Every THX 1138 reference made in Star Wars and Indiana Jones

Mar 30, 2022
thx1138 references in star wars and indianna jones

How THX1138 is often referenced throughout Star Wars films

Before there was Star Wars, George Lucas had already made a wee name for himself as the director of a wee science fiction film called THX 1138.

It was Indie before Indianna. 

The moderate success of this movie allowed him to kick on to a completely different kind of film, American Graffiti. 

Lucas did his first reference to his would-be sci-fi classic by putting it on the plate of the car featured in the film:

thx-1138 plate american graffitti

Lucas would later referenced the yellow car in Attack of the Clones - see the yellow speed Anakin Skywalker commanders. 

Over time, THX-1138 has become a cult classic film. This is mostly due to the people finding it due to the success of Star Wars and loving it. Our review shows that some 40 odd years later, it's still a decent movie.

Lead actor Robert Duvall went on to become very famous.


And because that movie is clearly a part of Lucas' heart and soul as an early film maker, he began to make cool references to it in his Star Wars movies.

Legend has it that Lucas got the idea for THX from the license plate number of the car that crashed into his own car during an accident in 1962 when he was still in high school.

Believe it or not!

Here's a list of all the THX 1138 references made in the Star Wars films

robert duvall in thx-1138

A New Hope

  • Princess Leia was kept captive on the Death Star in cell number 2187. This was a deliberate choice as 2187 is the year that the Lucas directed film THX 1138, was set. The Force Awakens took this even further and used the number as Finn's designated Stormtrooper number FN2187.
  • 138 is the number of the cell block on the Death Star that Luke Skywalker claims to be transferring Chewbacca from.
  • The Imperial Stormtrooper suit Luke Skywalker stole in the Death Star belongs to a Stormtrooper with the registration TK-421, but this was scripted and appears in the novelization as THX 1138. 
  • When C-3PO asks Han and Luke what they should do if they are discovered in the hangar control of the Death Star, the monitor behind the robots shows "THX/1138".

The Empire Strikes Back

  • Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980): In an approximation of the 1138 meme, General Rieekan issues the following order: "Send Rogues 10 and 11 to Station 3-8". Which must be the cleverest use of the movie number in this list!
thx-1138 faceless policeman

Return of the Jedi

  • The number 1138 is inscribed on the side of bounty hunter Boushh's helmet.
The Phantom Menace
  • 1138 can be seen on the back of the battle droid that Jar Jar Binks hits over the head after the destruction of the droid control ship.
Attack of the Clones
  • When Mace Windu orders a clone pilot to land in an assembly area, 1138 can be seen on the back of the pilot's helmet in LED lights.
  • As Padmé tumbles down a sand dune, 1138 can be briefly seen inscribed in the sand.

robert duvall in thx1138

 Revenge of the Sith

  • Although not spoken or seen in the final film, CC-1138 is the numerical designation for Commander Bacara, one of the clone troopers seen in the Order 66 sequence.
  • The original DVD release contained an Easter egg where a short video clip of Yoda break dancing is shown when the numbers 1-1-3-8 are entered on a remote control.

The Force Awakens

  • A stormtrooper is referred to by the designation 1138 during the battle at Maz Kanata's castle. 
  • Finn's Storm Trooper 2187 is also a reference to the movie in that it was the year it was set. 

Rogue One

  • Darth Vader's bacta tube first appears at 1:13:38

The Last Jedi

  • If scriptwriter and director Rian Johnson added a reference, we haven't figured it out.

Bonus Indiana Jones film references

Given Lucas wrote and produced these movies, Indiana Jones got in the action too.

Raiders of the Lost Ark

  • The number is heard spoken through an intercom in German, "Eins-eins-drei-acht". 
  • The wing number on a plane also reads THX-1138.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

  • 1138 is shown in Roman numerals (MCXXXVIII) in Dr. Jones' notebook in the library scene. 

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

  • A car in the opening scene has a license plate reading THX-138. The car itself is a reference to Lucas's second film and genuine classic, American Grafitti. 

Indeed the Indianna Jones movies were not shy about referencing Star Wars in general!

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