It seems BB-8 would have had a lot of trouble navigating the sheer cliffs of Ahch-To as Rey trained with her new master, Luke Skywalker. So it’s a good thing R2-D2 tagged along instead. But it turns out that’s not how Star Wars: The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams envisioned it. Originally, BB-8 was in R2’s shoes, uh, rocket boosters.
Entertainment Weekly recently learned that Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson stepped in at the last minute to make an amendment to Abrams’s final scene. Johnson was already signed on for The Last Jedi and knew exactly what he wanted.
“The big [favor] was, I asked if R2 could come with Rey, and if BB-8 could stay behind with the Resistance,” Johnson said. “Originally it was BB-8 who went with Rey, which makes sense for the story in a way. But I asked, ‘Can you do me this solid and switch the droids?’”
R2-D2 was woefully silent throughout most of The Force Awakens, delivering none of his characteristic sass until he awakened just in time to join forces with BB-8 and solve the mystery of the Luke map. Even though R2’s part in going to find Luke at the end of the film was reduced to a single shot, his being there means there will probably be an appropriately emotional Luke and R2 reunion in the near future.
BB-8’s continued presence with the Resistance means he’ll be kicking it with his buddy Poe Dameron. And you know you want more of that friendship.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi premieres in theaters December 15.