- "He's a BB unit. One of a kind. Orange and white. Utterly unique and utterly invaluable."
- ―Poe Dameron on BB-8
The BB-series astromech droid, also known as a 33 series astromech and often referred to as a BB unit or a rollie, was a model of the astromech droid manufactured by Industrial Automaton and active during the era of the Cold War, featuring a spherical body that allowed the droid to roll in any direction, with a head usually atop the body but not meant to be permanently physically attached to it (which would inhibit the droid's ability to roll around). Like earlier astromechs, the BB unit could fit into the droid socket of a starfighter. One notable BB unit was BB-8, owned by the pilot Poe Dameron.
The BB-series was a model of astromech droid. Powered by a selenium drive, these droids had an internal orbiculate motor that allowed their spherical bodies to roll across a variety of terrain, keeping their domed heads fixed on top with magnetic casters. Rather than keeping the head tethered by a single contact point, wireless telemetry allowed the two sections of the droid to communicate. The internal gyroscopic propulsion system was self-correcting, and surface sensors on the spherical body allowed the droid to travel across uneven environments such as deserts, with the benefit of its shell being sealed from dust contamination. For areas that proved too difficult for the orbiculate motor to traverse, BB units were equipped with compressed liquid-cable launchers that could tether and reel the droid in to hard-to-reach spots. As the droid's body faced in all directions at all times, it needed only to accelerate rather than turn. The BB's dense shell featured six swappable circular tool-bay disks that could be fitted with numerous forms of equipment, such as a magnetic-tipped bolt-spinner.
The droid's domed head was composed of a lightweight cranial frame featuring a large, round primary photoreceptor and a smaller articulated holoprojector array. The droid's sensors featured advanced calibrated synthetic optics. Transmitter and receiver antennae extended from the top of the head, and data ports were located above a band of stainless inoxium girding the bottom of the dome. The head could be dislodged from the body given significant force, but could quickly reattach itself with the magnetic casters.
BB units possessed a dedicated, goal-focused personality, and were protected by self-preservation protocols. However, it was known for some experienced droids to create strong loyalty subprograms that saw them enter into dangerous situations in order to assist their masters and owners. The droids communicated via droidspeak variants of the most common astromech language. BB units also possessed a thermal hyperscan vindicator.
- "That BB unit. The First Order is looking for one just like it."
Manufactured by Industrial Automaton, the BB-series was an evolution of ball-shaped droids used near the end of the Galactic Civil War, such as prototype therapy droids like QT-9, who saw service assisting New Republic veterans on Hosnian Prime following the Battle of Endor. This knee-high droid rolled on a blue-and-gold body with a square head balanced on top.
The BB-series saw service during the latter years of the New Republic, and some were utilized by General Leia Organa's Resistance. This unit was considered a new-model astromech as of the time of the attack on Tuanul in 34 ABY. Like the older and larger astromech models that preceded it, the BB unit was compatible with the astromech socket of starfighters such as the T-70 X-wing starfighter, and was equipped to control on-board flight and power distribution systems. BB-8 served as the trusty companion of Resistance pilot Poe Dameron, who fostered deep respect for his droid companion and kept BB-8's systems and components up-to-date and well maintained. Although the droid's self-preservation protocols made the droid somewhat skittish and easily frightened, his experiences created a strong loyalty subprogram that caused BB-8 to follow Dameron into numerous dangerous situations.
Notes and references
- Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge—Droid Depot
- Star Wars: The Visual Encyclopedia
- Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens: Head-to-Head
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens: The Visual Dictionary
- Star Wars Blips – "Fan Droids"
- Before the Awakening
- Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens
- Captain Phasma 1
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens novelization
- Star Wars: BB-8 Deluxe Book and 3D Wood Model
- Star Wars: Episode VIII The Last Jedi
- Aftermath: Life Debt