Star Wars has a rich history of video games stretching all the way back to 1983. Eventually, Star Wars games extended beyond simply adapting the movies and gave us some of the best original characters and stories from a galaxy far, far away.
For fans, the only catch is that these games stopped being canon in 2014, when Disney rebranded all the Expanded Universe material from games, novels, and comics over the years into the non-canonical “Star Wars Legends.”
Luckily, the creators of modern Star Wars movies and TV shows keep bringing video game references in and making these games (or portions of these games) canonical once more.
Here are all the coolest game references hidden in Star Wars movies and TV shows.
Lead character design in ‘The Mandalorian’
The design for our protagonist in The Mandalorian is nothing short of iconic. But would you believe that design comes straight from a video game that never saw the light of day?
Star Wars: 1313 was a game that went in many different directions before being canceled. Towards the end, the plan was for players to take control of Boba Fett, and he could unlock additional armor options through gameplay. But his basic armor design from the game was used as the design for the early, pre-Beskar upgrade design in The Mandalorian.
Dark Troopers in ‘The Mandalorian’
Perhaps the most blatant “game to canon” bit came from season two of The Mandalorian. By the end of the season, we discover that Moff Gideon’s secret weapons are robotic Dark Troopers tough enough to give a Mandalorian a run for his money.
But the basic design of these troopers is not new. It comes from the classic video game Star Wars: Dark Forces. In that game, smuggler-turned-hero Kyle Katarn clashes with different versions of these troops. Later, the Dark Trooper was a bonus playable class in the original Star Wars: Battlefront games.
Teräs Käsi martial arts
If you were making a list of the worst Star Wars games ever made, Masters of Teräs Käsi would be at the top. This was a forgettable fighting game for the original PlayStation featuring cringe-worthy graphics and terrible gameplay.
But this notorious game has now been made partially canon. That’s because in the 2018 film Solo: A Star Wars Story, Han Solo’s first love Qi’ra busts out some sweet moves to fight off some bad guys. This surprises Han, and she explains these are Teräs Käsi martial arts. And other canonical materials verify she learned these moves from Darth Maul himself!
Darth Revan in ‘The Rise of Skywalker’
The most popular Star Wars video game is, arguably, the original Knights of the Old Republic. Darth Revan is the antagonist-turned-protagonist of the franchise, and fans have been clamoring for him to appear in a show or movie for many years.
It almost happened in Star Wars: Clone Wars, but an explicit Revan reference ended up being cut from the third season episode “Ghosts of Mortis.”
But Revan is now canonical thanks to 2019’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. The legions of Sith troopers in that movie are named after famous Sith Lords, and one of them is named the Revan Legion.
KOTOR ships in ‘Star Wars: Rebels’
As great as the characters and stories are, the Knights of the Old Republic games didn’t have many iconic ship designs. But the exception to this is the awesome Hammerhead-class cruiser which featured in both KOTOR and its sequel.
Modern Star Wars creators share fans’ love of this design. That’s why a Sphyrna-class Hammerhead corvette modeled after this design made an appearance in the animated series Star Wars: Rebels. And the iconic ship was used to transport an iconic character: Princess Leia herself!
Malachor in ‘Star Wars: Rebels’
Both Knights of the Old Republic games make extensive references to the Mandalorian Wars, in which these armored warriors clashed with the Jedi and the Old Republic. In the second KOTOR game, we discover that this war ended when Jedi exile Meetra Surik activated a Mass Shadow Generator and nearly destroyed the planet Malachor (known then as Malachor V) along with countless forces on both sides of the war.
That same planet was referenced in Clone Wars and eventually portrayed in Star Wars: Rebels. It served to reintroduce Darth Maul into Star Wars while also serving as the location for a final duel between Ahsoka Tano and Darth Vader.
Shadowtroopers in ‘Rogue One’
One issue with Star Wars is that so many ideas have been tried before by other creators. Therefore, even cool ideas that seem new are really just an amalgamation of different concepts.
For example, the 2016 film Rogue One showed us an awesome new kind of Stormtrooper: the Death Trooper. These guys look badass, but they borrow their name from an old Star Wars novel about Stormtroopers turned into zombies. And they borrow their design from the Shadowtroopers in Star Wars: Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast.
Mandalorian Rally Armor in ‘Solo’
The hallmark of a good Easter egg is that it cuts much deeper than you first realize. For example, the Big Bad of Solo: A Star Wars Story, Dryden Vos, has an office full of weird trinkets that include a set of red Mandalorian armor.
At first, you might think this is simply a reference to Boba Fett or Mandalorians in general. But this style of red armor is known as Mandalorian Rally Master armor. This is a type of armor and enemy designation originally featured in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.
What is your favorite Star Wars video game reference that made it into the movies or shows? Tell us in the comments below!