The Star Wars IP is one of the most successful cash generators in pop culture, and a large part of its success is due to toy sales. Whenever a new movie is released, you can bet on it containing characters who will appeal to viewers — especially children — who are also looking to add new items to their action figure and plush collections. As such, several participants in the Star Wars universe are adorable and easy to turn into successful toy lines.
From Ewoks to Porgs to droids to aliens, Star Wars fans have been spoiled with merchandise of cute characters throughout the years. That said, how many of these lovable rascals are essential to saving the galaxy? While there are/have been exceptions throughout the years (mainly Ewoks), most of the cute creatures and machines we see in these epic space adventures are nothing more than advertisements for their accompanying merchandise.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, however, might buck this trend by including an adorable character with actual substance. Babu Frik is every bit as aesthetically pleasing as an Ewok or a Porg, but this little delight will serve a higher purpose than simply catering to Disney’s capitalistic masterplan.
If you watched the final trailer for the movie then you probably saw Babu performing a procedure on C-3PO. It’s during the scene where the humanoid robot has one last look at his friends before he bids farewell to them. That moment alone suggests that this little critter will play a key part in helping the Resistance defeat Emperor Palpatine and the First Order.
Babu is an Andrellan droidsmith who rolls with the Spice Runners of Kijimi, a group of smugglers led by Zorii Bliss (Keri Russell). He is capable of reprogramming and modifying droids, regardless of the security mechanisms in place to keep them from being tampered with. Don’t let his appearance fool you; this creature is an expert hacker.
Whatever Babu is doing to C-3PO suggests the end of the franchise’s long-serving pessimistic machine — at least in his current iteration. One of the main theories going around in the lead up to the new movie is that the droid will be reprogrammed in order to retrieve old information that will help the Resistance defeat Palpatine and co. Unfortunately for Threepio, though, this will cause him to lose the memories of his friends.
In the latest trailer, Rey can be seen holding a blade that may or not be the Dagger of Mortis, which is a mystic weapon that’s capable of defeating immortal beings and Force-wielders, such as Palaptine. It’s very possible that the blade — regardless of what it is — will be an essential instrument in the Rise of Skywalker’s great war between good and evil.
The blade scene also takes place in a room that appears to have a history with Darth Vader (who had experience with the Dagger of Mortis when he was alive). Given that C-3PO was built by Anakin Skywalker before he joined the Dark Side, chances are the droid has important information pertaining to the weapon and how it can be used to stop the enemy.
However, Threepio’s memories of that time were wiped from his system in Revenge of the Sith, and that’s where Babu probably comes into play in the new film. His task will be to make the robot remember his past, which could result in Threepio being rebooted, hence the emotional goodbye.
At the time of this writing, we can only speculate about Babu’s purpose and what he’s doing to C-3PO. Still, he appears during an emotional and notable moment that’s clearly going to play a big part in the story. For that reason alone, he’s more than a ploy to sell toys.