Everyone’s favorite stressed out droid plays a key role in The Rise of Skywalker, but C-3PO may reveal more than just Emperor Palpatine’s whereabouts. An early throwaway line delivered by Threepio actor Anthony Daniels could reveal a sinister and unexpected way that Palps influences the events of Star Wars: Episode IX.
Warning: Spoilers for Rise of Skywalker below.
First, in case you need a refresh on Episode IX’s convoluted setup, let’s get that out of the way. The action begins when Kylo Rey uncovers a “Sith Wayfinder” leading him to Palpatine. In response, Rey and the rest of the gang (C-3PO included) head off to find the second of two Wayfinders. But first, they need to find a dagger with Sith writing on it that leads to the Wayfinder that leads to Palps. (Yes, there’s way too many things in this movie).
The only catch is that while Threepio can read the text on the dagger, his programming forbids him from translating Sith writing out loud. The droid begins to explain why, saying, “”I believe the Senate passed—“ before he’s interrupted by a giant, threatening serpent.
Once the snake is dealt with, the plot continues to move along briskly. It’s easy to forget what C-3PO was saying, but as one redditor, u/cgonz329, points out, it could reveal a lot about how Emperor Palpatine pulled the strings throughout the years.
“When 3P0 first informs everyone that It is against his programming to translate Sith, he in a way lets us in on another part of Palpatine’s strategic mind,” they write. “We all know who was in charge of the Senate. So somehow during his time as Chancellor or as Emperor before the senate was dissolved in A New Hope, Palpatine passed some type of legislation, I assume to forbid Sith from being translated.
In other words, Emperor Palpatine passed a law forbidding droids from translating Sith language specifically because he knew he’d eventually use a secret message to hide his location while recuperating from near-death and plotting his revenge. Even if this was just a contingency plan, it shows the lengths Palps went to while preparing for his own demise.
This might also explain how (and when) Palpatine had time to create and hide these wayfinders in the first place. If you think about it too much, that part of it doesn’t really make sense that there’s a wayfinder hidden in the Emperor’s chambers on the second Death Star, a place he only spent a very short amount of time. But if he was planning for this outcome all along, it all becomes a bit more believable.
The Rise of Skywalker is in theaters now.