It has been a week since Star Wars: The Force Awakens aka Episode VII was unleashed upon the world, and a bunch of us have seen it, not only once, not twice, but multiple times (guilty as charged).
Each time around, you discover more and more similarities, “Easter Eggs” and nostalgic hooks to the OT (Original Trilogy), which were done to honour the franchise and the original cast, crew and directors.
Here is a list of things to look out for the next time you watch Star Wars: The Force Awakens. If you have not seen the movie yet, then it is safe to carry on reading, as I will be writing this in a “non-spoiler” style and are listed in order of appearance. Comments, additions and opinions are encouraged. Interact with us.
1. Star Wars MSE-6 Mouse Droid
Not too long into Star Wars: The Force Awakens, when we first board Kylo Ren’s Star Destroyer Finalizer, and Poe looks around, you will notice the MSE-6 from Episode IV cross the screen, humming the all to familiar sound effect as per the video. It happens quick, and the sound is soft, so pay attention. This sets the tone for the “Space Nostalgia”, to make the audience feel right at home.
Before Finn get’s given his name, his ID is FN-2187. The digits 2187, refer to the detention cell 2187 from Episode IV, where Princess Leia was being held captive, which was located in Detention Block AA-23 onboard The Death Star.
3. Nima Outpost Arch
On Jakku, the main trading settlement is called Nima Outpost, which was set-up by Nima The Hutt, hence the name. The gate is a structure that you will remember seeing in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, aka Episode I, at the Pod Races, as well as draws a striking resemblance to The Hutt’s Barge from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, aka Episode VI. It is later destroyed by The Millennium Falcon, symbolizing Han’s “Revenge” for being frozen in Carbonite by Jabba.
4. The Millennium Falcon
While Rey, BB-8 and Finn are running towards the shipyard (junkyard) after running under the Nima Outpost Arch, the camera pans across the horizon and you get a split second glimpse of the Millennium Falcon as they run past it while screaming at each other about needing a pilot to escape from the planet Jakku. This also happens to mentally set the scene for you and prepare you for the big reveal, as your subconscious would have picked up on the 5 speedy-blurry frames of the iconic smuggler cruise ship.
5. Luke’s Blast Shield Lightsaber Training Helmet
In Star Wars: A New Hope aka Episode IV, Luke is onboard the Millennium Falcon, and is training to use The Force to deflect laser blasts from a training orb with his Lightsaber. At this point, Han Solo teases Luke and Obi-Wan for believing in The Force and makes it clear he trusts his old fashioned blaster more than some “Hokey Religion and Ancient Weapon”. There is a helmet on the side of the console, which Obi-Wan gives to Luke.
This very same helmet, is still in the same spot in Star Wars: THe Force Awakens, and can be seen shortly after The Millennium Falcon enters space, after the dialogue between Rey, Finn and BB-8. It is consistently in scenes, for a while, and is prominent when Han stands where Obi-Wan did in Episode IV, and then in summary says, “I never used to believe in The Force and The Jedi, but it is all true”. Notice how Han both denies The Force and then acknowledges The Force in the same spot in two different movies.
6. I Have A Bad Feeling About This!
Apparently an inside joke at what used to be LucasArts, the sentence, “I have a bad feeling about this!” is said in every Star Wars movie.
- In Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens, this line is said by Han Solo right after Rey resets the fuses that open the doors to the Ranthar holding cells.
- In Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace, Obi-Wan Kenobi says this at the beginning of the film when Kenobi talks to Qui-Gon Jinn onboard the Droid Trade Federation Ship.
- In Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones, Anakin Skywalker says the line at Geonosis in the arena.
- In Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith, Obi-Wan Kenobi says the line to Anakin Skywalker as their damaged starfighters hurl at the closing blast door.
- In Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, Luke Skywalker says it when the Millennium Falcon approaches the Death Star and Han Solo says it before the walls of the trash compactor start to close in.
- In Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back, Princess Leia says it while they are outside The Millennium Falcon inside the “asteriod”.
- In Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi, C-3PO says it to R2-D2 when entering Jabba the Hutt’s palace and Han Solo, says it after the Ewoks begin preparations to feast on him, Luke & Chewie.
7. Luke’s Lightsaber Training Orb
In Star Wars: A New Hope aka Episode IV, Luke is onboard the Millennium Falcon, and is training to use The Force to deflect laser blasts from a training orb with his Lightsaber. This orb is thrust into the audience’s eyes while Finn is attempting to patch up a very disgruntled Chewie just before The Millennium Falcon jumps into Hyperspace for the first time in the movie. Keep your eyes peeled, it happens quick!
8. Visual Poetry
Whether you are a die-hard fan or a new convert, you should have picked up on the visual poetry between the OT (Episode IV, V, VI) and the EU (Episode I, II, III) Star Wars movies. If you did not, take a quick look at the video below to see how the scenes are all visually constructed to look and feel the same.
This was done to pay respect to the original cast, crew and directors and also to assist the audience in feeling at home by dropping visually nostalgic scenes into the movies, even though there were new or different actors, the style of filming linked them together. This happens in Star Wars: The Force Awakens very often as well, and most of the visuals and scene’s draw their parallels from Episode IV.
9. Maz Kanata’s Castle Cantina
While Rey, Finn, BB-8 and Han walk up to the steps to the Cantina, the camera pans over a host of flags, giving you the idea that this is a sanctuary or a very busy watering hole. Keep your eye’s open for Boba Fett’s Mandelorian Flag. As mentioned in point 8, take note of the scene similarity between the Maz Cantina (Star Wars: The Force Awakens, aka Episode VII), the Mos Eisley Cantina (Star Wars: A New Hope, aka Episode IV) and Coruscant Cantina (Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, aka Episode II) scenes.
10. Rey’s Force Vision
Rey has a Force Vision, which adds to her back story, and also gives direction to who she “could be”. During her vision, you are bombarded with a bunch of flashback-type scenes. One of the most noticeable scenes is the hallway where Luke and Darth Vader fight in Cloud City from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, aka Episode V, if you listen carefully, you will hear Luke yelling the iconic, “Nooooooooo!”. Yoda can also be heard at the end of her vision saying, “Rey, you have taken your first steps”. This helps link the OT to Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
11. Starkiller Base Army Scene
Starkiller Base is the name of the new weapon wielded by The New Order (Empire). Shortly after Rey’s Force Vision, you witness an address to the troops of The First Order. You will notice how visually similar this scene is to the images we have all seen of the Monarch Era of Hitler. The colours used, the yelling and the salute all solidify this. This was clearly used to symbolize the power and ruthless attitude expressed by The First Order and links into what happens next, justifying the brutality.
12. Carrie Fisher’s Daughter
Billie Lourd, Carrie Fisher‘s daughter plays a Resistance officer, very easily spotted by her variation of the famous Leia “Hairbuns” that her mother made famous. She can be seen in Star Wars: The Force Awakens working with a Resistance droid as well as at the end when Rey leaves The Resistance Base with Chewie.
13. It’s Not A Trap!
Old favourite Rebellion aliens return to make us feel like we are right back in the fight with the old Galactic Empire. Nien Nunb, the Sullustan who co-piloted the Millennium Falcon with Lando Calrissian during the Battle of Endor, and Admiral Ackbar, who now works for the Resistance are back or at least, still around. Nunb can be seen flying alongside Poe Dameron during the Battle at Starkiller Base.
14. Thermal Oscillator Trench Run
Again, referencing point 8, notice how the Trench Run leading to the Thermal Oscillator is a carbon copy of the Death Star Trench Run seen at the end of Star Wars: A New Hope, aka Episode IV. Stunning visual poetry linking nostalgia once again.
That is pretty much it for what I noticed after watching Star Wars: The Force Awakens on a small screen, the big screen and an IMAX screen! I will not publicly admit to the amount of times I have seen the movie, but just know that there is no limit to the amount of times you can see Star Wars: The Force Awakens before it gets old or boring. If I see more the next time around, I will update this post.
If I have not mentioned anything that you saw, please post it below in the comment section for others to read as well, but please try and keep it in a spoiler free tone. If you have not seen the movie, I hope that this list will accompany you into the cinema, and that it gives you an even better experience than you would have had before knowing some of these awesome points.
May The Force Be With You!