Though many of Star Wars' sentient droids communicate non-verbally, they have got a reputation for being able to experience and convey the full spectrum of human emotions from elation to powerful rage. This week's Star Wars: Poe Dameron is a reminder that even though droids can't cry, they can feel sorrow.
In addition to being Poe Dameron's astromech, BB-8's a friend, an adventurer, a smartass, and as of quite recently, a romantic interest. Like many of Star Wars' heroes, BB-8 managed to find love in a hopeless place. But sadly, his budding relationship with another droid has come to a tragic end.
Love is dead and so is BB-8's new girlfriend Ivee.
Over the course of the past five issues of Charles Soule, Angel Unzueta, and Arif Prianto's Star Wars: Poe Dameron, BB-8's grown closer and closer to Ivee, the R-series astromech who assists fighter pilot Jessika Pava. After Ivee first took it upon herself to repaired Poe's X-Wing as a chance to demonstrate both her impressive ship maintenance skills and her affection for BB-8, the two have been cozied up in what most everyone around them sees as a new romance.
The droids are so infatuated with one another that they can't stop chatting even while they're plugged into their pilots' X-Wings and in the heat of a dogfight with the First Order.
While on a mission to retrieve a Force-studying archaeologist who's free-floating through space, the Black Squadron is ambushed by TIE fighters that destroy the Resistance's retrieval ship. As a group of Stormtroopers with back-mounted thrusters snatch the archaeologist and take off for their own ship, Poe reasons that in order to save him, the Black Squadron has to take out the First Order's ship before it can jump into hyperspace.
Poe's plan to punch a hole in the ship's shield at the precise spot where there's a fatal structural flaw works, but not before one of the TIE fighters lands a solid hit on Jessika, disabling her engines and putting her right in the path of another TIE fighter's missile. While Jessika frantically tries to figure out what, if anything she can do to fix the engines and get out of the way, Ivee takes stock of the situation and realises that there's only one way to save her partner: by intercepting it herself.
While BB-8 watches in horror as Ivee goes out in a blaze of glory, the rest of the Resistance cheers that their mission was a success and everyone prepares to head back to their base and prepare for the next gig. Though most everyone else doesn't take notice of Ivee's sacrifice, Jessika seeks BB-8 out once they're back on base to commiserate over their shared loss and to tell him that Ivee wanted them both to know that her death was neither of their faults. Jessika understands just how close the two droids had become to one another and as recognition of their bond, she hands BB-8 a piece of Ivee's processing unit that was still attached to her ship.
Rather than saying anything, BB-8 immortalises Ivee the best way he knows how by welding the unit onto the side of Poe's fighter so that the two of them will always be close.
That poor, goofy droid's been through a whole lot in his life and Ivee's death casts BB-8's general pluckiness and humour in something of a new light. We already knew BB-8 had depth but we'll be mourning along with the spherical droid on this one.