Is their inclusion good, bad, or somewhere in the middle?
Easter Eggs (or hidden references to other things), is nothing new in the entertainment industry. Filmmakers have been doing it for years to either honor those they admire, show that multiple movies exist in the same universe, acknowledge some of their own work or a combination of all three.
The Star Wars franchize is of course no different. For years, they have been including easter eggs to other moments and characters throughout the Star Wars universe. Take the phrase, “I have a bad feeling about this,” or even, “May the Force be with You”. Both are iconic and have been used multiple times throughout each of the films. Sometimes, as in the recent Solo: A Star Wars Story film, the sayings get turned on their heads. “I have a bad feeling about this,” became, “I have a really good feeling about this”, and an Easter Egg unto itself.
While those are fairly easy to catch and most people generally understand where these come from, there are others, such as the inclusion of Ponda Baba and Dr. Evazan in 2016’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and a General Syndulla being called for over the loudspeaker in the same film, that only hardcore fans would get. Even with as cool as those little nods are, the question is, are they worth it and when does it become too much?
By including easter eggs to other stories in this franchize, it gives the readers and watchers of their other media (books, comics, TV shows and the like), a little reward for taking the time to do so. With all that exists in those categories, it really is an undertaking to do so. At the same time, it also encourages people who haven’t seen or read some of the mythologies introduced in other forms of media (books, TV shows, comics and the like), more of a reason to discover them and learn more about this fascinating fictional universe.
Solo: A Star Wars Story | Spoilers
In the most recent release from Lucasfilm Solo: A Star Wars Story, there were more than a few easter eggs included for those fans who read every book and watch every TV show. For instance, after Lando’s personal droid assistant L3, “died” in his arms after sacrificing herself for her friends, Han needed a way to guide everyone on the Millennium Falcon back to safety through uncharted territories of the infamous Kessel Run. As such, he ordered Lando to remove L3’s navigational system and plug it into the Falcon’s computer system. By doing this, L3 essentially continues to live on through the ship, likely becoming why C-3PO later remarks that the ship has a peculiar dialect, something diehard would likely notice.
At the same time, it also makes more sense as to why Lando always calls the Falcon his girl or baby. Sure, ships have been referred to in the feminine gender for about as long as time can remember, thus why Lando would do so, but with the new knowledge that his former droid companion L3 is part of the ship itself, his referring to the Falcon as such becomes even more meaningful.
Speaking of meaningful, towards the tail end of the film, a certain red and black skinned character with horns encircling his head, makes to some, a very confusing appearance. That character is of course, formerly Darth, now just Maul. Yes, you may now scream if you wish. The problem with his inclusion is that unless you’re a fan of The Clone Wars, you likely have no idea how the heck he survived. He was clearly sliced in half in Episode I: The Phantom Menace, something that typically makes life more on the impossible side for anyone else.
How Maul ————– (Spoilers)
That’s the catch, Maul isn’t just anyone else. Despite a falling out with his master that caused him to drop the “Darth” part of his name and now simply go by Maul, this dark side wielder powered his hate for the Jedi, and one in particular known as Obi-Wan Kenobi, through the Force long enough to survive, get himself a set of robotic spider legs and continue living. Well, continue living that is, until…well, you’ll just have to watch Rebels to find out.
While a fun nod to the uber fans, the inclusion of these easter eggs by default, excludes the more casual fans who might not have the time or money needed to research and discover where these easter eggs come from or how that character survived. Sure, small background set pieces and name drops are fine, but when they turn into big things such as an unexpected character showing up, that’s where the problems arise. It takes what was once a fun easter egg and turns into a plot/continuity problem. Those who have seen the recent Solo movie should know what I’m talking about.
One of the major things I heard on twitter about this particular “easter egg” if it can be called that with how big it was, was that the more casual fans had difficulty understanding how this one worked if…? Didn’t that major thing happen to this character in that one movie? Saying it did, then how are they are now? Unless one is a fan of The Clone Wars and to a lesser extent Rebels, they would have a difficult, if not nigh on impossible time understanding how this character is in this movie.
Even though easter eggs (or hidden references to other things) have been around for many years in movies, as demonstrated above, their inclusion can be problematic at times. In order to work properly, they have to be used strategically and typically kept small. Turn these easter eggs into full cameos with their own scenes, and suddenly you’ve alienated a percentage of your audience. In the end, the key in filmmaking is to make everyone in your audience feel as invested as possible. The more invested in a story they feel, chances are, the more they will enjoy it.
What do you think? Are Easter Eggs in movies good, bad or somewhere in the middle? Please feel free to let us know either here or on Twitter.
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I am a major “Star Wars” fan who currently writes for Future of the Force and is absolutely loving it! Until my writing career really takes off, I am now writing for Future of the Force full time, having graduated Spring 2018 with my Bachelor’s Degree in Literature and Writing.
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