It’s no secret that there were some scenes in the many trailers for Star Wars: The Force Awakens that didn’t make it into the final cut of the film, with the shot of Leia being handed Luke’s lightsaber being perhaps the most popular omission. Footage gets left on the cutting room floor all the time, including Easter eggs, such as a cleverly hidden Anakin Skywalker reference that was included in The Force Awakens trailer but is missing from the film itself.
Redditor Aero-Space made this discovery by comparing the shot of Maz Kanata’s castle from the Blu-ray release to the same shot in the trailer, and noticed that a fair bit had changed.
Here’s the shot from the film:https://www.reddit.com/r/movies/comments/4hfyor/star_wars_episode_vii_mazs_kantana_flags_have/ Source: Reddit
And here’s the same shot from the trailer, with a certain flag circled:https://www.reddit.com/r/movies/comments/4hfyor/star_wars_episode_vii_mazs_kantana_flags_have/ Source: Reddit
That missing flag has the same symbol as the one from Anakin’s podracer in The Phantom Menace:https://www.reddit.com/r/movies/comments/4hfyor/star_wars_episode_vii_mazs_kantana_flags_have/ Source: Reddit
So why would J.J. Abrams decide to remove a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Easter egg like this? Well, judging by comments he made in a Rolling Stone interview back in December, it sounds like they just didn’t want to have too many references to the prequel trilogy in the final film.
Abrams, fresh from his speech about the importance of details, sits at the center of the editing room…They begin by reviewing a shot shown in the trailer, where dozens of flags appear on a castle that belongs to Maz Kanata […]. 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.” [Via]
We don’t think leaving in a few prequel trilogy Easter eggs would have hurt the film as much as having a full-blown Hayden Christensen cameo would have, but then again, you kind of have to respect the conviction it takes to just be like, “You know what? On second thought, let’s just pretend the prequels don’t exist.”