He may have been a fan-favorite, but according to Star Wars: Episode IX’s creature effects creative supervisor Neal Scanlan, Babu Frik was nearly killed off in The Rise of Skywalker.
While the final cut of Star Wars: Episode IX showed the beloved droidsmith Babu Frik on the front lines during the Battle of Exegol, the original cut of The Rise of Skywalker may have had a much grimmer ending for him.
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Neil Scanlan, the creature effects creative supervisor for all five Disney-era Star Wars films, recently spoke to Empire about Frik’s final appearance in the final act of Episode IX, and how originally that wasn’t going to be the case for the little Anzellan. He even theorizes that Steven Spielberg might have had something to do with Babu’s brief cameo at the end.
"Scanlan: It could be a rumour, 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?’"
Oh god, what would’ve happened to Babu? Well, it’s pretty simple. He would’ve perished along with countless others when the Final Order’s Sith Eternal fleet blew it to pieces. Although that may be a dark and disturbing end for such a bright and lovable character, that would’ve been the only logical ending for him. Even Shirley Henderson, the voice actor and puppeteer for Babu Frik, and concept artist Ivan Manzella didn’t expect his cameo on Exegol.
"Manzella: I think he was going to die originally – I think the AD shot that. When the planet [Kijimi] was blown up, he was on it.Scanlan: We shot several other sequences, the ILM guys found one, lifted out Babu and put him into Zorii’s ship at the end."
Regardless of your feelings for Episode IX, it’s easy to say that Babu Frik was nearly universally loved by fans and served as the bright spot for the final installment of the Skywalker saga. So we can be thankful that he can live on to see many more battles and possibly more cameos in future Star Wars stories.
Oh, I guess we can all thank Steven Spielberg too.
Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker can now be purchased on many streaming sites, as well as plenty of behind-the-scenes material to fill your time during this weird season of life.