We may still joke about Star Wars being a thing only nerds like, but let’s face it: it’s a part of popular culture that’s become just as mainstream as football and apple pie. That means that the geekiest among us have to work a little harder to make our references that much more obscure, so we can brag to each other about catching them when more casual fans don’t. To make things a little easier for the uninitiated, we’ve rounded up a bunch of tiny Star Wars Easter eggs in video games, movies, and TV shows, from Joss Whedon to American architectural landmarks. Impress your dorky friends with the knowledge you’ll gain after the jump.
The props team of Joss Whedon’s 2002 space Western had a running joke going in which they would hide an action figure of Han Solo frozen in carbonite in the backgrounds of several scenes. There’s a rumor that there’s one in every episode, which isn’t as impressive when you remember that there are only 13 of those. Sigh.
Though the Final Fantasy games aren’t connected to one another, there are some similarities between all of them, such as characters’ names. Biggs and Wedge, for example, are two minor characters who appear as a pair in nearly every game. They’re also two members of Luke Skywalker’s Red Squadron team in Episode IV: A New Hope. This is not a coincidence.
We’re guessing you’d probably left the theater by the time the final credit sequence of Up! rolled around, but if you stuck around for it then you probably saw this image of Carl and Russell exiting a screening of Star Wars. Clearly Russell’s a part of their target demographic, so we’d like to imagine that he enjoyed it. Carl, maybe not so much.
In Raiders of the Lost Ark, there’s a little hieroglyph of C3PO and R2D2 that’s visible to the left of Indy as he’s trying to make his way out of the snake pit. Even dorkier? The same image is also a part of the Indiana Jones Lego set. That is some attention to continuity.
Want to see more of your favorite astromech droid (yes, that is what they’re called)? Blink and you’ll miss R2D2 whizzing past the bridge window on the USS. Enterprise in JJ Abrams’ 2009 reboot. Maybe Threepio will show up in an explosion during the sequel?
Men in Black
The Men in Black series has its own share of Star Wars cameos, too — though in the first movie, it’s not so much the characters who are referenced as the creator, George Lucas, who shows up on a screen full of secret aliens (on the right, above). In the sequel, the worm guys speak Huttese to each other, the language spoken by Jabba the Hutt. (Wait a second, isn’t that also Newt Gingrich to the left? Well, that explains why he’s so eager to get a moon base up and running.)
If you’re looking for something a little more obscure to argue about, Damen Lindelof and JJ Abrams admitted to including a lot of small and indirect Star Wars references in their TV series Lost. Among them, as one blog noted, is the similar language barrier between Han and Chewbacca, and Jin and Michael. Sawyer even calls Jin “Chewie” at one point.
Even more obscure than Jin’s role as wookie in Lost is Buster Bluth’s role as Skywalker in the second season of Arrested Development. In the episode “Out on a Limb,” Buster discovers the untold truth about his real father, and then he loses his hand. Coincidence? Maybe, but we’re holding out that it isn’t.
The National Cathedral
Believe it or, Star Wars references aren’t just relegated to cameos on film — they can happen in real life, too! When the National Cathedral in Washington DC was still under construction, the builders hosted a contest in which children submitted drawings of decorative sculptures to be placed as gargoyles on the structure. One kid drew Darth Vader and won third place. He should have won first, if you ask us. In fact, there should be a Darth Vader sculpture behind the altar, blasphemy be damned! Literally!