When BB-8 leaves after the initial attack on Jakku and before the scene ends it shows a robot peering out of the sand.

enter image description here

What is the significance of this and what is it?

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    It made me think of one of the aliens in the Mos Eisley Cantina, Hem Dazon. – forgivenson Nov 10 '16 at 13:44
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    This is a primitive form of a Shai-Hulud, lending further evidence that the Star Wars universe is the distant past of the Dune universe. – PhasedOut Nov 10 '16 at 18:38
  • @PhasedOut it reminds me more of Tremors than Dune. – Morgen Nov 10 '16 at 22:23

The Force Awakens: Visual Dictionary factbook identifies this creature (note, not a robot) as a 'Nocturnal Sandborer', otherwise known as a 'Nightwatcher worm' or an 'Arconan night terror' (not to be confused with an Arconan)

It doesn't seem to be related to the previous scene, it's merely a

native lifeform

that happens to be in the vicinity.

The Star Wars Databank gives us a little more info

Nightwatcher worms are one of Jakku’s more mysterious life forms. These creatures, also known as sandborers and Arconan night terrors, are rarely seen – only a blinking pair of red eyes betrays their location beneath the sands. Nightwatchers top 20 meters in length when mature, and some specimens are reputed to be much larger. Scavenger lore has it that nightwatchers hunt by sensing vibrations above them, erupting from beneath the sand with their jaws wide to engulf prey.

And Rey's Survival Guide offers the following advice.

Nightwatchers - Some locals call them sandborers or Arconan night terrors - mostly stick to the Sinking Field, though supposedly they can migrate into the Goazan when big storms push sand dunes that way. They're massive worms, twenty meters long when fully grown, with some specimens five or six times that size.

I've heard nightwatchers hunt by sensing vibrations above them, erupting out of the Sinking Fields with their jaws open to engulf whatever they find. They aren't choosy, because there's nothing a nighwatcher can't devour. Their mouthparts can grind metal into scrap and their stomachs generate acid to melt down anything they can't digest.

Just one more reason to stay out of the Sinking Fields.

Along with a crude sketch, drawn by Rey herself.

enter image description here

  • 2
    @DrRDizzle -I stand corrected. When watching the scene again, it very well could have been. There's what could be animal noises (?) in the background. That being said, there's nothing in the script or novelisations to indicate that it was anything other than quicksand. – Valorum Nov 10 '16 at 13:40
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    @TheLethalCoder While there is a general rule to have no widow or orphan plot points in a script, one of the ways to write an immersive "strange" world is to fill it with unexplained background widows and orphans. – Yakk Nov 10 '16 at 14:15
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    @TheLethalCoder Star Wars in particular is famous for these kinds of inclusions, which add to the immersion as Yakk says. The original trilogy, particularly the scenes set on Tatooine (Mos Eisley in A New Hope, Jabba’s palace in Return of the Jedi) is incredibly full of background oddities that are never given any attention whatsoever in the film, just other things going on while the main characters are doing their things—which hints at the fact that other things are going on in this world. – KRyan Nov 10 '16 at 19:01
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    If that's meant to be a lifeform rather than a robot it's a bizarrely unconvincing prop. Aside from being robot-shaped and having glowing red eyes, it seems to have no articulation of any kind, and it only has two axes of movement. (Up and down, and rotation around the vertical axis.) Perhaps it was originally intended to be a robot and then retconned into an animal for some reason? Anyway it's pretty weird. – Nathaniel Nov 11 '16 at 4:40
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    Those descriptions, especially the survivor-guide one, remind me very much of the sandworms of Arrakis. – Angew is no longer proud of SO Nov 11 '16 at 9:34

This isn't a robot; from the script:

We see a FORM -- an animal, its RED EYES LIFTING from the sand, watching the rolling droid, who just keeps going.

There's nothing else to indicate its significance, if any.

  • 8
    Its significance will be that it will allow to release a "Extra Special Collector Master Jedi Collector" edition of the film which will show the creature for ten seconds. Of course, it will be available only after the "Extra Special Collector Jedi Collector" edition is no longer being bought :-p. – SJuan76 Nov 10 '16 at 14:37

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