It's well-known that C-3PO is a protocol droid.

R2-D2 is an astromech.

What is BB-8 and what does that function entail?

This is likely to be answerable now based on marketing material or toy releases, but please note per meta discussion, it is against policy to use information from The Force Awakens before its official release. And the answer should be spoiler tagged if it contains any plot elements or other spoilerish information.

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    BB-8 is designed for selling plastic toys. – Russell Borogove Dec 16 '15 at 21:13

BB-8 is an astromech droid.

enter image description here

According to the official Star Wars Databank entry,

BB-8 is the spherical, loyal Astromech Droid of the Resistance pilot Poe Dameron.


According to another entry in the Databank:

Astromech droids are a series of versatile utility robots generally used for the maintenance and repair of starships and related technology. These small droids are often equipped with a variety of tool-tipped appendages that are stowed in recessed compartments. The R2 unit is a popular example of an astromech droid.


Here is a t-shirt with the answer:

enter image description here

Finally, here is a licensed toy with BB-8 sitting in the traditional astromech position in a Force Awakens-era X Wing:

enter image description here

Before anyone asks, yes, the BB-8 and the X Wing come as a set:

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And here's a screen grab from a trailer (thanks @Clockwork-Muse):

enter image description here

  • Hmm, I wouldn't have guessed that. Interesting! – ThePopMachine Dec 13 '15 at 17:05
  • Can we get a picture of BB-8 astromeching? Does it sound the same as R2-D2? – ThePopMachine Dec 13 '15 at 17:06
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    I wonder how it sticks to the surface of ships like R2-D2 did in TPM. – Kimberly W Dec 13 '15 at 18:12
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    @praxis that IS astromeching.....part of it at least the sitting in the back of an x wing and helping the pilot operating the machine. Aside from that only the calculate hyperspace coordinates is left which we havent seen so far. – Thomas Jan 2 '16 at 12:09
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    In TLJ BB-8 also does some decent astromeching for Poe's X-wing – TheLethalCarrot Dec 28 '17 at 16:23

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