Well, in case you thought BB-8 was a bit too cutesy in ‘The Force Awakens,’ he is being directly contrasted in ‘The Last Jedi’ with an evil version of the BB series, a droid in use by the First Order known as BB-9E, or “BB-Hate” as Rian Johnson apparently was known to call him around set (apparently the “E” is BB-9E also stands for “Evil”).
The droid looks very similar to BB-8, except it is all black, and instead of the friendly orange rings around the ball body it is has circular silver grills meant to evoke a more imposing, authoritarian look. Its head is also different, as it is flat-topped and meant to evoke more “waspy” imagery, it has a low-electronic growl, and a single glowing eye meant to pay homage to HAL 9000 from ‘2001: A Space Odyssey.’ And aside from the glowing red eye there is also a single blue light on its face, with the red and blue lights meant bring to mind the idea of being pulled over by the police, making audience members slightly uncomfortable to see BB-9E coming.
While speaking on the design of BB-9E, Neal Scanlan, head of the ‘Star Wars’ creature shop stated:
“BB-8 has this huge personality and this huge heart, but you know, in a sense, I’ve always found it to have a sort of slightly manipulative quality. With BB-9E, we go back to literally the cold First Order sort of Empire version of what a BB unit might be. This was much more cold, calculative, much more direct.”
And apparently, BB-9E and BB-8 get there very own climactic moment in ‘The Last Jedi,’ as Scanlan cryptically explained:
“There’s a lovely moment between BB-8 and BB-9E, which tells that sort of parallel story of Vader and Luke.”
Which makes sense considering the color scheme of the two droids, which BB-8 having the white and orange look of a Rebel flight suit, similar to what Luke wore throughout the original trilogy, and BB-9E being all black with a few silver highlights, similar to Darth Vader. We’ll see what kind of craziness Johnson ends up doing with both BB-8 and BB-9E when ‘The Last Jedi’ finally premieres in a few weeks, but until then, feel free to speculate down in the comments section below!