Hidden details Star Wars snuck right by you

The Star Wars movies are some of the biggest blockbusters of all time, due in no small part to a finely woven storytelling canvas that helped spawn a slew of novels and comic books long before the phrase "extended universe" became the hippest thing in Hollywood. Here are just a few of the many hidden details fans have spotted in the films along the way. 

Fun with numbers

Before embarking on the Star Wars saga, George Lucas made his directorial debut with the 1971 sci-fi feature THX 1138, which was partially inspired by the experimental film 21-87, by Arthur Lipsett. THX 1138 wasn't a major commercial success, so many viewers initially missed the significance when Luke Skywalker makes a reference to "cell block 1138" on the original Death Star in A New Hope. Not long after, Han Solo tells Luke that Princess Leia is being held in "cell 2187."

Corellian freighters

Watching the original Star Wars trilogy, it was easy to believe that the Millennium Falcon was a one-of-a-kind spaceship. After all, while we saw plenty of X-wings and TIE fighters zipping through space, we never got a look at anything like another Falcon. But the truth is that Han Solo's beloved freighter was just one of many in the Corellian YT-1300 line, and to prove it, George Lucas slipped in several of them in the background during the prequels—including a brief shot of the Falcon herself, spotted docking at Coruscant long before Solo claimed ownership from Lando Calrissian.

Lucky dice in the Millennium Falcon

Even long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away, hanging dice were used as lucky charms. For proof, check out the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon, where a golden pair can be seen hanging in A New Hope (those little golden trinkets hanging above Luke and Obi-Wan)—and again in The Force Awakens, thanks to detail-oriented crew members who reportedly picked up a new set on eBay during filming. Lots of non-movie sources, from books to comics to novels, try to explain their presence…but let's just go with "George Lucas thought it'd be funny" and move on.

Boba Fett unmasked

Officially, Star Wars fans didn't get their first look at Boba Fett with his helmet off until the second prequel, Attack of the Clones. But the guy who played Fett in the original films, Jeremy Bulloch, actually showed his face in The Empire Strikes Back. When another actor failed to show up for filming during the shoot, Bulloch stepped in to play an Imperial officer who drags Leia away while she's trying to warn Luke about Vader's trap in Bespin. Years later, Bulloch returned for another non-Fett cameo, playing the pilot who delivers Obi-Wan Kenobi, Bail Organa, and Yoda to Coruscant in Revenge of the Sith.

Potato asteroids

For years, rumors have persisted that the Empire Strikes Back effects crew, annoyed by Lucas' almost impossible demands, decided to (ahem) strike back by using a potato and a sneaker as "asteroids" during a Millennium Falcon chase sequence. Years later, it was revealed that the potato story was actually true—an in-joke between workers who'd developed countless asteroid designs only to be told that the end result looked like a certain starchy food.

Klutzy Stormtrooper DNA

Hardcore Star Wars fans know about the goof-up that made it into the final cut of A New Hope, in which a Stormtrooper bumps his helmet on a door while trying to enter a room. Years later, George Lucas paid homage to the mistake when he had the character of Jango Fett—whose DNA was used to create the cloned Stormtrooper army—whack his head on the door as he climbs into his ship.

Skywalker Sound on Coruscant

There's a lot going on in Coruscant, making it easy for Lucas to sneak in the logo for his Skywalker Sound company during a brief shot of the city that takes place roughly 20 minutes into Attack of the Clones. Take a look at the blue, circular logo at the top-right section of the image above. Now take a look at the logo for Skywalker Sound.

Lucas family cameos

George Lucas resisted the temptation to go Hitchcock during the original Star Wars movies and make cameo appearances, but he did allow himself a few indulgences during the prequels. His son and daughter appear in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. That's Jett Lucas you see in the library in Clones, and again whooping clone troopers when the Jedi younglings are attacked during Sith. Lucas himself appears alongside his daughter Katie in the latter film. The character Lucas plays, the blue-skinned Baron Notluwiski Papanoida, was a regular in the animated Clone Wars series.

Vader's helmet in Revenge of the Sith

When Palpatine invites Anakin into his private booth during a performance of the "bubble opera" known as "Squid Lake" during Revenge of the Sith, the audience already knows the young Jedi will be corrupted into becoming Darth Vader. But to add that extra little bit of nearly subliminal foreshadowing, George Lucas inserted an almost imperceptible glimpse of Vader's helmet into the show, and some viewers swear they can even hear what sounds like a couple seconds of Vader breathing way down in the mix.

Ralph McQuarrie's Empire Strikes Back cameo

George Lucas dreamed up the Star Wars galaxy, but the iconic designs that entranced generations of moviegoers came from designer Ralph McQuarrie, whose concept art introduced a number of key elements (including Darth Vader's breathing mask) and ultimately were largely responsible for helping Lucas land a distribution deal with 20th Century Fox. McQuarrie's presence is felt throughout the Star Wars saga, but he actually appears in person during a scene in Empire Strikes Back, during which he can be briefly spotted as a Rebel officer walking through the base on Hoth.

Millennium Falcon's new dish

We don't know much about what happened to the Millennium Falcon after Return of the Jedi, but it's obvious that someone did a little repair work along the way. The ship's radar dish, destroyed during Return of the Jedi, was given a rectangular replacement that you can clearly see during The Force Awakens. Maybe it was installed by the same person who gave C-3PO his red arm?

R2-KT

R2-KT, a pink version of R2-D2, was originally a fan community project designed to help lift the spirits of Katie Johnson, a young Star Wars lover who'd been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. Dreamed up by her dad as a way of giving Katie a bit of comfort during her final days, the droid received her official Star Wars debut during The Force Awakens, making a trio of brief appearances during scenes set on the Resistance base.