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Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker C3PO sitting with red eyes on a repair table

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is promising a pretty spectacular finale to the era of storytelling known as the Skywalker Saga. An instrumental part of that timeframe has been the iconic protocol droid/busybody C3PO, played by actor Anthony Daniels. So naturally, on the final day of filming director J.J. Abrams’ grand finale, there was bound to be tears.

During the D23 Expo, Anthony Daniels spoke with reporters on the press line about his last moments on set, and in his accounting it sounds like it was a perfect, yet bittersweet ending. In fact, the actor admitted he teared up a bit.

It was difficult not to tear up a bit. Partly because J.J. [Abrams] said some really nice things and all the crew were listening and watching. I have to admit it was an emotional moment, but I knew it was coming. It wasn’t even a scene in which I said anything. For once, Threepio was in a scene without butting in. But I felt it’s such a terrific movie that I thought it was okay to say goodbye. I feel satisfied with this one. I have something to be proud of that, you know, as I say goodbye.

A fixture of the series since its inception in 1977, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker also looks like it could be the final installment for our golden friend. During his interview with Variety, Anthony Daniels said that the ninth episode in the saga proper feels like it truly rounds off the story, and as far as the films go, C3PO has served his purpose.

Obviously, with such a monumental moment on set, and with Daniels’ getting such praise from J.J. Abrams on set, it’s obvious that tears were going to be shed. Even through the difficult process of being cooped up in his robotic suit, Anthony Daniels has been a vital part of the Star Wars family over the decades.

At the same time, having to be in the confines of that costume must not be getting any easier, and eventually a character so physically demanding would need to either find another performer or bow out of the Star Wars franchise gracefully. Luckily, Daniels has made it to the end of his character’s run and can retire from his gold plated days on set with a smile.

Though what we’ve seen from the trailers of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, it looks like Threepio’s last ride isn’t going to be an easy or safe one. Between being caught in the crossfire with Poe and Finn on a speeding desert chase, and a new situation where his eyes are so red you could practically see murder in them, there’s no guarantee that he’ll make it out of the Skywalker Saga in one piece.

As Star Wars puts the final pieces into the story of the Skywalker family’s saga, there’s likely going to be a lot of tearful goodbyes that will come during those final hours onscreen. There might be enough that we’ll have to rank those scenarios in a list of most to least heartbreaking. And you can be sure that a C3PO departure would be pretty high up on that list, as saying goodbye to an old friend is always a major occasion.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker heads to theaters to complete the Skywalker Saga on December 20th.

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