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Even though Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is now considered to be one of the most polarizing Star Wars movies, that’s not to say it didn’t have good moments. For instance, Babu Frik, the adorable droidsmith who worked with Zorii Bliss on Kijimi, was positively received by a lot of folks. Fortunately, Babu made it out of The Rise of Skywalker alive, but that wasn’t always in the cards.
Those who’ve seen Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will recall that Kijimi was destroyed by one of the Star Destroyer’s in Palpatine’s Final Order fleet. According to concept artist Ivan Manuela, the original plan was for Babu Frik to be on the planet when it blew up, and an esteemed filmmaker possibly played a hand in changing the character’s fate. As Neal Scanlan, The Rise of Skywalker’s creature effects creative supervisor, recalled:
It could be a rumor, but I believe J.J. screened the movie for Steven Spielberg, and at the end Spielberg said, ‘What happened to Babu?’ Everybody thought, ‘Oh God, what did happen to Babu?’
So if this story holds true --and Scanlan's a generally reliable source -- had Steven Spielberg missed his Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker screening, Babu Frik would have ended up as one of the movie’s many casualties. But because he said something, that led the movie’s creative team to rescue Babu Frik from a dark demise, with one of his reappearance being drafted in from one of his deleted scenes. Neal Scanlan continued to explain to Empire that no matter how they came to the decision, eventually several sequences were shot to explain what happened to the character.
We shot several other sequences. The ILM guys found one, lifted out Babu and put him into Zorii’s ship at the end.
Babu Frik’s return later on in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker even surprised Shirley Henderson, who voiced and puppeteered the character. Babu (who was partially influenced by actors Ernest Borgnine and Joe Pesci) entered The Rise of Skywalker fold when C-3PO needed to be reprogrammed so he could speak the translation inscribed on a Sith dagger. Once that job was done, it would have been easy enough to leave go our separate ways from Babu for good, thanks to Steven Spielberg, the wisecracking Anzellan was among the many who lived to see Palpatine and his Final Order toppled.
Given that Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker not only capped off the Sequel Trilogy, but also served as the final entry in the Skywalker Saga, it’s hard to say if we’ll ever see Babu Frik on the big screen again. However, with the Star Wars media empire comprising TV shows, novels, comic books and video games, surely there will be a way to bring him back in some way, even for just a cameo.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is available on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD, and it’ll premiere on Disney+ in October. Keep checking back with CinemaBlend for all the biggest updates concerning what’s happening in a galaxy far, far away on the movie and TV realms. For now, you can find out what movies have recently been delayed with our detailed guide.