This Is the Star Wars Trivia You're Looking For: Fans' Favorite Easter Eggs, Cameos and Hidden Details
For those keeping count, we’re now up to 11 Star Wars feature films: nine mainstay titles, Episodes I through IX, and two spinoff films, Rogue One and Solo. Between all of these films, two award-winning animated series, Clone Wars and Rebels, and, of course, the live-action show The Mandalorian, the creatives behind the beloved space opera have packed a lot of details into the galaxy far, far away.
In the wake of the Clone Wars series finale, we’re taking a look at some of our favorite Easter eggs, cameos and hidden details sprinkled throughout the franchise. And, as you enjoy our findings, "May the Force be with you" — always.
The Phantom Menace Features a Reference to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey
If you’re a cinephile, you may notice The Phantom Menace includes a few more nods to sci-fi classics. The first is more self-referential: In the background of a scene in Mos Espa, keen viewers can spot Luke Skywalker’s landspeeder from 1977’s A New Hope. But that’s not all.
Leia’s Cell Number from A New Hope Connects to Finn’s Stormtrooper ID in The Force Awakens
Later retitled Star Wars: Episode IV—A New Hope, the first Star Wars film hit theaters in 1977, grossing an unprecedented $775 million. But, at the time, the many small details in this game-changing film didn’t seem poised to connect to anything larger. For example, Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) is taken prisoner by Darth Vader and thrown in cell 2187.
Rey Hears the Voices of Several Significant Jedi From Clone Wars & Rebels
In order to take down Emperor Palpatine in The Rise of Skywalker, Rey channels the power of "a thousand generations" of Jedi who came before her and hears the voices of Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen), Obi-Wan Kenobi (both Ewan McGregor and Sir Alec Guinness), Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Yoda (Frank Oz), Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) and Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson). Some lesser-known Jedi — and those who appear exclusively in animated series like The Clone Wars and Rebels — also drop by.
George Lucas & Daughter Katie Lucas Have Some Prequel Cameos
The Force is strong in creator George Lucas’ family, especially when it comes to his daughter Katie. These days, Katie is an accomplished screenwriter, with quite a few credits on the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated TV series. Before that, she had minor roles in all three prequel films. In The Phantom Menace, she plays Amee, one of young Anakin Skywalker’s friends on Tatooine.
The Ark of the Covenant Has Origins in “A Galaxy Far, Far Away”
In 1981’s Raiders of the Lost Ark, director Steven Spielberg throws in a nod to writer/producer George Lucas’ Star Wars. No, it’s not the fact that Harrison Ford (a.k.a. Han Solo) plays Indiana Jones — it’s a much deeper cut. When Indy finds the titular Ark, there are some pretty recognizable hieroglyphics on the left-hand side.
Star Wars: Rebels Characters Appear Briefly in Rogue One
Rogue One does fan service right: Easter eggs and cameos never eclipse the story the film is trying to tell, but instead feel like fun nods that help cement the story’s place in the larger Star Wars universe. While the fledgling Rebel Alliance scrambles to the Battle of Scarif, an intercom pages a "General Syndulla."
The Number 42 Holds Special Significance in The Rise of Skywalker
Toward the beginning of Episode IX, our heroes — Rey, Finn, Poe, Chewie and protocol droid C-3PO — travel to the desert planet of Pasaana. They’re searching for an object that will lead them to Exegol, the hidden world of the Sith located in the galaxy’s Unknown Regions. But, on Pasaana, things are much more festive than our heroes anticipated.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Ends Mere Minutes Before Episode IV Begins
Spinoff Rogue One (2016) tells the story of how the Rebels nabbed those pesky Death Star schematics, which are key to Luke Skywalker destroying the gigantic space station in A New Hope. At the end of Rogue One, those schematics are transmitted to a nearby Rebel flagship. However, Darth Vader himself boards said ship to retrieve the schematics. In a twist of fate, Princess Leia’s ship, the Tantive IV, is docked on the Rebel flagship, undergoing repairs.
The Force Is Strong in Denis Lawson’s Family
Fan-favorite character Wedge Antilles made his first appearance in 1977’s Star Wars: Episode IV—A New Hope. His lasting power probably comes in part from the fact that he fights alongside Luke Skywalker and the iconic Red Squadron at the Battle of Yavin, where Skywalker destroys the Death Star. Antilles and Skywalker end up being the only surviving members of the Red Squadron.
Steven Spielberg’s E.T. Phones It in During The Phantom Menace
Back when Star Wars: Episode IV—A New Hope premiered in 1977, it became the highest-grossing film of all time, eclipsing Steven Spielberg’s Jaws (1975). However, a few years later Episode IV’s $775 million record was beaten by Spielberg’s own space- and alien-themed blockbuster E.T. (1982). But the Star Wars/E.T. connection doesn’t end at the box office.
The Empire Strikes Back Features a Type of Droid Familiar to Mandalorian Fans
In the first episode of Disney+’s The Mandalorian, the first-ever live-action Star Wars series, the titular bounty hunter-for-hire runs into IG-11, an assassin droid programmed to kill. Due to their violent nature, IG-series droids are largely outlawed in the Star Wars universe, but fans of The Mandalorian will most likely recognize this type of droid from the original series of films.
YT-1300 Freighters Appear in the Prequels
Fans love when there’s a bit of connective tissue between the Star Wars films. The original trilogy (Episodes IV, V and VI) centered on Luke Skywalker and his (spoiler!) father Darth Vader, who was formerly the Jedi known as Anakin Skywalker. In the prequel films (Episodes I, II and III), Anakin — and his descent into villainy — become the series focus, so the connections are obvious.
Maz Kanata’s Castle in Episode VII Connects to The Mandalorian & Episode I
In Star Wars: Episode VII—The Force Awakens, Maz Kanata’s (Lupita Nyong’o) castle on the planet Takodana holds a lot of fun connections to the larger Star Wars universe — some more obvious than others. Kanata, a "pirate queen" who welcomes smugglers of all sorts, has decked her castle out in a variety of banners.
A Clone Trooper From the Prequel Films Has a Role in a Movie Made Nearly 20 Years Earlier
Perhaps one of the most fun Easter eggs was never meant to be one at all — that is, until the Star Wars: Rebels animated series ended and flashed forward a bit, showing us which characters made it to see the fall of the Empire in Episode VI. Thankfully, Rex, a former clone trooper and mainstay in The Clone Wars series, survives and even participates in the Battle of Endor.
The Stormtroopers of A New Hope Are Barely Holding It Together
The Empire’s stormtroopers aren’t known for being sharpshooters — nor are they known for their intelligence. They certainly can’t bullseye womp rats or evade Jedi mind tricks, but even simple tasks become difficult for these clumsy characters — something that’s been blamed on the awkwardness of the costumes in the original films.
References to George Lucas’ First Short Film Electronic Labyrinth: THX-1138 4EB Keep Cropping Up
George Lucas wrote and directed a social sci-fi short film called THX-1138 4EB in 1967 while attending film school at the University of Southern California. In 1971, Lucas reworked the project into a theatrical feature under the new title THX 1138. And nods to this early film crop up all the time in Star Wars. In A New Hope, Luke Skywalker and Han Solo — disguised as stormtroopers to save Leia — say they’re transferring their "prisoner" Chewbacca to cell 1138.
007 Joins the First Order
This next Easter egg isn’t really one you can see — and not because it takes sharp eyes to spot it. Instead, this cameo appearance is one that fans learned about after the fact. In The Force Awakens, Rey finds herself being held hostage on Starkiller Base, the First Order’s stronghold. After being interrogated by Darth Vader-wannabe Kylo Ren, Rey finds herself alone with some stormtroopers.
A Throwaway Line in Rogue One Actually Foreshadows The Last Jedi
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: It’s great that Rogue One focuses on its own plot and characters while sprinkling in little details and Easter eggs for Star Wars diehards. What seems like a throwaway line of dialogue toward the end of the film actually ends up being a huge plot point in Episode VIII.
Rogue One Features an Iconic Ship From Star Wars: Rebels
As we noted earlier, Rogue One is chock full of Easter eggs, especially where Star Wars: Rebels is concerned, partly because of the way the two overlap. Apart from showing astromech Chopper rolling through the base and a pager calling for General (Hera) Syndulla, Rebels’ most iconic ship can also be spotted above Scarif in the film’s final battle.
Carrie Fisher’s Dog Gary Appears in The Last Jedi
Carrie Fisher’s constant companion was Gary, a floppy-tongued French bulldog whom Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd, suggested her mom adopt to help Fisher with her bipolar disorder. When Fisher passed away in 2016, Gary was adopted by Fisher’s former assistant, Corby McCoin. But the Force is still with Gary.
Directors Rian Johnson & Dave Filoni Appear in Cameo Roles
Although director George Lucas waited until Episode III, the sixth of his Star Wars films in terms of theatrical release, to have a cameo, he certainly wasn’t the last Star Wars director to do so. Rian Johnson, director of The Last Jedi, made an appearance in Rogue One as an Imperial officer (left). Fans will recall that two cannon operators aboard the Death Star demonstrate the weapon’s enormous power by blasting Leia’s home planet of Alderaan to smithereens.
The Ghost Rides Again in The Rise of Skywalker — Alongside Other Iconic Ships
Braving the Battle of Scarif and (potentially) the Battle of Endor weren’t the Ghost’s final acts of bravery. At the end of Rise of Skywalker, the Ghost — and nearly every other ship in the galaxy — join Millennium Falcon pilots Lando Calrissian and Chewbacca.
Carrie Fisher’s Daughter Billie Lourd Has a Role in the Sequel Films
Billie Lourd is not only actor and writer Carrie Fisher’s daughter but is also the granddaughter of Hollywood legend Debbie Reynolds. From Singing in the Rain (1952) to Star Wars, Lourd’s family is entrenched in the business of making movies. And Lourd herself would go on to appear in all three Star Wars sequel films.
Shoes & Potatoes Fill The Empire Strikes Back’s Asteroid Field
There are few scenes more thrilling than Han Solo’s daring navigation of an asteroid field in Star Wars: Episode V—The Empire Strikes Back. Han, Leia, Chewbacca and protocol droid C-3PO escape the planet Hoth aboard Han’s trusty Millenium Falcon. In order to outrun the Imperial TIE fighters hot on their tails, Han steers the group into said asteroid field.
Blue Milk Is a Galaxy-Wide Favorite
Nothing says "refreshing" like having an ice-cold glass of blue milk after working your moisture farm under the hot twin suns of Tatooine all day. Sharp-eyed viewers can spot the infamous concoction on the Erso family’s kitchen counter in Rogue One (top left), and it’s Anakin and Padmé’s drink of choice in Episode II (right).
A New Hope Features a Very Meta Star Wars Reference
Although viewers debate whether or not this next Easter egg can actually be spotted in A New Hope, it’s still fun to know about. In the film’s opening, Darth Vader and co. pursue Princess Leia Organa and her crew, who are aboard the Tantive IV. Early on, there’s a shot of the Tantive IV’s cockpit, which model-makers at ILM had some fun designing.
Industrial Light & Magic’s Logo Appears in Episode I
Visual effects and animation company Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) was founded in May 1975 by George Lucas as a division of his film production company, Lucasfilm. While ILM was created ahead of Lucas’ production of A New Hope (then simply dubbed Star Wars), the company is known for pulling off some of cinema’s most impressive effects, from Indiana Jones to Pirates of the Carribean.
A Ship From the Nintendo 64 Game Shadows of the Empire Appears in A New Hope
There have been plenty of Star Wars video games over the years, but the Nintendo 64 hit from 1996, Shadows of the Empire, might be one of the most fondly remembered. Taking place between the events of Episodes V and VI, Shadows allows players to take control of Dash Rendar, a freelance smuggler.
Series Composer John Williams Finally Grabs a Cameo in The Rise of Skywalker
At 87 years old, legendary composer John Williams has over 260 musical credits, 51 (probably soon to be 52) Academy Award nominations and, of those nominations, five Oscar wins. He has also been the genius behind Star Wars’ iconic music since the beginning, earning an Oscar for his work on Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope (1977).
Han Solo’s Chance Cubes from A New Hope Appear in The Last Jedi & Spinoff Film Solo
When someone dressed the set of the Millennium Falcon’s cockpit back in the ‘70s, they probably had no idea that one of the smaller, seemingly insignificant details would be used in later films as Han Solo’s calling card of sorts. Though difficult to spot, golden dice hang from the smuggler’s cockpit in A New Hope.
Warwick Davis Has Played More Than Seven Characters in the Star Wars Universe
Actor Warwick Davis is perhaps most well-known in the Star Wars universe for his portrayal of the love-him-or-hate-him Ewok character Wicket W. Warrick (top left), who makes his first appearance in Episode VI on the forest moon of Endor. Since then, Davis has been credited with the portrayal of at least seven more characters across the Star Wars films.
Nintendo 64 Game Episode I: Racer Appears in Episode II
Released by LucasArts in conjunction with Star Wars: Episode I—The Phantom Menace, the Nintendo 64 hit Star Wars: Episode I—Racer allowed players to jump into the cockpit of a podracer. As of 2011, the game has held the record for best-selling sci-fi racer, beating out the likes of F-Zero and Wipeout with 3.12 million sales.
Jabba the Hutt as…Jabba the Hutt?
Tatooine crime lord Jabba the Hutt is truly one of the sleaziest characters in the Star Wars universe — and we were thrilled to see Leia take him out in Episode VI. However, because Episode I is a prequel — and because it spends a lot of time on Tatooine — it provided the perfect chance for a Jabba cameo.
The Actors Who Play C-3PO & Boba Fett Remove Their Iconic Costumes for Cameos
Thanks to a bevvy of iconic costumes, some Star Wars actors aren’t exactly known by their looks. This is true for Anthony Daniels, the actor who famously portrays protocol droid C-3PO in every Star Wars film — except Solo. To make sure Daniels still popped up in Solo, he plays Tak, a mine worker on Kessel.
The Clone Wars’ Matt Lanter Appears in The Mandalorian
Apart from obscuring their faces with helmets or droid parts, Star Wars actors can be relatively unrecognizable for another reason: They’re best known for lending their voices to beloved characters. One such voice actor is Matt Lanter, who voices Anakin Skywalker in The Clone Wars animated series.
Darth Maul’s Brother Makes a Mandalorian Cameo — Sort Of
In the same episode Matt Lanter — a.k.a. Anakin Skywalker — makes a cameo, so does another well-known voice actor from that Star Wars universe. Clancy Brown appears as Burg, a Devaronian mercenary who joins the titular Mandalorian and a few other less-than-savory characters on a prison-break mission.
Finn Finds All of the Millennium Falcon’s Games (& Guides)
The Force Awakens is heavy on nostalgia — and that also makes it rife with Easter eggs and fun nods. Perhaps one of the most exciting turns in the film was the heroes boarding the Millenium Falcon once again, which hadn’t been seen up close-and-personal since 1983’s Episode VI.
Jett Lucas Makes a Cameo as a Young Jedi in Episodes II & III
Jett Lucas, George Lucas’ adopted son, has cameos in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith as a Jedi padawan. Although they were initially different characters, the two were later merged into Zett Jukassa, a tuckerization of Jett’s name. But that’s not where Jett’s involvement stops.
C-3PO’s Comment About the Falcon in The Empire Strikes Back Pays Off in Solo
In 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back, Han, Leia, Chewbacca and protocol droid C-3PO get into a world of trouble when Han flies the Millennium Falcon straight into an asteroid field in an attempt to escape the Empire’s clutches. Afterward, while making repairs on the Falcon, C-3PO tries communicating with the ship.
The Rise of Skywalker Is Packed With Cameos From Big-Name Actors
Although The Rise of Skywalker doesn’t pull a Marvel movie and include after-credits sequences, it does try its darndest to spotlight some famous faces (and voices). Hamilton’s Lin-Manuel Miranda (bottom right), who composed some fun tracks for Episodes VII and IX, nabbed a background cameo as a Resistance fighter.