Nissan’s booth at the LA Auto Show is essentially a big display of their current line-up of cars in Star Wars cosplay. In the back of their booth, though, they’ve got this fun but strikingly un-car-related VR experience where you get to repair droids in a droid repair shop. What makes this really interesting, at least to hardcore Star Wars droid-geeks, is that a number of new, never-before-seen BB-series droids are shown. Will any of these be in the movie? Did Nissan spill the beans on the biggest droid news of the year?
As you probably know from the TV commercials, Nissan has this huge tie-up with Star Wars, something that began with the Rogue and has carried over into damn near everything. At the auto show this week, there’s Maximas dressed up as fighter craft and all sorts of things. That’s all well and good, but the big news is the droids.
Every Star Wars-related thing at the booth was made by Lucasfilm, because Nissan isn’t a fan of lawsuits. That means that all these droids are official, at least in some context, but may not be canon, which is something really painful geeks talk about, usually in the context of arguments that end up in vigorous slap-fights.
I’m going to say that, yes, these new droids are, in fact, canon, because why the hell not. The whole BB-series of droids is something we’ve covered in detail here before, because it’s important, dammit, being the first all-new astromech droid design seen in Star Wars movies since the first ones in the 1970s.
So far, we’ve only seen three BB-series droids: BB-8, from The Force Awakens, where we were introduced to this new series of robots and yet, strangely, only saw one. Now, we’ve seen that there’s a dark counterpart to BB-8, the New Order’s BB-9E, and we’ve also seen a ‘resistance droid,’ another BB unit, presumably used by the resistance for maintenance on spacecraft and vending machines and whatever.
Now, in Nissan’s booth, we find four new varieties of BB-series droids: that’s one more than existed at all prior to this point! Let’s look at what we’ve got here:
First, a purple-ish one with an elaborate and rugged-looking neck mechanism. Does this allow for head extention, to reach high controls or for sensory-range purposes?
Next, this red guy, with a truncated-dome-head. This one looks a little larger than the BB droids we’ve seen, too, but it’s hard to get a sense of scale.
This yellow one, in rough repair, and with an unusual opaque ‘eye’ unit. The head is a strangely-shaped dome, but that could be distortion from the projection onto the curved screen.
Finally, we have this blue guy, who showed up in the VR experience thing as well. It’s significantly smaller than BB-8, and the proportions of head-to-ball-body are different, with a larger head, proportionally.
The hooded eye unit is interesting as well, as it looks like the dome is wearing a sort of protective blue ‘helmet.’
What are these things? What are their names? Whose side are they on? We can’t say, but so far this is the biggest mystery of the LA Auto Show.
I hope we actually do see these—and more—varieties of BB-units in the movie. I’d hate to think this galaxy from a long time ago and very far away had such limited droid options as there seemed to be in the last movie.
Plus, I hate it when Nissan leads me on, needlessly.