What's The Deal With C-3PO's Red Eyes In The Rise Of Skywalker Footage?

C3PO Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Ever since the D23 footage for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker dropped, fans have been dissecting each and every glorious scene that was shown. Now that every take imaginable has been given on what's happening with that Dark Rey tease, let's focus on another part that had fans talking, C3PO. We only see the protocol droid briefly in the trailer, but when we do, he's sporting a pair of red eyes.

So, what's that about? Obviously, we'll find out when Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker officially hits theaters, but in the meantime it's worth exploring some of the possibilities behind this aesthetic change and what it could mean for the character's future in the Star Wars universe.

C-3PO Star Wars

C-3PO Could Have Some Combat Protocol Installed

Is it really so hard to believe a protocol droid could have an augmentation that allows for combat capabilities? After all, this galaxy has been in turmoil for the better part of a century, so why wouldn't you want to arm as many people as you can on your side? Especially C-3PO, whose knowledge of around 6,000,000 forms of communication would be a big help to a battered Resistance seeking allies.

Let's also remember that C-3PO is a pretty unique unit who Anakin Skywalker constructed mostly out of spare parts. The young prodigy could've pulled any number of parts that could be manipulated or augmented to make 3PO a killing machine, but no one ever thought to explore that until now. That wouldn't be all that surprising; it's not like 3PO is known for a large show of bravery or has shown any hint of aggression in the past.

It sounds crazy, especially since Mark Hamill blasted an alleged concept poster that showed 3PO with a crossbow back in March. Was Hamill being serious in calling out the bogus photo, or was it an aggressive defense of a story element that'll happen in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker? It's hard to imagine a battle ready C-3PO being a significant part of the story, but fans may love to see the droid go out in a blaze of glory.

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0-0-0 Star Wars Marvel

C-3PO May Have Fallen To The "Dark Side"

When it comes to droids and the "Light and Dark" side, the robots of Star Wars tend to side with whoever programmed them. K-2SO was a re-programmed Empire Droid for the Rebel Alliance, and Darth Vader famously had his own evil droids in his recent comic book run. One of which, 0-0-0, looked a lot like C-3PO minus his black metal sheen and his glowing red eyes.

0-0-0, who was on loan to Vader via comic character Doctor Aphra, was well-versed in commerce, communication, and various forms of torture. As if being tortured by a droid with a limitless knowledge of ways to inflict pain wasn't enough, imagine being tortured by a droid that looks and acts like C-3PO. If 0-0-0 wasn't a true show of just how evil the Dark side could be, I don't know what is. Anyway with his new red eyes, 3PO is looking suspiciously like 0-0-0.

Not all droids with red eyes are evil, but most evil droids have red eyes. What if the First Order had captured C-3PO, pulled vital Resistance information from his memory banks, and re-programmed him as a First Order loyalist? It would be heartbreaking to see the goofy, but ultimately well-meaning droid flip sides after so long. Especially if he ended up leading to the death of a key character, which could happen if he's working for the bad guys.

Kylo Ren Lightsaber

C-3PO's Red Eyes Could Just Be A Reflection

Star Wars fans were so quick to speculate on why C-3PO's eyes were red, no one stopped to think they may not actually be red. What if the glow isn't a new part of the droid, but rather the reflection of something bright and red he's looking at? Like, for example, that glowing red laser that was blasting into the ground in the trailer?

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Other options may include the glow of a lightsaber, which would either belong to Kylo Ren or Dark Rey. In either case, it wouldn't seem to be a good sign for C-3PO to be in either's presence, and could be the start of a death scene that's as traumatic as Anakin's slaying of the younglings. Ok, nothing in Star Wars will ever be quite that tragic, but a 3PO death scene would make quite a few people sad.

That may be the type of emotional gut punch Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is hoping for in order to close out the Skywalker saga to great effect. Giving classic characters definitive endings would be a great way to move on from the saga afterwards, and keep fans from continuing to question what they're up to in a following trilogy. C-3PO and R2-D2 have had a long life in this franchise so it should give the characters an emotional exit to honor that.

C-3PO Arm Star Wars: The Force Awakens

This Could Be A Red Arm Situation All Over Again

You remember that whole deal in Star Wars: The Force Awakens when C-3PO had a red arm, and the internet went wild trying to figure out what it all meant ahead of the movie? Sure, the whole thing did get an interesting story in a comic, but the aesthetic change was a big old nothingburger in terms of the plot of the Star Wars movie.

As much as we want these red eyes to mean something, it could just be a bit used for comedic relief in what should be a intense finale to the Skywalker Saga. As disappointed as I would be if this twist turns out to be nothing, I would laugh if a character as harmless as C-3PO scared away other people intentionally because he now looks far more intimidating. Either way, you can see what's happening for yourself in the trailer, below.

Got a theory for what's happening with C-3PO and his red eyes? Throw it down in the comments below and be sure to stick with CinemaBlend as we're just months away from the opening of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick Joest is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend with his hand in an eclectic mix of television goodness. Star Trek is his main jam, but he also regularly reports on happenings in the world of Star Trek, WWE, Doctor Who, 90 Day Fiancé, Quantum Leap, and Big Brother. He graduated from the University of Southern Indiana with a degree in Journalism and a minor in Radio and Television. He's great at hosting panels and appearing on podcasts if given the chance as well.