Any big blockbuster movie is going to have a ton of hidden details, easter eggs, and awesome little moments that you can watch a hundred times and still miss. But “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” which has 40 years of fandom and history behind it and which is now officially the highest grossing movie of all time (domestically), probably has more Easter Eggs than any of those movies combined. Every time you watch it, there’s something new to pick out — but sometimes you have to know where to look first.
To get the skinny on just what we’ve been missing on our second and third and fourth and hundred viewings, MTV News spoke to creature effects supervisor Neal Scanlan, special effects supervisor Chris Corbould, and ILM visual effects supervisors Roger Guyett and Patrick Tubach, all of whom are part of the Lucasfilm team and had a hand in shaping the new relaunched world of “Star Wars.” Here are some of the awesome moments and details they shared with us:
“I haven’t talked about it very much, but there is a scene where Rey’s climbing around in the Star Destroyer, and as she balances on one of the beams and then leaps off the beam – in the shot where she leaps off, there’s actually a cap with an Empire logo stitched on it, which is something that is really hard to see in the shadows,” Tubach said.
“We thought that was kind of a cool detail. I think J.J. didn’t really want to tip the audience too heavily that this is a Star Destroyer, he wanted them to organically figure that out… We thought that would be fun to put a logo on there somewhere, just buried in there, that on repeat viewings you can go back and say, Oh yeah, there’s some little clues of what the ship is.”
Blasts From the PastLucasfilm
There’s something so satisfying about the way people get knocked off their feet when hit by blasters in “Star Wars” — and while the pew-pew shooty lasers look kind of retro now, they’re definitely going to keep looking like that in the future.
“One of the things we spent quite a bit of time looking at was the actual effect of the blasters… and whether we should update it to a more modern one,” said Corbould. “[Director] J.J. [Abrams] very much insisted that the benchmark for everything we did was “A New Hope.” That’s what we were trying to stay true to. But we looked [and thought], should the laser hits on the walls be updated and be more spectacular? And we tried lots of different variations.”
“But to be quite honest, in the end, we all came back to the thought, ’We should probably stay true to the original ones because everybody knows them and will identify them.’ And that’s exactly what we did in the end, we used the old traditional way of using the blaster hits.”
Falling Mouse DroidsLucasfilm
Longtime fans of “Star Wars” have definitely seen MSE (or “mouse,” as they’re more frequently called) droids before, even if they didn’t know it — they’re these teeny tiny blocks of Imperial cuteness that roam the halls of the Death Star, and now the First Order. During your next viewing of “The Force Awakens,” watch very closely for these little guys, because they do some hilarious stuff.
“One of the mouse droids during the chaos of the fight as the TIE fighter escapes accidentally drives into the pit,” said Tubach. “And it sort of happened organically in an animation take, and we said, ’That is too funny.’ We leave those things in, and it works. It’s one of those little details that, again, nobody’s gonna notice that the first time.”
There was also a practical mouse droid on set, as built by the guys who constructed the models of R2-D2 that were also used — and those guys wanted that droid to die real badly.
“They could not wait. They desperately wanted to blow up that mouse droid,” said Guyett. “And amongst all of the stuff we did, [there was] this one shot where the poor mouse droid got blown up. They built one and they wanted it to take a hit.”
The Trees Have EyesLucasfilm
Not every Easter Egg is one that works in-universe. Like, for example, trees on Starkiller Base, which contain all sorts of secrets.
“When they built the snow set, in the barks of the tree there are certain shapes and images that the construction department and art department placed in there, which were all homages back to the original ’A New Hope.'” said Scanlan.
That’s not the only place you’ll find hidden typography, of course. “There’s a lot of iconography that was used in sets and things. I know for instance, one of the droids that sits in the back of an X-Wing has the maker’s name in ’Star Wars’ typography on it.”