15 Star Wars In-Jokes That Will Blow Your Mind

Tom Butler

It’s arguably one of the most popular film franchises ever and all 6 ‘Star Wars’ films (soon to be 7!) have been completely analysed to death by its legions of fans.  

However, the richly-detailed worlds created for ‘Star Wars’ means that new hidden jokes and references can be revealed with each new watch.

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Here are some of the best in-jokes that George Lucas’ sci-fi saga has to offer.

I have a bad feeling about this

This is the ‘Star Wars’ equivalent of “I’ll be back” in the ‘Terminator’ films… or should that be the other way around?

The line, first uttered by Luke Skywalker as they approach the Death Star in ‘Episode IV’, is repeated in every film. Han Solo repeats in later in the same film, Princess Leia says in in ‘Empire Strikes Back’, and C-3PO and Han both say it in ‘Return of the Jedi’.

Lucas resurrected it for each of the prequels too. Obi-Wan utters it in ‘Phantom Menace’, Anakin in ‘Attack of the Clones’, and Obi-Wan has another crack in ‘Revenge of the Sith’.

ET cameo

After Steven Spielberg gave Yoda a cameo in his 1982 film ‘E.T: The Extra Terrestrial’, Lucas agreed to repay the favour in 1999’s ‘The Phantom Menace’.

You can spot a gaggle of E.T aliens in the background during one of the film’s many galactic senate debate scenes. According to Star Wars lore, E.T’s species is known as the Grebleips. Spell it backwards and you’ll work out why.

Pod racing game

George Lucas basically created the modern movie merchandising system single-handedly with the hugely lucrative spin-off products from the first movie, so it’s no surprise that some of the merchandising even made it into the films.

In ‘Episode II: Attack of the Clones’, when Obi-Wan and Anakin pursue the bounty hunter into the Outlander Club on Coruscant, you can see a Pod Race playing on a TV screen. The footage was actually cribbed from the ‘Phantom Menace’ tie-in game ‘Star Wars Episode I: Racer’.

Luke’s speeder in Phantom Menace

Luke Skywalker’s X-34 landspeeder from ‘A New Hope’ makes a cameo appearance in ‘Phantom Menace’, albeit with a slightly different paint job.

The once-orange, now-green hover vehicle can be seen as Qui-Gonn, Padme, and Jar Jar arrive at Mos Espa. It’s even the same prop that was used in the original 1977 film too apparently.

George Lucas cameo

After six films, George Lucas finally decided it was time for him to make his ‘Star Wars’ acting debut in 2005’s ‘Revenge of the Sith’.

He plays blue-skinned dignitary Baron Papanoida in a brief cameo during the Darth Plagueis speech scene. Lucas’ daughter Katie also appears as the woman Papanoida is talking to.

Force Awakens secrets

‘Star Wars 7: The Force Awakens’ is coming to cinemas in December, but that didn’t stop eager Easter egg hunters finding hidden a bunch of hidden secrets in the film’s brief 88-second teaser (watch it again above).

The life vest worn by Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron features a sign in an obscure ‘Star Wars’ language that apparently reads “Pull to Inflate”, and the goggles that Daisy Ridley’s Rey wears have been scavenged from a Stormtrooper helmet. Most excitingly though is the sound of the lightsaber powering up right at the end, as that’s Luke’s laser sword you hear.

2001 pod in Phantom Menace

This is probably one of the coolest Easter eggs in all of ‘Star Wars’. One of the EVA Pods - of “open the pod bay doors, Hal” fame - from Stanley Kubrick’s ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ can be spotted in Watto’s junkyard while Qui-Gonn is searching for hyperdrive parts in ‘Episode I’.

Does this mean ‘2001’ and ‘Star Wars’ exist in the same movie universe? We like to think so.

Original trilogy cast cameos

It made no sense for Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, or Mark Hamill to appear in the prequel trilogies but that didn’t stop some of the stars from the original trilogy from coming back.

Anthony Daniels and Jeremy Bulloch, who played C-3PO and Boba Fett respectively, ditched their masks and showed their faces in the prequels. Daniels can be seen in the Outlander Club in ‘Attack of the Clones’, while Bulloch played the Tantive IV pilot in ‘Revenge of the Sith’.

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Ewok actor Warwick Davis also turned up playing a couple of minor roles in ‘Phantom Menace’ too and will appear in ‘Episode 7’ in an as-yet-undisclosed role.

Falcon prequel cameo

Original trilogy cameos in the prequels weren’t just limited to the actors though. Han Solo’s iconic Kessel Run-bothering spaceship puts in an appearance in ‘Revenge of the Sith’ too.

You can see the distinctive ship docking on Coruscant when Anakin and Obi-Wan return Palpatine to the Senate after his dramatic rescue.

Jango head bang

Everyone remembers the dopey Stormtooper who dinged his head on the door in ‘A New Hope’ (above), but did you spot the awesome reference to it ‘Attack of the Clones’?

When Jango Fett makes his hasty exit from Kamino, you see the bounty hunter clambering aboard Slave 1 and he bumps his head on the door on the way in. Lucas even added a “doink” sound effect in homage to the infamous moment from ‘Episode IV’.

1138 references

The number 1138 appears a number of times throughout the films as a nod to George Lucas’ debut feature film ‘THX 1138’. In ‘A New Hope’, Luke says “prisoner transfer from cellblock 1138” when they’re trying to rescue Leia on the Death Star.

There are more oblique references in ‘Episodes V and VI’ with a rebel commander ordering Rogue 11 to “station 3-8” in ‘Empire’, and the number is scrawled on Leia’s helmet when she infiltrates Jabba’s palace in ‘Jedi’.

In the prequel trilogy, the number can be seen on the back of a Battle Droid in ‘Episode I’ (see above), on the back of a helmet in ‘Episode II’, and it’s Commander Bacara’s call sign in ‘Episode III’.

327

Another number that features often in the ‘Star Wars’ films is 327. Its origin is in George Lucas’s second film ‘American Graffiti’ where it can be seen stamped on a car engine.

In ‘A New Hope’ the Millennium Falcon is stowed on docking bay 327, in ‘Empire Strikes Back’, the Falcon lands on Cloud City’s platform 327, and in ‘Phantom Menace’ Amidala’s shiny silver cruiser is a J-Type 327 Nubian royal starship.

Wilhelm scream

George Lucas is a huge fan of this iconic “falling man” sound effect and has used it in every one of the ‘Star Wars’ films. Sound designer Ben Burtt resurrected the sound effect (first used in 1951 Western ‘Distant Drums’ trivia fans) as a personal in-joke for ‘A New Hope’ and has since used it as his audio calling call.

The gag has gathered pace in Hollywood and has now been used in over 200 different films, including all six ‘Star Wars’ films. In ‘A New Hope’, it’s used when the Stormtrooper is knocked into the Death Star chasm.

Klaatu Barada Nikto

As demonstrated by the ‘2001’ Easter egg in ‘Phantom Menace’, George Lucas is clearly a fan of classic sci-fi.

The phrase “Klaatu Barada Nikto”, as uttered in 1951′s ‘The Day The Earth Stood Still’, is one of the most famous commands in sci-fi history so you shouldn’t be surprised to hear Lucas managed to include it in ‘Star Wars’ too.

Three of Jabba’s skiff guards - Klaatu, Barada, and Nikto (above) in ‘Return of the Jedi’ are named after the famous phrase. 

Tantive IV posters

The first ‘Star Wars’ Easter egg to ever appear in the franchise occurs in the opening scene of ‘A New Hope’, although it’s impossible to spot.

A crafty model builder inserted a ‘Star Wars’ poster and a Playboy centerfold poster into the ‘Tantive IV’ model that flies across the screen, pursued by an Imperial Star Destroyer, as the film begins.

Don’t bother trying to freeze frame it as you won’t be able to see them, but extensive photos of the model reveal this tiny – and totally weird – Easter egg.

Are there any we missed? Let us know below.

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Image credits: 20th Century Fox/Disney