Let's get this out of the way first: I understand that several characters -- particularly members of the Skywalker family, who tend to bond very close with their droids -- have addressed droids in Star Warswith gendered pronouns since the original trilogy. While there's nothing wrong with that, droids are pretty much genderless; some can be upgraded with "masculine" or "feminine" programming. So, please, try to understand if my eyes end up rolling all the way to the Outer Rim while I write this story.
A re-hashed rumor from the early days of speculation for [Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens](tag:711158) is making the rounds again, and while I'm not entirely sure why it's such a big story, it was enough of one for several entertainment news sites to circulate. These fans allege that BB-8, the adorable new ball droid in The Force Awakens, is addressed as female and plays an integral role in the film.
It doesn't really take a rocket scientist to see that BB-8 plays a huge part in the film. Alongside several different toys -- including Sphero's hugely popular take on BB-8 -- the little ball droid has been all over merchandising, and seems to take up just as much screen time throughout the various trailers as other new major players like Finn, Rey, and Kylo Ren.
What's more, the droid has already been addressed as "male" by several of the people behind the film, and has been so as early as this year's Star Wars Celebration, where Kathleen Kennedy addressed it as a "he":
We now have BB-8, operating on his own, thanks to [Disney Chairman] Bob [Iger].
BB-8 has also been referred to as "male" several times on the official Star Wars website (this particular interview on the droid's development is great). The rumor first sparked via the Daily Mail, the UK equivalent to the New York Post.
But worry not, fans of girl droids everywhere: The Force Awakens absolutely features a droid that is addressed as female!
Meet PZ-4CO (affectionately known as "Peazy), a protocol droid that seems to belong to Princess Leia by the time The Force Awakens rolls around. Peazy has already been introduced in the prologue and epilogue of "Moving Target," an all-new novel that is part of the "Journey to The Force Awakens" initiative started by Lucasfilm which includes comics, books, and more media leading up to the film.
Peazy seems like any standard protocol droid, and is pretty persistent when it comes to keeping Leia on task as the legendary heroine leads The Resistance.
All rumors remain unconfirmed, of course, so who knows -- perhaps the filmmakers are throwing us off, but either way, it is an undeniable fact that BB-8 is going to have a huge role in the film.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens releases on December 18th.