I have seen The Force Awakens, and the force in me has indeed been awakened — as has my nostalgia. As a fan of the original trilogy and a person who tries to act like the prequels never happened, I walked into The Force Awakens with an open, yet cautious, mind. If you go into a movie with as ridiculous an amount of hype as this one has, then there's a greater chance that the disappointment will be just as ridiculous. It's better to walk in with the bar set low and come out with a "better than I expected" attitude — but let's be real, this is Star Wars. You can't help but be excited, and I'm happy to say I walked out with a smile on my face and the urge to watch it a couple more times. It's clear that director J.J. Abrams and screenwriters Michael Arndt and Lawrence Kasdan took cues from the original trilogy when creating the perfect story to revisit the franchise — and there are plenty of Star Wars easter eggs in The Force Awakens there to prove it.
Not that that's surprising. How could there not be any callbacks or references to previous Star Wars movies? The universe has become so massive and now that Lucasfilm has been folded into the Disney canon with the likes of Pixar and Marvel, easter eggs are inevitable. Below, a full list (and of course, spoilers ahead!).
1. The Opening Crawl
This is not necessarily an "easter egg", but it is a call to nostalgia. Some people feared that Abrams was going to change the beginning, but why mess with something that has been the same for the last six movies? Set to the epic John Williams score, you can't help but applaud when The Force Awakens crawl starts.
2. X-Wings And TIE Fighters Are Back
The prequels had their own version of these, but they didn't have much life to them. The Force Awakens brings them back and they are new and improved
3. The McGuffin Is In The Droid
Remember in A New Hope when Princess Leia put the plans to the Death Star in R2D2 in safekeeping and that becomes the focal point of the entire movie? The Force Awakens calls back to that when Poe puts a map that will help find Luke Skywalker in BB-8.
4. New Planets Similar To Tatooine, Endor, And Hoth
The Force Awakens introduces a new set of planets that are very similar to those in the original trilogy. Jakku is desert-like and sandy just like Tatooine (from A New Hope), while Takodana shares the lush forest environment similar to Endor (from Return of the Jedi). Then there is Hosnian Prime, which is snowy just like Hoth (from Empire Strikes Back). If this isn't a blatant callback to the originals, then I don't know what is.
5. The Return Of The Millennium Falcon
Lots of nods to the previous movies are made when the Millennium Falcon makes an appearance. For one, Rey calls it "garbage" — and the Millenium Falcon was basically the hooptie of spacecrafts throughout the original trilogy. Rey mistakenly says it made the Kessel Run in less than 14 parsecs and Han corrects her saying, "less than 12 parsecs."
6. Rey And Finn Are Basically The New Luke And Han
When Rey and Finn commandeer the Millennium Falcon and fight off TIE fighters in Jakku, it seems all too familiar. Their chemistry is very similar to that of Luke and Han when they fought off TIE fighters in the Millenium Falcon in A New Hope.
7. Chewie's Chess Set
Be prepared to see a cameo from Chewbacca's holographic chess game. And remember — always let the Wookie win.
8. "I Have A Really Bad Feeling About This"
Someone had to utter these famous lines in The Force Awakens and no one does it better than Han Solo before the gang gets into some major trouble.
9. A Familiar Torture Scene
There are two points in the movie in which Poe and Rey are strapped in a chair so that Kylo Ren can torture them. It echoes the scene in The Empire Strikes Back when Han Solo was tortured in Cloud City by Darth Vader.
10. A New Cantina
Maz Kanata runs a bar that is a hot spot in Takodana. Complete with a cool band and an interesting and volatile crowd of people, it's just like the cantina in Mos Eisley in A New Hope.
11. Boba Fett's Flag
Some people think that Boba Fett never really died in Return of the Jedi and many even thought he would make a cameo in The Force Awakens. Unfortunately, he doesn't, but a Mandalorian flag does — and that has been connected with him. If you look closely, it is mixed in with a bunch of other flags at the entrance of Maz Kanata's bar (amongst a lot of podracer flags from The Phantom Menace , I might add).
12. A Reference To The Clone Army
During the movie, General Hux and Kylo Ren have an argument about the Storm Troopers and their fighting abilities. General Hux assures that they have been trained exceptionally from birth, while Kylo Ren insists clones should be used to fight instead — a reference to the original clone army in Attack of the Clones.
13. Remember The Trash Compactor?
Finn and Han Solo force Captain Phasma to bring down the shields on The First Order's base. Afterwards, Finn asks what they should do with Phasma, and asks if there is a trash chute or compactor they can throw her down — just like the one he, Luke, Leia, and Chewbacca were trapped in during A New Hope.
14. The New And Improved Death Star
If you thought that the Death Star was big, wait till you see the Starkiller Base. It makes the Death Star look like one of those tiny bouncy balls.
15. Emperor 2.0
Supreme Leader Snoke is clearly a new version of the Emperor and he is definitely picking up where he left off. Whether or not there is a relation has yet to be revealed.
16. Nien Nunb Appears
The pilot first made an appearance in Return of the Jedi and now he's back at it again. He's a personal favorite of mine, and I'm sure of others, too.
17. Welcome Back, Admiral Akbar
Another fan favorite comes back into the mix. Unfortunately, he doesn't say "It's a trap!"... but he still has the opportunity to say the phrase in Episodes VIII and IX.
18. Luke's Lightsaber Makes A Cameo
For reasons that have yet to be explained, Maz Kanata has Luke's lightsaber in her storage room full of stuff. She gives it to Finn to use during a battle on Takonada... but it is "calling" someone else's name. I'll get into that later.
19. Han And Leia, Together Again?
Not really. It seems that the two might have had an intergalactic break up. However, they reunite after not seeing each other for years and they seem to be on good terms. During their reunion, they exchange some nostalgic, albeit snarky, banter. He says she's changed her hair, while she says he still wears the same jacket.
20. Kylo Ren Has Another Name
The Force Awakens villain has a very cool name, but his real name is Ben. More than likely, he's named after Ben Kenobi aka Obi-Wan. How does the audience find this out? Well, let me explain.
21. Guess Who Kylo Ren's Parents Are?
During a scene that parallels Empire Strikes Back, Kylo Ren is called "Ben" when he is confronted by his father — Han Solo. Yup. Kylo is Han and Leia's son. He turned to the Dark Side after Luke tried to teach him the ways of the Force. Leia wants Han to bring him home, but after this classic father-son showdown, all doesn't go according to plan.
22. Darth Vader Is Back... Kind Of
The trailer showed Darth Vader's mangled mask and it was Kylo Ren who dug it up and is now worshipping it. He even talks to it — making us think that Vader might still be around. If not, his mask is there.
22. The Force Is Strong With Someone
Remember when I said that Luke's lightsaber was "calling" someone's name? That someone is Rey. The Force is very strong with her, as seen during a torture scene with Kylo Ren and an epic lightsaber battle with him towards the end of the movie. All along, people thought that Finn was the next Jedi, but Rey proves this wrong. She is definitely the Luke of this new trilogy... but she is all Rey.
23. "May The Force Be With You"
Throughout the entire movie, you'll probably be aching to hear this phrase. It's not said until the very end by General Leia (doesn't that sound great?) before Rey jets off in the Millennium Falcon with Chewbacca and R2D2 to find Luke Skywalker... and possibly train to be the next great Jedi.
Those are a lot of easter eggs to look out for — but they are all worth it.
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Images: Walt Disney/Lucasfilm; Giphy (23)