It’s not a secret that Star Wars is woven into cultures around the world. While it’s not a revelation, the fact that references to the characters and story pop up in unexpected places like historical homes and the streets of Paris should still be examined. Each encounter is like an artifact, evidence of the effect the saga has had on our society over the past 37 years. Those tendrils will only spread in years to come because kids and adults are still discovering Star Wars for the first time, and new material will is coming down the pipeline soon to inspire the next generation.
But, I’m getting off topic. Even though I’m aware of the reach of Star Wars, I’m still occasionally caught off guard by where I see or hear a reference. I expect to find nods to the galaxy in a toy store or a comic book shop, but not when I’m visiting a casino floor in Las Vegas or in a restroom in a German restaurant in the Midwest. I have a few random encounters, and I’ve also gathered experiences from other fans.
The weirdest place I stumbled across the saga — specifically Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber hilt and Darth Vader — was while touring a historic home. Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens was built from 1912-1915. The home belonged to the founder of the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, F. A. Seiberling. The estate is sprawling and reminiscent of a place you’d see in Downton Abbey. The National Historic Landmark is carefully preserved, and visitors can admire original collections and furnishings throughout the Manor House. I toured the house with awe and found a small museum in the basement with an exhibit on press camera flashes from the 1940s. Though they didn’t have any props on display, they had a placard stating that press camera flashes were used in the construction of Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber hilt – specifically, a Graflex 3-cell camera flash.
Who would I’ve thought I’d learn a fact about lightsabers in a home built over 60 years before A New Hope was even released?
I walked outside of the manor still exclaiming over the lightsaber connection (for the record, I was also impressed by the historical value of the home’s furnishings), and I happened to look up. A Darth Vader toy sat in the corner of a window. Of all places.
I didn’t dare ask about why the toy was there because I didn’t want to get an employee in trouble and risk the toy being removed. Darth Vader needs to be there for someone else to find.
The day after visiting Stan Hywet Hall, I went to a German restaurant for lunch. They make trips to the restroom entertaining there by playing famous movie lines in English and following with the German translation. As I washed my hands before eating, a voice in the bathroom said, “May the Force be with you” and then “Möge die Macht mit Dir sein!”
And it’s not just me! Bryan Young visited Paris last year and spotted at least a couple of traces of Star Wars on street art:
Jay Dierling stumbled into a conversation about bounty hunters with a manager of tire store: “I had some issues with the tires I bought and called the store I bought them from. The manager sounded startled when he answered the phone. I told him my issue and he was quiet for a moment. The first thing he said was, ‘The caller ID says Jango Fett. Did you know?’ I said that I did and we had a great discussion about Boba and Jango. The store manager has a big Boba tattoo on his arm as well. Not only did they fix the issue, they upgraded my tires for free.”
Sarah Dempster was in London in the summer of 2012 and discovered Yoda wasn’t on Dagobah; he was working for a phone repair business:
Matthew Fett went to a restaurant in Los Angeles called The Belmont and spotted an EE-3 blaster replica hanging above the bar. He ended up having a 40 minute conversation about Star Wars with the owner.
Eric Geller went to the world famous Monte Carlo Casino in August 2010 and saw Darth Vader and some stormtroopers promoting a big jackpot (I’m sure they have a plan to steal the winnings and build another Death Star):
I’m convinced Star Wars is everywhere.
Have you ever encountered Star Wars quotes, history, etc. in a place where you didn’t think you’d come across it? Please share your stories in the comments.