NEW
STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER Image Could Hold a Clue About C-3PO
FOLLOW NERDIST TO STAY UP TO DATE
FOLLOW US

We’re getting closer to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker with each passing day, and we’re both nervous and excited. The film is set to close out the episodic Star Wars saga, and will be our big screen goodbye to characters like Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, and Lando Calrissian, as well as our new heroes: Rey, Finn, Poe, and—depending on where you fall in the debate—Kylo Ren. The characters will live on in canon materials, and it’s possible some of the surviving characters will make appearances in spinoff Disney+ series or feature films years from now, but Lucasfilm is packaging this one as the last hurrah.

The Rise of Skywalker will also be a big goodbye to two of the most important characters in the saga films: R2-D2 and C-3PO, who’ve been there from the very beginning. We know from Anthony Daniels that Threepio will have a particularly large role to play in Episode IX, and the trailers have hinted at that too. We’ve seen him riding through the deserts of Pasaana on a rig with Poe and Finn, and we’ve watched his eyes glow red in that exclusive D23 preview. So what’s going on with the protocol droid in the film? We’re starting to piece together some potential theories, and a new image from Entertainment Weekly sheds some light on one of them.

The still shows Keri Russell’s character Zorii Bliss, and she’s holding something. This moment likely takes place on the new planet Kijimi, which we know from Vanity Fair is where Bliss is stationed. The helmeted renegade looks like she’s talking to Oscar Issac’s Poe Dameron, with whom she has a storied past, and she’s holding onto a glittering gold object. But what is it? The smart folks at the Around the Galaxy podcast are guessing that it’s actually a piece of hardware from C-3PO’s head.

This tracks with that D23 preview where we see Threepio’s eyes glowing red. It looks like Zorii might help the others unscrew the droid’s head and potentially unlock some bit of information that could be helpful on their journey… whatever that journey may be. The background colors look similar to the ones in the shot of Threepio from the preview, so it’s probably the same location. It’s also possible that new character Babu Frik, recently introduced on The Star Wars Show, who is known for taking things a part and fixing them, could be helping the others either retrieve something from Threepio’s data storage, or reprogram him entirely.

The whole red eye thing seems to imply that things don’t go totally according to plan. Will this be the end of C-3PO as we’ve come to know him? We know the Star Wars sequel trilogy isn’t afraid of killing off major characters, so it’s very possible that this will be the symbolic end for the classic droid. Or, maybe it’s just a brief moment of retrieval and whatever they find helps save the day. Maybe Threepio is actually the hero of the film!

We’ll find out for certain when Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters on December 20.

Featured Image: Disney/Lucasfilm