(Welcome to The Galaxy-Wide Star Wars Character Guide, where we give proper due to the smaller figures in Star Wars history.)
It doesn’t take much for a Star Wars character to become iconic. It helps if they do something cool, but looking extra good will do the trick as well. Just consider Boba Fett. Yes, he is a tough bounty hunter, but we’re not currently watching the second season of a show about Bossk. It’s all about that incredible mask. The Star Wars machine is great at taking a small primary nugget and drawing it out into an entire universe of backstory. To a certain extent that even includes the aforementioned Bossk!
JJ Abrams and his team made many attempts to bring new, exciting elements like this to The Rise of Skywalker. By far, the most successful was a little adorable alien guy named Babu Frik. We know he’s called Babu Frik because characters say his name a lot. They say his name a lot because it was likely clear on set they had something special. They probably knew they had something special because Babu Frik is a practical character, puppeteered and voiced by the same person, Shirley Henderson. All I’m saying is Star Wars and puppets are usually a good idea.
Which Character is This Again?
Without accidentally retelling the entire first half of Rise of Skywalker, Babu Frik is some kind of droid expert needed to get locked info out of C-3PO’s computer noggin. The details of all this are not super important. What is important is that Babu Frik appears to be both ancient and infantile at the same time, like a very old baby. He works on droids while being no bigger than C-3PO’s face. And who knows – maybe Babu Frik’s size is exactly what gives him an edge over other droid mechanics. His little hands can really get in there and do detailed stuff (actually his hands are kind of big compared to the rest of him).
Regarding C-3PO, Babu does uncover the hidden information, but it costs the beloved droid – said with absolutely no sarcasm – his memory. Some would call that a bad thing, but not everyone. It’s not permanent either way. R2-D2, perhaps the galaxy’s second-best droid mechanic, restores that lost memory.
As for Babu Frik, he pops up again in his pal Zorii Bliss’ cockpit during the Battle of Exegol. We can spin all kinds of droid mechanic reasons for him to be in that battle, but let’s just face it: he’s there because it is super cute and audiences would almost certainly respond to his sudden, unexpected return. Which they did. Some things don’t need to make sense. Cute things in particular.
Does this Character Warrant a Toy?
Babu Frik is the Star Wars platonic ideal for a toy. Like Ewoks and Baby Yoda, Baby Frik very nearly exists solely to later become a billion little toys. I’m not even saying that as a bad thing. He is 99% adorability. Kids are going to want their own Babu Frik, might as well give it to them.
And again, it helps so much that Babu Frik was a practical creature. It is no huge feat to give kids a version that looks almost screen-worthy. Not just in design either. Modern toys can move around like the screen Babu Frik and, more importantly, sound like Babu Frik.
Aiding all that adorability is Frik’s weird baby language. According to Wookiepedia – a kind of Star Wars bible where writers can sometimes take a stab at refining vague character details – Babu Frik speaks an amended and broken form of Basic (that is the Star Wars word for whatever language you watch Star Wars in) called Angellan. You can believe that, or you can believe he speaks whatever a scene requires for maximum cuteness. Either way, Babu Frik sounds as adorable as he looks, something easily transferrable to a toy. Not only that, but he even has a trademark yell sound. Perfect!
How Important is this Character?
Well, the team needs that information out of C-3PO’s head. I’m not wholly convinced Frik was their only choice, but he is the one the movie goes with. Which is to say, without Babu Frik’s help, Rise of Skywalker’s plot would have hit a stopping point. So, yes, on paper he is important. He definitely has the feel of an indulgence, though.
As for his second appearance, helping out in the Battle of Exegol… no. I do not believe Babu Frik did anything important. He was just very cute, kind of like one of those suction cup Garfield things.
Is This a Secretly Great Star Wars Character?
I have been saying many nice things about Babu Frik’s adorability. And it’s because he is super duper cute! But I call them like I see them and I don’t think he is secretly great. If he possesses greatness, it’s all right there on the surface level. There is no secret, no hidden dimension to Babu Frik. At least not yet. He could show up on some future Star Wars show and become a fully developed behemoth of the extended mythos. That is not happening today. Babu Frik is easy to like, but there is not much to love. I also think he would lose in cute-off with Baby Yoda. Sorry, Babu.
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