The Force Awakens makes many references to the original trilogy. What references to the prequel trilogy are made in The Force Awakens? I'm looking specifically for plot elements, characters, and even themes that are introduced in the prequels that appear in TFA. (Implicitly, has the new team dumped the prequel trilogy down the memory hole?)

  • 3
    I for one am happy to dump the prequels down the memory hole. – Lucien Stals Jan 18 '16 at 4:15

Some references to the prequels in The Force Awakens are given here, including,

  1. Flags from pod races being displayed outside of Maz Kanata's castle pod racer flags
  2. "The Sith" are introduced into the films, but the term was introduced in the novelization of A New Hope.
  3. There is a Jedi Temple in the prequels. The first Jedi Temple is mentioned in The Force Awakens.
  4. Who the clones in the Clone Wars were.
  5. Leitmotifs from the prequels.

It doesn't look like many references, and they're all oblique. If the prequels didn't exist, one's understanding of The Force Awakens wouldn't be different.

  • 2
    For #5, the article you cited is actually just saying the music has similarities to the music from the prequels. None of the actual leitmotifs that are from the prequels are heard in TFA. – RedCaio Feb 1 '16 at 2:17
  • The Imperial March is heard in the prequels as well as TFA - in-universe chronologically, that counts – NKCampbell Apr 27 '17 at 22:01


  1. Weird-looking lightsabers

    This includes both the shapes - witness Maul's, and colors - witness Mace Windu's.

    In Episode 7 we have a Cross-Guard lightsaber, which is red/yellow in color according to WGA leaked script.

  2. Slaughter of Jedi students by a Skywalker Turned Dark traitor

    Vader at Jedi Temple in E3 <=> Kylo Ren and Luke's trainees.

  3. Protagonist being a best friend with alien restauranteur who's been around and knows stuff and is wise.

    Obi-Wan and his Ep2 friend Dexter Jettster discussing Camino <=> Han solo and Maz

  4. The main goal.

    In OT, the main goal of the Bad Guys was to crush the Rebellion and keep on ruling; with a stretch goal of getting Luke to turn to Dark Side.

    In PT and in Ep 7, the main goal of Bad Guys is:

    • Destroy the Jedi

      the sinister
      FIRST ORDER has risen from
      the ashes of the Empire
      and will not rest until
      Skywalker, the last Jedi,
      has been destroyed.

    • Regain power from a position of defeat and emergence from hiding.

  5. Heavy use of familial relationships to intertwine movies.

    OT merely had Skywalker family. Nobody else was related that I can think of.

    PT had Boba Fett's "father" Jango

    Ep 7 has Poe Damerron (parents fought for Rebellion), Snap Wexley (mother flew Y-Wing at Endor), Kylo Ren.

  6. Rolling droids

    Droidekas <=> BB-8

  7. Good Guys have a Senate (and the overall system of government) that is, basically, largely useless.

    Ironically, many of similar reasons which drove Separatists to separate away from the Republic, are the reasons Resistance arose outside of New Republic :)

  8. Ewan McGregor's voice in Rey's vision as young Obi-Wan, alongside Yoda and Old Obi-Wan.

  9. Maz Kanata greatly resembles a toy found in Anakin's room (seemingly unintentional reference)

Filming techniques

  1. Motion capture CGI characters

  2. In general, heavy use of CGI (no matter what the PR was)

  3. Cockpit view of starfighter dogfights (we didn't see that in OT)

    Anakin in Ep1 <=> Poe

If you also include canon materials beyond the film:

  • In the Foster novelization, Snoke mentions that he witnessed the rise of the Empire - the concept not revealed as anything specific till the prequels.

  • The basis of how the plot is set up is trade, taxation and politics

    Taxation of trade routes led to Trade Federation blocading Naboo.

    The trade chasing (according to Visual Dictionary) led the New Republic to demilitarize and refuse to confront First Order - which led to Resistance creation and to First Order's ability to become the menace.

  • 4 to 7 seem just a little stretched to me :) I think the OP means "canon introduced", not "concepts" or "visuals now possible due to CGI" :) – Jane S Jan 18 '16 at 4:25
  • Points 1, 3, and 5 are the kind of thing I'm looking for. Even so, I'd bicker with you on point 5, as I don't think the prequels add much new on familial relationships that is reflected in TFA, but this is just my opinion. – Alex Szatmary Jan 18 '16 at 4:46
  • Also, for me, the question came before finding the article, which I don't even think is all that great, but I think it's evidence that you have to look hard to find a connection between the prequels and TFA. – Alex Szatmary Jan 18 '16 at 4:48
  • @AlexSzatmary - fair enough. You didn't quite phrase it in that way in the subject, though :) – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jan 18 '16 at 4:51
  • Also the pulsing sound of the stasis pod Finn in placed in makes the same sound as the medical chamber Vader is in at the end of RotS. – RedCaio Jan 18 '16 at 5:13

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