With the Rise of Skywalker’s release comes the conclusion of a cinematic adventure forty-two years in the making. Because it is a grand finale, the filmmakers tried to include as many references to the prior trilogies as possible. Many of these callbacks are apparent on the surface, but several flew over most viewers’ heads.

The following list will detail ten of these which were easily missed by even avid fans of the series. Anyone who didn’t notice these shouldn’t feel too bad about themselves. The movie moves so fast in its attempt to wrap up the epic saga, little time is available to dwell on certain moments and events. The pacing and lack of breathing room is a general complaint about the movie, but as far as trilogy closers go, it could have ended up far worse.

Chewbacca’s Medal

One classic joke from A New Hope stems from the medal ceremony after destroying the Death Star. Luke and Han get their just rewards, while Chewbacca is forced to stand there without a medal of his own.

After winning the climactic battle in the new movie, Maz Kanata walks up to Chewie and presents a medal for him. A cute joke, but arguably obtrusive for such an important moment in the franchise. The wink and a nod towards a popular fan joke takes away from the joy of the moment.


Wedge Antilles was probably the most talented pilot of the Rebel Alliance next to Luke Skywalker. He’s one of the few people to survive both attacks on the Death Star, which already says more than enough about his talent.

Given his dedication to the cause, it only made sense for him to show up and help the Resistance during the final battle on Exegol. He gets a line, but blink at the right time and it is easy to miss entirely. Denis Lawson’s appearance is especially important, since he is Ewan McGregor’s Uncle, and the Scottish actor also makes an appearance, albeit as a voice.

Aki-Aki Festival

While locating the Sith Wayfinder on Pasana, Rey and friends find themselves in the middle of the Aki-Aki’s Festival of the Ancestors. C-3PO casually mentions this festival only occurring once every forty-two years. While the number seems arbitrary at first, some simple algebra will reveal its relevance.

A New Hope came out in 1977, forty-two years before The Rise of Skwalker. Remembering this number truly puts into perspective how epic this journey has been. Anybody old enough to see the first one back in the day and followed it through to the end truly witnessed something special.

Luke And The Red Five

Upon convincing Rey not to give up her fight, Luke lifts up his old X-Wing out of the water for her to use. Fans immediately noted the similarities between this and the moment on Dagobah when he attempts to do the same in Empire Strikes Back.

It was so arduous for him back then, but in The Rise of Skywalker he does it with ease as a force ghost. His face says it all as a look of satisfaction crosses it. What he could barely conceptualize accomplishing thirty years prior is now a breeze; something he could do even as a dead person.

Palpatine’s Dialog

Shiv Palpatine’s dialog continually makes callbacks to his words in prior films. While with Rey during the finale he says “do it” in a way similar to Revenge of the Sith when he orders Anakin to decapitate Count Dooku.

Additionally, he tells Kylo Ren in the intro “The Dark Side of the Force is a pathway to many abilities some consider to be unnatural.” These are the same words he tells to Anakin in the third movie. Everybody has their specific mannerisms and phrases, so it makes sense for the character to repeat them decades later.


Commonly called “Space Chess,” Dejarik is a game many play during downtime on the Millennium Falcon. Poe, Fin, and Chewie make their entrance in this movie engaging in this pass time, joking about the Wookie’s mysterious winning streak.

They make a good point about his constant victories attributed to the character’s old age. Wookies are probably smarter than most people realize. Of course, letting him win could just be a survival mechanism.


People love to bemoan Ewoks as the first signs of George Lucas’s creative genius slipping. The living teddy bears are fine contributions to the lore, however, and it is the Empire’s underestimation of their abilities that leads to their downfall.

Given their importance, it would be sacrilege to leave them out of the grand finale. Not only do they get a shout out in the movie, but Wicket himself pops up, played by none other than Warwick Davis. The actor’s son also got a chance to be on screen as an Ewok.


The opening scene sees Kylo Ren finding one of the two Sith Wayfinders on planet Mustafar. It is not immediately recognizable as the lava-covered environment from Revenge of the Sith, but the flames and parched trees should indicate its climate.

Kylo Ren is lucky he and Rey didn’t fight there, otherwise he may have ended up toasting on the shore of a lava River, just like his grandfather. It would have made for one heck of a fight, though, perhaps rivaling the light saber duel Anakin and Obi-Wan have in Episode III

The Final Battle

Just as the resistance loses all hope, an armada of ships from around the Galaxy swoops in to even the playing field. Among the vessels are a variety of callbacks and easter eggs from the first two trilogies and the animated series. The Clone Wars and Rebels fans will spot cruisers from the respective shows.

It’s nice to know the crews made it so far, though maybe they are not piloted by the same people. Additionally, there is no guarantee they survived the final dogfight.

The Suns On Tatooine

The final scene takes place on Tatooine where Luke Skywalker was raised. Upon stating her last name as Skywalker, Rey gazes out at the two suns. This moment mirrors Luke’s solemn stare at the same stars in A New Hope. Another interesting thing to point out is how the prequel trilogy also ends on Tatooine, only with an infant Luke cradled by his adoptive parents.

Next: 10 Hilarious Rise Of Skywalker Memes