The Star Wars movies are filled with little Easter Eggs that you normally have to go frame by frame to see. Some, like the infamous Return of the Jedi tennis shoe (more on this below) are impossible to see. Others, such as E.T. in The Phantom Menace or the Millennium Falcon in Attack of the Clones, are easier to spot. Below you’ll find five of the best Easter Eggs in the Star Wars films, along with a bonus one.
E.T. in The Phantom Menace
When Spielberg released E.T. the Extra Terrestrial in 1982, Star Wars fans were able to catch not only Elliot playing with figures from The Empire Strikes back, but E.T. himself encountered someone from “home” when he passed a kid dressed as Yoda on Halloween.
Flash forward 17 years and Spielberg’s friend George Lucas gave his pal a nod in Episode I. When the vote for no confidence in the senate happens, look towards the lower left corner of the screen to see three delegates from E.T.’s planet.
YT-1300 in Attack of the Clones
In Episode II, you can catch not one but two YT-1300 transports (the same ship as the Millennium Falcon). They can be seen to the left of the screen when Anakin and Padme are arriving on Naboo.
Kitchen sink in Revenge of the Sith
The opening Battle of Coruscant in Episode III featured so many elements that ILM tossed everything into it, including the kitchen sink…literally. At the very beginning as Obi-Wan and Anakin’s fighters are flying through the battle, a Repulic cruiser destroys a Seperatist ship. As that ship blows up, bits are flying off including one that smashes into the Republic ship. That piece is actually a kitchen sink.
Outrider in A New Hope
This one can only be seen in the Special Edition of Star Wars. As Luke and pals are entering Mos Eisley, you can see Dash Rendar’s ship the Outrider (from Shadows of the Empire) taking off and leaving the spaceport.
Han’s grope in Return of the Jedi
At the end of Return of the Jedi when Leia is shot, Han props her up in the corner of the entrance to the shield generator. As he does this, Han gives his future wife a little tryout.
Bonus: R2D2 in Star Trek
In 2009’s Star Trek, ILM gave a little nod to the Star Wars saga. When the Enterprise arrives at Vulcan there’s a shot where the camera is looking over Pike’s shoulder. If you look to the left of the viewscreen you’ll see a shiny object flying through space. That’s R2D2.
Regarding the famous Return of the Jedi tennis shoe…
One of the most famous legends about Star Wars is the presence of a tennis shoe in Return of the Jedi. While this was apparently fixed in the 1997 Special Edition; they did actually exist in the original version; although they are close to impossible to see. A 2003 issue of Star Wars Insider Magazine delved into this legend, and this is what they had to say complete with quotes from the effects artists who did it:
To the untrained eye, one on-screen ship from RETURN OF THE JEDI might look less like the Millennium Falcon that something far more ordinary – a tennis shoe – but it played its part in arguably the greatest space battle ever filmed. The pitched warfare over Endor was the most demanding assignment George Lucas had presented to the artist at Industrial Light & Magic up to that time, and it remains the standard by which all others must be measured. That a flying tennis shoe could remain unseen amid the tumult and chaos of some 50 ships careening into combat is a testament to the acheivement of former ILM effects virtuoso Ken Ralston, who supervised the sequence…..
…..Which brings us back to Ralston’s tennis shoe – among other things – and the fact that it’s an amazing accomplishment just to see how many ships there are buzzing around the moon of Endor, or how many ships there seems to be. “I was always trying to stick stuff into shots,” Ralston laughs. “JEDI has my tennis shoes and also a yogurt container as part of the ships in the background! Who would know? It’s like there’s all this stuff going on – and I thought, ‘Hey, it’d be fun.’ It was my way of just saying, ‘See what you can get away with?’ Some people noodle this stuff so much, fretting about it, but it’s like, you know, you can’t tell what this stuff is – just stick it out there!”