Sphero rolls out Star Wars’ R2-D2, “the toy people have been waiting for 40 years to get”

Boulder toy-robot maker Sphero has tapped its engineering force to bring to life the robot the world has loved for 40 years: R2-D2.

The iconic Star Wars droid plus new guy BB-9E were unveiled Thursday as part of Walt Disney’s Force Friday II, when the owner of the Star Wars franchise revealed the new toys for sale promoting the upcoming movie “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.”

The new black BB-9E droid, which looks similar to the Sphero’s first Star Wars robot BB-8, is a character in the upcoming movie that hits theaters in December. As before, Sphero’s team learned the essence of BB-9E’s personality but not much more.

“We get enough of the story so we can determine the personality. Good or evil? How should he be motivated?” said Paul Berberian, Sphero’s CEO, who was in New York awaiting the midnight opening of the Disney Store in Times Square.

Sphero makes an evil robot, the BB-9e, which debuts in the upcoming Star Wars movie "The Last Jedi." The new droid faces off with the adorable BB-8, Sphero's first Star Wars robot.

Provided by Sphero

Sphero makes an evil robot, the BB-9e, which debuts in the upcoming Star Wars movie “The Last Jedi.” The new droid faces off with the adorable BB-8, Sphero’s first Star Wars robot.

This is important because BB-9E, like BB-8, has a “watch-with-me” feature, in which the robot sits next to its human during Star Wars movies and reacts to scenes.

Sphero, the toy robot company in Boulder, unveiled its new robot for Force Friday II: BB-9e and "he's not a good guy," says Paul Berberian, Sphero's CEO.

Provided by Sphero

Sphero, the toy robot company in Boulder, unveiled its new robot for Force Friday II: BB-9e and “he’s not a good guy,” says Paul Berberian, Sphero’s CEO.

“We have to understand the character more from a dimensional standpoint because these droids will watch the movie with you,” Berberian said. “With ‘The Force Awakens’ and ‘Rogue One,’ how is the droid supposed to act when they blow up the Death Star? We have to understand that so we can make him react appropriately.”

As for BB-9E’s personality? “Yes, he is not a good boy,” Berberian said. “But I don’t know a whole lot about the plot. Nobody (here) knows the whole plot. We’ll be just as excited as everyone else when the movie comes out.”

BB-9E will retail for $149, the same price as BB-8 originally sold for.

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