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Star Wars Just Confirmed What We Always Hoped About C-3PO

A new Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker novelization has explained one of several semi-plot holes in the Star Wars franchise.

They may have played second fiddle to the likes of Luke, Leia, Obi-Wan, and Anakin, but beloved droids C-3PO and R2-D2 have arguably had the most consistent presence in the Star Wars universe. Having witnessed many significant moments in the Skywalker Saga, their arcs are as sprawling as they are thrilling. The two have certainly left their mark on the Star Wars universe, but being around so long has also made them victims of writing inconsistencies as the story has been passed from one generation to another.

One of the biggest issues in C-3PO's character arc arose when The Phantom Menace revealed that Anakin Skywalker created the chatty droid. The development raised several questions, but one of its biggest was why C-3PO couldn't have told Luke about his parentage. Revenge of the Sith attempted to address this by having Senator Bail Organa wipe the droid's memory, paving the way for Threepio to enter George Lucas' original story as an innocent, occasionally bumbling accomplice to the Rebellion. 

But in a key scene on planet Kijimi in 2019's Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, C-3PO is tasked with translating a Sith text, yet finds something in his programming preventing it. He requests a hard reset, similar to the memory wipe of Revenge of the Sith, allowing him to carry out the critical task — at a sobering cost. Of course, R2-D2 restores all those memories C-3PO had built up seemingly between the events of Episode III and Episode IX by the movie's end. But the Rise of Skywalker novelization by Michel Kogge explains that this restoration had a greater impact than we knew.

C-3PO's memory comes back — including the first thing he saw

Expanding on the sweet and sentimental exchange between Artoo and Threepio toward the end of Rise of the Skywalker, Kogge weaves a version of events where C-3PO's entire memory is reawakened (via ScreenRant). His storage now holds memories all the way back to the very first time Anakin switched him on, including all those long-forgotten prequel events. Kogge describes the exact moment R2-D2's switch flip jogs Threepio's entire memory rather poetically.

"This caused a memory file that R2-D2 had restored to be accessed and read," Kogge wrote. "It was a record of the moment when C-3PO's maker had fitted a photoreceptor into his eye socket, and he had experienced the visual spectrum for the first time. The initial image his photoreceptors had captured was of a blue-and-white astromech."

The intimate droid exchange in the film was far from being one of Episode IX's most controversial or confusing moments, but it did cause some debate among fans who questioned just how much he should remember. Unlike other scenes that were considered outright plot holes, most of the conversation around C-3PO's second hard reset was less about logic and more about dramatic impact. Some believed the sacrifice was beautiful and shouldn't have been tampered with, while others favored the film's outcome.

With the last chapter in the Skywalker Saga hitting Disney+ this May the Fourth, months earlier than expected, fans will have another chance to debate which outcome they would have preferred. In terms of the big-screen tale and its prose counterpart, the restoration is a mostly sentimental move as, at that point, the First Order has already been defeated. Still, just try not to get emotional about R2-D2 being the first thing C-3PO ever saw.