From the very first teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, one plucky character rolled into our hearts and eventually our Christmas stockings. Of course, we’re referring to BB-8 — or as podcast maven Paul F. Tompkins calls it: Ball Droid. Described as a “Swiss Army Knife that shouldn’t be trusted,” the ambling robot conveys an impish optimism and playful loyalty that’s already charmed millions.
But as we head towards the film’s release, the question on everyone’s mind is, “Who voiced the little guy?” Well, thanks to a scoop from HitFix’s Drew McWeeny, we can credit two familiar comedic actors for helping create the spherical bot’s sound as BB-8’s “Vocal Consultants.”
After his name was spotted in the credits, Documentary Now! co-creator and star Bill Hader revealed that he helped director J.J. Abrams devise the character’s robotic voice. According to Hader, the character was created using modern technology and good old-fashioned voice acting:
“JJ f***ing around with this sound effects app on his iPad that was attached to a talk box operated by me. It looked ridiculous but it made BB-8’s voice. At first I tried doing a voice, but we all agreed it sounded too human.”
It’s still unclear how much of Hader’s influence is retained in the final print. But Abrams superfans will note that this wouldn’t be the first time Hader has helped the Lost producer with vocal work — Hader is also credited as providing additional voices for Abrams’ 2013 sequel Star Trek Into Darkness, so clearly there is some sound booth camaraderie between the two.
However, Hader isn’t the only one listed as a vocal consultant for Star Wars: The Force Awakens: The hilarious Parks and Recreation actor and frequent Comedy Bang! Bang! guest Ben Schwartz also shares the title. But again, the level of involvement he had or the manner in which he “consulted” is still unclear.
Hopefully, both will find themselves opposite a Fallon or an Aukerman to share a few Star Wars anecdotes. In the meantime, here’s Hader regaling Conan and his audience with some killer impressions from a galaxy far, far away.