A product of Industrial Automaton, the BB series astromech droids are one of the most iconic additions to the Star Wars universe from the sequel trilogy era. We all know about BB-8 and even BB-9E due to the aggressive marketing for The Last Jedi but other than this duo there are only a handful of named BB units out there. OK, TWO handfuls of BB units.
BB units were first spotted in the canon timeline around 5 ABY, mentioned in the Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath: Life Debt. QT-9 is brought in as a therapy droid for former Rebel soldier Dade Hetkins. QT-9 had a blue and gold spherical body, like all BB units, and a square head with two ocular lenses. Although never seen, being just a novel character, we were luck to find this fanart rendition of QT-9 from StitchyArts on Tumblr!
BB-8 was our first widespread visual of what a BB unit truly is.
Ah, I remember the first trailer drop and twitter being abuzz about the “soccer ball droid.” It looked so stupid, and I loved it. BB-8 was an icon from that very first time we saw them speeding along through Niima Outpost. We know BB-8’s story, faithful companion to Poe, total fanboy for Artoo, best friend to D-0, and terrible at disguises. Although that may have been Finn’s fault. He’s a solider, not a total master of disguises for droids. He could definitely pick up a few tips from Sabine and Chopper.
So what about BB-9E?
To say the marketing was misleading, is an understatement in this situation. We were expecting Niney to have more screentime for sure. Instead, this droid happened to be on the bridge in one scene, on a security platform the next, and then at the scene of the crime. If security of the Supremacy was one of Niney’s primary functions, well it failed. Actually, did an OK job.. The droid observed and reported the infiltrators but also allowed BB-8 to get away when they were obviously sharing ocular lense contact with each other?! Anyway, BB-hate will still have a place in my heart even though they didn’t do anything…
With the First Order on the mind, we need to mention BB-K8. Found assisting Captain Phasma in her comic series, and and later on disintegrated at the hands of the good Captain. Ah BB-K8, you tried your best but you just knew too much.
CB-23 is a queen and everyone needs to pay more attention to her!
CB-23 is a Resistance droid paired off with Kazuda Xiono in the Star Wars: Resistance animated show. To say that CeeBee is my favorite part of the show is an understatement. (OK, she’s top two. Synara San is my favorite part, but we’re talking about the droids today..) One of the biggest plot points early on in the show is Poe Dameron LEAVES BB-8 with Kaz on the Colossus with the instructions to observe the platform and report any suspicious First Order activities that might arise there.
BB-8 worked with Kaz until Poe came to pick him up for his mission to Jakku, AKA the beginning of The Force Awakens. He traded Kaz CB-23 for the return of BB-8. We were gifted this silly scene of the droids being swapped while in space from ship to ship, because it was too risky to make the swap on the platform.
We’re not going to talk about the episode in which Kaz & friends are scared of a First Order BB unit MB-13. The entire episode is a kid friendly jump scare situation with MB tracking them and Kaz screaming as per usual. Of course, no one dares fire a shot at the droid. CeeBee and MB have a zap fight, MB gets launched from an airlock, and shakes their first menacingly as they float away. No really, that’s how it ends.
Additionally in Resistance one of the Aces, Bo Keevil, has the droid SC-X2 as his co-pilot in his racer. Now SC isn’t a BB unit, but it’s very very similar to the initial concept art for BB-8 from Christian Alzmann. Complete with the tread circling around the base and the arm on the side to keep the head on.
BB-4 and 2BB-2 are both proud members of the Resistance. Possibly stationed on D’Qar before the evacuation, but more likely permanently stationed on the Raddus. We first see these two as messengers on the command ship in The Last Jedi. 2BB-2 zips by Finn when he’s wandering aimlessly around in the bacta suit. Or as Poe so eloquently translated from BB-8 “Finn naked, leaking bag!” Maybe 2BB-2 was the one to tell BB-8 about Finn, since Finn was easily around the corner outside of BB-8’s visual range.
Later on we see BB-4 and 2BB-2 milling around the bridge of the Raddus. Sometimes taking messages from Officers, like Commander D’Acy or conversing with each other about adventures. BB-8 would be the one to talk about adventures, since BB-8 seems to be the only BB unit to actually get off an outpost or command ship.
So what other BB units do we have? Not too many that we actually see on screen. The BB’s aren’t the main droid being used by the Resistance at this point. There are a lot of R5 and R6 units assisting in piloting the Resistance’s fleet. Don’t forget, the Resistance will take whatever it can get for supplies. So when it comes for astromechs, they’re getting the hand-me-down older units and not the fresh off the line BB units. The few newer models they had, BB-4 and 2BB-2, were lost forever in the Holdo Manuever of 34 ABY leaving us with just BB-8.
Sometime in the timeline of the sequel trilogy, a Kowokain Monkey lizard gets stuck in some air ducts and BB unit BB-00, also know as just Boo, gets it unstuck. Adorable droid, questionable plot, just another side story in the Star Wars Adventures comics series from IDW.
No new BB units are seen on the Resistance base on Ajan Kloss. A special handful of other BB units are shown in one of my personal favorite Star Wars visual books Droidography AND in the VR game Droid Repair Bay. We’re gifted some time with BB-8 in the game, of course, and introduced to 84-SH, 6L-CH, and 9RU-MP!
There’s also some mini BB droids, actually NR-S3 “Nurse” droids, but they look like mini BB’s. Probably about the same size as the droids you can assemble at Galaxy’s Edge!
Last but not least an honorable mention for BB units- The floating slot machines in Canto Bight