The following story contains light spoilers for The Mandalorian Season 3, Episode 1 “The Apostate.”
FOUR YEARS out, and Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker—the closing episode to Disney’s big Star Wars sequel trilogy and the seeming conclusion to what’s been dubbed “The Skywalker Saga”—is not super well revered. In fact, the most referenced part of the movie is probably the widely-mocked moment when one of its protagonists explains to other characters how a seemingly-dead supervillain has come back (answer: “Somehow”). There were a lot of reasons why The Rise of Skywalker didn’t work (and Lucasfilm certainly could have benefitted from a cohesive plan for the three movies from the start), but perhaps the biggest reason is that the movie seemed like an unnecessary apology and an attempted retcon for the previous installment rather than taking, to use a term from improv comedy, a “yes and…” approach.
Say what you will about Disney, but the studio has shown some level of awareness in recent years as to what people largely are or aren’t liking about its properties, Marvel and Star Wars in particular. And while the cold reception of Rise of Skywalker has led to something of a pause on big screen adventures in the Galaxy Far, Far Away, things on the small screen have been thriving, at least as far as The Mandalorian and Andor go.
And Rise of Skywalker wasn’t all a miss. There wasn’t much, but a tiny little alien with an exceptional talent for repairing droids was a standout and a crowd pleaser. His name: Babu Frik. His catchphrase: shouting Hey Hey! His return: in The Mandalorian Season 3, Episode 1, “The Apostate.”
Watch Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Here
Is Babu Frik in The Mandalorian?
The name “Babu Frik” actually isn’t used at all in The Mandalorian episode “The Apostate,” so it’s certainly possible that there’s another Anzellan who’s extremely good at fixing droids, but we’re going to just assume this is our friend who will someday meet Rey, Poe, and the rest of the gang.
As the story goes, Mando (Pedro Pascal) and Grogu are getting ready for their next big adventure, heading to Mandalore so that Din Djarin (Mando’s real name) can bathe in the waters underneath the mines and earn himself redemption (In The Book of Boba Fett, The Armorer found out that Mando had previously removed his helmet, going directly against “The Way,” and banished him from the order). But he wants a strong and dangerous droid that he can trust—and that means his old friend IG-11 (voiced by Taika Waititi).
One problem: you may remember that IG-11 melted and self-destructed in the Season 1 Mandalorian finale. In Greef Karga’s (Carl Weathers) new version of Nevarro, IG-11’s parts are still around—on display as a statue and out of commission. Mando wants him activated, and they certainly try, but he’s back in ruthless killing mode. No good.
So Greef has a great back up plan: the Anzellans in town. They can fix anything. They bring IG-11’s parts to the Anzellans (who, again, may or may not be our old friend Babu Frik), and an adorable hug with Baby Yoda later, we find out that they can fix IG-11, but will need to get a new memory unit part to make him the same droid they love and can trust.
Where have we seen Babu Frik before?
As we discussed above, Babu Frik made his big screen debut in The Rise of Skywalker. He was an old contact of Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and Zorii (Keri Russell) from their Spice Runner days, and his skills with droids came very much in handy. The heroes—a group that included Rey, Poe, and Finn—had found a Sith dagger that could lead them to some vital information. C-3PO would’ve been able to read it (as he can understand most languages), but he essentially had an encryption on; Poe and Zorii’s idea was that Babu would be able to bypass that encryption to unlock the translation.
Babu Frik was able to help, but it meant erasing C-3P0’s entire memory. It was a sacrifice he was willing to make if it meant stopping the Emperor and the Sith. The movie undid this sacrifice not long after, because The Rise of Skywalker has no teeth and minimal stakes.
Anyway. After another fakeout where it seemed like the Sith had destroyed the planet Kijimi with both Zorii and Babu Frik on it, the two showed up alongside Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams) for the movie’s climactic final battle. While this movie is poorly thought out and full of holes, Babu Frik is innocent. We love Babu Frik.
Who are the Anzellans in The Mandalorian and Star Wars?
Outside of Babu Frik’s introduction in Rise of Skywalker and the Anzellans’ return in The Mandalorian Season 3, they also show up in some further Star Wars media.
As they are tied in with Poe’s backstory, you can learn more about the Anzellans in the YA novel Poe Dameron: Free Fall. You can also read about the Anzellans in the first novel of Star Wars’ new High Republic series, “Light of the Jedi,” which is set hundreds of years before even the Star Wars prequel trilogy. That book is written by Charles Soule, a name fans may recognize for writing various other Star Wars comics (including Darth Vader) and novels, and also famous runs writing both Daredevil and She-Hulk.
Another fun Anzellan fact, but one we hope to never learn about on-screen? They have purple blood, according to Light of the Jedi.
Cool, yes. But do not ever show us Babu Frik bleed. Never!
Evan is the culture editor for Men’s Health, with bylines in The New York Times, MTV News, Brooklyn Magazine, and VICE. He loves weird movies, watches too much TV, and listens to music more often than he doesn’t.