WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS for Star Wars: The Last Jedi
There was no shortage of memorable moments in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, but some of the best moments of fan service were probably missed. It goes without saying that a new entry in the Star Wars universe will be changing the series canon, or expanding it in controversial ways. And it's just as much of a guarantee that there will be plenty of Star Wars Easter Eggs to hunt for on repeat viewings. But sometimes, it's the subtlest moments that mean the most to the characters, the legacy of the franchise, and the filmmakers - and none of them should be missed.
So with that in mind, we're running down a few of the stand-out moments we spotted in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. They're not exactly "secrets," Easter Eggs, celebrity cameos, or hidden references, since they're meant to be spotted and appreciated. But as you'll see from this list, director Rian Johnson may have gone deeper into the Star Wars history than most fans expect.
What better excuse for another viewing of The Last Jedi than these, the best moments you probably missed?
10. General "Hugs"
The movie doesn't take long to show fans that the sense of humor will be alive and well, despite the odds stacked against the Resistance. As General Hux commands the destruction of the Resistance base on the planet D'Qar (and attempts to prevent the evacuation), he soon learns that Poe Dameron is deadly with more than an X-wing. Hailing the First Order Star Destroyer Finalizer (Hux's command ship) in search of their commanding officer, Poe repeatedly insults the increasingly-enraged Hux.
But the real joke is easy to miss, since Poe's responses are only heard through the Star Destroyer's comms. Poe is actually requesting "Commander Hugs," making even more of a joke out of the First Order leader previously defined by his fanaticism and rage. The first of many embarrassments Hux faces in The Last Jedi, as it turns out.
9. Kylo Ren Follows His Grandfather's Advice
The most devoted Star Wars fans were among those most cruel to the casting of child actor Jake Lloyd as the young Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. But for all young Annie's drawbacks, the film has led to a meme goldmine. Among the most creative is based on Anakin's first mission behind a spaceship's controls. When pressed into battle over the planet Naboo, Anakin famously pondered: "I'll try spinning. That's a good trick!" And thus, a meme was born.
Anakin would end up being a natural pilot, so his gut instinct to do "good tricks" actually paid off (even if he couldn't make them seem like wise decision at the time). It appears that director Rian Johnson is a fan of the meme, or a fan of the Skywalker flair for dramatics. Kylo Ren certainly fancies himself the "heir apparent" to Darth Vader, so it seems like he's been studying up on his grandfather's flying style. During his attack run on the Raddus, he inexplicably puts his fighter into a tight spin before attacking the Resistance docking bay. Does this finally prove... it is a good trick?
8. Rey Has Never Seen Rain
Rey doesn't get much time with Luke as a teacher after being drawn to the Dark Side. And shortly after that temptation sends Luke back to his hovel and Rey back to the Falcon, there's moment fans might miss completely. The Ahch-To island is being drenched with rain, leaving Rey to take cover beneath the Falcon's hull. But as she reaches her hand out to catch the runoff, grinning ear to ear, even devoted fans might wonder why this tiny moment seems more important. But the mystery is solved when you realize: Rey has never seen rain before.
Remembering back to when the heroes first headed for Maz Kanata's bar, the lush, green forest world caused Rey to reveal that "I didn't know there was this much green in the whole galaxy." It's then that Han (and the audience) realizes how much Rey missed out on growing up on the dusty
7. Leia Foreshadows Snoke's Ship Destruction
Fans will be talking about the physics and fictional ramifications of turning a Resistance ship into a lightspeed battering ram, for good reason. But as shocking as that moment was, an attention to the smallest detail teased it just thirty minutes into the film. Following the attack on the Raddus's, Leia uses The Force while unconscious, remaining alive in the vacuum of space and pulling herself back into the ship. Which requires her to head back through the broken metal that was once the bridge.
On her way to the airlock door, Leia flies past the holographic display that once stood in the center of the space - now toppled, but still working. Well, Leia actually flies through the projection of Snoke's flagship, the Supremacy... making 'contact' in the exact same spot, and headed the exact same trajectory of the Raddus. To punctuate the moment on rewatches, Leia's own 'strike' causes the hologram to flicker out. We can only assume Holdo was taking notes from a nearby window.
6. Leia Pulls Out Her Blaster One Last Time
Once Leia wakes up from her post-spacewalk coma, she finds things with the Resistance somehow less stable than when she was blown up along with the rest of their leadership. Poe Dameron has led a mutiny against the next admiral in the chain of command, and taken over the bridge by force (and yes, Admiral Holdo's silence is one of Last Jedi's dumbest plot holes). Ever the leader, Leia wastes no time in marching to the bridge, blasting through the door, and hitting Poe with a stun blast before he knows what hit him.
The added detail here is that Leia is dressed in a flowing white gown - a nice callback to her introduction to the world back in the first Star Wars. Again, dressed head to toe in crisp white, and on the other end of a stun blast. What makes this even better? The blaster Leia uses against Poe is easily recognizable as a DDC Defender sporting blaster. For newcomers, that's the exact blaster she used in that first appearance.
5. "Darth Sidious"
When Rey starts getting more aggressive with Luke, and stating that his pessimistic, cynical view of the Jedi is straying from the truth, he snaps back. He points out - rightly, if we're being honest - that at the height of the Jedi's power and influence, they "allowed Darth Sidious to rise, create the Empire, and wipe them out." And to rub salt in the wound, points out that it was the Jedi who created Darth Vader. The shot at Obi-wan Kenobi is probably coming from a place of guilt and anger, but fans shouldn't look past the important detail. While the audience knows that the Jedi let a Sith defeat them, we've never seen Luke discover that.
It's also the first time that characters from the original trilogy have actually referred to "The Emperor" as his proper Sith title, Darth Sidious. And when you start to narrow down the people that actually know that name at all, the story begins to fill itself in. It seems that Luke conversed with the Force Ghosts of either Obi-wan or Yoda prior to his exile. Exactly how much of the prequel trilogy he was told is a question for his return, should it ever happen.
4. Snoke's Guards Follow The Rule of Two
In the Star Wars universe, "two" sure seems to be magic number. The Force is divided between Light and Dark, the Jedi Order seems based on a foundation of Masters and Apprentices, and even the most complex political dilemmas can be boiled down to 'good vs. evil.' In the case of the Sith, an actual 'Rule of Two' was put in place by Darth Bane, dictating that only two Sith Lords could exist at a time. It was an idea partly informed by Darth Revan and Malak (seemingly alluded to in Last Jedi). But Snoke and the First Order are not the Sith: why have two when ONE monolithic order is achievable?
The idea is an interesting one to discuss, particularly in how Snoke doesn't emulate it. And the best example is in the Praetorian Guards who occupy his throne room. Their red garb shows Snoke intends to keep up the intimidation and pageantry of the Emperor, but with some key differences. The weapons wielded by the guards suggests variety, but it isn't the case. Each guard is one of a set of two brandishing the same weapons, mirrored on either side of the throne. Instead of unity, it communicates redundancy. Each of the Praetorian are made lesser by being one of two - it's only Snoke who sits in the center, without equal. A nice touch, you have to admit.
3. Yes, Someone Did Lose an Arm
It's the strangest detail in an otherwise mainly family-friendly franchise: if you're making a Star Wars movie, you simply MUST show a character losing an arm or hand. In the first Star Wars, a Mos Eisley bar patron loses his right arm to Ben Kenobi's lightsaber. In The Empire Strikes Back, both Luke and a Wampa lose their right hands. In Return of the Jedi, Luke take's Vader's robotic right hand. No arms lost in Phamtom Menace, strangely, but takes Anakin's right arm in Attack of the Clones and throws a dismemberment festival in Revenge of the Sith.
Fans might assume that The Last Jedi also does away with the tradition, after J.J. Abrams kept all hands and arms intact in The Force Awakens. But when the film returns to Snoke's throne room upon General Hux's arrival, the true damage of Kylo's Force-strike can be seen. The lightsaber ignited straight through Snoke's midsection, but it also cleanly separated his forearm, leaving it neatly resting on the arm of his throne.
2. Leia "Changed Her Hair"
There's no need to express the heartbreak of fans at the loss of Carrie Fisher. Not only to lose a beloved actress and Star Wars icon, but to miss out on the story that was originally planned for General Leia Organa in the future of the Resistance. Thankfully, the world did get to see the Skywalker twins united after what is apparently years, if not decades apart. Their scene together is brief, and overshadowed by the third member of their small family who didn't make it out of The Force Awakens. But the writers still found a way to give Han Solo a nod - though most fans might not catch it.
The reunion of Han and Leia wasn't one fans even knew to watch for in The Force Awakens, since the two were last seen in love. But when Leia arrived to rescue Han from First Order troops, the mood between them suggested a long time apart - as did Han's first words: "You changed your hair." It got a laugh from those who remembered Leia's most memorable original trilogy hairstyle. And in The Last Jedi, it's Leia's turn to pass on Han's humor. When she first comes face to face with her long lost brother, she breaks the ice first: " I know what you're going to say... I changed my hair."
1. Facing Down The First Order With a Laser Sword
The Luke Skywalker that Rey met at the end of The Force Awakens was preceded by his legendary reputation. The truth was a man far less heroic. But in Luke's defense, it does seem like a Hail Mary in hindsight. With the First Order wiping out the New Republic, and reducing the Resistance to a few hundred soldiers, Luke is justified in asking exactly what Rey or Leia think his return could actually solve. In his own words, "You think... what? I'm going to walk out with a laser sword and face down the whole First Order?"
Fortunately for movie fans and the Star Wars galaxy, the end of the film sees Luke take the spotlight as the hero everyone wants him to be. Projecting himself across the galaxy to the planet Crait, he uses the last of his life force to give the Resistance time to escape. By then, most viewers won't even realize that Luke defies his own doubts by "walking out with a laser sword to face down the whole First Order."