Concepts: Star Wars: Episode VII’s New Droid Sidekick!
I have had a lot of fun kicking around gender ideas with this new droid, because it is kind of funny that we try and pick up on gender signifiers for mechanical beings. This droid belongs to the hero of Star Wars: Episode VII that we think might be named “Kira.” The very brief glimpse of the droid seen online recently was incomplete and didn’t really give anyone a feel for the droid, in my opinion. Some of this won’t be new and some it will be, I think. Most of the concept art of “Kira” always features this droid and it appears it is with her for many sequences, if not most of the entire film.
The droid is barely boot high. The body is probably a little bigger than a basketball. The body is round, of course. The head is probably as big as a cantaloupe. The droid’s body is white and grey. However, the highlight markings are orange. No matter how the design changes, the head features a big black lens for an eye. The head is somewhat similar to a Pit Droid in some concept with Artoo-Detoo markings and features. The head is a dome like that of an Artoo unit in most designs. The neck has a manifold cover that accordions out, but I can’t tell if it can extend its head or not.
I get the impression the droid is not an Astromech like Artoo-Detoo. There is never a socket for this droid to interface with a ship that I have seen so far. Other ship designs appear to have Artoo units in them that match the size of Artoo-Detoo. I could be wrong though. My guess is this droid is a service droid primarily.
Here’s the interesting thing. The droid is a gyroscope. There are groves or tracks along the body. So while the body roles on the ground, the head is always level. My guess is this droid will be CGI or CGI and a mixture of puppetry. If this droid works in a practical sense, I will be blown away by that fact.
One concept shows the head of the droid. It has four orange pizza shaped covers all pointing towards the center of the dome, sort of like Artoo. Each slice of the pie allows the “Quarter sections to lift. Lightsabre ejects up to allow hand to grip and extract.” Another one shows Artoo-Detoo and reads “Small panel retracts and slides similar to R2D2 in ROTJ. Lightsabre ejects up to allow hand to grip and extract.” Another shows a circle in the body itself that spins and reveals a compartment where the Lightsaber is stored. It basically spins revealing a cavity in the body to place the hidden weapon.
The body itself has circular compartments all around it actually. For instance a “Pop-out tool-kit” shoots out like a computer’s disc drive. Inside it are small screwdrivers and hydrospanner-like tools. Another circle is broken into quads. One quad has a “Data Port Interface” that comes out like Artoo-Detoo’s arm. My personal favorite is the “Fold out Tools Laser Cutter.” A tiny little hand about the size of a pen extends with a little laser on the tip. There is also a feature to give Chopper a run for his money! A “Fold Out Hand/Claw” that has fingertips and could type on computer if needed to.
The big feature comes via a Stormtrooper. The Stormtrooper picks up the little droid up. Presumably its laser cutter, hand claw, and tools won’t help it. So it has a puffer fish like defense mechanism. That’s right, mechanical quills come out of the body and fend off attackers or would be kidnapping Stormtroopers.
In the concept art we’ve seen of the little droid, the adventurers are going into catacombs and the little droid leads the way. It appears to be curious and adventurous. When the little droid is not leading the way, it is standing ground beside the heroes ready for a fight. My guess is this droid is Artoo-Detoo’s daughter.