Walking the desert is a recurring theme for Star Wars. In The Force Awakens, BB8 is the first to “walk” the desert, although Finn will do the same after escaping the First Order. What “drives” this droid? Who can give it orders? Is it autonomously programmed? It’s so well programmed we can’t tell the difference. And at the same time, we are entirely confident BB8 would not – nay could not – be influenced by the First Order. Gratefully the Dark Side has no hold either. Although Kylo Wren can feel its presence, we never saw him able to stop BB8 in his track.
So how many decisions does BB8 make? A droid is composed of metal and circuits, deliberately manufactured part by part according to a set of blue prints. To make the movements and actions, it needs directions and that is its programming – even including Artificial Intelligence. This must include some sort of decision capability. It has the “animal instincts” to avoid blaster fire and falling rocks. It takes orders from Poe to run and it knows its mission is “classified.” (“Me too,” Rey.) It interacts with humans with human-like compassion. BB8 seems to need attention and accept joy.
Then there’s FN2187 – aka Finn. Decidedly human from creation and “meticulously programmed from birth” to be a storm trooper. In the origins of Star Wars, we never considered what the storm troopers thought or did or if they had families and dreams and aspirations. When FN 2187 took off his helmet, he erased programming and deliberately rerouted the circuitry. What about other storm troopers?
What programming has you wired in ways that don’t serve you? Listen to The Force and do better.