Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker's final trailer suggests that C-3PO will die in the final installment of the Skywalker saga. One of the original characters to appear in George Lucas' original Star Wars trilogy, C-3PO is an iconic staple of the franchise's lore - both in canon and in Legends. Anthony Daniels has portrayed the character in each movie and across multiple mediums for over four decades, and his time as the character is coming to an end in J.J. Abrams' newest film.
In footage released at D23 Expo 2019, C-3PO appeared to have red eyes, thus suggesting that he had possibly been hacked. Later it was revealed that one of the series' new characters, Babu Frik, is a droidsmith who is able to modify or reprogram a droid. And now, the final Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker trailer confirms that Babu Frik indeed reprograms C-3PO, and the beloved protocol droid takes a moment to look upon his friends one last time. But why one last time?
C-3PO being reprogrammed in the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker trailer as well as taking a moment to potentially save a memory file of his friends that he's known for so long is curious. It hints at C-3PO dying in the sequel, but not in the traditional sense. For whatever reason, the Resistance still needs C-3PO for their mission - just not in his current form. So he may die while another version of him lives.
Why C-3PO's programming is altered and exactly how that happens are things that won't be answered until the film comes out, but there are certainly teases that have been revealed already. For instance, in one photo from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Keri Russell's new character, Zorii Bliss, appears to be holding a key component of C-3PO's head. Unless, of course, that component isn't from C-3PO but rather the piece of equipment that's replaced by Babu Frik, as shown in the trailer.
One possibility that's already been tied to Star Wars comics is that C-3PO is modified to add to the Resistance's battle-ready numbers; they've been on the run since Star Wars: The Last Jedi and need to replenish their forces quickly. Since C-3PO has been spotted with Chewbacca's bowcaster, that makes the most sense. But then again, given that C-3PO is a protocol droid, he can be programmed for a secret, technical mission that's key to the Resistance's mission. After all, it wouldn't be the first time that C-3PO's programming has been changed in order to safeguard the Rebellion/Resistance.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019