By: Dominic Jones
One of the many questions we all had when we first saw the teaser trailer for Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens was: is that droid (who we now know is called BB-8) a physical prop or CGI. The answer came from none other than Jedi Master Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill. Hamill confirmed to Yahoo! that BB-8 was in fact a prop on set and not CGI added in after the fact.
Hamill told Yahoo!,
"They never cease to amaze me with what they’re able to come up with, you know? I said, “How are you ever gonna top R2-D2, the most adorable droid in movie history?” And then they have this new one. I can’t even tell you his name, but you saw it in the trailer. [Editor’s note: the name of the droid has been revealed as BB-8.] And when they were demonstrating how they did this thing, live on set — because it’s not CGI, that’s a live prop — I was just amazed. They let me play around with it. [Laughs] I was running it all around at the creature shop up in Pinewood. I’m telling you, it’s an absolute delight. And not having thought that I’d ever go back there, to go back into that world, is just – I get the chills. It’s just so much fun."
Sounds like Mark let his inner fanboy out and did what we all would have done, and played with BB-8. Though there was a functional prop on set, I also think it's safe to assume that BB-8 will be enhance somewhat via CGI.
Yahoo! also asked Hamill if he was surprised he wasn't in the teaser trailer, to which Hamill replied,
"Not really. This is about the new generation of characters; I think that’s the most important thing. It’s the opening act of a whole new approach to the storytelling. So I never thought that the stories would be – first of all, I never thought I’d be involved in it again, period. And then when George [Lucas] said that they wanted to do more, I rightly assumed that it wouldn’t be our story, because we had a beginning, a middle, and an end. This must be our offspring and the current generation, with us there lending the kind of support that Peter Cushing and Alec Guinness did in the original. So no, that didn’t surprise me. And I mean, I’m one of those people where I just think, “Keep me out of it. I’ll ruin it, I’m sure!” [Laughs] I’ll show up and just ruin the whole thing."
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