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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

How Puppeteers Brought BB-8 to Life in 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens'


Written by Sean Hutchinson

Here are all the BB-8 puppeteer GIFS you'll ever need.

There’s been an awakening. No, it’s not the Force. It’s the Blu-ray of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which hit store shelves earlier this week, and is chock full all of the special features that come with the physical copy of the movie.

One of the most fascinating featurettes in the release is Building BB-8, a six-minute look into how everyone’s new favorite droid was primarily created using practical special effects. The little robot captivated audiences from the moment he popped up in the movie’s teaser trailer, causing entire websites to spring up to try and explain just how the geniuses behind the production made him work.

It turns out, BB-8 was brought to the screen by a team of many who used different versions of the droid to make the effect seamlessly edited into one performance. One was radio controlled, one was performed by a puppeteer who was erased using CGI technology later, while other versions of the practical BB-8 could simply just turn in place.

Because this is the Internet, the best (and only) way to show you a peek at the different versions of BB-8 is in GIF form. Check out the magic below.

The BB-8 puppet being dragged through the Jakku village.

A glimpse into BB-8's guts.

Scary prototype BB-8.

Who knew BB-8 came to life because of a dude in a blue sweatsuit?

Remote control BB-8

BB-8 puppeteer Brian Herring performed the practical effect on-set but was erased from shots in post production.

Photos via StarWars.com

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