damaged state when Star Wars 9 opens. One year has passed since the end of The Last Jedi, with the Resistance and First Order engaged in an all-out war. Perhaps BB-8 saw some action, and since the Resistance is so limited on resources, they can't afford to repair him right now. It's just a theory, but one that's plausible.
There probably won't be many (if any) clues about BB-8's new look for the remainder of the marketing campaign. While there should be a full Star Wars 9 theatrical trailer on the way, a droid's missing panel is low on the list of priorities for the preview to cover. Still, this is a bit intriguing. The cynic will say this was done specifically to create a new toy for collectors to buy (there's only so much companies can do with BB-8), but hopefully there's a logical storytelling reason behind it that feels organic to the narrative.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019