Easter eggs you may have missed in Star Wars: Episode I

The 2015 release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the first new Star Wars movie in years, should inspire geeks of all stripes to go back and scour the previous Star Wars episodes in a hunt for easter eggs. And because we're nothing if not cinematic masochists, this hunt includes the most reviled film of the series, Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. Despite its narrative pitfalls, the movie has several easter eggs that fans might still appreciate.

E.T.s in the Senate

Fans can see a delegation of E.T.s in the Galactic Senate at one point. E.T., of course, is the unnamed species of aliens featured in Steven Spielberg's classic E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982). We can only theorize that the E.T.s were there to petition for rights to the intergalactic Reese's Pieces mines. They're near Hoth.

Star Trek Crossover?

Viewers can see the starship Enterprise (specifically the Enterprise-D from Star Trek: The Next Generation) over Queen Amidala's (Natalie Portman) shoulder in one scene, flying around Coruscant. Other egg-hunting movie fans claim the ship shows up a little earlier, behind Jar Jar Binks. Either way, it's pretty tough to make out and know for sure. Our theory is that Captain Picard and company were evaluating Coruscant for entry into the Federation. They obviously failed due to poor governance. And, of course, Jar Jar.

Lucas Self-Promotion

The Trade Federation droid that Jar Jar Binks destroys at the film's conclusion has a serial number that reads "1138." This is a reference to George Lucas' first film, THX-1138, from 1971. The Trade Federation later rebuilds the droid only to give it the chance to commit seppuku due to the shame of being dispatched by Jar Jar.

A Star Wars Odyssey

This one is at Watto's junk shop on Tatooine. In one scene, Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) and R2D2 walk/roll by several dilapidated mechanical parts. One of these parts is the pod from 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). This pod, complete with mechanical arms, is what astronaut Dave Bowman uses to perform tasks outside of the ship. How Watto got it is a mystery. Perhaps he's in league with the evil HAL-9000. Probably.

Coruscant: 2019

In another aerial scene on Coruscant, viewers can briefly see a Spinner vehicle from Blade Runner (1982) flying around. These are the flying vehicles that police officers use in Los Angeles circa 2019 (that's only a few years from now—hurry up, GM). Obi-Wan didn't give his opinion on whether or not Deckard is a replicant. Perhaps in a deleted scene?