From The Clone Wars to Star Wars Rebels: The hunt begins…Indiana Jones style!
When mentioning the phrase “Easter egg hunt” you can be forgiven for invoking memories of chocolate eggs and the Easter bunny, but when the hunt relates to a Star Wars Blu Ray, we enter a completely different realm entirely. In fact, the Easter egg hunt I speak of relates to a plethora of expertly hidden content inserted into some of the most subliminal episodes of Star Wars The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels by the sneaky monkeys at work behind the scenes.
Now before we see Gremlins on the wing…allow me to elaborate.
Dave Filoni and his talented team of animators, themselves being mega fans of the classic Steven Spielberg, James Cameron and George Lucas movies, sneakily inserted several fabulous trivia nods to their greatest movie triumphs hidden in plain sight and embedded within episodes of both series.
If you are lucky enough to possess a sharp eye, with a passion for the classic movies of the Cameron/Spielberg/Lucas trifecta, these homages to the greats are easily detectable, but once enthralled by the fantastic storylines being told upon screen they are just as easily overlooked.
In this article, I will do my best to reveal the very best of these amazing homages that will undoubtedly bring a smile to your face once you realise what fantastic trivia you may have missed.
So here we go…punch it Chewie!
“Liberty On Ryloth”
Reverting all the way back to The Clone Wars season one we were treated to a whopper of an Easter egg. Whilst separatist leader Wat Tambor is plundering the riches of Ryloth, clearly visible being loaded onto his background escape vessel is THE actual Ark of the Covenant from Raiders of the Lost Ark.
“The Gungan General”
On route to the planet Florrum to open negotiations with Hondo Ohnaka, we are introduced to Gran Senator Kharrus who was in possession of a regal senatorial staff. In the subsequent crash landing, Kharrus sadly loses his life but we are afforded a closer look at the head piece attached to it which is revealed to be an exact replica of the headpiece from the Staff of Ra, the famous head piece from Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Amidst the stunning finale of The Clone Wars’ third season, a fight to the death ensues between the members of the Transdoshan hunting party and Jedi Padawan Ahsoka Tano. Whilst Ahsoka is duelling the leader of the reptilian warriors, the crystal skull from Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull can be clearly seen atop the trophy wall adjacent to the confrontation.
The Easter eggs weren’t only confined to the pictorial variety. With the commencement of season four of The Clone Wars we were introduced to an underwater villain named Riff Tamson. In almost every scene, the antagonist who was deliberately designed to resemble a Great White Shark is accompanied by the tell-tale theme from the Spielberg classic, Jaws. Not only did Kevin Kiner offer the ultimate nod to John Williams’ classic theme but upon the time of his demise, Tamson was killed in an almost replica fashion to the shark in the movie’s finale.
“Friends and Enemies”
Later towards the end of the fourth season, villainous bounty hunter Cad Bane was forced to acquire a change of clothes following his escape from the Republic detention centre. With his customary hat unavailable, he plundered the nearest outpost and opted for a brown Fedora, an exact replica of the Indiana Jones classic.
By the time we reached the sixth and final season, The Clone Wars was inexplicably cancelled and replaced with the shiny new Star Wars Rebels series. But the tradition of paying homage to the greats did not expire with The Clone Wars, in fact it thrived within Rebels…
“Out of the Darkness”
Amidst the stunning first season of Star Wars Rebels, Hera and Sabine discovered an abandoned Republic facility that had been colonised by a horde of darkness dwelling monsters. When it came time for the creatures to attack, the classic James Horner theme from James Cameron’s Aliens can be clearly heard in the background of the sequence.
During the episode titled “Fighter Flight”, Zeb and Ezra are sent to purchase a fruit known as a meiloorun from the Lothal market place. In the mayhem of the episode, our characters are forced to chase baskets of the elusive fruit through the crowded streets and playing in the background is a piece of music hauntingly reminiscent of “The Basket Game” from Raiders of the Lost Ark. The scene depicts Indiana Jones chasing Marion Ravenwood, who is trapped inside a basket, through the busy marketplace of Cairo.
“The Lost Commanders”
In season two Ahsoka Tano dispatched Ezra Bridger, Sabine Wren, Zeb and Kanan Jarrus to locate exiled Clone Captain Rex and his party on the distant planet Seelos. The clones had survived by preying upon a native creature that had to be reeled to their fate like a fish on a hook. In a sequence comparable to that of the famous scene from Jaws, Zeb was used as bait for one such creature and once hooked, Kevin Kiner’s score erupted with the ultimate homage of the “One Barrel Chase” made famous by John Williams in Jaws.
Carefully inserted into the narrative of both series, we are provided with a plethora of hidden content most of us never knew existed. The list doesn’t end here, in fact there are many more nods to the classic Star Wars movies amongst the dialogue of both series, as long as you’re willing to take the time to uncover them.
The fantastic team at Lucasfilm Animation, being true fans of the work created by such pioneers of modern movie making have given their idols an offering of genuine worship with these intricate hints to their finest achievements. The classic movies that inspired them to launch their successful careers and create the stunning animated series we all know and love, opened their minds to the potential that existed within them. Dave Filoni and his incredible team, like us are true fans of the masterful works of these great visionaries and just like us are offering their homage in respect of their achievements.
Only Dave Filoni knows what little titbits of trivia will be inserted into our animated episodes in the future, each and every season seems to have a moment of pure homage and I await the next one with baited breath.
In closing, my advice to you is to keep watching closely. Dust off your Clone Wars and Rebels DVD and Blu Ray collections, unhook the phone, grab a mega bucket of snacks and lock the door for the weekend as you scrutinise each and every episode in detail.
You may even spot something I’ve missed…
Good luck and happy hunting.
And as always…
May The Force Be With You
For more information about the transition between The Clone Wars and Rebels, read my inside look at the changeover between Lucas and Disney here:
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Phil Roberts is the Owner, Daily Content Manager, and Editor-In-Chief of The Future of the Force. He is passionate about Star Wars, Batman, DC, Marvel, Star Trek, Indiana Jones, Ghostbusters, King Kong, and the Ray Harryhausen movies. Follow him on Twitter where he uses the force and babbles frequently!