Star Wars Episode IX’s final trailer is full of epic moments, poignant farewells (that Leia quote!) and sinister returns (The Emperor!) – but does it also predict the death of one of the franchise’s original characters?
That’s the question many fans were left with after the trailer appeared to show Anthony Daniels’ long-suffering droid C-3PO bidding farewell to his fellow travellers while wired into some machinery.
“What are you doing there, Threepio?” Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron asks.
“Taking one last look, sir… at my friends,” he responds.
Given C-3PO’s usually sarcastic or slightly cowardly attitude, it’s an unusually sincere moment for the veteran droid, while his predicament – his headpiece removed, his brain wired into something – could suggest he’s about to try and exercise control over some sort of outside technology or spaceship, as has been demonstrated in the franchise before (notably, Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s L3-3T ended up uploading her brain into the Millennium Falcon in Solo: A Star Wars Story using a similar method).
Fans certainly seem to think he’s up for the chop in any case…
But are they right? Is Threepio about to make an epic sacrifice, destroying his body (or at least his brain) in a heroic effort to save his friends?
Well, it’s possible – footage shown of the film so far does seem to show the droid having a more central role in the story than he has in a while, travelling with Poe, Finn and Rey (Osaac, John Boyega and Daisy Ridley), suggesting he might be entering into more dangerous climes again.
Plus, there’s that shot of him in the previous trailer with ominous red eyes, apparently in the same location, suggesting that he hooks up to some outside influence during Episode IX, possibly at his own risk.
And frankly, narratively, it makes perfect sense. Daniels’ C-3PO is one of the only remaining original characters from the original trilogy left, and Daniels himself has the unique distinction of appearing in every Star Wars movie to date (though in Solo, he wasn’t playing C-3PO).
Anthony Daniels is C-3PO in STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER
As the Skywalker saga finally comes to an end, perhaps JJ Abrams has decided that the character who came to life in Episode I should been laid to rest in Episode IX, marking the end of this particular story with his passing and sending a signal to viewers that no matter how many Disney+ series or new trilogies are on the way, this is still the end of something.
So yes, it’s eminently possible – even probable – that C-3PO is on his way out. Now all we need to do is solve the mystery of why he’s suddenly decided Finn, Rey and Poe are his “friends” after barely interacting with them in the previous two movies…
Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker is released in UK cinemas on the 19th December