Before there was Star Wars, George Lucas had already made something of a name for himself as the director of a little science fiction movie called THX 1138. It was Indie before Indiana.
The moderate success of this movie allowed him to kick on to a completely different kind of film, American Graffiti.
Lucas did his first reference to his would-be sci-fi classic by putting it on the plate of the car featured in the movie:
Lucas would later reference the yellow car in Attack of the Clones – see the yellow speeder Anakin Skywalker commandeers.
Over time, THX 1138 has become a cult classic movie. This is mostly due to people finding it because of the success of Star Wars and subsequently loving it. Our review shows that, some 40-odd years later, it's still a decent movie.
And because that movie is clearly a part of Lucas' heart and soul as an early filmmaker, he began to make cool references to it in his Star Wars movies.
Legend has it that Lucas got the idea for THX 1138 from the license plate number of the car that crashed into his own car, during an accident in 1962 when he was still in high school.
Here's a List of All the THX 1138 References Made in the Star Wars Movies
A New Hope
- Princess Leia was kept captive on the Death Star in cell number 2187. This was a deliberate choice as 2187 is the year that the Lucas-directed THX 1138 was set. The Force Awakens took this even further and used the number as Finn's designated Stormtrooper number, FN2187.
- 138 is the number of the cell block on the Death Star from which Luke Skywalker claims to be transferring Chewbacca.
- The Imperial Stormtrooper suit Luke Skywalker stole on the Death Star belongs to a Stormtrooper with the registration TK-421, but this was scripted and appears in the novelization as THX 1138.
- When C-3PO asks Han and Luke what they should do if they are discovered in the hangar control of the Death Star, the monitor behind the robots shows “THX/1138”.
The Empire Strikes Back
- In an approximation of the 1138 meme, General Rieekan issues the following order: “Send Rogues 10 and 11 to Station 3-8.” This must be the cleverest use of the movie's numbers in this list!
Return of the Jedi
- The number 1138 is inscribed on the side of bounty hunter Boushh's helmet.
The Phantom Menace
- 1138 can be seen on the back of the battle droid that Jar Jar Binks hits over the head after the destruction of the droid control ship.
Attack of the Clones
- When Mace Windu orders a clone pilot to land in an assembly area, 1138 can be seen on the back of the pilot's helmet in LED lights.
- As Padmé tumbles down a sand dune, 1138 can be briefly seen inscribed in the sand.
Revenge of the Sith
- Although not spoken or seen in the final movie, CC-1138 is the numerical designation for Commander Bacara, one of the clone troopers seen in the Order 66 sequence.
- The original DVD release contained an Easter egg in which a short video clip of Yoda breakdancing is shown when the numbers 1-1-3-8 are entered on a remote control.
The Force Awakens
- A stormtrooper is referred to by the designation 1138 during the battle at Maz Kanata's castle.
- Finn's Storm Trooper 2187 is also a reference to the movie in that it was the year it was set.
- Darth Vader‘s bacta tank first appears at 1:13:38.
The Last Jedi
- If scriptwriter and director Rian Johnson added a reference, we haven't figured it out.
Bonus Indiana Jones Movie References
Given Lucas wrote and produced these movies, the Indiana Jones franchise got in the action too.
Raiders of the Lost Ark
- The number is heard spoken through an intercom in German, “Eins-eins-drei-acht.”
- The wing number on a plane also reads “THX 1138.”
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
- 1138 is shown in Roman numerals (MCXXXVIII) in Dr. Jones' notebook during the library scene.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
- A car in the opening scene has a license plate reading “THX 138.” The car itself is a reference to Lucas's second film and genuine classic, American Grafitti.
This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.