SPOILER WARNING: This article contains major spoilers for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Obviously.
One of the main draws behind the new Star Wars films, set 30 years after the end of Return of the Jedi, is to appeal to the massive amount of love that people still have for the original trilogy. Just the news that Disney's purchase of Fox will give the House of Mouse the rights to package the original films together with the new films in box sets was enough to excite fans. With passionate fans like that, director Rian Johnson was sure to pack in a number of Easter Eggs into Star Wars: The Last Jedi to reward longtime fans.
At the same time, though, The Last Jedi expands the Star Wars universes with a bunch of new alien characters, so that is the perfect place to hide celebrity cameos, as well, which The Last Jedi has in spades. Not only that, but there are a few instances where notable plot points come and go in the blink of an eye. On this list, we'll be counting our favorite examples of all three of those occurrences -- classic Easter Eggs, celebrity cameos and "Did you catch that?" moments -- that we saw in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
15 LUKE'S FOOTPRINTS
One of the images that the publicity machine behind Star Wars: The Last Jedi have worked the hardest on hiding is the image of Luke Skywalker when he shows up on the planet Crait. This is because Luke looks a lot different than he does when we see him on Ahch-To (which is most of the film, and all of the publicity photos that we see are of Luke on Ahch-To). The reason he looks different is because he is a manifestation of the Force.
Because of this, if you look carefully, the film makes a point to show all of the footprints and marks that Kylo Ren makes on the floor of the planet Crait, which is covered in salt. Luke, on the other hand, makes no footprints, which is the first major hint that he is not literally on the planet.
14 THAT WILL BE ONE HECK OF AN OVERDUE LIBRARY FEE
When Rey goes to visit Luke on Anch-To, he shows her the ancient Jedi texts. She is interested in them, but he doesn't want her reading them. Later in the film, Luke heads to the ancient tree with the books within them and decides to destroy them. Master Yoda cuts him off and uses magical force lightning to destroy the tree before Luke has a chance to do so himself.
Yoda tells Luke that Rey already knows everything that the books could tell her. Luke accepts that. However, in a "blink and you'll miss it" scene later in the movie, when Finn goes to get Rose a blanket on the Millennium Falcon, you'll see that the books are intact and are on the Falcon! Presumably Rey stole them and Yoda was covering for her, but perhaps Luke put them there when he visited the Falcon earlier in the film.
13 LUKE'S COMPASS
One way that The Last Jedi looks to tie in with the Star Wars Expanded Universe comes in the new video game, Star Wars: Battlefront II. During the game, players go on specific missions. One of the missions features Inferno Squad member Del Meeko and the target is the alien planet of Pillio. That planet contained the Emperor's Vault and Inferno Squad's mission is to destroy the objects in that vault.
They are surprised to learn that they are not the only ones looking for the vault. Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker shows up, too, and finds a compass. The compass presumably is what led Luke to Anch-To, as he still has the compass in The Last Jedi. This is a very clever way of tying the new video game release in with the new film.
12 OLD DAMAGE
This is an Easter Egg that fans picked up on in the trailer for The Last Jedi, as fans spent so much time dissecting every frame of the trailers that they were able to catch things that no one would ever be able to notice in a normal viewing of the film. When we see Luke's robotic hand, notice that there is a burn mark on the hand.
That is a leftover mark from when Luke's hand was hit by a blaster during Return of the Jedi. What a wonderful detail for the filmmakers to remember and to be sure to include in this new film. We're sure that whenever The Last Jedi is released on home video, that fans will be able to pick up dozens more similar cool bits that are only noticeable when you freeze a frame.
11 THE NEXT FILM WILL HAVE RED MILK
In the original Star Wars film, A New Hope, the budget was naturally a bit lower than the later sequels and prequels and so George Lucas and his crew had to sometimes come up with low tech ways of showing how, well, alien this film was (after all, it is set in a galaxy far, far away). One of those ways was through some simple coloring, as Luke and his family drink blue milk on their planet.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story had an Easter Egg where they drank blue milk, as well, but in The Last Jedi, Luke takes it a step further. While he is on Anch-To and going about his daily rituals (while Rey follows him, waiting for him to agree to teach her), he milks a creature and drinks its green milk in front of Rey.
10 GREAT JEDI MASTER MINDS THINK ALIKE
At one point in The Last Jedi, Rey gets sick of Luke locking her out of his life (both figuratively and literally), so she bursts in on his home, using Chewbacca's brute strength. When she does so, you can tell that the door that Chewy is bursting in that serves as the door to Luke's home is a re-used piece of Luke's X-Wing.
While that, in and of itself, is a cool Easter Egg, it goes even further than that when you think back to The Empire Strikes Back. You see, Yoda's hut on Dagobah in that movie was similarly fashioned out of Yoda's escape pod from Revenge of the Sith. Therefore, both Jedi Masters cannibalized their crafts for their new homes on the respective planets on which they lived out the rest of their lives in self-imposed exile.
9 THE BARASH VOW
A few of these Easter Eggs only make sense if you have read (or heard from someone else who has read) Pablo Hidalgo's excellent Star Wars: A Visual Dictionary for The Last Jedi. It is a guide to the film and it includes pieces of information that you would never get just from watching the film. Well, in a lot of the cases, you could make educated guesses, but the Visual Dictionary would confirm them.
One of these pieces of information is that Luke has, in fact, taken the Barash Vow in The Last Jedi. Established in the recent Marvel comic book series, Darth Vader (by writer Charles Soule), the Barash Vow is the way that a Jedi can disconnect themselves from the Force. That's the state that Luke is in when Rey first encounters him in the movie.
8 A LEFTOVER ACTOR FROM THE LEFTOVERS
There are a number of celebrities to make cameo appearances in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. However, most of them have cameos that are so "blink and you'll miss them," the celebrities in question often don't even know if they are actually in the film or not! For instance, Princes William and Harry both filmed cameos as Stormtroopers, but it appears as though all of their scenes were cut (the same thing happened to Tom Hardy).
Ellie Goulding didn't know whether her cameo as a Resistance pilot made the film until she watched it herself. A more prominent appearance, though, was The Leftovers actor, Justin Theroux, who appeared as the Master Codebreaker that Rose and Finn were sent to find (before being arrested before they could get to him).
7 SECURITY BLANKET ACTORS
Two actors that Rian Johnson made sure would not cut get from the film were Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Noah Segan. They were both actors in Johnson's first feature film, Brick (Levitt was the star of that film) and since that point, Johnson has made sure to include both actors in each of the three films that he has worked on since (The Brothers Bloom, Looper and now The Last Jedi).
Johnson went even further with Segan, as Segan even made an appearance in Breaking Bad, the only TV show where Johnson directed multiple episodes). Segan appears briefly as a Resistance X-Wing pilot, while Levitt appears as a voice actor, playing the character of Slowen Lo in the casino scene. He's the one who rats Finn and Rose out to the casino guards.
6 SLOWEN LO - A DOUBLE EASTER EGG!
Slowen Lo (who we see here in an obscure pre-film magazine feature -- one of the only places that you'll see Slowen Lo online -- is a member of the Abednedo alien race. The Abednedo debuted in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. We see an Abednedo pilot fighting as part of the Resistance. The pilot was named Ello Asty. That, of course, is a reference to the Beastie Boys' album, Hello Nasty. Force Awakens director JJ Abrams was a big Beastie Boys fan.
So every Abednedo character see in the Star Wars films is named after a different Beastie Boys song or album. Levitt's character of Slowen Lo, naturally, is named after the Beasties' song, "Slow and Low," off of Licensed to Ill. We can't wait until the next film, where we presume U-Godda Fite Fir Yer Rite tu Parti will debut.
5 DIRECTORS IN THE TRENCHES
Director Gareth Edwards was the man in the director's chair for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. He got in front of the cameras for a memorable cameo in The Last Jedi. Late in the film, when the Resistance gets into trenches to prepare for the arrival of the First Order's forces on Crait, a general (who has gained the nickname "Salty" already) licks a piece of the planet's surface and notes that it is salt.
His fellow soldiers look at him like he's a bit nuts, and one of those guys giving him the side eye is none other than Gareth Edwards, shown above. This ties in with the fact that Rian Johnson made a cameo in Edwards' Rogue One. Star Wars directors have to stick together.
4 IN HONOR OF RADDUS
In Rogue One, the heroes of the Rebellion who get the plans for the Death Star are mostly left unprotected, as their mission was very much "off the books." However, there were members of the Rebellion that could not leave them alone out there. One notable member of the Rebellion who felt this way was Admiral Raddus, who was the head of the Alliance Fleet.
He superseded the Rebel Council and sent his fleet to support Rogue One on their mission. Raddus' interception allowed for Rogue One to deliver the plans for the Death Star to Raddus' ship. Sadly, Raddus died when Darth Vader boarded his ship (luckily, at least Princess Leia had gotten away already and had enough time to put the plans in R2-D2). In The Last Jedi, the main Resistance cruiser is named after Raddus.
3 SNOKE'S RING
Good images of the Supreme Leader Snoke were very difficult to find for quite a long time. That is why, when he got a new toy ahead of The Last Jedi, fans were clamoring for more information about the distinct ring that he wore, as there is little doubt that the ring was not spotlighted on the toy for no reason.
Sure enough, the Visual Dictionary explained the deep meaning of the ring. The design of the band evokes the Four Sages of Dwartii (Sistros, Faya, Yanjon, and Braata). The ring itself is made out of obsidian mined from under Darth Vader's castle itself! Obviously, that is a whole lot of detail for a ring that Snoke never actually does anything with in The Last Jedi, but we imagine that it will play a role in future Star Wars stories set before The Force Awakens.
2 GARY THE DOG
The scenes in Canto Bight, the casino planet in The Last Jedi, will undoubtedly be major sources of joy in the future when fans get the chance to freeze more scenes set at the casino. This is because we are introduced to a plethora of new alien species in the casino scenes and there are just too many to acknowledge when you are watching the film live.
However, when a single scene was released to Empire Magazine, eagle-eyed fans quickly picked up on the fact that one of the aliens was carrying an alien dog that was based on Carrie Fisher's famous rescued French bulldog (with his unmistakable big tongue hanging out of his mouth most of the time), Gary the Dog, a dog so famous that he has his own Twitter account!
1 GOLDEN DICE
This is the trickiest of Easter Eggs, in the sense that this is an almost unheard of reverse Easter Egg! A reverse Easter Egg is when an item plays a notable role in a later movie while it made only the briefest of appearances in the previous films. In other words, you never would have noticed it originally until now you are going to go back and look for it because of the new film.
This reverse Easter Egg is Han Solo's golden dice, which Luke presents to Leia as a reminder of Han (it is not a real trinket, since it is also a Force manifestation, which is why Leia leaves it behind when she escapes). The dice only appeared in one previous film, a brief appearances in A New Hope. You can barely see them dangling from the top of the Millennium Falcon in the above photo.