When the first Star Wars movie came out, no one knew what a massive phenomenon it would be. In the years since, with multiple sequels and prequels, the saga has become part of popular culture and fans have taken to going through the movies in detail usually reserved for the Zapruder film. This analysis has allowed for fans to enjoy the amazing universe George Lucas created and found a few hidden jokes among things.
“Easter Eggs” have been part of movies for a while so it’s no surprise that Star Wars has indulged in them several times. They were quiet in the first movies but took off later on and in the various animated series as well. Some are a bit obvious, others truly “blink and you miss it” but either way, they provide some fun and add to the lush details the movies provide. Here at the 10 best Easter Eggs of the saga and why we love this galaxy far, far away so much.
It’s one of the most famous errors in movie history: In the very first movie, a squad of Stormtroopers enter a control room with one trooper banging his head on the not quite fully raised door. It became so legendary that for the Special Editions, Lucas added a metallic “thunk” to the sound effect to highlight it.
But even better is that in Episode II, after getting away from Obi-Wan, Jango Fett marches up the ramp way of Slave I… and bangs his head on the doorway. It’s a hysterical touch that makes you realize how clumsiness may be a trooper genetic trait after all…
9 Ship Cameos
It’s more in the prequels but interesting how some ships can pop up before their time. In Episode I, the company passes a green landspeeder that is, in fact, the exact same one used by Luke in the very first movie.
In Episode II, you can see two YT-1300 transports (the same style of ship as the Falcon) at the Naboo spaceport when Anakin and Padme arrive. In the spaceport scene in Episode III, you see a battered version that apparently is the Falcon.
And in the Special Edition, when Luke and Obi-Wan arrive in Mos Eisley, you see a ship lifting off, a unique craft that happens to be the Outrider, the ship used by Dash Rendar in the classic Shadows of the Empire video game. Interesting to show how close this galaxy truly is.
8 Blurted lines
When Luke lands after blowing up the Death Star and is met by the joyful Rebels, he yells out “Carrie!” Supposedly, they did reshoot it but it didn’t have the same feeling for Lucas so he decided to keep the scene despite the blurting of Carrie Fisher’s real name. It became so popular that Lucas didn’t even change it for the Special Editions. Another ad-lib is less known but still fun: During the sequence in Return of the Jedi when the Super-Star Destroyer crashes into the Death Star, the camera shows the bridge of a Rebel cruiser cheering and if you turn the volume up, you can hear one guy yelling “Die, d---heads!” Again, a funny bit that was kept in various editions, showing how some happy accidents can lead to good times.
7 Indiana Jones in a Galaxy Far, Far Away
Steven Spielberg threw a few Star Wars references into the Indiana Jones films so it only makes sense Lucas returned the favor. The first is notable as in Empire, you can see Harrison Ford walking with a bullwhip at his hip (despite how Raiders of the Lost Ark wasn’t released yet). Bigger is that during the scene in a Cloud City furnace, you can see the box that was used to transport the Ark, complete with burned eagle markings. In Episode I, look closely in the Pod Race stadium and Indy is seen walking up the steps and later on, a Nazi tank can be shown flying in the skies above Coruscant. A fun way to link two of the most popular franchises ever.
6 Imperial Logo around Anakin
This is a subtle but very well done egg. The highlight of Episode III is the finale as Anakin endures the horrific operation to transform him into Darth Vader. As the camera hangs overhead, we see Anankin on the bed, the lights around the floor lit up in a way that resembles the Republic logo. But as the surgery continues, the lights seem to shift and soon form the Imperial logo instead. It’s a genius touch that shows how Vader’s birth mirrors the Empire’s and seals the film’s power.
5 Classic Sci-Fi References
Lucas loves to pay tribute to other sci-fi movies in his own work. In Return of the Jedi, Jabba's guards Klaatu, Barada and Nikto are named after lines from the classic The Day The Earth Stood Still. In Watto’s junkyard, you can see a pod from 2001 as well as Robby the Robot. The cityscape chase scenes contain a brief appearance from one of the flying cars of Blade Runner and several references to the classic Metropolis as well. Lucas also paid homage to his idol Akira Kurosawa from the swipe cuts to the cantina scene and more, showing how Star Wars was built on so many films of the past.
4 THX 1138
Lucas’ very first film was this 1971 dystopian sci-fi drama. Ever since, he’s ensured that every Star Wars movie has at least one reference to it. First, in the very first movie, Luke claims Chewbacca is a transfer from “cell block 1138” and it shows up on a monitor Artoo checks. In Empire, General Riekeen orders “Rogues 10 and 11 to Station three-eight.” It wasn’t until years after Jedi that it came out that the number was on the side of Boussh’s helmet. In Episode I, it’s on the body of a battle droid Jar Jar knocks down, it’s on the interior of the Clone Soldiers’ helmets in Episode II and the designation of one Clone commander in Episode III. Rumor has it the number will pop up in Force Awakens and a nice way to continue Lucas’ tradition.
3 Surprising Cameos
In Episode II, Obi-Wan is shown going through the Jedi archives and passing by a set of busts showing the faces of “the Lost Twenty,” Jedi who left the order (such as Count Dooku). Several of the faces aren’t random; they’re members of the special effects team with one bust of George Lucas which he didn’t know about until the sequence was completed. Earlier in the film, when Obi-Wan and Anakin are at a nightclub, they pass by a pair of officers who are Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) and Ahmed Best (Jar Jar Binks).
Even bigger is the opera scene from Episode III as you have several members of the visual effects team as guests in the audience, mostly under makeup and costumes. Much bigger is Lucas himself finally makes an on-screen appearance in the saga as a blue-faced man Anakin runs past in the hallway. Nice to see even he can’t resist being more of a part of this universe.
2 The Kitchen Sink
A lot of movies can boast to “everything but the kitchen sink” in them. Well, Episode III has that. The opening of the film is a fantastic long shot of a huge battle in the skies over Coruscant as Anakin and Obi-Wan fly against slews of enemy fighters. Amid the dogfighting and explosions, there’s a shot of what appears to be an actual sink flying about in a field of debris. It’s tough to make out even in HD but Lucasfilm has confirmed that’s what it is and hysterical to imagine just how that ended up in the middle of a space battle.
This is among the most famous Easter Eggs but still one of the best. Lucas and Steven Spielberg had been long-time friends and Lucas loved how in E.T., the alien seems to confront a kid dressed as Yoda. He paid the favor back in Episode I in the scene of Padme addressing the Galactic Senate. As the camera pans over to show the various aliens in their pods, in the left corner can clearly be seen a trio of long-necked figures that are members of E.T.’s species. A nice tribute from one master to another.