Hardcore Trekkies pride themselves on knowing every detail about their beloved franchise. Yep, we’re talking about the famously devoted fans of Star Trek – the ones who definitely have an opinion on the Kirk/Picard debate. But even the obsessives may have missed these 40 hidden snippets. If that sounds like you, then read on and impress all your buddies at your next con!
40. The first real-life astronaut to appear on Star Trek was Mae Jemison
Mae Jemison became the first African-American woman to go into space when she orbited the Earth on the Endeavour space shuttle. And in a similarly thrilling moment, she also received the honor of being the first astronaut to make an appearance in the Star Trek franchise. Well, Jemison’s a massive Trekkie, so it no doubt excited her to play transporter operator Lieutenant Palmer in The Next Generation.
39. Darth Vader and Marty McFly are referenced in The Next Generation
In The Next Generation episode “Sub Rosa,” there’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it reference to two iconic sci-fi movie characters. And, yes, we’re talking ones outside of the Star Trek universe. Two of the gravestones on screen bear the words “Vader” and “McFly,” respectively. These are, of course, references to Star Wars villain Darth Vader and Back to the Future hero Marty McFly. We’d never have guessed that those two were buried together…
38. The Vasquez Rocks in California are where Captain Kirk fought the Gorn
California’s Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park looks pretty alien, so it makes sense that it was used as the backdrop for Captain Kirk’s battle with the Gorn. Did you know, though, that the same location also appears in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier? Oh, and in an episode of Picard, too, when Jean-Luc visits his friend Raffi.
37. In Discovery, the ship’s console references other shows
If you haven’t already worn out your pause button to spot this neat Easter egg, we’ll fill you in. In the Discovery episode “Lights and Shadows,” the starship’s console seems to feature the labels “TNG,” “ENT,” “VOY” and “DS9.” Got it yet? Those are references to The Next Generation, Enterprise, Voyager and Deep Space Nine, respectively.
36. R2D2 makes a quick cameo in the 2009 movie
The space battles and thrill-a-minute action of the 2009 Star Trek movie served J.J. Abrams well when he directed Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Interestingly, though, he had actually included a quick reference to the rival franchise in his earlier movie. At one point, beloved droid R2D2 can be seen floating in space among the debris of destroyed Federation spacecraft.
35. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos cameos in Star Trek Beyond
One for the business nerds here! Star Trek Beyond features a cameo from none other than Amazon boss Jeff Bezos. You wouldn’t know just from watching, as he’s only on screen for eight seconds. The alien prosthetic makeup he’s wearing kinda obscures things, too. But Bezos seemingly didn’t mind not being recognizable. He told an audience at the Pathfinder Awards, “It was super-fun for me. It was a bucket-list item.”
34. Sulu has a husband in Star Trek Beyond as a tribute to George Takei
During Star Trek Beyond, John Cho’s Hikaru Sulu is shown on screen with his husband and daughter. This was intended as an homage to George Takei – the gay actor and LGBT activist who famously played Sulu in the original series. So, how did Takei take it? Well, he wasn’t actually all that keen on the decision. He argued that the movie should have featured a new LGBT character rather than tinkering with Sulu, who’s never been canonically gay.
33. There are Easter eggs in the Enterprise’s schematic
Think you’re a dedicated Trekkie? Then maybe you’ve seen the schematic of the U.S.S. Enterprise on display in the Hollywood Entertainment Museum. No worries if you haven’t, though, as it’s also shown in nearly every episode of The Next Generation. But wherever you’ve spotted the schematic, you should look out next time for the amusing Easter eggs. There’s a Porsche automobile in the Main Shuttlebay, for instance, and a mouse sitting on a wheel in the Engineering section.
32. The Infinite Improbability Generator is from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Another sweet – if pretty nerdy – tribute can be seen in the impulse drive system schematic panel aboard the Enterprise. That includes a component reading “Infinite Improbability Generator,” which is a neat nod to Douglas Adams’ seminal book The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
31. Kirk telling Scotty to “skip to the end” references Simon Pegg’s Spaced
Remember the moment in Star Trek Beyond when Captain Kirk tells Scotty to “skip to the end?”? That’s a reference to Spaced – the geek-friendly British sitcom that first brought Simon Pegg to fame. In the show, Pegg’s character Tim would often say those words to force people to get to the point of their long-winded stories.
30. Kirk toasts to absent friends three times across three different movies
In the closing moments of Star Trek Beyond, Chris Pine’s Captain Kirk makes a poignant toast to “absent friends.” That particular scene is a tribute to cast member Anton Yelchin, who tragically died after filming, and legendary Spock actor Leonard Nimoy. But it also mirrors speeches given by Kirk in Star Trek III: The Search For Spock and Picard in Star Trek: Nemesis – both of which also use the words “absent friends.”
29. The books on Captain Georgiou’s shelf reference The Next Generation episodes
In the very first episode of Discovery, Captain Philippa Georgiou has some pretty revealing books in her ready room. Sample titles include “The Trouble with Tribbles,” “The Way to Eden,” “Mirror, Mirror” and “Return to Tomorrow.” Got it yet? Those are all the names of episodes in the original series. Neat!
28. In Discovery, Captain Lorca’s lab is a treasure trove of Easter eggs
In Discovery, Captain Lorca also has a personal space that is filled with Star Trek Easter eggs. While peeking at Lorca’s laboratory, fans have been able to spot a Gorn skeleton – referencing the classic original series episode in which Kirk battled the terrifying green alien. There’s also a Tribble that has been dissected and some Cardassian voles.
27. Lorca’s whisky brand pays tribute to Scotty
Also in Discovery, Captain Lorca drinks “Wee Bairns” whisky – which is a name sure to put a smile on the face of any Trekkie. The same whisky was spotlighted in a couple of Deep Space Nine episodes, too. And that brand name is, of course, a reference to James Doohan’s Scotty. He twice used the phrase in episodes of the original series.
26. James Cromwell appears as four different characters in three Trek projects
In a move that would surely have aggravated continuity buffs, screen veteran James Cromwell has appeared as four different characters across three distinct Star Trek projects. His highest-profile role was undoubtedly as Zefram Cochrane in the movie First Contact, although fans will know that he also portrays Jaglom Shrek, Hanok and Prime Minister Nayrok in Deep Space Nine and The Next Generation.
25. Horror legend Jeffrey Combs appears as nine different characters
If you love scary movies as well as Star Trek, then you may remember Dr. Herbert West in Re-Animator. He was memorably brought to life by Jeffrey Combs, who also holds the distinction of playing nine different characters across various Star Trek shows. Combs has popped up in Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise. He’s even lent his voice to the videogame Star Trek: Elite Force II.
24. The Millennium Falcon makes a cameo in First Contact
You may not realize it, but J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek wasn’t the first related project to include a sly wink to Star Wars. In First Contact, the Millennium Falcon can be seen briefly during a huge battle between the Borg and the Federation. The Industrial Light & Magic visual effects team worked on both First Contact and the Special Editions of the initial Star Wars trilogy, so they took the opportunity to sneak Han Solo’s iconic ship in there.
23. The Borg’s lights flicker in Morse code
The antagonists of First Contact were famously the Borg – a race of frightening cybernetic aliens. Those flickering green lights on their eyepieces, though? They hid a secret. Yep, apparently, those lights blinked in Morse code. And in a neat touch from the prosthetic makeup team, the letters produced by the blinks actually spelled out crew members’ names.
22. Chateau Picard wine makes an appearance in Discovery
When a bottle of Chateau Picard wine was seen in Captain Georgiou’s office in Discovery, it made fans happy. You see, in The Next Generation, Trekkies learned that Captain Picard’s family owned a vineyard in France. And given that Discovery is a prequel series, it looks like the wine was celebrated throughout the galaxy long before Picard commanded the Enterprise.
21. U.S.S. Franklin’s serial number in Star Trek Beyond is a tribute to Leonard Nimoy
When filming on Star Trek Beyond finally rolled around, one key cast member had to gracefully bow out from his role. Leonard Nimoy was in poor health at this point, you see, and he sadly passed away before the movie was released. The filmmakers paid tribute to the legendary actor, though, through the serial number on the U.S.S. Franklin. NX-326 is a reference to Nimoy’s birthday, March 26.
20. Apollo program scientist Farouk El-Baz is namechecked in The Next Generation
Farouk El-Baz may not be a household name, but anyone into space exploration will know exactly who he is. Still none the wiser? Well, the Egyptian-American space scientist was instrumental in training astronauts on the Apollo program. And in The Next Generation, he receives a fitting tribute. In the show, the Enterprise has a shuttle appropriately named the El-Baz.
19. Nurse Ogawa hints at a later twist in the Next Generation episode “Genesis”
If you’re a Trekkie worth your salt, then you’ll remember that the Next Generation episode “Genesis” sees the crew of the Enterprise de-evolving into primitive beings. Riker becomes a caveman, for example, and Troi an amphibian. And while Nurse Alyssa Ogawa ultimately de-evolves into an ape form, actress Patti Yasutake may actually be hinting at this twist much earlier in the episode. If you pay attention, you can see her doing a super-subtle ape walk away from her command console at one point.
18. Hamlet is referenced in nearly every Star Trek show
Know your Bard? Then you’ll get the Hamlet references popping up everywhere in the Star Trek franchise. Quotes from the play form the basis for titles of episodes of the original series, The Next Generation, Voyager and the film Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. And Patrick Stewart was always comfortable with reciting Shakespearean language in The Next Generation. He was once a member of the RSC, you see.
17. The Next Generation finale is referenced in Picard with a poker game
The first scene of Picard – which saw Patrick Stewart returning to his most famous role for the first time in almost two decades – features Jean-Luc playing poker with Data. This was, if you didn’t already know, a call-back to the finale of The Next Generation, when the captain joined his crew’s regular poker game for the first time. It’s no surprise, either, that fans were excited to see the new show immediately honor the past.
16. A plaque on the bridge of the Voyager lists names of producers
You may have spotted that dedication plaque on the bridge of the U.S.S. Voyager. What you may not have figured out, however, is that the names inscribed on that plaque are the various writers, producers, and crew members of Voyager, listed under titles such as “Starfleet Command” and “Science Ops.” Best of all is the name chosen for “Chief of Staff”: none other than Trek creator Gene Roddenberry.
15. The “GNDN” label has an amusing meaning
Set designer John Jeffries explained the hilarious meaning behind “GNDN” on a Star Trek original series DVD extra. He said, “The plumbing and pipes in the Enterprise all had color codes and some form of nomenclature on it.” Jeffries then revealed, “GNDN with a number behind it and then a color code became very common throughout the Enterprise. GNDN means ‘Goes nowhere, does nothing.’” Ha!
14. Akira-class starships reference the classic Manga and director Akira Kurosawa
Apparently, plenty of The Next Generation’s writers and crew members were fans of anime. It makes sense, then, that the Akira-class starships on the show are named after Katsuhiro Otomo’s genre-defining 1988 movie. Some folks believe, meanwhile, that this could actually be a reference to the legendary Japanese director Akira Kurosawa. Either way, it’s a neat Easter egg.
13. “Androbin Batman” is referenced in Deep Space Nine
In the Deep Space Nine episode “Equilibrium,” Captain Sisko and Dr. Julian Bashir search the records of enrolment at a music academy on the planet Trill. And one of the students listed? They’re named “Androbin Batman” in what is clearly a reference to DC Comics’ dynamic duo. In a happy twist of fate, Alexander Siddig, who plays Bashir, would later go on to star as Ra’s al Ghul in the Batman origin show Gotham.
12. Miles O’Brien’s biological duplicate is a “replicant”
A biological duplicate of Miles O’Brien was created by the Paradan government in Deep Space Nine. However, the double isn’t known as an android or clone – as is common in Star Trek – but a “replicant.” This was writer Paul Robert Coyle’s reference to Blade Runner. And to his surprise, no one at the studio told him he couldn’t actually use that word in the script.
11. Harry Mudd’s pet insect is named after a character from The Big Bang Theory
Discovery episode “Choose Your Pain” features Rainn Wilson’s first appearance as Harry Mudd. The best bit, though? Mudd has a pet insect named Stuart. On the aftershow After Trek, the episode’s writers revealed that this was a nod to the character Stuart Bloom from The Big Bang Theory. And in that show, Stuart is friends with Wil Wheaton, who portrayed Wesley Crusher in The Next Generation. Nice callback!
10. Federation defense pods in The Next Generation resemble the Red October
A few years after The Hunt for Red October hit movie theaters, Federation defense pods would make their debut in The Next Generation. And if you thought that these pods bear a striking resemblance to the Red October sub, you’d be right. Not deliberately, mind. Production designer Rick Sternbach just used a similar model kit for the Soviet Typhoon-class submarine.
9. The Sopranos’ Paulie Walnuts inspired the hairstyle of an alien species
Enterprise features the Mazarite – a race of aliens with very distinctive hair. And that swept-back ponytail look? It came from a very unexpected source. Hairstylist Michael Moore admitted to Star Trek: Communicator magazine that he had based the ’do on the style sported by The Sopranos’ Paulie Walnuts.
8. A computer console shows the names of the first six Doctors from Doctor Who
The Next Generation features a sneaky reference to Doctor Who in its episode “The Neutral Zone.” Yep, on a computer screen, there’s a list of the six actors who, up to that point, had played The Doctor on television. But, unfortunately, one name was misspelled, with “Peter Davison” showing up as “Peter Davidson.” Oops.
7. M*A*S*H is frequently referenced in The Next Generation
M*A*S*H – perhaps one of the most important and popular shows in U.S. TV history – is referenced a number of times during The Next Generation and Voyager. Most of these nods come from “4077” cropping up on computer displays and readouts. This, if you didn’t already know, is the unit number of the show’s titular Mobile Army Surgical Hospital.
6. In Star Trek Beyond, Syl’s prosthetics homage the face-huggers from Alien
One of the most striking aliens in Star Trek Beyond is undoubtedly Syl, an Ensign aboard the Enterprise. Those crazy appendages that look like crab legs? You may remember that they open out at one point. And that’s deliberate. Joel Harlow, the head of makeup and prosthetics on the movie, told Forbes that this was his homage to the terrifying face-huggers in the Alien franchise.
5. Department of Temporal Investigations Agent Dulmur is a nod to The X-Files
The Deep Space Nine episode “Trials and Tribble-ations” features Agent Dulmur of the Department of Temporal Investigations coming to the DS9. And “Dulmur” was intended by the writers as an anagram of “Mulder” – the laconic FBI agent played by David Duchovny in The X-Files. Weirdly, though, they ended up substituting the “e” for a “u.”
4. The number 5843 has special significance when it appears in Picard
Eagle-eyed viewers of the Picard episode “Maps and Legends” may have caught a glimpse of a hilarious workplace sign. Hidden in a Borg cube, the notice reads, “This facility has gone 5,843 days without an assimilation.” But that number is significant in a more poignant way. The first Picard trailer was released 5,843 days after Matt Jeffries – the man who designed the original Enterprise – passed away.
3. The shuttlecraft Indiana Jones appeared in The Next Generation
Another computer display, another in-joke reference to a popular franchise. In the Next Generation episode “Evolution,” viewers are given a quick glimpse of the shuttle bay operations display on board the Enterprise. And there, they’ll see that one of the craft is designated the Indiana Jones – a reference, of course, to Harrison Ford’s heroic archaeologist.
2. Wallenberg-class transports in Picard are named after a heroic Swedish diplomat
Watch the Picard episode “Absolute Candor” again, and you’ll hear a reference to Wallenberg-class transports when Picard is talking about relocating Romulans. That name is a moving reference to Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who rescued thousands of Jews from Nazi-occupied Hungary during WWII. All in all, it’s appropriate for a vessel meant to rescue frightened people staring mass death in the face.
1. The “Slusho” drink also features in other J.J. Abrams productions
“Slusho” is a fictional frozen drink that has made subtle appearances in a host of J.J. Abrams productions. Uhura orders it in Star Trek, for instance, while its logo is shown at a San Francisco bar in Star Trek Into Darkness. Perhaps inspired by Quentin Tarantino, who also includes his own fictional brands in his movies, Abrams has also referenced the drink in Cloverfield, Alias, Super 8 and Fringe.
And if you’ve ended up here, perhaps you’re also a Star Wars fan? While that saga sadly came to an end in 2019 with The Rise of Skywalker, as the eponymous character himself once said, no one’s ever really gone. The franchise lives on in the form of comic books, video games, television shows and more – a whole expanded universe with plenty to offer. Or, of course, you could rewatch all the movies and brush up on your knowledge. Join us, young Padawan, as we uncover some of the biggest Star Wars secrets…
40. Wedge Antilles is Ewan McGregor’s uncle
Wedge Antilles is the hotshot rebel fighter pilot who first appeared in the original 1977 film. Of course, the actor is known to Star Wars fans, but he’s largely overlooked by casual viewers. Yet not many people know that the person who played him – Denis Lawson – is the real-life uncle of Ewan McGregor, who played Obi-Wan Kenobi in the prequel trilogy and, kinda, in Episode VII. The Force clearly runs strong in the Lawson-McGregor bloodline.
39. The Sith were almost called ‘The Damned’
Today, “Sith” seems like the perfect evil-sounding word to describe the powerful faction who embraced the Dark Side in their pursuit of galactic domination. But Darth Vader and co. were originally going to be coined “The Damned.” That is, before a certain British punk rock band of the same name rose to prominence and forced creator George Lucas into a rejig.
38. A woman and a chimpanzee originally played Emperor Palpatine
The corrupted, twisted face of Emperor Palpatine – as played by Ian McDiarmid – looks like it’s been disfigured by centuries of insatiable thirst for power. But before Lucas settled on using McDiarmid, the original release of The Empire Strikes Back saw Marjorie Eaton portray Palpatine with the eyes of a chimpanzee superimposed on top of her face.
37. A monkey almost played Yoda
Before Yoda became the slightly creepy green grandma-like puppet that we all know him as today, he was actually going to be played by a real monkey. Yes, he was still going to look as he does now, but his movements were to be achieved by a monkey wearing a mask and holding a cane. There’s even photographic evidence of this idea, which was wisely canned.
36. Jar-Jar Binks was originally more badass
It may seem unthinkable, but Jar Jar Binks was once meant to be more than an insufferable, comic character. So, after a fan theory emerged online suggesting that Binks was meant to be a major villain in The Phantom Menace, the character’s actor Ahmed Best had to comment. Yes, in a March 2016 YouTube chat with Jamie Stangroom, the star said, “There’s a lot about [the theory] that’s true.” He also suggested that Lucasfilm cut down the character’s role after his poor reception.
35. Potatoes for asteroids
One of the most breathtaking sequences in The Empire Strikes Back – where Luke and co. are flying through an asteroid field – features some unlikely stand-ins for the floating space-boulders. Apparently, one of the asteroids is actually a potato, while another one is a shoe. According to legend, these were thrown in because the SFX crew allegedly got frustrated with Lucas’ constant meddling with the scene.
34. George Lucas invented Ewoks to make more money
Everybody knows that George Lucas turned down a larger pay packet from Fox Studios in order to retain merchandising rights for the original Star Wars. But the story goes that Lucas apparently changed the location of the Death Star in Return of the Jedi to above the Ewok-inhabited Endor because the Ewoks would sell more toys. Though a second theory suggests that it was actually the studio that would not make the film without the Ewoks.
33. Han Solo was originally an alien
Apparently, Han Solo went through many re-imaginings before the producers chose the handsome Harrison Ford to portray him. For instance, the team originally envisioned him as a portly green alien complete with gills, and at one point they considered him to be a Blackbeard-like space pirate.
32. Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino or Christopher Walken as Han Solo?
Lucas was reluctant to use Harrison Ford for Han Solo because he wanted an actor he hadn’t worked with before – they’d collaborated on American Graffiti. So, before Ford, one of the frontrunners for the role included Al Pacino. In fact, in 2013 Pacino revealed that he actually turned the role down because he “didn’t understand the script.” Apparently, Jack Nicholson, Christopher Walken and Billy Dee Williams were also up for the part!
31. Harrison Ford wanted Han Solo to die
The Han Solo role was undoubtedly the making of Harrison Ford. Therefore, it may come as a surprise to learn that when Solo gets frozen in a block of carbonite at the end of The Empire Strikes Back, Ford wanted the character to die. Speaking with Conan O’Brien in 2013, the actor said, “I thought the best utility of the character would be for him to sacrifice himself to a higher ideal.”
30. The lightsaber sound was discovered by accident
“Whummm, whumm, Dzzzzewwwww.” Writing can never capture the iconic lightsaber sound, of course, but you get the idea. In fact, sound designer Ben Burtt actually conceived it by accident when he heard the interference a nearby mic made to a TV. He then combined that noise with the hum of an old movie projector.
29. *NSYNC were edited out of Episode II
In what would’ve been just another strange filmmaking decision in Episodes I-III, parts of Justin Timberlake’s old band *NSYNC actually shot a cameo for Attack of the Clones. Yes, while Timberlake was apparently too tired to be involved, JC Chasez and Chris Kirkpatrick played Jedi Knights in two scenes. Yet the scenes were cut, which we’re sure is tearin’ up their hearts to this day…
28. Every single Clone Trooper was CGI
In the early 2000s every big-budget blockbuster was jumping on the CGI effects bandwagon. In fact, Revenge of the Sith was so SFX-heavy that it had more visual effects shots than Episodes I and II combined. Amazingly, then, there was not actually a single Clone Trooper prop in the movie. No, they were all computer-generated.
27. There were no female fighter pilots in the original trilogy
It might be harsh to call the original trilogy backward when it comes to gender equality – particularly when you consider the powerful presence of Princess Leia. But did you notice that there was not a single female rebel fighter pilot in Episodes IV-VI? In fact, there were three lady pilots filmed for Return of the Jedi, but none of them made the final cut.
26. Star Wars and 2001 had almost the same production team
It’s no secret that Stanley Kubrick’s mesmerizing space epic 2001: A Space Odyssey inspired George Lucas a great deal. But Lucas was such an admirer of the film that he actually hired many members of its production team – to the extent that they were dubbed “The Class of 2001.” Among the 2001 alumni were Stuart Freeborn, who worked on the iconic ape sequence.
25. E.T.’s species is in the Star Wars universe
George Lucas and Steven Spielberg are lifelong friends, so it’s not too surprising that they made the universes of their movies come together. In The Phantom Menace, for instance, you can see a delegation of three E.T. lookalikes when Queen Amidala holds an assembly. They were known as the “Asogians.”
24. Famous faces in Episodes I and II
The Star Wars prequel trilogy is full of big stars – Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman and Samuel L. Jackson to name a few. But it also featured future A-listers you probably didn’t even realize were in it! Among these were Keira Knightley and Joel Edgerton, who played Sabe in Episode I and Owen Lars in Episode II and III, respectively.
23. Qui-Gon Jinn’s communicator was a women’s razor
You’d have thought that with a big-budget movie like The Phantom Menace, each prop – from the lightsabers to that silly braid in Obi-Wan Kenobi’s hair – would’ve been custom-made. Wrong: if you look closely at Qui-Gon Jinn’s communicator, you’ll find that it’s actually a Gillette razor! Who knows, maybe he had silky-smooth legs under those Jedi robes all along?
22. David Lynch turned down Jedi to make Dune
Just imagine: Luke pulls off Darth Vader’s helmet, and the latter says, “Luke, the owls are not what they seem” in a weirdly over-processed voice. Maybe that’s the kind of spookiness we would’ve been treated to if George Lucas got his wish and David Lynch had directed Return of the Jedi. Instead, Lynch chose to make Dune.
21. You can see Boba Fett’s face… sort of
The mercenary Boba Fett’s tiny slither of screen time in Return of the Jedi makes him one of the biggest mysteries in the Star Wars mythos. Though we do kind of see his face in the movie. After all, the actor who played him – Jeremy Bulloch – also performed as Lieutenant Sheckil. Doesn’t ring a bell? Well, Sheckil captures Princess Leia when she tries to escape Bespin. Anybody else think he looks like Sting?
20. Samuel L. Jackson specifically asked for a purple lightsaber
Have you ever wondered why Samuel L. Jackson’s Mace Windu is the only Jedi to wield a purple lightsaber? Well, it’s because the actor really wanted to stand out in crowds of saber-waving Jedi. Talking on The Graham Norton Show, he explained that George Lucas had told him that lightsabers don’t usually come in that color. Though when Jackson returned to the Attack of the Clones set for reshoots Lucas pulled him aside and showed him the purple one. Apparently, the Pulp Fiction star was thrilled!
19. John Williams has a cameo in The Rise of Skywalker
Composer John Williams was always one of the most important Star Wars collaborators. Without his music, the movies simply wouldn’t be what they are. So, for The Rise of Skywalker, the filmmakers gave him an on-screen cameo. He can be spotted as a bartender on the planet Kijimi – surrounded by props that represent all 51 of his Oscar nominations.
18. Hayden Christensen scared a child on set
Remember the little boy who dark-side Anakin murders in Revenge of the Sith? He grew up and did a Reddit AMA in 2020. Actor Ross Beadman remembered that when asked to jump back in fright, “From what I remember Hayden shouted ‘boo!’ and that startled me to add to my fear in the scene.” Awww.
17. Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford had an affair
That chemistry between Princess Leia and Han Solo was apparently very real. The two of them actually had a brief affair while making the original Star Wars. According to Fisher’s diary, Ford initiated it, but he was still married to Mary Marquardt at the time. The scandal! Though, as we know, it didn’t lead into a long-term relationship.
16. The prequels are packed full of miniatures
The prequels used a lot of CGI, as you know, but there was also a lot of delicate and highly impressive miniature work involved. In fact, there were more miniature models built for each Star Wars prequel than the whole original trilogy combined. Didn’t realize while watching that you were looking at models? Then the artists did their job!
15. The actors constantly make their own sound effects
There’s a hilarious and probably inevitable problem that pops up when filming Star Wars movies. A lot of the time, the actors wielding amazing space weapons like lightsabers and blasters simply can’t help but make “pew-pew” and “vroooom” noises. According to the website Regal, even iconic actors such as Ewan McGregor and Laura Dern have accidentally done it!
14. The C-3PO costume isn’t comfortable
To get into character as C-3PO, actor Anthony Daniel had to, well, pretty much literally become him. And getting sealed into a robot costume wasn’t easy. Reader’s Digest notes that he had to be screwed into it for his scenes, and while wearing it the star couldn’t even sit down. Plus, at one point the leg part apparently broke and sent fiberglass stabbing into his skin!
13. George Lucas had other plans for the sequels
We know how the sequels actually turned out, but George Lucas actually had some different ideas about them. According to The Star Wars Archives: 1999–2005, his plans for the sequel trilogy involved a return for Darth Maul, a new female Sith named Darth Talon and a more central role for Princess Leia. What would it have been like? Alas, we may never know.
12. The big Darth Vader twist was kept very secret
The revelation that Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker’s father is one of the most famous in all of cinema. So, during the run-up to The Empire Strikes Back the twist was naturally kept very secret. Screen Rant reports that during filming, the line “Obi-Wan killed your father” was substituted and “I am your father” was only added in post-production.
11. Peter Cushing did his scenes in slippers
Veteran actor Peter Cushing played Grand Moff Tarkin in the first Star Wars film. But while he was delivering evil speeches there were a pair of fluffy slippers on his feet! He later explained that no shoes in the costume department would fit. As a result, Cushing asked George Lucas to let him wear slippers and shoot him from the waist up. And Lucas agreed.
10. Daniel Craig has a cameo in The Force Awakens
James Bond himself popped up, invisible, in The Force Awakens. He’s the First Order Stormtrooper who Rey uses her Force abilities on! It happened when Craig was filming the Bond movie Spectre next door to the Star Wars set in Pinewood Studios. Apparently, all he had to do was ask for a cameo and J.J. Abrams said yes.
9. The original trilogy could have had a different ending
The ending to Star Wars was far from set in stone when it got started. And one of the ideas George Lucas offered as a conclusion was this: Vader dies while killing the Emperor and saving Luke, only for the latter to pick up the mask and claim “Vader” as his own name. That would have made for a very different original trilogy.
8. Anthony Daniels and Kenny Baker didn’t get along
C-3PO and R2-D2 had a sweet friendship. Though their actors… not so much. Baker claimed that Daniels was constantly insulting to him and even made references to his height. Three years after the former’s death, Daniels told Express Online, “[Baker] decided that he wanted to say unkind, unpleasant, rude, hurtful things. It got worse and worse.” Ouch.
7. One touching scene was unscripted
In 2019 Mark Hamill tweeted a tidbit about one of the saddest scenes in The Last Jedi. Regarding the forehead kiss Luke gives to Leia before he dies, Hamill said, “The kiss was unscripted and spontaneous in the moment – summarizing his/my feelings in a way words could never have conveyed.” Hamill and Fisher were always very close, too.
6. Liam Neeson is proud of The Phantom Menace
The Phantom Menace got, uh, mixed reviews when it first came out. But star Liam Neeson is among those who like it. In 2020 he told Andy Cohen on SiriusXM, “I’m proud of it and proud to have been a part of it. I got to be a Jedi. I got to play with those wonderful lightsabers and stuff.” He also singled Ahmed Best out for praise, saying he was “probably one of the funniest guys and [most] talented guys” he’d ever worked with.
5. George Lucas wanted Star Wars to be political
Star Wars was created in a time of political upheaval, and that reflects in the movies. In 2005 Lucas told the Chicago Tribune newspaper, “[Star Wars] was really about the Vietnam War, and that was the period where Nixon was trying to run for a [second] term, which got me to thinking historically about how do democracies get turned into dictatorships?” Apparently, Revenge on the Sith operated along the same lines but commented on the George W. Bush era.
4. Natalie Portman said the franchise ruined her career
Natalie Portman was in all three Star Wars prequels, but she doesn’t think they did her career any good. She told New York magazine in 2014 that when they came out, “everyone thought I was a horrible actress. I was in the biggest-grossing movie of the decade, and no director wanted to work with me.” She got back on track now, though.
3. Some familiar and not-so-well-known voices are in The Rise of Skywalker
During the final battle of The Rise of Skywalker, disembodied spirits of Jedi past call out to an injured Rey. Some of these voices you might recognize right away: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker and Qui-Gon Jinn, for example. But some non-movie Star Wars character are also in there! These include Ahsoka Tano – who’d only been in animated shows at that point – and Kanan Jarrus of Star Wars: Rebels.
2. Harrison Ford ad-libbed a famous line
Han Solo’s famous “I know” line wasn’t actually in the script for The Empire Strikes Back. He was supposed to answer Leia’s “I love you” with a simple “I love you, too.” But according to Mental Floss, Ford ad-libbed “I know” instead, which Empire director Irvin Kershner thought was much better. George Lucas apparently hated the change, but he was overruled.
1. Alec Guinness hated Star Wars
Did you know that Alec Guinness – the first actor to play Obi-Wan Kenobi – actually detested the entire Star Wars franchise? Sure, it made the star super rich, but according to Entertainment Weekly, he endlessly complained about his lines and returned all mail from fans. Allegedly, Guinness once even made a Star Wars– loving child cry by telling him to never watch it again. You wouldn’t get that sort of behavior from Ewan McGregor…