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The Star Wars Reference The MCU Has Been Making For Years

Contains spoilers for "Loki"

With 23 films under its belt so far (soon to be 24 with the arrival of "Black Widow"), the Marvel Cinematic Universe has had plenty of filmmakers come through its door. Each have added in a dash of their own personality amongst the typical adventures of Earth's Mightiest Heroes, making for an eclectic franchise on the whole. Having such a large roster of creative talent often means the MCU's projects reference other properties — like when Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) calls Thor (Chris Hemsworth) "Point Break" in "The Avengers," or how "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" gives a nod to Samuel L. Jackson's "Pulp Fiction" role with "The Path of the Righteous Man" written on Nick Fury's tombstone. Of course, there's also Peter Quill's (Chris Pratt) love for '80s movies in "Guardians of the Galaxy" and "Avengers: Infinity War".

But there's one particular franchise that Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige is particularly fond of: "Star Wars." He's even working on a film of his own for Disney and Lucasfilm alongside "Loki” executive producer Michael Waldron. Clearly, Feige is a big fan of the galaxy far, far away — and he's been referencing the franchise in a very particular way throughout the MCU over the years. It's a trend that's continued with "Loki" Episode 5, which debuted on Disney+ on July 7.

Need a hand?

Most fans might already know what the recurring "Star Wars" reference in the MCU is: a number of characters get their hands or their arms chopped off. This is a nod to "Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back," in which Darth Vader (James Earl Jones) cuts off Luke Skywalker's (Mark Hamill) hand during the final battle in Cloud City shortly before the all-too-famous reveal that Vader is Luke's father.

Kevin Feige confirmed to CinemaBlend in 2015 that this "Star Wars" reference "didn't start out as intentional, but it became intentional." He explained, "It sort of happens in every 'Star Wars' movie, but I was sort of looking at it, 'Okay, is Phase 2 our 'Empire Strikes Back'?' Not really, but tonally things are a little different. ... Somebody gets their arm cut off in every Phase 2 movie — every single one."

In "Loki" Episode 5, there's a brilliant moment where Alligator Loki (yes, you read that right) attacks President Loki (yes, you also read that right) in an underground bunker, biting his hand off and leaving a bloody stump in its place. It's hard not to see this as yet another "Star Wars" reference in the MCU. But it could also be seen as a nod to "Thor: The Dark World." In the sequel flick, Loki pretends to cut Thor's hand off in the final battle against the Dark Elves as a way of tricking the villains into thinking they had the upper hand (no pun intended).

A "Star Wars" Easter egg that simultaneously references the MCU? Kevin Feige is great at multitasking.