No, BB-8 Is Not Flipping Finn the Bird in The Force Awakens


BB-8 is a gift to the world and I will not take any talk of people thinking he’d flip Finn, or anyone, the bird in The Force Awakens.

I’d seen a few people in comment sections saying our adorable new droid, BB-8, was actually giving fellow cinnamon roll John Boyega the middle finger. First of all, BB-8 has no fingers. Second of all, did they see the movie???


I thought this was just a weird blip but it started to turn into something even bigger last week to the point that Geek & Sundry polled their Twitter followers.

There are WAY too many people incorrectly thinking here so allow me to explain. In the context of the film itself, BB-8 is helping Finn after he pleads with him to do so. Giving him a negative gesture after their interaction would make no sense. But if the scene was unclear to some, here’s the exact dialogue from the [Editor’s Note: affiliate link] novelization of Star Wars: The Force Awakens:

Rey vanished again. As soon as she was out of sight, the grateful Finn gave BB-8 a thumbs-up. The droid responded by shooting out a welding torch in imitation of the human’s gesture.

Now consider an interview MTV conducted the Star Wars creature shop.

“I think the reaction that BB-8 has to Finn would have been a practical effect that we shot on the Milennium Falcon, but the reaction to the thumbs up is something that definitely came later in the day,” [creature shop lead Neal Scanlan] said.

“That thumbs up moment is exactly that,” confirmed [Roger Guyett, the visual effects supervisor at Industrial Light and Magic.]. “I think it’s a real BB-8 and then we inserted a CG panel and its arm that came out. So all of his tools, if you like, when he fires his wires and he does that stuff, that’s sort of digital CG.”

It was also a lot harder to design BB-8’s lighter than you’d think.

“We did several different prototype ideas of what that could look like, and we had various amounts of metal and plastic on there,” added Patrick Tubach, another ILM visual effects supervisor for the film. “One of the difficult things with animating something like that is you have to be very careful that it doesn’t look like he’s giving you some other sort of gesture! We moved all the pieces around to make sure it was very clearly a thumbs up over any other kind of ’salute.’”

And let’s be honest, there’s only one person in the Star Wars universe allowed to flip the bird and that’s Carrie Fisher.

(BB-8 gif via ewock on tumblr)

7 Responses to “No, BB-8 Is Not Flipping Finn the Bird in The Force Awakens

  1. […] in context: why would BB-8 want to be rude to Finn in that moment? But just to clear up any doubt, The Nerdy Bird has dug up some rock-solid confirmation that BB-8 is, in fact, offering a […]

  2. Zefram Mann says:

    It baffles me how anyone could misunderstand this.

  3. Intent isn’t magic!

  4. Harvey T says:

    I for one always flip my friends the bird before providing assistance.

  5. Man. This was a thing? What’s wrong with people? Context, man, context. Do people not know how to watch films anymore?

  6. Robert Jazo says:

    I will admit, when I first saw “The Force Awakens” I interpreted it as BB-8 flipping him the bird, probably because my friends and I used to joke that R2-D2’s dialogue was completely profanity filled. So to answer Jill’s question of context I assumed BB-8 was not a huge fan of Finn and when Finn gave him the thumbs up for obviously doing the right thing his response was something along the lines of “yeah, well @*%& you, you are still a jerk”.

    That said, when a friend of mine started using it as a “thumb’s up” meme on Facebook I quickly realized that was clearly what was intended by the filmmakers. Rather than stick to my guns I quickly realized the problem was I have become too jaded and cynical over the years to understand a sweet soul like BB-8 ;-)

  7. Rebecca Jean says:

    I definitely saw it as “ok human, I agree, that’s the best way to help the human I adopted… Oh, how do I tell you when you don’t understand what I am saying… A gesture! I can do that!”