Ever since the Force Awakens came out, one question has concerned Star Wars fans more than any other: "how do I get my own BB-8 robot?" Locating a toy that replicates the adorable droid's movements and personality is even more important than finding out about Rey's missing parents or Kylo Ren's tortured childhood. In fall 2017, fans may finally have their answer in the form of Spin Master's Hero Droid BB-8, a $229 robot that responds to voice commands and rolls around just like the original.
We had a chance to see the Hero Droid BB-8 in action at Spin Master's booth at Toy Fair 2017 and were impressed with how accurately it replicates the character from the movie. Unlike Sphero's tiny BB-8 toy, the Hero Droid is a full 16-inches tall, which makes it tall enough to be a credible droid but short enough so that young children can play with it, without getting rolled over.
As we watched, a Spin Master rep showed how you can move the droid, both with a controller and with voice. When the rep moved BB-8 with the controller, we noticed that its body rolls separately from its head, which is held in place by magnets. You can easily remove the head and re-attach it by placing it on the giant ball.
As in the movie, the droid moves by rolling its body; there aren't any wheels in the base. Everything else about the Hero Droid's body, from its orange markings to its single eye looks extremely authentic and high-quality.
The Hero Droid also responds directly to voice commands. When the rep told BB-8 to "follow me," it used its sensors to roll behind him. He said "ball away" and the robot rolled back a few steps away from him.
Though they weren't available for our demo, BB-8 will support at least 10 different commands that derive directly from Star Wars plotlines. A rep told us that "Kylo Ren" would be one of the commands and that it would make the robot act scared.
While both Sphero and Hasbro have come out with their own BB-8 robots, Spin Master's version looks like it will be the most realistic droid yet, thanks to its relatively large size, rich voice commands, realistic body and life-like movements. Considering that Disney used a combination of puppets and remote-controlled props to bring BB-8 to life on screen, the Hero Droid may actually be more intelligent than the one in the movie.