Star Wars Jedi: Survivor writer explains how BD-1 became the story's "emotional cornerstone"

BD-1 in Star Wars Jedi Survivor with a custom decal on to make him your own, captured on PS5
(Image credit: Respawn)

The lead writer for Star Wars Jedi: Survivor has shared just how important BD-1 is to the series, as well as what lengths developer Respawn went to bringing the droid to life.

In a blog post, Danny Homan, the lead writer of Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, gave an insight into the sequel's development as well as explained just how important Cal's trusty sidekick is to the character's story. As explained in the post, BD-1 actually went through the same motion capture process that Cal's actor Cameron Monaghan did when developing the games. 

I'm sure you're wondering, how the heck did the team at Respawn get a tiny robot to act in the mocap suite? Well, they didn't. BD-1 was instead played by actor Gideon Emery who used a cardboard replica of the droid along with a nose flute to create the character's beeps and boops - there's a photo of what this looks like in the linked blog post above. 

"Why do we have an actor playing BD in the first place? BD's only lines are beeps and boops, right?", Homan says in the post, "to the writing team, BD is a main character - and on set you need to have an actor thinking through a character’s motivation in every scene, or else you might miss an opportunity."

"Gideon provides on-set beeps and boops, so our other actors can hear BD's reactions live. When we write BD beeps in our scripts, we always provide the general intent of his reaction." The post continues, "Gideon, holding a replica of BD, would follow Cameron, playing Cal, around the set, whistling and providing reactions, some scripted, some not. This gave BD a presence as one of the crew and an equal among the cast."

If you've already played Jedi Survivor or Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, you'll already know how important BD-1 is to Cal's story. The little guy is very rarely without his friend which, according to Homan, makes BD "one of the emotional cornerstones of Cal's journey." 

In fact, when writing the story for Jedi: Survivor, the writers at Respawn talked through BD's reactions to crucial story beats. "Many of BD's most charming, meaningful moments were the result of on-set collaboration, and Gideon's keen eye as an actor," Homan explains. 

About to get started in a galaxy far, far away? Take a look at our Star Wars Jedi Survivor abilities, Force powers and gear guide. 

Hope Bellingham
News Writer

After studying Film Studies and Creative Writing at university, I was lucky enough to land a job as an intern at Player Two PR where I helped to release a number of indie titles. I then got even luckier when I became a Trainee News Writer at GamesRadar+ before being promoted to a fully-fledged News Writer after a year and a half of training.  My expertise lies in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, cozy indies, and The Last of Us, but especially in the Kingdom Hearts series. I'm also known to write about the odd Korean drama for the Entertainment team every now and then.