BB-8 is the ultimate sidekick who can give you a thumbs-up (and he doesn't even have hands), operate an AT-ST, and shoot casino chips at security guards when necessary. Since his introduction in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the gyroscopic droid became a favorite among fans, who would probably pay to see an origin movie just about him and how he came to be owned by Oscar Isaac's Poe Dameron ... Solo who?
And while we will always have a soft spot for R2-D2, BB-8 is arguably more emotive and fun in every way (sorry, R2! You know we love ya). Even his name is so fitting in an ingeniously simplistic way that you just can't explain fully, so that when you stop to think about it, you realize BB-8 is the only title the folks at Lucasfilm could ever have given him. However, they didn't just name him BB-8 right off the bat. That sort of flashbulb moment takes time and much brainstorming.
The cute little droid was almost named something entirely different, according to special effects and makeup artist Neal Scanlan, who worked on both The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. In an interview with Endor Express, he was asked about the formation of creature names in the Star Wars universe during production and said:
"We work absolutely during the production process with codes for secrecy. We then often have a retrospective phone call with Pablo (Hidalgo) [of the Lucasfilm Story Group] 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."
Corresponding with SYFY WIRE over Twitter, Hidalgo said he'd never heard those preliminary names, but that they could be the "production nicknames or code names" that Scanlan mentioned. "I only ever knew him as BB-8," said Hidalgo.
Okay, Globe makes sense for obvious reasons, but Snow Girl? What do you think that was a reference to, or was it simply a random code name meant to be replaced at a later date? Whatever the reason, we're grateful BB-8 ended up getting the name he got.