Rian Johnson Hid a Classic Star Wars Trope Using BB-8 in ‘The Last Jedi’


The Big Picture

  • In
    Star Wars: Episode VIII — The Last Jedi
    , BB-8 speaks the iconic “Bad Feeling” line during an evacuation.
  • Rian Johnson explains why BB-8 was chosen to say the iconic line.
  • The “Bad Feeling” quote is a beloved tradition throughout the Star Wars franchise.

There are some iconic lines in movie history, and some even make their way into our day-to-day lexicon. Star Wars is filled with those, from “May the Force be with you” to variations of “I have a bad feeling about this,” which is present in every franchise movie in some way or variation. When Star Wars: Episode VIII — The Last Jedi came out, fans thought Rian Johnson had skipped this iconic line altogether, as it’s not heard in the movie. But he eventually revealed that, yes, there are bad feelings being had in The Last Jedi, just not by anyone who can express them that way. As it turns out, it’s BB-8 who gets to say this iconic line with his beeps and whistles, and we can even understand it once we know where to look.

Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi

The Star Wars saga continues as new heroes and galactic legends go on an epic adventure, unlocking mysteries of the Force and shocking revelations of the past.

Release Date
December 15, 2017

Rian Johnson

152 minutes

Main Genre

Rian Johnson , George Lucas

BB-8 Says the Iconic Star Wars Line During the Evacuation of D’Qar

The Last Jedi begins mere moments after the conclusion of Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens. The Resistance base in D’Qar has been exposed after they attacked the First Order’s Starkiller Base, and now they have to pull off another successful and highly dangerous operation: evacuate D’Qar. They won’t have time to bring all their ships, gear, and equipment, though, as General Armitage Hux’s (Domhnall Gleeson) Star Destroyer armada catches them mid-process, complete with a Star Dreadnought that can obliterate the Resistance fleet. The Resistance’s priority then changes to getting all their personnel aboard their flagship, the Raddus, and the other smaller transports and jump into hyperspace, leaving D’Qar and the First Order behind.

Buying the fleet some time, Commander Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) stages a daring stunt against the Dreadnought. Piloting his black X-wing, he distracts the big ship and clears out its surface cannons to allow the Resistance bombers to drop their payloads and destroy it. Of course, Poe is nervous before his stunt begins, facing the Dreadnought head-on. Even BB-8 is agitated and says something to Poe, to which he replies: “Happy beeps here, buddy! Come on!” What BB-8 says is the classic Star Wars line, “I have a bad feeling about this.”

What BB-8 means is that he doesn’t like the plan and feels the whole operation may be more dangerous than it seems, to which General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) promptly agrees, saying she’s “with the droid on this one.” Poe thanks her for all the support, but there is no other option if they need to buy the fleet more time to evacuate. Luckily, he’s the kind of daredevil pilot who has “pulled crazier stunts than this,” as he reminds BB-8. The astromech is right about his bad feeling, though, as he has to manage a circuit crisis with the weapons systems in the X-wing, and, even though the evacuation is completed, many more people die in the battle than was necessary. So BB-8’s bad feeling was completely justified.

Why Does BB-8, a Droid, Say the Iconic “Bad Feeling” Line?

Were it not for BB-8, then, The Last Jedi would have been the first ever Star Wars movie where no one says any variation of the iconic “bad feeling” quote, and that just couldn’t happen! So, a few days after the movie came out in 2017, people started asking Rian Johnson on social media about the line, until he finally explained the whole thing in a Huffington Post interview. And, according to him, the whole dialogue could have been a little different.

BB-8 is a very enthusiastic droid and never shies away from an adventure, but going against a Dreadnought felt a little too much for him, which is why he says he has a bad feeling about it. Initially, Johnson thought Poe Dameron should try to cheer the astromech up: “I think originally I had Poe respond, ‘Oh, I got a good feeling about it. Keep your chin up.’ And then I made it a little less explicit just to make it more fun.” This turns the line into a nice little Easter Egg, made to be hidden and found by fans upon rewatch.

Although the language spoken by droids, in general, is officially called Binary and is often spoken in beeps and whistles, for BB-8, production got a little more creative. They gave him real lines that would be spoken in English and later translated into Binary. In The Force Awakens, Ben Schwartz and Bill Hader acted as the “voice” of BB-8 at J.J. Abrams’ request, and later this idea of giving him actual lines was carried into the following movies. BB-8 is also not the only astromech who “speaks” — in Star Wars Rebels and Ahsoka, Chopper also has real lines recorded by Dave Filoni himself, and later they are translated into Binary. Fortunately, BB-8 isn’t as foul-mouthed as Chopper.

Why Is the “Bad Feeling” Quote Such a Big Deal in Star Wars?

The “I have a bad feeling about this” quote is one of the most memorable lines in Star Wars and is said in every single live-action movie, sometimes even being said twice in the same installment. It starts as what Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) says when he sees the Death Star from the Millennium Falcon cockpit in Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope, and, chronologically, it’s Obi-Wan Kenobi’s (Ewan McGregor) very first line in Star Wars: Episode VII — The Phantom Menace (which honestly says a lot about his character).

As iconic as it has become, there is no official reason why the “bad feeling” quote is so important to the franchise, but it’s certainly one of the most beloved running gags of the franchise. It’s spread even to other media, like novels, comics, and video games. If it’s Star Wars, someone has a bad feeling about something. This line is essential because it speaks of the anxiety before big battles or even smaller skirmishes, while also being an ice-breaker to relieve the tension. It’s almost as if the franchise is telling the audience not to take it so seriously.

Rian Johnson playfully made an Easter Egg out of it the iconic line. It may not have been the first time a droid says it, as K-2SO (Alan Tudyk) almost says he has a bad feeling about invading the Imperial base in Scariff in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story before being shushed by Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) and Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones). But BB-8’s time to shine is certainly special for being the first time the quote is said in Binary — and for making us really look for it.

Star Wars: Episode VIII — The Last Jedi is available to stream on Disney+ in the US.

Watch on Disney+


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