Cast your mind back to the moment when Disney and Lucasfilm formally unveiled the very first teaser for The Force Awakens (“there has been an awakening, have you felt it?”), and you’ll likely recall the level of excitement generated by BB-8 as that dinky little droid rolled into shot. Yes, rolled.
For years, the droids of Lucasfilm’s Star Wars had been designed to be bipedal (or sometimes quadrupedal) ‘bots, but that all changed when J.J. Abrams climbed on board to pump fresh blood into this most beloved of cinematic franchises. The fact that the spherical BB-8 was built using
black magic gyroscopes and internal mechanism, as opposed to CGI, ensured Poe Dameron’s little helper had everything it needed to become a bona fide fan-favorite. And the rest is history.
Fast forward to the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and the Resistance is in a “very, very vulnerable” state, leaving General Leia Organa to rally the troops in what will be Carrie Fisher’s final Star Wars performance. But as Force Friday inches ever closer, merchandise for The Last Jedi is beginning to seep onto the interwebs, with the latest batch pointing to the inclusion of BB-8’s evil doppelgänger, BB-9.
Truth be told, the addition of a BB-8-styled Empire droid has been doing the rounds for weeks, so this image only acts as further confirmation that the First Order has upped its arsenal.
Aside from BB-8’s next of kin, this particular toy line also brings us closer to the recently-unveiled (and heavily-armed) Executioner Stormtrooper replete with its upgraded vibro-ax, and the much-touted Red Guards. They are, in essence, the sworn protectors of Supreme Leader Snoke, and though they may be visually similar to those guardians that flanked Palpatine during Return of the Jedi, writer-director Rian Johnson mined inspiration from samurai warriors when tossing around ideas for their overall design. And the end result is a formidable and badass addition to the Star Wars canon.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi zooms into theaters on December 15th.