Solo: A Star Wars story is absolutely stuffed with references to other movies in the Star Wars universe, from iconic quotes, returning characters and classic spaceships to the very costumes worn by background actors.
However, it turns out that it’s not just Star Wars paid tribute to in the new movie, with director Ron Howard revealing that another film from George Lucas (and connected to Harrison Ford) was given a nod in the background of a scene.
“There’s a little Easter Egg related to another movie that I find…that I think is a cousin,” Howard told RadioTimes.com.
“And this was not my idea but I completely supported the idea of planting this little Easter Egg. And it’s Raiders of the Lost Ark.”
According to Howard, the nod to the action-adventure film comes during scenes starring Paul Bettany as gangster Dryden Vos, who has an unusual skull among his collection of alien artefacts that pays tribute to part of the original Indiana Jones movie.
It’s easy to miss, but Howard was keen to include it as it also brought a connection to Solo co-screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan, who actually wrote Raiders of the Lost Ark in the 1980s.
“Larry Kasdan also wrote that,” Howard explained. “And while this wasn’t his idea – OK I’ll just go ahead and say it. It was his son [and Solo co-writer] Jon.”
“I do think these movies are sort of cousins,” Howard continued.
“Because you know Han Solo – who’s not only played by Harrison Ford, as was Indiana Jones – but Indiana Jones is kind of a version of an awkward, yet adorable and ultimately effective hero, who gets himself in and out of scrapes.
“And it’s a singular adventure story. And [Solo] is a singular adventure story, unlike the other movies which have been war stories, and these sort of epic, family dramas. So this one has this other vibe, this other spirit. And in some ways it does remind me of Raiders.”
And it’s a comparison that Solo’s leading man Alden Ehrenreich agrees with, separately telling RadioTimes.com that he saw the film in the Indiana Jones mould himself.
“I just think that kind of the adventure story of it all, the kind of Indiana Jones mould of not so much one whole long story that extends over three things, but different serial chapters of his adventure stories, seems like what it wants to be,” he said.
And of course, the Easter Egg returns the favour for the many Star Wars Easter Eggs hidden in the Indiana Jones franchise – including an ancient carving of C-3PO and R2-D2 and a bar called Club Obi Wan – that fans have been obsessing over for decades.
All in all, it’s good to know the writers and directors of these films are just as nerdy and obsessive as the rest of us. We’re no longer feeling Solo.