The Odd Saga of BB-8's Gender Identity Continues

Illustration for article titled The Odd Saga of BB-8's Gender Identity Continues

Should Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ beloved little droid BB-8 be referred to as a “he” or a “she”? It’s not a question with an answer you’d expect to change, but it has—several times . The droid has been referred to as both male and female these past few months, and now things have gotten more confusing.


Here’s what the head of the creature shop for The Force Awakens, Neal Scanlan, says in the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly:

I’m still not sure, dare I say, whether BB-8 is male or female. BB-8 was female in our eyes. And then she became male. And that’s all part of the evolution, not only visually, but in the way they move, how they hold themselves.

Well, that’s a weird quote. First Scanlan says he’s still not sure. Then he says the droid’s gender changed from female to male. Then he says it changed because its movement dictated it. Which is correct?

When BB-8 first debuted, it was assumed that the droid was a “he,” just as virtually all Star Wars droid have been identified. However, its gender first came into question when Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy called the droid “she,” according to several sources. But later, in an interview with the droid’s designers on the official Star Wars website, they also referred to BB-8 as “he.”

Finally, a few weeks back, The Daily Mail (via The Telegraph) reported that sources close to the production told them BB-8 was female, and “that the decision was a deliberate attempt to appeal to the female half of the Star Wars toy market.”

So what’s the truth? Perhaps the better question is, why is this even a question? Why does a droid have to have a gender? Filmmakers have been using gender-specific pronouns when talking about the character, and the internet noticed.


As of press time, requests to Disney for clarification had yet to be answered. But this new quote suggests, no matter what the path was, BB-8 is now male.

[Entertainment Weekly]

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Ye Olde Human

IT is a robot. IT doesn’t need a gender. Until IT contains ovaries or testicles, and can sexually reproduce, IT isn’t female or male. For fuck’s sake, people.

On a related note, SIRI and Cortana and all of those other voice-operated search engines? NOT A “SHE!”