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SYFY WIRE Star Wars Resistance

How original and unused designs for BB-8 made it into Star Wars Resistance on Disney Channel

By Josh Weiss
BB-8 Star Wars Resistance

Whether you love the new Star Wars trilogy or not, there's no denying that Poe Dameron's gyroscopic droid, BB-8, is one of the greatest Lucasfilm creations made under Disney's watchful eye. Prior to the release of The Force Awakens, many fans thought that a character like R2-D2 couldn't possibly be one-upped, but here we are.

As with the invention of any new character, BB-8 went through several different designs from ILM concept artist, Christian Alzmann, before a final version was chosen by writer/director, J.J. Abrams. Luckily, Alzmann's unused ideas weren't scrapped, but later re-purposed for another Star Wars project, Resistance, which currently airs on the Disney Channel.

In a new behind-the-scenes featurette, we learn about how the head animators referenced some of Alzmann's original designs, which were very well suited to the show's unique visual style that mimics Japanese-produced anime.

"I noticed that the proportions [in Christian's drawings] were slightly different, the head was a little bit bigger, they eye was a little bit bigger. And I thought that that really translated well into the anime-inspired style of Resistance," says art director Amy Beth Christenson in the video below. "That's how BB-8 evolved for the show."

Given the fact that he can move around a lot easier than R2, BB-8 does very well with physical/slapstick comedy in the new Star Wars films. In The Force Awakens, it was the now-iconic "thumbs up" lighter moment, while The Last Jedi had him shooting casino coins out of his metal casing at surly prison guards and piloting a freakin' AT-ST against First Order Stormtroopers.

The droid's distinctive beeps and boops were allegedly performed by a combination of famous comedians/actors, Bill Hader and Ben Schwartz. Of course, some digital enhancements were no doubt needed to make the robotic character sound like a happy-go-lucky machine in a galaxy far, far away.

Recently renewed for a second seasonStar Wars Resistance recently returned to the Disney Channel for the second half of its first season. Dave Filoni, mastermind behind Clone Wars and Rebels, also created this series.