Easter weekend is often full of family, faith and friends. One of the highlights of which for many people are Easter egg hunts. The term Easter egg has been adopted into the pop culture vernacular to mean something that is hidden within a piece of media, such as a reference, joke or special appearance of a character or item. “Star Wars,” with its sprawling saga of nine films and multiple animated series, continues to grow and, with each iteration, creators find a way to include little Easter eggs that either are meaningful to the creators, to the fans or to both.
In this list, we look at the 15 “Star Wars” Easter eggs going as back as from the first release in 1977 until the most recent film, “Rogue One.”
THX-1138 was George Lucas’ 1971 directorial debut, featuring actor Rober Duvall, and was produced by Francis Ford Coppola. The film presented a dystopian futuristic world where individuality and love were forbidden and the use of mind-altering medication is mandatory in order to maintain complete control of society. Two characters, LUH 3417 and THX 1138, stop taking their medicine and end up on the run from the government.
References to this work reappear throughout the “Star Wars” films, as well as appear in Lucas’ other work such as “American Graffiti.” The first appearance of an Easter egg to THX-1138 is in “A New Hope” when Luke and Han, disguised as stormtroopers with Chewbacca as their “prisoner” are making their way through detention block AA-23 in an effort to rescue Princess Leia. Upon entering the cell block, they are challenged on where they are “,taking that thing” to which Luke replies it is a prisoner transfer from cell block 1138.
14. CLOUD CITY HALLWAY
Cloud City is one of the most iconic locations in all of “Star Wars.” It is where we meet Lando, see Boba Fett in action and ultimately have the first personal confrontation between father and son. After Luke arrives to rescue his friends, Vader attempts, but fails, to freeze him in carbonite and they engage in a long-ranging duel throughout Cloud City. Between the carbon freezing chamber and the walkway that they end up on, there is a very cool-looking hallway. The hallway features lit floor panels and slanted walls, and the image of Luke walking through the hallway with lightsaber ignited is very memorable.
In “The Force Awakens,” this same hallway appears briefly in Rey’s Force vision that occurs when she touches the lightsaber that Luke lost at the end of the duel with Vader on Cloud City. The editor of “The Force Awakens,” Maryann Brandon, revealed that the sequence was originally conceived to include Rey continuing down the hallway and seeing Luke and Vader dueling, and Luke losing his hand. This was ultimately cut back, but the hallway still does appear briefly at the beginning of her vision.
13. THE OUTRIDER
Lucasfilm had a problem in 1996 for their major multimedia storytelling release, “Shadows of the Empire.” They wanted to use a smuggler character in a major role, but Han Solo was unavailable because he was currently a decoration for Jabba the Hutt. The solution was the creation of Dash Rendar and, regardless of whatever you may think of that character, he came along with his own version of a Corellian freighter, the Outrider.
The Outrider was a YT-2400 freighter that lacked the front mandibles of the YT-1300 class of ships and featured an even more pronounced cockpit that was set to the side of the main body of the ship. In the 1977 Special Edition of “Star Wars: A New Hope” as Luke, Obi-Wan and the droids enter Mos Eisley, you can see the Outrider launching from the spaceport. This same model of ship also appeared in the season three episode of “Star Wars Rebels” flown by a crew of young rebels. While we may never see Dash again, the appearances of the ship are a nice nod to fans of “Shadows of the Empire.”
12. THE LUCAS FAMILY
The benefit of making your own films with the independence that George Lucas had at Lucasfilm is that you can pretty much do anything you want. In the prequel trilogy, George made it a family affair, as he incorporated his three children Amanda, Jett and Katie, and also himself into the films.
Amanda appeared in “The Phantom Menace” as Hutt assistant/dancer Diva Funquita, in “Attack of the Clones” as Outlander Club patron Adnama, and in “Revenge of the Sith” as Senator Terr Taneel. Jett played the same Jedi character under two different names. In “Attack of the Clones” he was known as Warpoc Skamini, while in “Revenge of the Sith,” he was known as Zett Jukassa. Katie appeared in “The Phantom Menace” as Anakin’s slave friend Amee, in “Attack of the Clones” as the purple Twi’lek Lunae Minx in the Outlander Club, and in “Revenge of the Sith” as Pantoran Senator Chi Eekway Papanoida. George finally stepped in front of the camera in “Revenge of the Sith” as Baron Notluwiski Papanoida, the father of Senator Chi Eekway Papanoida.
11. JAVVA THE HUTT
One of the coolest Easter eggs in all of “Star Wars” is a nod to a guy you have probably never heard of, but who may have had a hand in helping artists create the stunning visuals in films that go well beyond “Star Wars.” If you watch “Attack of the Clones” and “Revenge of the Sith” and sit through the credits you will notice a credit under the Industrial Light and Magic section to “Javva the Hutt Michael Smith.” Smith also received a more explicit credit in “The Phantom Menace” saying “Visual effects crew fueled by Michael Smith of Javva the Hutt.”
Smith runs Lucasfilm’s in-house cafe at the Letterman Digital Arts Center which is located within the Presidio campus in San Francisco. Smith began working at Skywalker Ranch, George Lucas’ home and workplace in Marin county, before moving with I.L.M. to L.D.A.C. The name of the cafe was created by Smith’s daughter Lilly and now serves Lucasfilm, I.L.M., as well as the animation, consumer products, digital media and franchise management teams. Rick McCallum who was the producer of the prequel films and pushed for Smith to be included in the credits as a reward for his hard work.
10. E.T. IN THE SENATE
If you have seen “The Phantom Menace” then you have probably noticed the appearance of a trio of aliens who are the same species as E.T. This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise given the longtime collaboration and friendship between George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. This personal and professional relationship was so strong that Lucas enlisted Spielberg to help him with key moments in “Revenge of the Sith,” like the Mustafar duel and the Yoda and Palpatine duel in the Senate. It is also fitting that this cameo returns the favor for the Yoda Halloween costume being included in Spielberg’s film “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.”
This Easter egg was further embellished by author James Luceno in the Legends novel “Cloak of Deception” when he named the lead alien Grebleips, which is Spielberg spelled backwards. Luceno also took the name for Grebleips home planet, Brodo Asogi, from the name of E.T.’s home planet from the tie-in novel “E.T.: The Green Planet.”
9. THE MILLENNIUM FALCON ON CORUSCANT
No fictional spaceship may be more well-known than Han Solo’s Millennium Falcon. The battered but sturdy tramp freighter is a YT-1300 manufactured by the Corellian Engineering Corporation. If you are a “Star Wars” fan, you are well aware that the ship appears prominently in “A New Hope,” “The Empire Strikes Back,” “Return of the Jedi,” and “The Force Awakens.” Fans will also be happy to know that the mostly reliable ship will again appear in “The Last Jedi.”
What you may not know is that the Falcon appeared as an Easter egg in “Revenge of the Sith” (hint: look at the bottom of the pic above). After the Battle of Coruscant in space above the capital planet and the crash landing by Anakin, Obi-Wan and Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, a shuttle takes the trio back to the Senate. As the shuttle turns and lands on the Senate building’s landing platform, the Falcon makes an appearance at the bottom of the screen arriving at the Senate as well.
8. VADER IN THE IMPERIAL COG
The Galactic Empire grew out of the Republic, so some traditions and symbols endured between the two political entities. One of these enduring symbols is the cog. The Republic featured a fairly simple cog with eight spokes, whereas the Empire featured a more complex cog design consisting of six spokes.
In one of the final scenes in “Revenge of the Sith,” a severely injured and burned Vader is taken by Emperor Palpatine to a medical facility in an effort to save his apprentice’s life. It is here that Vader is transformed into the black armored cyborg that has become the most iconic villain in film history. In one of the shots from above while he is being operated on, the lights on the floor form the Imperial cog. This is fitting symbolism as Vader will sit at the center of Imperial power until the return of Anakin Skywalker aboard the second Death Star.
7. INDIANA JONES
Fans of Star Wars and Indiana Jones are most likely aware of the “Star Wars” Easter eggs featuring Obi-Wan, Threepio and Artoo that appear in the “Indiana Jones” movies. What they may be less aware of is some of the “Indiana Jones” Easter eggs that have appeared in “Star Wars.”
The arc of the covenant and a crystal skull have both appeared in episodes of “The Clone Wars” series, but the coolest of all the Easter eggs is the inclusion of Indiana Jones’ fedora in the fourth season episode, “Friends and Enemies,” in which the bounty hunter Cad Bane appears in the episode. Bane is a recurring villain in the series who is hired by various other nefarious characters in the series to get in the way of the Jedi’s efforts. In the episode, Bane has lost his trademark hat and while he is looking through different hats for a new one, he comes across a fedora that looks awfully similar to Indy’s but ends up passing on it.
George Lucas is famous for recycling unused ideas in later “Star Wars” stories and that includes the names of characters. The name Starkiller appeared in Lucas’ second draft of “Star Wars” as the last name of Kane and Annikin Starkiller. By the third draft of the script, the lead character had become Luke Starkiller, and by the fourth draft, Starkiller had become Skywalker. The rest is history.
One could argue that the Death Star is a Starkiller of sorts, but the name was resurrected for the “Force Unleashed” video game series when the lead character Galen Marek was taken as a child by Darth Vader and trained to be his secret Sith apprentice and given the name Starkiller. Beginning in September 2013, Dark Horse Comics adapted Lucas’ rough draft script into a comic book miniseries including the Starkillers. The real Starkiller Easter egg appeared in “The Force Awakens” when it was the name given to the First Order’s super-weapon planet, the Starkiller base.
5. THE MUSIC AND MOVIES OF J.J. ABRAMS
J.J. Abrams included a couple of Easter eggs in “The Force Awakens” that were references to both a band and a movie that he was a big fan of. The character Ello Asty is a Resistance X-Wing pilot in the film, but the Abednedo alien died in the assault on Starkiller base. Ello’s name was suggested by the film’s creature department and approved by Abrams. It was based on the Beastie Boys’ 1998 album “Hello Nasty.”
The First Order’s uniquely armored stormtrooper commander, Captain Phasma has a name taken from Don Coscarelli’s 1979 film “Phantasm.” The film’s villain, the Tall Man, employed a series of silver chrome sentinel spheres to attack his victims. When Abrams saw the costume design of a chrome armored stormtrooper, he named her Phasma in tribute to the spheres in the film. In an interesting side note, Abrams was involved through his production company, Bad Robot, in creating a restoration of the film, “Phantasm: Remastered,” which was released in 2016.
4. THE MOVIE POSTER AND THE CENTERFOLD
I.L.M. is most well known for its digital special effects work today but during the original trilogy with computer effects in their infancy the artists at I.L.M. produced tons and tons of models to populate the “Star Wars” universe with ships. Led by John Dykstra and working out of a warehouse in Van Nuys, I.L.M. built massive ship models including one of Princess Leia’s ship, the Tantive IV.
Legend has it that they worked exceedingly long hours to get everything done on time for the film, but apparently they had a little bit of time for some fun. In the cockpit of the Tantive IV, the model makers placed a miniature version of a “Star Wars” movie poster and a miniature version of a Playboy centerfold, Miss July 1976 Deborah Borkman. Ms. Borkman’s biography says that her ambitions included “I’d like to be a highly paid fashion model – and maybe do some films.” So in a way she did accomplish one of her dreams. Of course, her turnoffs included “overly talkative men.” Sorry Threepio.
3. KLAATU BARADA NIKTO
George Lucas is a film historian. He loves old films and often drew inspiration from them. One of the most famous science fiction film of all time is the 1951 film “The Day the Earth Stood Still.” Directed by Robert Wise and written by Edmund North, the film includes a key phrase that could be used in the case of emergency, that phrase was Klaatu barada nikto.
Lucas took this classic phrase and in “Return of the Jedi” broke it into three pieces, Klaatu, Barada and Nikto. Klaatu was the name given to a character in the film who worked for Jabba the Hutt; he was an alien mechanic played by Corey Dee Williams. Barada was a name given to a Klatoonian slave who also served as a mechanic and muscle for Jabba. The final word was used for the species name given to Klaatu. The Nikto species would go on to appear again in “Star Wars” most famously by the pirate Hondo Ohnaka on “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” and “Star Wars Rebels.”
2. HAN CHECKS LEIA FOR A CHEST WOUND
The romance between Han and Leia spanned four films and connected with generations of fans. The chemistry between Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher is strong throughout the series, which inevitably led to speculation of whether or not there was some real-world romance between the two actors. It wasn’t until shortly before her death in her book, “The Princess Diarist” that Fisher revealed that she and Ford had a romance during the filming of the original “Star Wars” film.
During the ground battle on Endor, when the Rebels are pinned outside the Imperial bunker they engage in a firefight with Imperial forces, a stormtrooper hits Leia in the left shoulder with a blaster bolt. Han responds quickly with a hand to her shoulder and begins pushing her back behind the edge of the bunker door. After his hand rests briefly on her shoulder, it quickly finds its way to her left breast. Hopefully Fisher wasn’t offended with Ford’s rather intimate contact in this scene.
1. EDWARDS’ MONSTERS
Disney and Lucasfilm entrusted their first Star Wars spin-off film to a director in Gareth Edwards, a filmmaker with had a very short track record. “Rogue One” was only Edwards’ third feature film following “Monsters” in 2010 and the “Godzilla” in 2014. Edwards has been very public with his love for “Star Wars,” including traveling to Tunisia to the set of the Lars homestead for his birthday. While it is common for filmmakers to include Easter eggs to their own previous work in films, it is even cooler when the Easter egg is included before they even realize it.
The crew of “Rogue One” paid tribute to Edwards with an Easter egg that they included in one of sets during filming. In Saw Gerrera’s hideout on Jedha, the crew created cave paintings in the background which featured the tentacled aliens from “Monsters” and the Muto creatures and Godzilla from “Godzilla.” This is an Easter egg that Edwards revealed on Lucasfilm’s online series, “The Star Wars Show.”
Are there any other Easter eggs you feel should be on this list? Tell us some “Star Wars” trivia in the comments!