We didn’t know it at the time, but Solo: A Star Wars Story may have primed us for one of the biggest twists in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, one that was heavily teased in the new trailer released Monday.
Potential spoilers follow for The Rise of Skywalker.
Midway through the trailer, C-3PO, the beloved, anxious protocol droid — one of the only two characters to appear in every Star Wars movie except Solo — says goodbye to his “friends” as if he’s about to die. Him dying likely means he has his memory wiped, but the trailer doesn’t explain why this has to happen.
Based on a series of clues in the new trailer — watch it below — and leaks circulating online, however, there’s one theory about Threepio’s death that could directly mirror the fate of another droid from Solo.
How much do you remember about the big twist involving L3-37 in Solo? The droid L3-37’s ultimate fate will probably serve as a precedent for what could happen to C-3PO.
After L3-37’s droid body is destroyed during an uprising at a mining base on Kessel, Han Solo comes up with the idea to hardwire her navigational system directly into the Millennium Falcon’s onboard computer. Earlier in the film, she’d boasted about having most robust navigational maps in the galaxy, so this advantage gets the group through a tight spot, while also preserving her life indefinitely (sort of).
The idea of a droid “dying” but being preserved through integration into another computer system could be precedent for The Rise of Skywalker with C-3PO.
Perhaps C-3PO has to translate an ancient Sith language written on a stone dagger. Maybe he needs to process coordinates to a secret location. Given the context provided by the trailer, here’s the sequence of events we can probably expect:
Rey, Finn, and Poe wind up on the ice planet Kijimi, where they meet up with Poe’s old friend Zorri Bliss (Keri Russell), who leads a group of smugglers called the Spice Runners of Kijimi.
In an image released October 17, Zorri Bliss holds some kind of disc that could be a Wayfinder device used to find Palpatine and his secret Sith fleet. It also seems possible that the rebels sacrifice C-3PO’s memory by unlocking his A.I. system in a way that allows them to read the data on this disc.
Zorri Bliss leads the group to her ally Babu Frik, the cute little alien droidsmith who’s rummaging around in the back of Threepio’s head during the trailer. Zorri Bliss also appears in the shot where Threepio says goodbye to his friends, providing further evidence of their association.
Later in the trailer, we also see Rey smile over at Chewbacca in the Millennium Falcon. Sitting in a little spot on the dashboard is another disc that looks similar to what we saw in Solo. It could also be a modified version of the same disc. It also resembles the star compass that Luke Skywalker once used to find the first Jedi Temple. Given its placement in the cockpit, it must have something to do with navigation.
There might be a connection between Zorri’s disc, the disc normally in the back of C-3PO’s head, and the blue disc in the cockpit. Maybe they’re all the same object. They put Zorri’s disc into C-3PO’s head to access some information that transforms it into the blue disc.
The one catch is that after Finn and Poe file into the Falcon’s cockpit in this scene, Threepio himself walks in right behind them. That doesn’t necessarily invalidate this theory, however, because Threepio could already be “dead” at this point. Perhaps his memory has been erased to create an upgraded data disc capable of leading the group where they need to go. He could be restored to his factory setting at this point in time.
The upsetting part of all this is that this MacGuffin probably leads the group straight to Emperor Palpatine for the final confrontation, which will put them all in grave danger.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will be released in theaters December 20, 2019.