Star Wars movies are not all running and gunning. While many viewers just enjoy the films as a spectacle, George Lucas puts plenty of subtlety into his movies – you just have to pay close attention to see them. For instance, did you know Star Wars was a commentary on Vietnam?
- A quick character cameo occurs when Darth Vader and the Emperor are standing on the bridge of a Star Destroyer, overlooking the initial construction stage of the Death Star. In a blink-and-you-‘ll-miss-it moment, a young-looking Moff Tarkin quietly sidles up to the Sith Lords. Moff Tarkin features heavily in A New Hope, as it is he who orders the destruction of the planet Alderaan. In Rogue One, Tarkin's character is actually given an extended role. Guy Henry was motion-captured acting out the role and a CGI version of Tarkin was placed over Henry's head. The character was quite great, showing a strong sense of ruthlessness in his ability to assume command over the Death Star from Krennic and to destroy his own troops left on the ground when he fired the Death Star on his own Scarif base.
- During the opera scene, Emperor Palpatine tells Anakin Skywalker about how Darth Plagueis was so powerful he could create life. While it's never made explicit, the film could have been suggesting that Darth Plagueis caused the “conception” of Anakin Skywalker. The Expanded Universe novels show that Plagueis certainly was capable of such an amazing act.
- Darth Vader‘s head was symmetrical for the first time in a Star Wars film. It was developed using precise machinery – the original was hand sculpted and was mildly aspherical!
- As General Kenobi is about to leave to hunt down General Grevious, he shares a nice moment with Anakin which finishes with a very loving “Goodbye old friend” from Kenobi. This is the last time in the movie that the two Jedi converse as friends. A key thing is the lighting – Anakin in the dark and Obi-Wan in the light (see below). It is a literal case of foreshadowing what was to come.
- Near the end of the movie, Bail Organa and Jedi Master Yoda step into the hallway of Organa's ship and have a nice conversation about becoming. It's the actual ship that Darth Vader boards to capture Princess Leia Organa at the start of A New Hope, the Tantive IV. The ship was later seen again in The Rise of Skywalker and Rogue One.
- After Padmé Amidala dies giving birth to Luke and Leia, she is returned to Naboo for burial – her body has been altered to make it appear like she was still pregnant – this is all part of the ruse to keep the existence of Leia and Luke a secret.
- But what was the most subtle part? The massacre of the Younglings by the newly minted Sith Lord Darth Vader was a pretty obvious move. While the murder is off-screen, it is blatant what Anakin has just done – he has murdered innocent children. Nothing subtle about that. The subtlety is that this moment was set up as a call back to the prior movie, Attack of the Clones. Recall the scene where, in front of the Younglings, Obi-Wan and Yoda chat about how Obi-Wan has lost a planet (how embarrassing!). This is the same class (but with different students). Clever and chilling.*
- Ever thought you recognized Darth Vader's costume? It was inspired by the Nazi uniform design.
Bonus subtle moment!
Revenge of the Sith also featured a very cool reference to one of the movies by a Japanese director that inspired the original Star Wars film.
We have mentioned before how Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress was a major influence on George Lucas. It is no surprise, then, that Lucas deftly slipped in a visual reference to Kurosawa's famous Seven Samurai film.
Check out every title crawl from Star Wars!
This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.
Paul Rose Jr is the Editor in Chief of Wealth of Geeks & manages the Associated Press program for The Insiders network. He has worked as TV News Producer, Forensic Analyst, and Train Conductor, among many other things. He’s the former TV Editor for InfuzeMag and owns more books, DVDs, and comics than most people have seen in their lifetimes. When he’s not writing or editing on Wealth of Geeks, he exercises his creative muscle writing screenplays and acting in film and television in Los Angeles, CA.