Disney and robotics company Sphero have unveiled BB-9E as what appears to be an evil counterpart to the cheerful white and orange droid BB-8 from “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
The companies introduced the black and grey BB-9E droid on Thursday, three and half months prior to its appearance in the Dec. 15 blockbuster “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” The unveiling was part of the global Force Friday II celebration kicking off, starting in Australia where stores opened their doors at midnight for fans seeking new “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” products.
The companies described the new toy as a “rolling menace” and said that it was part of the Astromech unit of the First Order that keep their starships and machinery operational.
Like BB-8, BB-9E has a ball body but it differs with a small dome-ish head that moves independently of the body. It also has a red eye.
Sphero also unveiled a new toy based on the iconic R2-D2 droid that was introduced in the original 1977 “Star Wars.” The new R2-D2 toy is priced at $179.99, while BB-9E goes for $149.99.
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“Since Star Wars became a cultural phenomenon 40 years ago, consumer products have been a critical part of the fan experience, helping to introduce new audiences to the franchise’s rich stories and characters,” said Disney executive Jimmy Pitaro. “Technology-powered storytelling is at the core of the ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ product line, and will immerse fans in the Star Wars universe like never before.”