R2-D2 is the main character of Star Wars. He’s appeared in every main saga film, he’s witnessed the rise and fall of the Galactic Empire, and when all hope was lost for the Resistance, he even kicked off this new Disney era of the franchise by helping the heroes locate Luke Skywalker. Now, the saga is coming to a close and it’s looking like Artoo’s main cohort, C-3PO, will be getting his memory wiped. But that doesn’t mean the opinionated trashcan droid is necessarily going to be stepping out of the spotlight. In fact, a new theory on Reddit popped up this week alleging that, in the end of Rise of Skywalker, R2-D2 will finally be taking center stage.
All the main saga Star Wars films begin with “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.” It’s a trademark introduction that George Lucas developed back in the early 1970s as a way to pay tribute to the science fiction serials of his childhood. The framing device has always made the franchise feel like an epic myth. Traditionally, that kind of mythic storytelling was shared verbally, which is why fans have wondered, for years, who might be telling the story of Star Wars. According to Reddit user toaddodger, Rise of Skywalker will reveal that it’s been R2-D2 narrating this entire time.
The post on the Star Wars Speculation subreddit reads:
“I think it would be awesome if the movie ends with R2 and C3PO being far away from the war-torn Galaxy, and R2 telling C3PO everything that happened in order to restore his best friend’s memory. Bleep bloop beep… Subtitle: ‘A long time ago in a galaxy far far away.. ‘, screen fade, movie ends.”
While it seems unlikely that Star Wars would abruptly use subtitles for a droid language that has never been translated for us before, it’s a heartening idea that Threepio might get to hear the full story of Star Wars at the saga’s end. And there’s even some precedent for this concept from Lucas himself.
Back in 2016, four years after Disney purchased Lucasfilm, a book exploring the franchise’s history revealed that Artoo was originally the keeper of the “Journal of the Whills.” Authored by Chris Taylor, How Star Wars Conquered the Universe explained Lucas’s original idea for the third trilogy of the saga, which involved something called “Whills.” Originally, Lucas thought that the Skywalker story would be an ancient text told to us by chroniclers known as “Whills.” The stories were all contained in their Journal, and the Whills would play a big role in Lucas’s version of Episodes 7, 8, and 9. But, although Disney chose to move in a much different direction for the new films, it doesn’t mean the Whills concept was totally discarded. Many of Lucas’s post-Return of the Jedi ideas have made their way into the new trilogy.
How Star Wars Conquered the Universe recounts a conversation Lucas has with animation director Rob Coleman. As io9 reported back in 2016, Lucas told Coleman, “The entire story of Star Wars is actually being recounted to the keeper of the Journal of the Whills—remember that?—a hundred years after the events of Return of the Jedi by none other than R2-D2.”
Trailer footage has seemed to depict C-3PO losing his memory. He says he’s “taking a look at his friends one last time.” This certainly gives J.J. Abrams the opportunity to fulfill Lucas’s old idea. And when Artoo explains the story of Star Wars, the characteristically reckless droid would likely make himself look like a big hero. That might finally explain how the little trashcan manages to kick so much ass throughout the nine films of the saga.
The Rise of Skywalker debuts on December 20.