Everyone is absolutely in love with BB-8, the new rolling droid from The Force Awakens. He (or is it she?) is definitely the breakout star of The Force Awakens and has quickly become a fan favorite. The remote control toy based on the character became extremely popular long before the world knew what its role in the movie would be. Still, while BB-8 is no doubt absolutely adorable and far more than just a rolling cute ball, let's not forget the droid's predecessor: the often imitated but never duplicated R2D2. The white and blue droid has appeared in all six movies and now makes his seventh appearance in the latest installment of the franchise, but what happens to R2D2 in The Force Awakens ? Is he given a chance, or completely eclipsed by BB-8's cuteness?
The answer isn't so simple. Audiences barely see R2D2 in the movie — but don't worry, he is in it. For the most part, BB-8 takes center stage, but when R2D2 comes into the picture, they don't butt heads and become frenemies as you might expect. Instead, they're more like droid buddies, as in addition to their physical forms, R2D2 and BB-8 have a lot in common. In fact, BB-8's role in The Force Awakens is nearly the same as R2D2's role in A New Hope.
Right before getting captured by the First Order, Poe gives BB-8 the responsibility of holding a part of a map that is the key to finding Luke Skywalker. This results in a droid hunt led by the First Order. Rey, a lonely scavenger who is searching for more meaning in her life, ends up finding Luke on her desert planet of Jakku. She ends up looking after him — which leads to an adventure that will change her life forever.
Similarly, in the first installment of the original trilogy, Princess Leia gives R2D2 plans to the Death Star right before she is taken prisoner by Darth Vader. R2D2 and C3PO escape and this results in a droid hunt led by the Galactic Empire. Luke, a lonely farm boy who is searching for more meaning in his life, ends up finding the droids on his dessert planet of Tatooine. He ends up looking after both droids — which leads to an adventure that will change his life forever. Sound familiar?
Unfortunately, in The Force Awakens, R2D2 isn't seen until Han Solo, Rey, Finn and BB-8 meet up with General Leia and the Resistance. Even then, he isn't exactly his lively self. BB-8 discovers R2D2 under a tarp and tries to communicate with him, but alas, R2D2 is not responsive. C3PO tells BB-8 that ever since Luke Skywalker disappeared, R2D2 has been in low power mode. In other words, he's been depressed. (Awww!) BB-8 is clearly upset because he wants a buddy and in a weird way, it seems like he sees R2D2 as a mentor. He respects him.
It's not until the end of the movie, when the Resistance defeats the First Order's Starkiller Base, that R2D2 "awakens" (see what I did there?) — and it couldn't be at a better time for him to charge back up, considering Finn isn't waking up from his injuries and Han Solo was just slayed by Kylo Ren. Everyone could use some good news at this point.
R2D2 and BB-8 give each other a high-five (or whatever it is that droids do) and R2D2 lets him know that he has something that will help lift spirits. He reveals to everyone a map of a galactic system with one missing piece — the piece that BB-8 has. It's the full map that leads to Luke Skywalker!
Once again, it's R2D2 to the rescue — with the help of his new buddy, BB-8.
Images: Lucasfilm/Walt Disney; Giphy (2)