Star Wars: The Last Jedi is the gift that keeps on giving. Rian Johnson's film is layered with all kinds of fun easter eggs and secrets which fans have enjoyed uncovering.
Members of the Lucasfilm Story Group, Pablo Hidalgo, Leeland Chee, Matt Martin, and Rayne Roberts, recently sat down with Andi Gutierrez of The Star Wars Show to discuss the secrets of The Last Jedi. Together, the group revealed tons of secrets about the film and how myriad tiny details within connect to previous films and the greater Star Wars canon. These are details many fans can miss even after repeat viewings, but knowing them adds a deeper level of understanding of the craft and care that went into making The Last Jedi.
Here are ten cool secrets Lucasfilm revealed about The Last Jedi:
BATTLEFRONT II CONNECTION
Star Wars: Battlefront II was in production simultaneously with The Last Jedi and the game's designers went the extra mile to interface with Rian Johnson and his team to make sure it tied into the newest film in the saga. One of the items sighted in Luke Skywalker's hut on Ahch-To, a compass, is something Skywalker acquires in the game when he is younger. The Story Group inferred that this was the compass Luke used to lead him to Ahch-To. The prop of the compass was generated in 24 hours; it was 3D printed quickly after it was designed for inclusion in the film.
Other items belonging to Luke that tie into the saga include a kyber crystal necklace similar to (but not the same one as) the necklace worn by Jyn Erso in Rogue One. The Story Group also noted that the Jedi emblem which appears on the cover of one of the ancient Jedi texts was designed back in 2002 by the Consumer Products Division for marketing purposes but has since become part of the official on-screen canon.
Battlefront II also contains a scene where the Resistance acquires the plans to the Dreadnought, the new superweapon at the start of The Last Jedi. The Resistance transmits the plans for the Dreadnought to Leia, which is how Poe knew just where the Resistance Bomber Fleet had to hit the Dreadnought to destroy it. The Story Group further explained that the same download with the Dreadnought plans contained much more intel on the First Order fleet, which is how Rose had schematics of the hyperspace tracker and where it was on Snoke's flagship when she and Finn revealed their plan to Poe.
HAN SOLO'S DICE
Han Solo's dice is one of the most significant objects in the film. Originally, J.J. Abrams shot a scene in The Force Awakens where Han placed the dice back in the Millennium Falcon cockpit. Rian Johnson saw this and decided to make the dice more prominent in The Last Jedi - they are taken by Luke from the cockpit and given to Leia via the Force on Crait - only for Johnson to find out later that J.J. cut that scene. The dice are still in the cockpit of the Falcon in Episode VII (and the scene is in the novelization), but the movie doesn't call any attention to them.
Instead of a callback to a scene in The Force Awakens that no longer exists, the dice ends up becoming more of a legacy nod to A New Hope. The true significance is Han Solo's spirit, which now carries over into The Last Jedi. The Story Group members also imply that fans may see the dice again, most likely in the upcoming Solo: A Star Wars Story.
Probably the most breathtaking moment in The Last Jedi is what the Lucasfilm Group refers to internally as The Holdo Hero Moment, when Vice Admiral Holdo sacrifices herself by jumping to hyperspace and ramming the Resistance flagship into Snoke's Mega Star Destroyer, the Supremacy. Pablo Hidalgo notes that it's the mass of the Raddus that allows Holdo's gambit to succeed. An X-Wing or a small fighter jumping to lightspeed could never do significant damage to a ship the size of the Supremacy, but the great mass of the comparably-sized Raddus made it a devastating battering ram that sliced right though the Mega Star Destroyer.
The sound design, specifically in the case of this moment, the decision to cut the sound so the moment plays in the proper silence of deep space, is another vital component that makes the scene so effective and memorable.
THE MEANING OF "D.J."
Benecio Del Toro's deceitful codebreaker named D.J. was intended to be a 'politically agnostic character' looking out only for himself and not interested in risking his neck for either side of the First Order vs. Resistance conflict. (Note that at early in the development process, Rian Johnson considered using Lando Calrissian before creating the D.J. character.) As part of D.J.'s backstory, it's revealed "D.J." is actually short for "Don't Join!", which was inspired by a classic Elvis Costello poster (see below). D.J.'s hat even has "Don't Join" inscribed on the metal plating.
REYLO BEGAN IN THE FORCE AWAKENS
According to screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan, the connection through the Force between Rey and Kylo Ren that Rian Johnson depicts in The Last Jedi began in The Force Awakens. During their interrogation scene when Kylo probed Rey's mind, the doors to each other's minds and memories opened up for both, forging their connection. The Story Group noted that such connections through the Force between characters who are otherwise opposed to each other have been seen before in canon, citing the connection between Ezra Bridger and Darth Maul in Star Wars: Rebels.
The moment at the end of The Last Jedi when Kylo Ren is kneeling in the Rebel base on Crait and sees Rey through the Force, who then shuts the Millennium Falcon door, is referred to as "The Godfather shot". This references the final shot of Francis Ford Coppola's film when Michael Corleone's associates shut the door on his wife Kay, cutting her off from his life as the Godfather.
LUKE'S LAST STAND EASTER EGGS
All of the clues regarding Luke Skywalker's heroic last stand on Crait have been dissected, now that fans know it was an apparition through the Force Kylo Ren faced off against and not the flesh and blood Last Jedi. The Story Group went through many of the clues again: Luke appears younger than he does in his scenes with Rey on Ahch-To, he wields the blue Skywalker family lightsaber, and he leaves no footprints as we walks on the salt surface of Crait. When Luke touches Leia in the moments before he confronts her son and his former apprentice, she is the only one who realizes it's not really Luke.
Another clue mentioned is that salt flakes are flying around during their lightsaber duel; the flakes spark off of Kylo Ren's lightsaber but nothing hits Luke's. Similarly, when Luke brushes his shoulder to mock how the First Order's laser bombardment did no damage to him, there was nothing on his shoulder brushed off.
LEIA'S HOLOGRAM WAS FROM THE ARCHIVES
Rian Johnson's production team went back and found the Lucasfilm archival footage of Carrie Fisher from 1977 and used that footage to recreate the hologram of her famous "Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi..." plea that R2-D2 uses as "a dirty trick" to try to rouse Luke back to the fight. Hidalgo notes that Johnson's team added more distortion to show that the hologram had aged and the image has degraded. That hologram has been inside of Artoo since A New Hope.
THE ROGUE ONE CONNECTION
The sacrifices of the Rogue One team in that film end up as an Easter egg of major significance in The Last Jedi. Late in Rogue One, when Jyn Erso is scanning all of the Empire's projects in development, eagle-eyed fans can spot that hyperspace tracking was one of the projects. As the Resistance found out to its detriment in The Last Jedi, hyperspace tracking is a technology the First Order now has decades later. The Story Group notes this was not in the original script but was added later in by post-production team as a way to bridge films and show continuity.
Rogue One's director, Gareth Edwards himself, has a cameo in The Last Jedi. He's prominent on Crait as a Resistance soldier standing in the foxhole next to man who tasted the salt. In further homage to his film, "R.1" is written in Aurebesh on Edwards' tunic. Edwards' cameo is payback for Rian Johnson's cameo in Rogue One. Johnson plays one of the Imperial officers standing next to the Death Star laser as it fires from its cannon.
RIAN JOHNSON AND FRIENDS CAMEOS
"Rian Johnson has a lot of friends," Hidalgo says, and he isn't joking. The director invited many of his filmmaker peers to cameo in The Last Jedi. Edgar Wright appears with the Resistance in Crait (see photo above), as does Attack the Block director Joe Cornish. Noah Segan, who has been in every Rian Johnson film, portrayed X-Wing pilot Stomeroni Starck (the Lucasfilm Story Group is not sure if he survived to the end of the movie).
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who has also appeared in every Rian Johnson film, was the voice of Slowen-Lo, the "concerned neighbor" who complained to Canto Bight authorities about Rose and Finn parking their shuttle on the beach. (The shuttle received multiple parking tickets as an Easter egg.) Rian himself is believed to have voiced the alien toasting on the yacht as it floated over the waterfall on Canto Bight.
Classic Star Wars cameos include Mark Hamill providing the motion capture and voice over as Dobbu Scay, the alien gambler feeding coins into BB-8 on Canto Bight. Hamill's three children pop up in a cameo as well. Star Wars veteran Warwick Davis and his daughter also played two of the three aliens called The Lucky Three gambling in the casino.
POE, LUKE, AND LEIA
Luke Skywalker's appearance on Crait turned out to be a significant moment for Poe Dameron as well, according to the Story Group. In fact, Poe had been working with Leia to find Luke for a long time. Luke was Poe's mission, and our first introduction to the new trilogy was through Poe on Jakku trying to complete his mission to find Luke via the map that leads to Ahch-To. (Why a map to Skywalker existed in the first place remains one of the unanswered questions of the trilogy.)
To Poe's amazement, and maybe his chagrin, after all of his efforts, including being tortured by the First Order, suddenly Luke just shows up on Crait! The Story Group noted that this may be the first time Poe has ever seen Luke Skywalker, the legendary twin brother of his mentor General Leia Organa - though technically Poe has still never actually seen Luke 'in the flesh', and now, sadly, he never will.
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019