The short film, directed by WALL-E lead animator Angus MacLane, was produced at the same time as WALL-E, and is included as bonus material to the DVD and Blu-ray release. BURN-E features music composed and conducted by J.A.C. Redford, who was also orchestrator on the film WALL-E.
The short film is based on a character who was briefly seen when WALL-E and EVE fly around the Axiom starliner, and enter through a door, locking a welder robot outside of the ship. This character is a robot named BURN-E (Basic Utility Repair Nano Engineer), who is seen banging his fists against the door, and ultimately realizing that he has been locked out.
The story begins with WALL-E running his hand through the rings of Saturn while holding on to the side of EVE's spaceship. One of the rock particles that swirls away begins to increase in velocity and size once it moves up against the atmosphere of Mars, becoming a meteorite that destroys a small lamp outside the Axiom. A repair robot named BURN-E is dispatched by SUPPLY-R, a storage robot that dispenses spare lamp spires, to replace it. Before he can secure the lamp, EVE's ship begins to enter the AxiomTemplate:'s docking bay. Still clinging onto the side of the ship, WALL-E waves to BURN-E, who waves back, distracting him while the loose lamp floats off into space.
Obtaining another spare from SUPPLY-R, BURN-E begins to weld the lamp down. Meanwhile, inside the Axiom, WALL-E and EVE witness the security robot GO-4 place the plant from Earth into an escape pod set to self-destruct, launching it with WALL-E inside and EVE giving chase. The pod explodes a few seconds later and BURN-E turns around in surprise, accidentally slicing off the lamp with his blowtorch. Annoyed, SUPPLY-R gives BURN-E the last spare lamp, which BURN-E finally manages to install successfully. At this time, WALL-E, who survived the pod explosion, is dancing in space with EVE. The two enter the ship through the only available entrance near BURN-E, flying inside and accidentally locking him out.
After BURN-E sits hopelessly outside for some time, WALL-E and EVE are about to be jettisoned into space through a garbage airlock. BURN-E sees the airlock open and tries to enter the ship, but as soon as he reaches it, a WALL-A unit pushes a button that slams the airlock shut in front of BURN-E. BURN-E gives up all hope and begins to doodle with his blowtorch when it dawns on him that he can cut a hole in the door withit. He does so and returns to SUPPLY-R to turn on the lamp. Before he can, the Captain of the Axiom and Auto get into a fight, causing the ship to tilt off its axis and drop BURN-E outside. The Captain deactivates Auto and realigns the ship, which then blasts into hyperspace at full momentum, pinning BURN-E to the hull (the very brief hyperspace sequence is a parody of 2001: A Space Odyssey).
The Axiom lands on Earth, and BURN-E goes back inside to find the ship has been completely deserted. BURN-E's search leads him into one of the ship's escape pods, where he sees SUPPLY-R out the window. BURN-E waves to him from inside the pod, accidentally launching it and crashing to the ground below near SUPPLY-R. BURN-E flings the hatch on the pod off and finally turns on the lamp, which is then destroyed by the flying hatch. BURN-E collapses in defeat. After the credits, SUPPLY-R attempts to console the inconsolable BURN-E by patting him on the head, saying, "There, there."