Droid Feelings

I wonder if droids can love, whether they can be protagonists. The orange and white BB-8 caught my fancy yesterday. Could a droid emerge truly victorious in EPISODE IX JUDGMENT OF THE SITH.

The problem I have in critiquing a part seventh of anything, let alone a cult franchise, is that “can we truly critique it?” The biggest victory of THE FORCE AWAKENS, in my reckoning, is that no fan went away disappointed. Largely unimaginative, maybe, but the movie doesn’t disappoint. It has love, wrath and nostalgia. I saw the movie in a theatre filled with skeptical kids, kids dragged along by over enthusiastic parents.

What’s difficult is that after you see the movie, there are a million people who go, “Oh, they could have done that, this, every specking bit of stardust could have been different”, but what’s important to understand is that this is JJ’s story, you’re hearing. I wonder if people have seen some of JJ’s other movies; some that seem so intent on critiquing the movie. One thing, struck out for me though: the emotion of the droid.

BB-8’s name is unique, so is BB-8. R2D2 wasn’t ever a special droid. All of the intensity around the Star Wars movie has been around lineage and lineage they showed. The names Rey and Ren strike a pair, don’t they? Wonder if they fall in love. But this post has nothing to do with mysterious lineage of dark and light characters. This post has to do with the beauty that is little BB-8. BB was Black Mamba’s daughter and she was sweet, lovable and adorable — all at once. Our BB here is too, and since it can elicit emotions as complex as these, it must have a heart, a conscience and if it does, it can be broken. We’ve fallen in love with them droids, can we really not hate them.

Only a Sith deals in absolutes.

BB-8 rolls his head to show it’s sad, really sad, when it meets R2-D2. It’s love for its master is easily visible, just as easily as I could have seen two big orange eyes in that white head! Love the movie, or hate the movie, it’s hard to imagine a droid more cuter. If that thing is not on your kid’s Christmas present list, that’s some bad parenting! And, this is exactly why critiquing this movie is so tough.

In simpler terms, if you’ve already seen 6 episodes of this franchise, you’re enough of a fan to find something amazing in this movie. If you haven’t seen both the previous trilogies, you should be going to bed instead of reading this post. Either case, how do you critique something that you love so much! It’s hard to be objective in the face of such passion, and Abrams, like a true scholar, gave something to everyone in this crisp movie. Love, hate. Droids, Humans. Dark, Light. Sabers, blasters.

Only a Sith deals in absolutes.

But I digress. Darth Vader was more machine than human, so said the wise Obi Wan himself, which means the fusing of human and droids in a Star Wars epic is inevitable. Imagine them what happens when BB-8, at the bequest of R2-D2, who orders him to save Ren at any cost, acting at the behest of Luke, fuses himself with a dying Ren. The result is a fusion of Ren’s black soul and BB-8’s beautiful mind, pitted against a man who was once a nameless stormtrooper. I wonder if Abrams would let himself be taken there.

But imagine, hating BB-8. God, that seems difficult, doesn’t it. That puppy little round thing, which makes those cute noises. I cannot imagine how difficult it would have been to recreate the magic of R2D2. Luke’s training sessions with Yoda, while R2D2 was the only company he had. Anakin outgrew C3PO, yet JJ gave him a guest appearance as well. Droids have always been center stage in Star Wars and BB-8 plays his part beautifully. Not wanting to part with a fiery Ray, trusting her enough to show her the stupid map, (by all counts, that was pretty stupid, but then, JJ is no Nolan) and their solitary dialogues, if that doesn’t make you love a robot, you have no heart. Or was that too ironic.

But imagine, hating BB-8. A BB-8, that was twisted, turned and tortured over to the dark side. BB-8, who wished to destroy all of humanity, for humanity’s survival, and only one thing stands in its way, its old master, its platonic love — A Jedi Knight called Ray. For if droids can feel love, they can feel hate. Hate derived from anger, anger derived from fear, fear, which is the path to the dark side. C3PO is the classic rendition of fear, R2D2 and now BB-8 are fearless, just like Anakin, which is what pains the most when the best are turned.

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