Amazingly, that’s because Johnson gave Ernie Fosselius’ wacky 1978 13-minute Star Wars parody short, Hardware Wars, a significant reference in the latest Star Wars blockbuster, in the form of a flying iron. Yeah, script police most likely wouldn’t have let that one… fly.
For your own reference, here’s the beloved short in all its low-def glory, complete with Fluke Starbucker wielding his flashlight, Augie “Ben” Doggie of the Red-eye Knights, Ham Salad and his co-pilot Chewchilla the Wookiee Monster, the droids 4-Q-2 and Arty-Deco, Princess Anne-Droid wearing what appears to be two Challahs on her head, and Darph Nader, villain; all of whom appear “later that same day” in “another part of the galaxy,” where all the spacecraft and futuristic gizmos are replaced by late ‘70s appliances.
Warning: The Last Jedi spoilers ahead.
As far-fetched as it all might seem, Johnson’s Hardware Wars reference fits pretty close to seamlessly within the modern film, albeit with a hearty laugh, quantified exponentially by one’s own familiarity with the parody. It’s the scene where there appears to be a giant iron landing on a First Order dock, which is revealed to be an actual iron pressing uniforms in the laundry room where Finn and Rose steal disguises to go rebelling around the Star Destroyer.
Johnson spoke with UPROXX about the obvious Hardware Wars reference:
“That gives you a sense of how free of a hand I had in it,” said Johnson. “I just came up with that gag during the script-writing phase, actually. Because I was thinking we had to sell the transition to a ship, then I knew we had to transition to some kind of place where they had to find uniforms. So it was kind of, well, let’s shake it up a little bit.”
If you didn’t get it, don’t worry, it’s for Star Wars fans “of a certain age,” said Johnson. Although apparently Patton Oswalt had no trouble picking it up, as he texted Johnson just two words immediately after seeing the film: "Hardware Wars!"