There is a dorky reference in Star Wars: The Last Jedi that even director Rian Johnson admits that you may have to be of a certain age to get – thanks to a narrow window where you might have been watching premium cable in the very early ‘80s when this bizarre little short film would air in-between feature-length films. But, yes, Johnson confirms, we’ve come full circle, there is a Hardware Wars reference in The Last Jedi.
Literally the first question I asked Johnson in an interview on Friday was, “That had to be a Hardware Wars reference in The Last Jedi, right?” Johnson let out a bellowing laugh and said, “I’m so happy you saw that.” After explaining that I haven’t found too many people yet who have gotten the reference, Johnson said, “I know. Patton Oswalt, after he saw it, he DMed me just, ‘Hardware Wars!’ I was like, ‘Yes!’ It’s people of a certain age who will get that, I think.”
Released in 1978, filmmaker Ernie Fosselius released a crude-but-endearing 13-minute short film that recreated the original Star Wars, only with appliances. Characters Fluke Starbucker (with his flashlight lightsaber) and Augie “Ben” Doggie meet an ace pilot named Ham Salad who flies them all around in a giant iron that battles flying toasters. You know, it might just be easier if you watch it yourself, which you can do right here:
And, as Johnson said, kids “of a certain age” who were dying to rewatch Star Wars over and over before it was ever released on VHS, well, Hardware Wars was as close as it was going to come for the time being.
And then, 39 years later, comes Rian Johnson’s entry into the Star Wars saga, The Last Jedi, where Ham Salad is now canon – sort of.