Most people can remember Princess Leia being held prisoner in cell number 2187 on the Death Star in “Star Wars: A New Hope.” It is announced by Han as he goes to rescue her.
Forty years later, in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” we find Finn’s Stormtrooper named in reference FN-2187. It was Poe who gave FN-2187 his nickname Finn, put together by the FN in his tag.
A Defeated Imperial Droid Lay Crumpled in the Corner
In “The Empire Strikes Back,” a droid is pictured in the scrap room on Bespin, near the incinerator. That pile of rubble is the droid formerly known as IG-88. It had been one of the deadliest droids in the galaxy, second only to Boba Fett, who blew up IG-88 with a cannon that triggered its own stock of grenades.
IG-88 had been hired by Darth Vader, himself, to track down the Millennium Falcon. The bounty hunter droid was an unstoppable killer bot, until, that is, Boba Fett plotted its demise.
The IG-11 Droid Is Often Confused With IG-88
In “The Mandalorian” series, droid IG-11 is an assassin hunter like IG-88, but it is a completely separate bounty hunting robot. It served as a male-programmed bounty hunter during the New Republic Era but was destroyed by Din Djarin as it was closing in on a mission to kill an infant named Grogu.
When IG-11 was reassembled, it served as a nurse droid, programmed to care for patients.
Fn-2187 Is an Easter Egg Embedded in Another Easter Egg
The true significance of 2187 goes back to George Lucas’ education. At USC’s cinema school, he discovered film shorts from the National Film Board of Canada. One of these made a big impression on the budding filmmaker. A 1964 abstract short film by Arthur Lipsett is titled “21-87.”
It was a quirky film with very little narrative, but he loved it and said he viewed the short about twenty or thirty times.
An 1138 Reference Is Spotted in “Star Wars: Episode IV”
It is a very brief example, but in the 1977 film, Chewbacca is transferred to cell number 1138. If it seems like a random designation, it’s not. The number is actually dear to Lucas’ heart as it was the title of a short film, he made in film school.
The 1967 film was titled, in full, “Electronic Labyrinth THX 1138 4EB.” This work was recognized and got his foot in the door in the film industry. It served as a stepping stone to making “American Graffiti” (1973).