Star Wars’ lovable ball droid BB-8 is going to channel comedy legend Buster Keaton in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The eighth installment of the Star Wars saga is set to continue featuring BB-8 in a major role after Poe Dameron’s droid was the one of the main targets of the First Order’s manhunt in The Force Awakens. As a character, BB-8 hearkened back to R2-D2 with his charming expressiveness, despite communicating with just beeps and bloops.
Despite his crucial role in the plot of The Force Awakens, BB-8 also delivered plenty of humor when the droid interacted with Finn (John Boyega) and Rey (Daisy Ridley), among others. In The Last Jedi, BB-8’s comic relief role is set to continue – and director Rian Johnson compared the droid to a giant in the world of comedy.
Speaking at a panel for The Last Jedi at Star Wars Celebration in Orlando, Johnson was asked about BB-8 and compared the ball droid’s performance to comedy legend Buster Keaton, saying that the editing team for The Force Awakens encouraged him to incorporate BB-8 and his comic tendencies into as many scenes as possible:
“The best advice I had was from [J.J. Abrams’] editors who said you can’t get enough of BB-8. He’s the Buster Keaton of [The Last Jedi].”
For the uninitiated, Buster Keaton was an actor/director who is widely regarded as one of the greatest pioneers of physical comedy. He rose to fame in the silent movie era, producing a number of classics in the 1920s like The General and Sherlock Jr. He often directed and starred in his own movies, making heavy use of sight gags and comedic stunts that were daring and innovative for the era.
So, for Johnson to compare a character like BB-8 to the work of Keaton is certainly high praise. The droid will likely once again be in the thick of things in The Last Jedi and find himself in even more sticky situations than in The Force Awakens. BB-8 showed his comedic potential in a handful of hilarious moments in The Force Awakens, and Johnson’s comments indicate that it will go to another level in The Last Jedi.
The hope, now, is that the comic relief with BB-8 is not overdone. There’s always the chance that an overabundance of gags could become cheapened and take away from the action scenes that contain them. But BB-8 isn’t exactly a serious character to begin with, and Johnson was likely smart enough not to overdo it in The Last Jedi – even if he “can’t get enough” of BB-8. Perhaps script doctor Carrie Fisher stopped the director from doing so.
KEY RELEASE DATES
Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi release date: Dec 15, 2017
Untitled Han Solo Star Wars Anthology Film release date: May 25, 2018