An upgraded version of its ancestor droid R2-D2, BB-8 is a BB series astromech droid that came into operation approximately three decades after the Battle of Endor, taking over the R2 series droids that have become obsolete. BB-8 served as the astromech for a T-70 X-Wing starfighter that belonged to a Flight Leader and Commander of a Rapier Squadron from the New Republic, a pilot named Poe Dameron. BB-8 also became Poe's loyal companion during his missions.
During one of the Rapier Squadron's patrols, they receive a call for help from a large free trading freighter called Yissira Zyde. The freighter had been hijacked by members of the First Order - they found the ship to be valuable to them, to which the Rapier Squadron promptly responded but unfortunately, they could not stop the hijack and the ship was taken by the enemy, resulting in the death of pilot Muran. The squadron received orders from Major Lonno Deso to let it go and not get involved, but Poe ignores his superior's orders and proceeds to track down the freighter.
Poe links BB-8 to two other droids belonging to pilots Kare Kun and Iolo Arana to gather information about the Yissira Zyde. BB-8 tracks down the freighter to one of the First Order's Star Destroyers, and in their attempt to get closer they were chased and attacked before they managed to escape and return to Mirrin Prime. Upon returning, they were detained for disobeying a direct order and brought to face General Leia Organa. Poe and BB-8 later leave the New Republic to join the Resistance, together with Kare and Iolo.