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C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) is the only character to have appeared in every single live-action Star Wars movie (save for Solo), but he'll become a real major — and we mean major — player in The Rise of Skywalker next month.
Based on the trailers released thus far, we know that the anxiety-prone droid will be undergoing some sort of change (courtesy of newcomer Babu Frik) that could wipe away his extensive memories forever. We don't know how 3PO, whose eyes are gonna turn mysteriously red, factors into the fight against the First Order — all we know is that he's an essential component of the story.
“In previous recent movies Threepio has just been kind of window dressing, something on the mantelpiece, you polish it and dust it off when guests are coming,” Daniels recently told Entertainment Weekly. “J.J. and Chris [Terrio, co-writer of the Episode IX screenplay] came up with this aspect of Threepio we had not seen before that’s remarkably clever. They go down deep into ancient Star Wars and came up with something refreshingly new."
Another facet of the plot might be a further exploration of Rey's lineage. In The Last Jedi, the character (played by Daisy Ridley) discovered that her parents were nobodies, junk merchants who sold her for booze.
This anticlimax flew in the face of everything J.J. Abrams had hinted at in The Force Awakens, but it was definitely in line with what VIII writer/director Rian Johnson was trying to do in terms of subverting fan expectations. Of course, there is always the possibility that Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), freshly minted Supreme Leader of the First Order, lied to Rey in order to drive her over to the Dark Side.
“The parents thing is not satisfied — for her and for the audience,” Ridley said while speaking with EW. “That’s something she’s still trying to figure out — where does she come from? It’s not that she doesn’t believe it, but she feels there’s more to the story. And she needs to figure out what’s come before so she can figure out what to do next…"
Now that he's back in the director's chair, Abrams can help wrap up the story he first began in 2015. Without the immense stress of kicking off a new trilogy, he felt more confident going into The Rise of Skywalker.
"We had more reshoots on Episode VII than this one,” the filmmaker admitted to EW, eventually adding that the trailers are only "scratching the surface" of what's to come. “We had more story adjustments on VII than this one. We didn’t know if these characters would work, if the actors would be able to carry a Star Wars movie. There were a lot of things we didn’t know. On this, we knew who and what worked, and everyone is doing the best work I’ve ever seen anyone do. But the ambition of this movie is far greater than Force Awakens. What we set out to do was far more challenging. Everything is exponentially larger on this."
This comment echoes what Abrams recently told Total Film about taking more risks with this film than he did on The Force Awakens.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker opens in theaters Friday, Dec. 20.