The 24 Things That Show up in Every Star Wars Movie

Mark Hamill in Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980).

Any movie franchise has repeating elements that can be expected from each film. Star Wars is no exception to this idea. Whether it is a running gag or a common trope, here are 24 things in every Star Wars movie that'll make the galaxy far, far away feel a little bit closer.

1. Lightsabers 

Alec Guinness as Ben Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars: A New Hope (1977).
Image Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.

The kyber crystal-powered weapons are a staple to the franchise. No matter which one you watch, each movie mentions or shows at least one lightsaber. In the main story, the Jedi and Sith play significant roles, so it makes sense for their weapon to be so common. However, they can also be found in the side stories that don't focus on force users. Usually, it is in the form of an appearance from the dark side.

2. Sassy Droids

Anthony Daniels C3PO Star Wars
Image Credit: Lucasfilm.

Artificial intelligence in robots and droids is frequently found in sci-fi films, Star Wars included. The movies are packed with droids that have quite the attitude. Of course, there’s the well-known duo C-3PO and R2-D2, but there’s far more than that. BB-8, L3-37, and K-2SO are examples of personality-filled droids throughout the galaxy.

3. A Blaster Fight

Keri Russell as Zorii Bliss in Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker (2019).
Image Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.; Bad Robot Productions.

If there isn’t a lightsaber duel, there will be a blaster fight. And if there are still lightsabers, they will likely be used in some way in a blaster fight. There will always be one scene where our heroes go back and forth with our favorite “pew-pew” noise filling the air. But there is no need to worry. So long as the fight is with stormtroopers, everyone will be okay.

4. At Least One Desert Planet

star wars
Image Credit: 20th Century-Fox.

Anakin Skywalker would hate the franchise for the sheer amount of sand in these movies! In every film, someone starts on or travels to a desert planet. It may be Tatooine, the origins of the Skywalker story, or Savareen, a desert ocean planet on the spur of the Kessel Run (that Han Solo did in less than 12 parsecs). Still, either way, you’ll be seeing quite a bit of the coarse, rough, and irritating stuff that gets everywhere.

5. The Wilhelm Scream

Mark Hamill screaming in a scene
Image Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.

Sadly, after Star Wars: Episode VIIThe Force Awakens (2015), the sequel trilogies let the tradition of using the sound effect die out. However, before that, there was always at least one instance where this iconic scream was heard. Usually, it came from a stormtrooper or other bad guy falling into a pit. It became such a long-running joke that it has ended up in more than just the movies. Video Games, TV shows, and even the Walt Disney World and Disneyland ride Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance include the Wilhelm Scream!

6. Bottomless Shafts

Mark Hamill, James Earl Jones, and David Prowse in Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980).
Image Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.

The number of times characters in the Star Wars Universe have fallen, or been at risk of falling, from a great height into some kind of bottomless pit makes me question the lack of safety rails. Everywhere you look, pits of unknown depths threaten to swallow people up whole. Many troopers and other minions have fallen victim to these pits. Not even the powerful Emperor Palpatine was safe from being thrown into one.

7. Loss of Limb

Darth Maul
Image Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.

Losing appendages is alarmingly common within the Star Wars universe. Even worse is that some lose more than one limb at a time. Darth Maul, for example, is entirely cut in half by Qui-Gon Jinn, and Anakin loses both legs and his remaining hand in his battle with Obi-Wan.

The sequel trilogy may have also tried to cut off this trend at the joint, but we can still see it implied. C-3PO is seen with a red arm in Episode VII. According to a 2016 comic, Star Wars Special: C-3PO: The Phantom Limb, 3PO lost an arm during a mission for the Resistance. 

8. Extreme Planets

The Empire Strikes Back tauntauns Luke Skywalker Mark Hamill
Image Credit Lucasfilm.

Desert planets are not the only extremes faced by our favorite characters. The galaxy far, far away has a variety of biomes. There are planets covered in snow and ice, like Hoth; swamp planets, like Dagobah; planets with nothing but ocean, like Kamino; and even planets covered in fire and lava, like Mustafar.

9. Sneaky Monsters

Michael Carter, Mark Dodson, Femi Taylor, and Larry Ward in Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983).
Image Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.

In Star Wars, giant monsters are surprisingly skilled at hiding and sneaking up on people. You may fall victim to a Sarlacc buried deep in the sand on Tatooine. You can find yourself within the grasp of the well-hidden rancor beneath the floor of Jabba the Hutt’s palace. You're not even safe off planet! There may be a dianoga in your trash compactor or a giant space slug ready to eat as you pass by an asteroid!

10. Low-Life Hangouts

Set piece from Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018).
Image Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.

It wouldn’t be a Star Wars movie without at least one trip to the shadier side of the galaxy. It’s either a trip for information, finding the right person for the job, or attempting to get something else important. Whatever the reason, we always stop by a sleazy spot for the lowest of the low.

11. Scoundrels

Donald Glover in Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018).
Image Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.

With such frequent visits to places of dodgy deals and wrongdoings, it makes sense that we’d also see the members of that vicious society. In every movie, there will be at least one scoundrel in our lot of heroes. In some instances, like in Solo: A Star Wars Story, we get to watch a whole group of them!

12. Parental Mysteries

Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker
Image Credit: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

With all the technology used in Star Wars, you'd think there’d be at least one form of paternity test. But the idea of a sci-fi Maury show is a conversation for another day! The point is that quite a few beloved characters are either orphans, abandoned, or, in Anakin’s case, born under mysterious circumstances.

13. Big Battles

Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker (2019)
Image Credit: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

“Wars” is in the name, and with wars come battles. Movies in this series almost always end with a big battle between the Jedi and the Sith. Depending on the film, we’ll see lasers flying in all directions, explosions, and maybe a lightsaber or two. 

14. The Dark Side Pulling the Strings

Star Wars Palpatine Darth Sidious
Image Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.

Somehow, some way, there is always a connection to the dark side of the Force. Sometimes, it’s more evident with the Sith being the main big bad for the story. But other times, like in Solo, that truth isn’t so forthcoming, but by the end, you know it’s there. In other words, when in doubt, blame Palpatine.

15. “May the Force Be With You.”

Star Wars The Force Awakens
Image Credit: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

The wish for luck and success has become just as iconic as the movies it came from. “May the Force be with you” has been said at least once in every film. Sometimes, it is a variation, but it is there. You may even find it on your calendar!

16. Anthony Daniels Plays a Role

Anthony Daniels and Carrie Fisher in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)
Image Credit: Lucasfilm.

You may know Anothy Daniels better as the man who voiced and portrayed C-3PO. This legend of a man has continued to either provide his voice or act in the suit whenever the golden droid is needed!

However, that isn’t the only Star Wars character he has played. In Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones (2002) and Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith (2005), he played C-3PO and a human con man named Dannl Faytonni. In Solo: A Star Wars Story, Daniels played another con artist named Tak, who had been imprisoned in the spice mines of Kessel.

17. Space Travel

STAR WARS Battlefront 2 Video Game (2017)
Image Credit: Electronic Arts.

Nobody can stay on the same planet for very long in Star Wars. If you have a mission, it’ll likely end up on another world across the galaxy. “But what if I don’t own a spaceship?” I hear you ask. Well, you’ll have to find a way to get one, probably by going to the local cantina filled with scoundrels and requesting a pilot to fly you or let you borrow his ship because not going off the planet isn’t an option!

18. “I’ve Got a Bad Feeling About This”

Alden Ehrenreich in Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018).
Image Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.

“I have a bad feeling about this” is another running gag throughout the franchise. There are two instances where the phrase was changed, though. The first is in Solo, where a young Han says, “I've got a really good feeling about this,” when he takes over as pilot of the Millennium Falcon to get out of the maelstrom around Kessel.

The second is in Star Wars: Episode VIII- The Last Jedi. BB-8 is the one to recite the iconic line in binary during the evacuation of D'Qar, and if you check it to the context of what others say in reply, it adds up!

19. Powerful Women

Han Solo, Princess Leia Organa
Image Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.

Princess Leia Organa, Padmé Amidala, Jyn Erso, Qi'ra, and Rey. What do all these ladies have in common? They are just a handful of the mighty women in Star Wars. Each of them has a job, and they do it just as well, if not better than everyone else! So, if you’re looking for a powerful woman to watch, conquer any obstacle, and get the job done, pick up any of the movies.

20. Romantic Subplot

Star Wars Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher star wars casting
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox.

Even if it’s only implied, at least two characters will have some romantic tension. Sometimes, it’s a significant plot point, like Anakin and Padmé, whose love became a big part of the Skywalker legacy. Other times, it’s more subtle, like the tension and feelings between Cassian Andor and Jyn Erso in Rogue One.

21. Alien Languages

Ben Quadinaros, Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace
Image Credit: Lucasfilm.

If there are so many different languages on our one little planet, why wouldn’t there be any across an entire galaxy? Of course, for the sake of making a movie for humans, a lot of the dialogue is in a language from Earth, but that doesn’t stop other languages from different planets and cultures from being included. Some of the most well-known are Huttese, Gunganese, and Shyriiwook (a.k.a. the language Wookies).

22. Holograms

Carrie Fisher in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977).
Image Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.

If there is one thing I love about sci-fi technology, it’s holograms. Lucky for me, Star Wars is filled with them! Holograms do two different tasks in this universe. They can display a map, plans, or models, similar to a projector. The other is as a communication tool. Characters have been shown to send messages or talk to others in real time through a hologram communicator. It’s like a video call, except you are all blue!

23. The “Main Title Theme”

Title card from Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980).
Image Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.

The opening title theme by John Williams is one of the most recognizable in the business! It has appeared in variations across the franchise since its first debut at the beginning of Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope in 1977. So, the next time you watch any of the movies, keep an ear open for this iconic melody.

24. Sarcastic Comebacks

Han Solo
Image Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.

It’s nice to know that despite countless dangers, many still have the time to drop a witty remark. No matter where you look or how dark things may seem, there will always be someone to lighten the tone with a wisecrack or two. I personally love Ewan McGregor’s ungodly amount of sass that he brings to the young Obi-Wan Kenobi in the prequels.

Author: Molly Locke

Title: Freelance Journalist

Expertise: Movies, Video Games, Travel

Bio:

Molly Locke is a freelance journalist for Wealth of Geeks fresh off the presses with a degree in business management focused in digital and social media marketing. Having been traveling since before she could walk, she's gained quite a bit of insight on what this world is all about. Movies and video games are her bread and butter, as is being able to talk about their stories, quality, effects, and impact endlessly.