With the home release of [Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens](tag:711158), fans around the world are busy embarking on another Easter Egg hunt, combing through the footage for any hints they haven't already examined at length. But what we didn't expect was to find a lack of Easter Eggs, specifically removed from footage we'd already seen.
Back when the third trailer was released, the internet was abuzz with discussion about the symbols on Maz Kanata's castle. The flags adorning the entrance are littered with little symbolic references to the wider Star Wars universe, including several nods to the prequels.
The most notable of these was the symbol from Anakin's podracer. Featuring in The Phantom Menace, the podracing scene is one of the few aspects of the prequels that is generally well liked. These little symbolic Easter Eggs were praised before Star Wars 7 was released, and yet, fans found something very odd when they rewatched the film at home: Many of the symbols were missing.
Specifically, all the podracer references had been erased from the final version of the footage, along with Anakin's symbol.
Why would the filmmakers remove these references? It's possible that they wanted to distance The Force Awakens from the Star Wars prequels. In fact, when SlashFilm pointed these references out to J.J. Abrams, he seemed unhappy with the Easter Eggs.
The flags are designed to drive superfans nuts with references to the earlier movies, but Abrams tells Guyett that too many of them allude to the first of Lucas’ prequels: “I don’t want to be too about podracers,” he says. “I’d rather come up with our stuff.”
This could explain the changes to the symbols: Did Abrams replace them with new symbols referencing groups that haven't yet appeared in the movies? Let's play a game of spot the difference or, as I like to call it, Fun With Flags.
Of course, most of the symbols have been changed, but the two at the front are the most obvious. The one in the center appears to be a blue and yellow hand-like symbol, while the one on the left resembles a white sphere slashed with red.
Neither of these symbols are known in Star Wars lore, so it could be that they denote groups we haven't met yet. Considering Maz Kanata's castle is a hive of scum and villainy, the distinctly piratical kind, it's possible that these symbols belong to groups like Kanjiklub.
Naturally, some fans are already up in arms about this flagrantly disrespectful disregarding of The Phantom Menace. But it's highly likely that the editing team threw in some cheeky references for the trailer premiere and saved the genuine hints for the theatrical cut and home release. The only thing left to do is to wait to see if these new symbols really are hinting at the arrival of new space pirates, bounty hunters, and criminals — or if they're just aesthetically pleasing shapes.