When Disney premiered the special look trailer of The Rise of Skywalker at their D23 Celebration in August, few things were as surprising to fans as the image of C-3PO with red eyes. Star Wars has never been the deepest or most complex of blockbuster movie franchises. So, when fans predicted that C-3PO's red eyes meant the droid had gone evil in the upcoming film, it seemed like a reasonable theory. After all, in the iconic Lucasfilm franchise, the bad guys hold red lightsabers. It's as simple as that.
The image of "Dark Threepio" instantly inspired memes both hilarious and devastating, as longtime followers of the series rejoiced in the concept that a character as meek and submissive as the anxiety-stricken protocol could somehow become an evil renegade. Finally, he could exact his revenge on all the assholes who have scolded him throughout the 10-film franchise.
That image of Dark Threepio got a lot more spooky this week, as one fan posted a wild theory on the Star Wars Theories Subreddit that surmises that the droid's red eyes may be connected to a source of evil far more powerful than anyone originally imagined: Darth Vader himself. Reddit user Darth-Orapello19 wrote on September 20th:
Regarding that scene from the Star Wars episode IX trailer.... with 3PO’s red eyes! I feel like when JJ said he will incorporate all movies together. That 3POs red eyes are Vader’s.
This already feels about as insane as the Jar Jar Binks / Sith Lord theory from a few years back. But unlike the Darth Jar Jar idea, this Reddit user actually provided some solid justification, by way of the original Star Wars trilogy. The theory goes on to say:
So when Vader was the one who attacked 3PO in Bespin during empire strikes back. He put a message into 3PO and so when 3POs eyes are red... he’s reaching out to both Rey and Kylo to warn/assist them. Like Leia did in her message inside R2D2. Vader places the message into 3PO and I would even go so far as to say R2D2 knew. The message was placed into him and the only way it could’ve was him being blasted into pieces- after all Anakin- Vader built him.
The Reddit user is predicting that Anakin Skywalker placed a message inside C-3PO in the same way that Leia did with R2-D2—and there might be something to this. J.J. Abrams has made it clear that he wants to pay homage to the original trilogy (and prequel trilogy) in his big finale for the series. Having the final film relay a message via a droid–but from the Dark Side of the force this time–would certainly mirror nicely with the beginning of the franchise. The theory continues:
I even believe when Vader said “it is too late for ME, my son” he was speaking a very deeper meaning...Warning Kylo and Rey of the Emperors lies. Not to make the same mistake. Then circling right back to where Kylo was talking to Vader’s helmet. About “finishing what he started”. Which was to bring balance/be the chosen one. 3PO - the message is the melt your mind scene!
What if this theory is true? Considering the context here it's really not too far of a leap. C-3PO could carry extremely important information from Anakin Skywalker. And something could activate the message, turning his eyes red, allowing Vader's voice to speak through the droid—like telling Rey or Kylo how to defeat Emperor Palpatine. Who knows, "Dark Threepio" could be the key to finally killing off the Sith and bringing balance to the force once and for all.
The Rise of Skywalker debuts on December 20 2019.
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