How does one go about creating the “voice” of an adorable astromech droid for modern movie audiences? You could probably create a computer program that spits out some bleeps and bloops and call it a day, but that seems insufficiently off-kilter for J.J. Abrams. Instead, the Star Wars: The Force Awakens director apparently hired comedians Bill Hader and Ben Schwartz to make funny noises into a microphone.
Hader—who, along with Schwartz, is credited as “BB-8 Vocal Consultant”— described the process to Hitfix’s Drew McWeeny as: “J.J. fucking 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.”
The former SNL castmember has really been getting his vocal cords out there lately, voicing characters on both Comedy Central’s South Park and in Pixar’s Inside Out. Why Abrams would take such a convoluted route to some robot noises is a mystery, but it’s not the first time he’s had fun with directorial decisions on his latest film: We previously learned that he hired Hamilton: The Musical’s Lin-Manuel Miranda to write the original music for The Force Awakens’ cantina scene.