As is often the case with franchise films, Star Wars: The Last Jedi contains a number of surprises hidden among its high space opera and strange alien worlds. Director Rian Johnson has peppered a number of references to classic cinema, callbacks to previous Star Wars installments and sneaky quick appearances by some familiar folks into the film and we’ve ferreted them out for you.
I’ve Got A Bad Feeling About This
One thing that stuck about about The Last Jedi for die-hard Star Wars fans was the lack of one of the franchise’s signature repeated lines of dialogue – “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.” It was a strange omission considering that director Rian Johnson is an admitted Star Wars superfan. And when asked about it on Twitter, Johnson stated that indeed the line is in the film.
It’s in there!
— Rian Johnson (@rianjohnson) December 14, 2017
So exactly where is it? It’s right up at the top of the film as Resistance pilot Poe Dameron maneuvers into position for his daring delaying tactic/attack on the First Order dreadnought. Poe’s trusty astromech droid BB-8 lets loose with a string of worried-sounding electronic chirps to which Poe replies, “Happy beeps here buddy, c’mon.” Although I don’t speak droid, it certainly seems like Poe’s comment is in response to a rather pessimistic feeling that BB-8 could be having. Johnson would later confirm this as well in an interview with Huffington Post.
Pushing On With The Mission
It is no secret that Johnson was a big Star Wars fan before landing the gig to direct The Last Jedi. But he was also a big fan of classic cinema and during Last Jedi‘s pre-production period often screened a number of classic movies for his various department heads as a way of conveying some the ideas he had for the film. Among the titles that Johnson has screened are the adventure film Gunga Din (1939), war movies like Sahara (1943), Twelve O’Clock High (1949) and Bridge Over The River Kwai (1957) and the Hideo Gosha film Three Outlaw Samurai (1964). Most of these films were watched for their tone and how that could be used for very aspects of Last Jedi.
But in Twelve O’Clock High there is a story moment that gets replicated in Johnson’s film. In the Henry King-directed film, Robert Mitchum plays an army air force general sent to whip a bomber squadron into fighting strength during World War Two. On one of the squadron’s raids, Mitchum ignores orders and pushes ahead with the mission when he should have aborted it. This action is certainly echoed in Poe Dameron’s actions at the beginning of Last Jedi when he disobeys orders and continues with the bomber attack on the First Order dreadnought, even if the characters disobey their orders for far different reasons.
There’s Something Familiar About This
One of the seemingly new pieces of technology that the First Order has up its collective sleeve is the ability to track ships after they have jumped to hyperspace. It certainly seems to be a new technological development, by the way that the Resistance reacts to the realization of what the First Order can do. But if you were paying close attention to last year’s Star Wars spinoff Rogue One, you might remember that “Hyperspace tracking” is mentioned in a list of files of other technologies that Rebel Jyn Erso reads through while looking through an Imperial database for the plans to the Death Star. Pablo Hidalgo of the Lucasfilm Story Group and the recently released Star Wars: The Last Jedi: The Visual Dictionary, confirmed the connection between the two films. In the book he also elaborates that the technology had been developed at a think tank known as the Tarkin Initiative but for whatever reasons was never put into use until the First Order rediscovered the information.
Welcome To Canto Bight
For the first shot within the casino at Canto Bight, Johnson mimics a shot from the silent classic Wings. In that film, director William A. Wellman dollied his camera through a nightclub passing between young couples at a succession of tables. Johnson does a similar move through the casino, passing over a number of gaming tables.
Mark Hamill’s Cameo
Wait a minute? How can Mark Hamil have a cameo in The Last Jedi? He’s one of the film’s stars! Well, his “cameo” comes during the sequence set at the casino city Canto Bight. Hamill supplies the voice and cackling laugh to Dobbu Scay the leprechaun-ish alien who mistakes BB-8 for a slot machine and tries to stuff the poor droid with coins.
This is not the first time that Hamill has lent his voice to non-Skywalker roles in the Star Wars universe. In The Empire Strikes Back, it is Hamill who is voicing the announcement that “The first transport is away,” during the Empire’s attack on the Rebel base on Hoth. He also voiced the evil ancient Sith Lord Darth Bane for the final episode of the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series.
Other Canto Bight Cameos
Hamill isn’t the only actor to voice one of the aliens in the Canto Bight casino. Joseph Gordon-Levitt also talks for one of the aliens, in particular Slowen Lo, the casino patron who complains to the Canto Bight police about Finn (John Boyega) and Rose’s illegally parked shuttle on the beach. Gordon-Levitt has starred in director Johnson’s three previous films – Brick, The Brothers Bloom and Looper – and it seems as if he wants to keep their collaboration going.
It should be noted that Slowen Lo’s name is a reference to the Beastie Boys song “Slow And Low.” Slowen Lo belongs to the alien race known as the Abednedo. They were first introduced into the Star Wars universe in The Force Awakens in the form of Resistance pilot Ello Asty. Ello’s name, of course, is also a reference to a Beastie Boys album, Hello Nasty. The Force Awakens director JJ Abrams is a big Beastie Boys fan. (Which also explains the use of a Beastie Boys song in Abrams’ reboot of the Star Trek franchise.)
A Princess’s Best Friend
Much like scene at Maz Kanata’s bar in The Force Awakens, there are a number of blink-and-you-could-miss-them cameos. The Master Codebreaker that Finn and Rose are looking to recruit is played by writer/actor Justin Theroux, while his stunning companion at the dice game we see him playing is none other than model/actress Lily Cole. Even Last Jedi star Carrie Fisher’s dog Gary got into the sequence. He can be seen under some digital makeup being held by an alien gambler in the background of one shot of Finn and Rose.
We’ll Always Have Canto Bight
After Finn and Rose are escaping from the Canto Bight police by sneaking through the sewers to the fathier stables, Rose identifies herself to the young stable-hand as a member of the Resistance by flashing a ring with a secret compartment housing the emblem of the Rebellion. This is another of Johnson’s nods to classic cinema, in this case Casablanca. In the 1943 classic a member of the French Resistance reveals himself to Victor Lazlo (Paul Henreid) with a a French cross hidden inside a ring.
May The Farce Be With You
As Finn, Rose and DJ sneak onto Snoke’s ship, they duck into a laundry facility to steal some uniforms so they can move about inconspicuously. The scene opens with the descent of a metallic object descending towards the camera through a cloud of steam. Is it a new First Order ship? No, it is only an iron, coming down to press an officer’s jacket. It is also one of the most off beat references in the whole film, as it is a nod to Ernie Fosselius, the San Fransisco filmmaker who created the first Star Wars parody and first fan film in 1978 – Hardware Wars. The short spoof features the likes of Fluke Starbucker, Ham Salad and Prioncess Anne Droid fighting the evil galactic empire while flying through space in ships that look specifically like household appliances such as irons, waffle-makers and egg-beaters. The film circulated through fandom on multi-generational duped video tapes and was viral long before the advent of the internet would make that accomplishment a whole lot easier.
The Skywalker Children
With Carrie Fisher’s daughter Billie Lourd getting a small part in The Force Awakens which has grown for The Last Jedi, it seems only fair that Mark Hamill’s children also get to make an appearance in the franchise. And they do. They can be scene in the film’s third act as Luke strides through the base on Crait on his way to confront the First Order. In the first reaction shot of Resistance fighters , Hamill’s daughter and two sons are trio that appear from behind a large crate and are visible for a moment before being obscured by Oscar Isaac stepping into the shot.
As the Resistance prepares to make it’s last stand on Crait, a number of soldiers take position in a trench protecting the giant doorway that leads into their base. As they wait for the First Order forces to arrive, one soldier runs a finger across the white powdery surface of the planet and then gives it a quick taste to discover that it is salt. The soldier in the trench next to him giving him the side-eye is none other than Gareth Edwards, director of last year’s Star Wars spinoff film Rogue One. Edwards appearance here is a bit of a quid pro quo deal with Johnson as Johnson appeared in Rogue One as one of the Death Star gunners.
Another director can also been seen a bit later on in the massive hanger of the Crait base – Edgar Wright. Wright posted on Instagram the following picture of himself, his brother Oscar and friend writer/director Joe Cornish on set. Cornish wrote and directed and Wright produced Attack The Block, Boyega’s first film.
On The Cutting Room Floor
Reportedly Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, his brother Prince Harry and actor Tom Hardy all filmed cameo appearances clad head-to-toe in armor as stormtroopers. However, it is being reported that their scenes did not make the final edit of the film.