BB-8, the spherical follow-up to R2-D2, was the real star of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. You'd be hard pressed to name a cinematic character (human or droid) more lovable than the small orange and white ball that chirps and beeps to communicate with friends. But things are taking an interesting turn in Episode VIII: The Last Jedi. It seems BB-8 is getting an evil twin named BB-9E.
Toy company Sphero revealed the new bot, and they will be releasing toy versions of both droids. Like the BB-8 toy, BB-9E is a 4.4-inch app-controlled robot. It has the same ball-shaped body, moves without wheels, and comes with a magnetically-attached head.
The new toy will feature forty sounds and nine commands that can be delivered via the Sphero app. Like the original BB-8 toy, BB-9E will have a draw-and-drive function. In other words, the robot will follow any pattern you draw on the app.
BB-9E will go on sale September 1, for $149. He'll be released alongside a new mini version of R2-D2, slightly pricier at $179. For that extra cash, however, fans will be able to see R2-D2 retract a third leg into his body, waddle, and shake back and forth just as he does in the movies. Designers say "[they] want to think of [our products] as droids come to life; not just toys."
Perhaps coolest of all: the robots react to the Star Wars movies! BB-9E chirps cheerfully when the bad guys win and BB-8 becomes sad. I don't know about you, but I look forward to watching a movie about BB-9E watching Star Wars.