Babu Frik: The (Perhaps) Only Good Thing in Rise of Skywalker

By Published On: April 3, 2022Categories: Star Wars Characters, Star Wars creatures1 Comment

If you read my blog, you may have noticed a trend in my commentary on Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Let me sum it up politely here: the movie isn’t very good. There, done.

Okay, not done. It destroys what still, even after the inconsistencies between Force Awakens and Last Jedi, had the potential to be a good Sequel Trilogy, it wastes opportunities for fascinating characterization, and it cheapened the victory of Return of the Jedi. And don’t get me started on those stupid Knights of Ren…

But there was one thing that brought joy to Rise of Skywalker, and that was the potato-sized droidsmith, Babu Frik. This little guy is awesome. He’s skilled, helpful and just so darn happy to be there, with his wee “heyheyyyyy!”

Sure, he’s a convenient plot point – but at least he has a purpose! Which is more than we can say for a lot of other Star Wars cute-bombs that have dropped over the years. Compare him to the porgs (no purpose), to Jar-Jar (painful) and even to Maz Kanata (such wasted potential…). Babu Frik is more in keeping with the classic tradition of jawas and ewoks – little races that made stuff happen.

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Why is Babu Frik important?

But seriously, for a guy who has about 90 seconds of screen time, why do we care about him so much? Two reasons.

Babu Frik keeps the story moving

First, the whole movie would have ended and the galaxy would have been lost without Babu Frik. He could reprogram or modify almost any droid or machine, and with the clock ticking for our Resistance fighters, Babu Frik was able to access C-3PO’s main processing unit and then bypass C-3PO’s programming restrictions to allow access to the Sith language message locked in C-3PO’s memory banks following his reading of the Sith dagger. Without Babu’s expert tinkering, the programming preventing C-3PO from speaking Sith would have stopped our heroes from learning the one thing they needed to complete their quest.

(Okay, that last sentence just reminds me of why I really struggle with Rise of Skywalker.)

So without Babu Frik, the First Order / Resistance war would have ended very differently.

Babu Frik gives us a moment of joy amidst the pain

Secondly, Babu lightens the mood. To be fair, if our heroes just needed a droidsmith, it could have been anyone. But instead, we were treated to the cutest, funniest and most loveable little dude since Baby Yoda. He was a tiny model, not CGI, and that realistic appearance gave the audience a more visceral connection to him. Voiced by British actress Shirley Henderson (best known perhaps as Moaning Myrtle in the Harry Potter series), Babu was upbeat, non-judgmental and just delighted to crack open 3PO’s golden skull and let that Sith out.

He didn’t question whether it was actually a good idea to access the information in C-3PO’s brain. He didn’t freak out when 3PO’s photoreceptors became red. He didn’t even question his longtime friend and partner Zorii Bliss on whether she should really (really?) hand over her hard-won First Order officer’s access card to a dude she’d wanted to literally murder for years. Babu Frik just offered a joyous “heyheyyyy!” and carried on.

Where does Babu Frik come from?

We know nothing about Babu Frik, other than that he’s the droidsmith for a group of spice runners on Kijimi who Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) used to fly with. He’s the first of his kind we’ve ever seen in Star Wars and it’s fun to think that somewhere out there, there’s a whole planet of little talking potatoes just filled with positive energy and technical genius.

Will we see Babu Frik again?

I sincerely hope so. We have no idea the lifespan of his species, but if Star Wars races are anything like Earth dogs, the smaller you are the longer you live. I mean, look at Yoda – and next to Babu Frik, Yoda’s a veritable rancor. So maybe Babu Frik could show up in The Mandalorian (although I think Babu and Grogu together on screen might break even Disney+ for cuteness overload).

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Or maybe we’ll see some flashback adventures of Poe Dameron and Zorii, where they find Babu Frik and bring him on board. If we’re lucky, we might even see Zorii take her helmet off.

Or maybe Babu Frik and Zorii Bliss, since their snow-covered planet was obliterated by the Final Order, could head to Babu’s homeworld and seek out the lost love Shirley Henderson claims he has.

Maybe Babu Frik lacks the gravitas of, say, Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn, but he’s a shining star of joy that reminds us all of what made Star Wars so fun.

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One Comment

  1. Titan828 February 9, 2024 at 12:19 pm - Reply

    Thank you, Bennett for this review. I’m glad the title is “Babu Frik: The (Perhaps) Only Good Thing in Rise of Skywalker” because there are other good things:
    1. Kylo Ren arriving on Exegol, floating down into a giant Sith Temple with tall statues that completely dwarf him which you only see when the light flickers give it a very ominous feel. For the most part we just hear the Emperor’s ominous voice and when we see him, we don’t see his face. After he gives a rather famous line “The dark side of the Force is a pathway to many abilities some consider to be… unnatural” is when we see his face through the flickering light. Through Kylo Ren’s lightsaber do we see the Emperor’s decayed body and missing appendages. The scene has a very ominous feeling that makes it very good though might be scary for younger audiences.

    2. There are some good one-liners, such as Babu Frik’s “Heyhey”, After Hux says “I’m the spy” Poe says “What?!”, Finn says “You?!” before Poe says, “I knew it!”. There are some more one liners but those are my favourite of the movie.

    3. The duel on the Death Star II has a great lead up to a Skywalker Legacy in the franchise: sacrificing themself to save someone they loved; Anakin sacrificed himself to save Luke; Luke sacrificed himself to save Leia; Leia herself to save Kylo Ren/Ben Solo. This is what helps bring Ben Solo back to the light but what finally does bring him back is his vision of Han Solo. He hoped killing his father would end all his conflict and solidify himself to the dark side but it only served to further conflict him. It was nice to see Han… again… Given how much Harrison Ford dislikes Star Wars and wanted Han to be killed off as early as the Original movies, it was nice that not only he came back for The Force Awakens (and had about 20 minutes of screentime, not 2 minutes or 20 seconds) but came back again here.

    4. Luke’s character was not what most (at the very least) were expecting in The Last Jedi. His disillusionment with the Jedi really dragged on (it didn’t help that the other part of the movie was very slow going until Rey arrived on the Supremacy) and it seemed a bit out of his character for him to give up and run away from his problems instead of trying to mitigate them. He is the son of The Chosen One after all. The Luke we got in The Rise of Skywalker was very much the Luke we knew from the OT. His entrance with his spirit catching the lightsaber and walking through the fire was great. After talking with Rey he told her he was wrong not to face his fear, encouraged her to fight Palpatine on Exegol, raised the X-wing through the Force, something he failed at in Empire, and told Rey “You have everything you need”.
    5. Leia becoming a Jedi was canonized. It was in the Expanded Universe/Legends continuity and though that was never True-Canon, to many fans it was and it’s good to be made canon so that things fans loved from the EU can be canonized. The scene also gives us better context as to how Leia is able to fly back to the Raddus in The Last Jedi.

    6. We saw a bit of this when Kylo Ren arrived on Exegol but when Rey arrives there we really feel like ants in comparison and with no one in the Emperor’s throne it adds suspense. When Rey moves her lightsaber behind her and is about to strike Palpatine down, it disappears to reveal Ben Solo pulling it out behind his back.

    7. During the Battle of Exegol we’re made to believe the Resistance will actually be destroyed and there is no hope, the galaxy will be consumed by The Final Order. But then Lando says “But there are more of us, Poe” and he shows up with virtually the entire galaxy to finally end galactic unrest. 67 years prior in The Phantom Menace, Anakin as a 9 year old boy said the biggest problem in the galaxy is no one helps each other. No duh, the galaxy then was so full of corruption and nobody caring about each other that the Jedi and the Republic were the so-called good guys while the Separatists were the so-called bad guys. Now, the galaxy has finally come together to destroy the last remnants of oppression and they do a good deal of damage to the Final Order almost immediately. A subordinate to General Pryde tells him it’s not a navy, it’s just… people. This scene really shows the importance of Hope.

    8. Even though there was no proper reunion of our Original heroes, they all appeared in this movie, Lando, Wedge, and Nien Nunb from Return of the Jedi included. It was very nice to see the latter two again, even if it was brief to show they weren’t forgotten.

    9. Critically speaking, based on everything Palpatine did to the galaxy, billions of casualties he caused in the almost 40 years before his first death on the Death Star II, his death his just him falling down a reactor and his body exploding, no pain, no suffering?! Well here he got a more brutal and painful death. The lethal Force lightning being deflected back at him, slowly ripped off the skin above his eyes, then more of his face started ripping off until quite literally his skull was left. I said slowly earlier and while it was for less than 10 seconds it was brutal enough to be considered slow.

    9. We believed that Ben Solo was dead when Palpatine Force-pushed him down a deep chasm, but we see his hand as he climbs up it to reach Rey’s body. This adds to the “Rise” in the title because Ben climbs/rises up the cavern and he is a bloodline Skywalker so he can continue the legacy of his family that he disgraced by joining Snoke.

    10. Lastly, Chewie who was robbed of getting a medal for his actions in the Original Trilogy of freeing the galaxy from the tyrannical rule of the Galactic Empire finally got a long deserved medal.

    There are other things I liked by those are the major points.
    One last thing to mention is that Palpatine coming back doesn’t undo Anakin’s sacrifice. I mean in the EU continuity he comes back in a very similar matter in Dark Empire (1992), nobody fusses about that. But more importantly, Anakin threw Palpatine down the shaft to save someone he loved, Luke, not necessarily to fulfill a prophecy. As a Force-ghost, Anakin was there for Ahsoka to aid her training and watched over her and Sabine on Peridea. He was there for Rey on Exegol. We’ll very likely be getting more of Anakin as a Force-ghost in Ahsoka Season 2 and other shows set after Return of the Jedi but the thing is that Anakin throwing Palpatine down the shaft still meant something: Palpatine was stuck in a rotten corpse on a hidden planet and could only move in a small radius via a harness. To undo Anakin’s sacrifice would be to go back in time and kill him.

    That’s all I have, while it’s far from a perfect movie it doesn’t deserve the hate it gets and is quite good.

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