...Which means there will almost definitely be a working plastic toy version ready to go under Christmas trees next year.
The droid's physical on-set existence was revealed by Luke Skywalker himself, with actor Mark Hamill also set to turn up in-the-flesh for Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.
"They never cease to amaze me with what they’re able to come up with, you know?" Hamill told Yahoo Movies.
"I said, 'How are you ever gonna top R2-D2, the most adorable droid in movie history?' And then they have this new one.
"And when they were demonstrating how they did this thing, live on set — because it’s not CGI, that’s a live prop — I was just amazed. They let me play around with it. [Laughs] I was running it all around at the creature shop up in Pinewood. I’m telling you, it’s an absolute delight. And not having thought that I’d ever go back there, to go back into that world, is just – I get the chills. It’s just so much fun."
Director J.J. Abrams had promised fans to return the series to its real-sets and model-making roots with Episode VII, and with this rather impressive revelation, he appears to be staying true to his word.
Thanks to an early batch of Episode VII themed trading cards leaking to the web early, we also know what the little football-shaped droid is called. If you want that spoiled, along with a host of other hero and villain names, click here. [Yahoo Movies]