Star Wars zips and zaps into theaters this weekend, and I was lucky enough to see it last night with a hugely excited crowd who screamed, laughed, and applauded at all the right moments. It was a wonderful theatrical experience for a truly wonderful movie—one worthy of its years-long hype and the Star Wars name itself. And though I don’t want to spoil any of the plot for you or reveal some of its many surprises, I do want to talk about one thing: BB-8.
BB-8 is a very special droid who, in many ways, is the most important character in the movie. BB-8 made me laugh. BB-8 made me gasp. BB-8 made me squeal. BB-8 is what I want for Christmas. BB-8 is the cutest thing I have ever seen.
Look at it.
What I felt for BB-8 is what I imagine people felt for R2-D2 after seeing A New Hope for the first time in 1977. Only, you know what? I’m just going to go out on a limb here and say BB-8 is better than the former Cutest Droid In the Galaxy in every way. BB-8 moves more quickly. BB-8 can never fall over because BB-8 is a ball. BB-8 has a kinder, more emotive voice. Not only do I understand how parents feel when they say their baby is the cutest one they’ve ever seen, I think BB-8 is cuter than any baby I’ve ever seen or probably will ever see. Though you may believe children are our future, I believe—after seeing BB-8—that children are most definitely our past. I want to adopt BB-8.
BB-8 makes me wonder why I ever interact with other humans at all. Why am I wasting my time in endless conversations about work and life and the Kardashians and social issues and the Kardashians and politics and the Kardashians with people I don’t even like when I could say literally anything to BB-8 and hear a series of psychologically pleasing beeps and whirrs and hums in response? No conversation with someone who speaks my language could possibly be as rewarding as one with BB-8 that requires no active listening or feigned interest. From now on I will look at all my friends with disgust and resentment, knowing they’ll never quite live up to the communication skills of an orange ball that goes, “OooOOOooOOoOOoOooo beep beep beep whirrrrrrr!”
Here’s my favorite conversationalist again.
Since seeing Star Wars: The Force Awakens, I’ve done nothing but imagine my life with BB-8 in it. We’d roam the streets of New York, smiling at people who smile at us. Posing for photos with strangers. Drinking coffee on the pier. Lying in Central Park under the stars. BB-8 would beep goodnight to me before rolling into his charging station and keeping watch over my apartment. Making sure I’m always safe. Making sure I’ll always be BB’s Bobby. But this is all just a dream. I will never be with BB-8. Unless...
Ugh, just look at it.
I could buy the toy version! It would be such fun to own the toy version, but we all know the real BB-8 isn’t a toy. The real BB-8 is a companion. A lifelong companion. And I must acquire the real one. It would take some digging, but I think I could probably call around and find people who worked on the movie. “Oh yeah,” one of them would eventually tell me. “J.J. took one of the functioning BB-8 models to his house.”
“Oh? Where exactly is his house?” I’d ask with the smile of someone who would never hurt a fly.
A smile like this.
Buzz! That’s me ringing the bell at J.J.’s gate. His home is smaller than I expected, but impressive nonetheless. I regard the surrounding fence and imagine myself jumping over it from the other side. Could I make it if holding a bag filled with something the size and weight of BB-8? Probably. I don’t exercise as much as I should, but probably. J.J.’s voice breaks me out of my daydream. “Hello?”
“Hi, yes. This is Bobby Fi...Fletcher? Bobby Fletcher? I’m here to fix the sink.”
“Oh! Right. Come on in!”
I’d smile while picturing Carrie Fisher, my close friend, sneaking into J.J.’s home earlier that week and pouring a gallon of bacon grease down J.J. Abrams’ kitchen sink simply because I told her to, and without ever asking why. She’s a good egg, that one. A real pal.
I knock on the door to discover J.J. in sweatpants and a faded Felicity shirt. “Hi! Sink’s this way.”
He’d direct me to the home’s beautiful kitchen and I’d marvel at the gas range. I’d wonder if BB-8 had ever watched J.J. cook a meal there, and imagine myself cooking in BB-8’s presence. Its head tilting as I chopped. Giving an approving beep after I pull out a perfectly roasted chicken. Ina’s recipe. BB-8 knows.
“I’m gonna be in my office. Holler if you need me!”
“Sure thing, BB-8’s dad.”
“I said, ‘Sure thing, J.J.’”
After dropping my empty toolbox I’d run to the basement—second door past the guest bathroom, just like Carrie told me—and tiptoe down the stairs. Once illuminated by a single bulb, I’d notice all of J.J.’s treasures. A miniature Starship Enterprise. Framed promotional posters for the first season of Lost. A real doll of Steven Spielberg. And then, just beside the giant Felicity wig, I’d see my precious BB. Waiting patiently for his friend. Now where’d I put that bag?
Wow, J.J. is fast! Who would have thought. But I’m faster, at least for now. I carry BB-8 in a terrycloth bag slung over my shoulder. It’s heavier than I’d expected and, so far, hasn’t said a thing to me, but I’m ready to take it home. To have our first chat. I’m ready to do anything for BB-8. I’m ready to make the jump over the fence. I’m ready. I’m ready. I’m ready.
J.J. has tackled me. I let out a deep moan as BB-8 rolls on to the wet grass, its panels still unlit. “The cops will be here in 5 minutes you jackass,” J.J. says. But I don’t respond. I turn my head to BB-8, the friend I’ll never have.
How strange it is to notice there’s no life in either of us.
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Images via Disney/Getty.