It seems unbelievable, but Star Wars: The Last Jedi is finally here. And although this film didn’t borrow the plot of The Empire Strikes Back the way The Force Awakens borrowed from A New Hope, there were still plenty of references to previous Star Wars films throughout.
Still, the references this time out weren’t all super obvious. Sure, there were some things you noticed right away, and in a sense, nearly everything, from X-wings to big, lumbering walkers, could be considered a reference. But somehow, despite making some big, very classic callbacks, The Last Jedi managed to have Easter eggs that were mostly thematic, or very, very deep cuts. And a lot of those deep cuts surprisingly came from the much-maligned Star Wars prequels.
Here’s a guide to all of the best Easter eggs in the film — including one function of blasters that you can’t believe hasn’t been seen since 1977.
Full spoilers for The Last Jedi follow. You have been warned.
Millennium Falcon Lucky Dice
Luke finds a pair of dice when he boards the Falcon. This references the fact that dice are hanging from the dashboard of the ship in A New Hope. Seemingly, these were introduced as a visual gag back in 1977. But in The Last Jedi, they’re actually kind of a plot point.
Luke doesn’t drink the famous Star Wars “blue milk” in The Last Jedi, but he does drink green milk. And this milk is harvested straight from an alien creature native to the island of Ach-To. This is probably supposed to reference Luke’s blue milk on Tatooine in A New Hope, but it also begs a more important question. Is green milk straight from an alien monster nipple even remotely pasteurized?
Luke Skywalker refers to the late Emperor Palpatine by what was arguably his true name, Darth Sidious. Because this was revealed to the Sith Lord name for Palpatine in Episodes I-III, this is one of a few references to the Star Wars prequels, but an interesting one. Writer-director Rian Johnson could have simply had Luke say “the Emperor,” but he didn’t. The prequels happened, people. And even Luke Skywalker acknowledges that fact.
Here’s another prequel shout-out. When Luke mocks the idea of him coming in and saving the day like an old-fashion hero, he refers to his lightsaber as a “laser sword.” This references Episode I: The Phantom Menace when Anakin Skywalker tells Qui-Gon Jinn, “I saw your laser sword.”
Luke’s Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
The prequel references just keep on coming! In The Last Jedi, we learn that Luke basically caused Ben Solo to totally turn to the Dark side of the Force because Luke briefly saw a dark future for the young would-be Jedi. And, because he saw that depressing future, Luke briefly considered killing Ben in his sleep. But, because of this vision, Ben woke up and turned on Luke anyway. Similarly, in Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, Anakin Skywalker had a vision of his wife, Padme Amidala, dying in childbirth. Everything Anakin did in Sith was an attempt to prevent that vision of the future from happening, which, of course, just caused it to happen.
I failed you, Ben…
Was The Last Jedi a secret love letter to the prequels? Maybe? When Luke Skywalker faces down with Kylo Ren on Crait, he tells him, “I failed you, Ben.” Similar words were spoken by someone named Ben in Revenge of the Sith. In the middle of a lightsaber duel, Obi-Wan “Ben” Kenobi said to Anakin Skywalker: “I have failed you, Anakin. I have failed you.”
Yoda and Luke discuss a bunch of ancient Jedi relics, including an ominous and prominent tree. What is this tree all about anyway? Arguably, this is the original “Force Tree,” which sounds goofy but is totally canon. In The Clone Wars animated series, there is a tree called “The Great Tree” near the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. This tree is literally one with the Force. Then, in the comic book Shattered Empire, Luke actually tracked down part of the same tree and replanted it on Yavin 4. Obviously, the tree on Luke’s island isn’t the same exact one, but it seems to reference a similar concept: a tree that represents the living Force.
Luke Versus the Walkers
When Luke Skywalker faces down a bunch of First Order walkers toward the end of the movie, it seems very new. But, in fact, Luke Skywalker has faced down similar walkers before. In The Empire Strikes Back, Luke took down a single walker all by himself with just a lightsaber and a hand grenade.
Set for Stun
Back in A New Hope, one of the Stormtroopers uses a seldom-seen setting on their blaster, the stun setting. Blue circles shoot out of their weapons, kind of like the smoke rings the caterpillar would blow in Alice in Wonderland. Weirdly, we haven’t seen the stun setting since then. But in The Last Jedi, stunning is back in a big way. When a mutiny happens on the Resistance flagship, all of the good guys start shooting at each other. But there’s no shooting of the red blaster bolts. Instead, the friendly blue stun circles have returned.
Leia’s OG Blaster
In another callback to the earliest moments of A New Hope, Leia busts out her old blaster from the very first scenes in that classic movie. We haven’t seen this exact weapon since that time. Is it the exact one? How did she get it back from the Stormtroopers who took it from her all those years ago? Who cares. This is one of the coolest Easter eggs in the movie, and even better that she uses it to stun Poe Dameron.
R2-D2 Remembers Everything
This one is obvious. R2-D2 plays the famous “Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi” hologram recording for Luke to try to cajole him back into the fight for the good guys. It’s a nostalgic touch, to be sure, but it’s also a solid reminder of the fact that R2-D2’s memory has never been erased. Who knows what other stuff R2-D2 has shown Luke over the years?
“Here They Come!”
There’s a lot of familiar music in any new Star Wars movie, but when the Falcon shows up to help the Resistance on Crait, a classic piece of John Williams music plays. Chewie is piloting and Rey is taking out TIE fighters using the big quad guns. And the whole time the same music from A New Hope plays, which scored a similar scene where Han and Luke fought TIE fighters off. Usually, this track is called “TIE Fighter Attack,” but often called “Here They Come!” in older soundtrack listings. (Leia says, “Here they come” in the original movie right before the fighters attack.) In terms of making everyone in the audience feel like a kid (including the kids), this moment, with this exact music, was the sweetest reference of them all.
In the most heartbreaking moment of the film, Luke Skywalker watches the sunset on the planet Ahch-to, but instead of one sunset, he sees two. This references his iconic scene in A New Hope, back when he was young and full of hope. Perhaps, this is the scene that defines Skywalker the most, always looking to the future … the horizon.
The Last Jedi* is out in wide release now.
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