Celebrate “May the Fourth” With These “Star Wars” Easter Eggs

Photo Courtesy: Lucasfilm/Disney+; Star Wars: Darth Vader/Marvel Comics

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 (2016) and Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018). Between all of these films, we also have two high-profile, award-winning animated series, Clone Wars and Rebels; the live-action TV phenomenon The Mandalorian; and countless other shows, books, and games.

The creatives behind the beloved space opera have packed a lot of details into the galaxy far, far away. Whether you’re spending today rewatching the original films, defending the prequels, or catching The Bad Batch as it drops on Disney+, spend some time checking out a few of the best Easter eggs, cameos and hidden details sprinkled throughout the franchise. And, as you enjoy our findings, “May the Fourth 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.

Photo Courtesy: Lucasfilm/Disney+

Sure, a tip of the hat to Steven Spielberg’s E.T. feels almost expected, but George Lucas had another famous director in mind when populating Watto’s junkyard with spare parts, broken droids and half-busted machines. While Watto gives Jedi Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) a tour of the scrap heap, you can spot an EVA pod from Stanley Kubrick’s classic 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968).

These “Mandalorian” Actors Were Perfectly Cast

It’s no secret that The Mandalorian is packed with great cameos. Not to mention, the show serves as a great way to connect the various animated series with the franchise’s movies. From mentions of Grand Admiral Thrawn to portraying Ahsoka for the first time in live-action, The Mandalorian is all about detail, which is why we can’t help but admire these casting decisions. 

First up, we have Bo-Katan Kryze, a former member of the Death Watch faction on Mandalore. In both Clone Wars and Rebels, Bo-Katan is voiced to perfection by Katee Sackhoff. In The Mandalorian‘s second season, Bo-Katan makes her live-action debut — also played by Sackhoff. We love to see that kind of continuity. 

Photo Courtesy: Disney+

Next up? Boba Fett. Originally, actor Jeremy Bulloch donned the now-infamous armor in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, and, in the prequel Attack of the Clones, a young Boba was played by Daniel Logan. Since then, we’ve seen an animated version of the character, but, nonetheless, fans have been clamoring for his live-action revival. 

As fans know, Boba is Jango Fett’s “son” — a clone whose aging process wasn’t sped up. It’s fitting, then, that Temuera Morrison, the actor who played Jango in Attack of the Clones, has been cast as Boba in both The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett (2021). We also couldn’t help but love the moment Boba told Mando (Pedro Pascal) that he’s “a simple man, making his way through the galaxy” — a clear nod to the time Jango told Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) “I’m just a simple man, trying to make my way in the universe.”

In TROS, Rey Hears the Voices of Several Significant Jedi From “Clone Wars” & “Rebels”

In order to take down Emperor Palpatine in The Rise of Skywalker (2019), 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.

Photo Courtesy: Star Wars: The Clone Wars & Star Wars: Rebels/Lucasfilm/Disney+

Luminara Unduli (top left; voiced by Olivia D’abo) appears in Clone Wars and wards off enemies on Geonosis in Episode II. Aayla Secura (top right; voiced by Jennifer Hale) also appears in Clone Wars and meets her untimely demise in Episode III. Adi Gallia (bottom left; voiced by Angelique Perrin) appears on the Jedi Council in the prequels and in several Clone Wars storylines. Most excitingly, Ahsoka Tano (bottom right; Ashley Eckstein), a fan-favorite character from Clone Wars and Rebels, and Kanan Jarrus (top middle; Freddie Prinze Jr.), a Rebels alum and one of the few Jedi who survived Order 66, can be heard.

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.

Photo Courtesy: Lucasfilm/Disney+

Later, Jedi-in-training Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), smuggler Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Wookie co-pilot Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) bust Leia out of her holding cell. Cut to 2015. Star Wars: Episode VII—The Force Awakens launches the series’ third and final trilogy of films. And one of the stars is Finn (John Boyega) — a stormtrooper who defects from the First Order and whose ID number was FN-2187.

George Lucas & 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.

Photo Courtesy: Lucasfilm/Disney+

In Attack of the Clones (pictured, left) she plays a Twi’lek woman named Lunae Minx who is hanging out at a bar Anakin and Obi-Wan Kenobi stumble into while tracking an assassin. (The person next to her? Ahmed Best, who voiced and provided mo-cap for Jar Jar Binks.) Finally, Katie played Senator Chi Eekway Papanoida in Revenge of the Sith, seen here (right) speaking to her father George Lucas, who has a cameo as Baron Papanoida.

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.

Photo Courtesy: Lucasfilm/Netflix; Lucasfilm/Disney+

Look closely and you’ll discern R2-D2 and C-3PO. So, does that mean the Ark has its origins in a galaxy far, far away? Potentially. During The Clone Wars TV series, Techno Union Leader Wat Tambor terrorizes the planet Ryloth, ransacking it of its riches before the Republic staves him off. One of those treasures looks suspiciously like the Ark of the Covenant… (Just don’t look too closely!)

“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.”

Photo Courtesy: Lucasfilm/Disney+

Lucasfilm’s Dave Filoni confirmed this was a reference to Rebels‘ Hera Syndulla, the Twi’lek captain of the series’ ship, the Ghost. While fans can’t actually spot Syndulla on-screen, Filoni has said that “Hera will eventually become a general in the Rebel Alliance,” even helping out at the Battle of Endor. Another character from Rebels does make it onto the screen, however; the ever-cantankerous astromech droid Chopper can be seen rolling through the rebels’ hangar.

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.

Photo Courtesy: Walt Disney Studios/IMDb

C-3PO explains that the native Aki-Aki people are celebrating the renowned Festival of the Ancestors, which is known for its colorful kites and tasty sweets. According to the film’s visual dictionary, the festival is also known for honoring the past and looking forward to the future. If that didn’t sound on-the-nose for a final film, this will: The celebration takes place every 42 years — meaning the last one happened around the time Star Wars: Episode IV—A New Hope (1977) took place.

“Rogue One” 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.

Photo Courtesy: Lucasfilm/Disney/Netflix; Lucasfilm/Disney+

Before Vader cuts everyone down, the rebels aboard the flagship are able to hand off the schematics (on Star Wars‘ equivalent of a thumb drive) to Princess Leia’s crew — just as Tantive IV launches away from the flagship. At the end of Rogue One, Vader looks on as Leia escapes; at the start of A New Hope, the Tantive IV is being chased down by Vader.

According to sources at Lucasfilm, the ending of Rogue One happens a mere 14 minutes before the start of A New Hope.

The Force Is Strong in Denis Lawson’s Family

Photo Courtesy: Danny Martindale/WireImage

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.

Antilles crops up at Episode V’s Battle of Hoth and Episode VI’s Battle of Endor — and he survives to see the fall of the Empire. Although Antilles isn’t initially part of the Resistance in Episode VII — actor Denis Lawson turned down the part, saying it would “bore” him — he makes a brief appearance at the end of Episode IX. Fun fact: In real life, Lawson is uncle to Ewan McGregor, who plays Obi-Wan Kenobi in the prequel films.

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.

Photo Courtesy: Lucasfilm/Disney+

In The Phantom Menace (1999), George Lucas includes a small nod to his friend Spielberg. When Queen Amidala (Natalie Portman) proposes the Galactic Senate remove Supreme Chancellor Valorum from office, the camera pans around the senate chamber, showing us the reactions of a few intergalactic senators. One group of E.T.-looking aliens, called Asogians, is led by Senator Grebleips — that’s Spielberg backwards.

“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.

Photo Courtesy: Lucasfilm/Disney+

In The Empire Strikes Back, Darth Vader puts out a call for bounty hunters to track down the Millennium Falcon, our heroes’ trusty ship. IG-88, along with his rival Boba Fett, compete for the bounty. Eventually, the hunters tail Han Solo and Leia Organa (who are aboard the Falcon) to the planet Bespin, where Boba Fett leaves IG-88 for scrap metal. Literally. You can spot him later on in Bespin’s glorified dumpster.

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.

Photo Courtesy: Lucasfilm/Disney+

Nonetheless, the devil is truly in the details. In Episode II, a YT-1300 Freighter ship can be seen landing on Naboo when Anakin and Senator Padmé Amidala arrive there. Why is this exciting? It’s the same type of ship as Han Solo’s Millennium Falcon, arguably the most iconic ship in the galaxy. In Episode III, a YT-1300 — confirmed by George Lucas and some subsequent novels to be THE Falcon — docks in a spaceport on Coruscant.

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.

Photo Courtesy: Lucasfilm/Disney+

Most notably, one of the banners in the very center portrays the Mandalorian Diamond or “Iron Heart” — a skull-looking emblem that’s never been fully explained in canonical Star Wars lore. Additionally, quite a few of the brightly colored flags seen on Kanata’s castle correspond to those carried across the race track in The Phantom Menace‘s podracing scene.

A Clone Trooper From the Prequel Films Has a Role in a Movie Made Nearly 20 Years Earlier — Well, Maybe…

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.

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An older, bearded Rebel known in canon as Nik Sant bears a striking resemblance to Rex. Before Rebels‘ finale aired, creator Dave Filoni said, “I really do think that Rex is that guy (Nik Sant) on Endor. …I’m gonna make that happen. I’m getting like Palpatine; I’m getting power crazy.” Later on, Filoni told IGN that he decided against making the “Rex is Nik Sant” idea Star Wars canon because Sant was already an established character. Still, some fans like to run with the idea that the characters are one in the same — or that Rex is at least on the forest moon.

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.

Photo Courtesy: Lucasfilm/Disney+

In A New Hope, a group of stormtroopers runs after our heroes and, on the right-hand side, sharp-eyed viewers will notice that one of the troopers bangs his head on the doorway. And while these troopers aren’t particularly cunning — or capable — they’re at least…resourceful? As seen here, one trooper barely keeps his armor together thanks to some Imperial duct tape.

References to George Lucas’ First Short Film 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.

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In The Phantom Menace, the battle droid that deactivates in front of Jar Jar Binks has “1138” imprinted on its back. Perhaps most importantly, entering the code 1-1-3-8 on your remote while watching the DVD version of Episode II brings up a blooper reel of a clumsy Hayden Christensen and reveals a clip of Yoda and some troopers chatting, as if caught being casual between scenes. Entering the code on Episode III’s DVD menu cuts to a clip of Yoda breakdancing.

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.

Photo Courtesy: Lucasfilm/Disney+

Having recently realized her strong connection to the Force, Rey attempts to use a Jedi mind trick on the unsuspecting trooper. She successfully convinces the trooper to release her binds so that she can escape. That susceptible stormtrooper is played by none other than Daniel Craig — James Bond himself.

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.

Photo Courtesy: Lucasfilm/Disney+; Lucasfilm/Netflix

While looking for the Death Star schematics on Scarif, Jyn Erso comes across a file called “hyperspace tracking” — meaning the Empire is hard at work on this particular project. Later, in The Last Jedi, Rose Tico is surprised to hear that the Empire heir apparent — the First Order — has cracked the code on tracking ships through lightspeed, something that had been (secretly) in the works for a while.

Rogue One Features an Iconic Ship From “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.

Photo Courtesy: Getty Images

Clearly, General Syndulla received that page. Just below the seven-engined Tantive IV-looking ship, sharp-eyed fans can see Hera’s ship, the Ghost, reporting for duty. In one of the Forces of Destiny shorts, Syndulla and Han Solo even bicker on the forest moon of Endor, after the fall of the Empire, about whose ship is better, the Ghost or the Millennium Falcon. Hard choice — but clearly both are reliable.

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.

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Popular with fans and cast members alike, Gary was so beloved that director Rian Johnson gave the dog a special cameo as a lovable space creature on Canto Bight’s casino. In the scene, fans can spot a dog-like creature, based on Gary, in the arms of a casino patron. When McCoin showed Gary the trailer for The Last Jedi, the dog wasn’t so interested in his cameo, but his ears did perk up when he heard Fisher’s voice.

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.

Photo Courtesy: Lucasfilm/Disney+

A similar shot of those cannon operators is remade for Rogue One — and one of the officers is Johnson. Meanwhile, Dave Filoni, the mastermind behind The Clone Wars and Rebels, makes a cameo in The Mandalorian (right) as a New Republic X-wing pilot called Trapper Wolf, right alongside fellow Mandalorian directors Rick Famuyiwa and Deborah Chow, who play the pilots Jib Dodger and Sash Ketter, respectively.

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.

Photo Courtesy: Walt Disney Studios/IMDb

Other than the Ghost, some of our favorite ships flying above Exegol include the Crucible, an ancient ship once used by the Jedi and later salvaged by space pirate Hondo Ohnaka; (potentially) the Shadow Caster, famously piloted by Rebels bounty hunter Ketsu Onyo; the Eravana, piloted by Han and Chewbacca in The Force Awakens; and even Dash Rendar’s Outrider.

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.

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Despite her mother’s wishes, Lourd wanted to pursue acting as well. Initially, she auditioned for the part of Rey in 2015’s Star Wars: Episode VII—The Force Awakens, but when the role went to Daisy Ridley instead, Lourd nabbed the role of Lieutenant Kaydel Ko Connix, fighting in the resistance alongside her mother’s beloved General Leia Organa.

Shoes & Potatoes Fill the Asteroid Field in “Empire”

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.

Photo Courtesy: Lucasfilm/Disney+

Created by George Lucas’ esteemed visual effects division Industrial Light and Magic (ILM), the effects are impressive, especially given Empire‘s 1980 release date. The asteroids whip by quickly, so it’s difficult to make out details. However, members of the visual effects team have admitted to basing the shapes of some of the space rocks off of a potato and a tennis shoe. Even if you pause, it’s hard to spot: Most asteroids look a bit potato-like.

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).

Photo Courtesy: Lucasfilm/Disney+

Known by some as Bantha milk, blue milk is available at Disney’s Galaxy’s Edge theme park. Although Disney now makes the frozen, plant-based blend from coconut and rice milks, Hamill stated that the original was life-long milk dyed blue. “Oily and sweet and euch! Triggered your gag reflex,” Hamill recalled. “So there’s an indication that I’m an underrated actor — I gulped it and acted like I liked it without vomiting.”

“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.

Photo Courtesy: Lucasfilm/Disney+

The model of the Tantive IV included a rather meta reference: A Star Wars film poster was pasted to its wall. If you look a bit to the right, you can also see part of a Playboy pinup. Even if this gag was purely done by and for the modeling team, it’s still fun to know that these folks were enjoying practical effects — and some practical jokes.

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.

Photo Courtesy: Lucasfilm/Disney+

Although back in the day ILM was on the forefront of model-making and puppetry, the company soon broke ground on computer-generated animation (CGI) and motion-capture technology. And when Lucas returned to bring audiences Episode I in 1999, the visual effects team hid the letters “ILM” in a red reflection of light, which can be (sort of) seen by pausing the scene in which Queen Amidala gazes out the window of Theed Palace.

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.

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Does Dash Rendar sound like a Han Solo stand-in? He sure does. And like any good carbon(ite) copy, Rendar comes equipped with his own Millennium Falcon-esque ship, the Outrider, a YT-2400 light freighter. For the special edition of A New Hope, visual effects teams made some tweaks, one of which was the addition of the Outrider, which can be seen leaving Mos Eisley (upper left) as Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi arrive.

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).

Photo Courtesy: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Turner

Since 1977, Williams has composed all of the music for the nine films in the Skywalker Saga and, in the saga’s final and most recent film, the legend traded a conducting baton for a mechanical eyepatch. Seen briefly behind the bar in The Rise of Skywalker‘s planet Kijimi, Williams doesn’t have any dialogue, but his character does have a fun name: Oma Tres — an anagram for “Maestro.”

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.

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In the standalone film Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018), Han gives his ex-flame Qi’ra the dice and promises they’ll find each other again one day. Later on, Han gets the chance cubes back from her — and, clearly, holds onto them. In The Last Jedi, Luke Skywalker tells his sister Leia “No one’s ever really gone” and presses the golden dice into her hands (well, sort of) as a reminder of the late Han.

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.

Photo Courtesy: Lucasfilm/Disney+

In 1999’s Episode I, Davis was credited with playing four characters: one of young Anakin Skywalker’s friends, W. Wald (top center); an excited podrace spectator, Weazel (bottom, second from right); a blink-and-you-miss-it Tatooine street trader; and even, in select scenes, Master Yoda himself. Davis appears in The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi, Rogue One, Solo and even The Rise of Skywalker, where he dons his Wicket outfit again.

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.

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In fact, Racer is so popular that it even has a cameo in the Star Wars films. When Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi chase an assassin into a bar on Coruscant, footage from Racer plays on one of the screens behind the counter. Not only is this a clever time-saver for the visual effects team, but it’s also a fun Easter egg for fans.

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.

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The Hutt leader attends the podrace that Anakin Skywalker enters, waving to the crowd. The visual effects team created him using a combination of special effects and old-school puppetry, and in Episode I’s credits he’s listed as playing himself. A set production assistant was also jokingly called “Javva the Hutt” in Episode II’s credits — extra funny considering that’s the name of the onsite coffee shop at the ILM and Lucasfilm campus.

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.

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Daniels also has a small cameo in Episode II, playing a blink-and-you-miss-him bar patron. But the droid actor isn’t the only faceless icon to be given another part. Jeremy Bulloch, half-brother of producer Robert Watts, is best known for playing the helmeted Boba Fett in Episodes V and VI. In Episode III, he has a bit part as Captain Colton, the pilot of the Tantive III, which belongs to Leia’s adoptive father Bail Organa.

“Clone Wars” Star 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.

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Although he’s had more outings as Anakin than any other actor, most fans probably wouldn’t know his face — at least not immediately. And that makes Lanter’s extended cameo in The Mandalorian that much more fun. In the show, Lanter portrays Davan, a New Republic soldier left to look over a prison ship.

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.

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Brown is perhaps best known for voicing Savage Opress in The Clone Wars TV series — the Dathomirian Nightbrother-turned-Sith-in-training who just so happens to be Darth Maul’s kin. Clearly, Brown has the uncanny ability to play a convincing horned alien. The talented actor has also lent his voice to Rebels, in which he plays Ryder Azadi, the Governor of Lothal who sympathizes with the blossoming Rebellion. Also Brown provides the voice for Mr. Krabs. Ag ag ag ag ag.

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.

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While aboard the Falcon, Finn (John Boyega) searches for a first aid kit for an injured Chewbacca and picks up a familiar item: the remote-controlled sphere used by Luke Skywalker to test his blossoming Jedi reflexes during Episode IV. Finn even turns on the Dejarik table — and while he doesn’t actually play holochess, it’s still a fun nod to A New Hope.

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.

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According to his sister Katie Lucas, Jett inspired the name of the Gungan species, whose most notable member is Jar Jar Binks. During the run of The Clone Wars TV series, Jett inspired the character of Ion Papanoida — namely because his father and sister inspired the character’s father and sister — and went on to intern for the video game Star Wars: The Force Unleashed.

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.

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Although C-3PO is fluent in over 6 million forms of communication, he tells Han that the Falcon has a strange dialect — even by his standards. Cut to 2018’s Solo: A Star Wars Story, which fills in Han’s backstory pre-A New Hope. In Solo, Lando Calrissian, Han’s longtime buddy, pilots the Falcon alongside his trusty droid L3-37 — an outspoken, feminist droid who later uploads their consciousness into the Falcon.

“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.

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Meanwhile, Jodie Comer, who won an Emmy for her portrayal of Killing Eve‘s assassin-for-hire Villanelle, takes a turn as a young Rey’s fleeing mother (top left). Most controversially, Dominic Monaghan (top right) won his role of Beaumont Kin, a historian-turned-Resistance trooper, after betting on the outcome of a World Cup game with director J.J. Abrams. (The two became friends on Lost.) Abrams even gave himself screen time, voicing the droid D-O (bottom left).