Late last night, J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot Twitter feed featured a picture from the first day of principal photography on Star Wars: Episode VII. Those hungry for a shot of Han Solo fighting Boba Fett while Luke and Leia high-five were disappointed, as the picture only featured a close-up of the day-one film slate. But true Abrams acolytes know how Mr. Mystery Box likes to mischievously put secrets in plain sight, so clearly there must be spoilers buried in these seemingly innocuous numbers. Let’s find them!
The number “36” at the top of the slate. This is the number Shaquille O’Neal played in his last year in the NBA, on the Celtics. If ET can pop up in the galactic senate, then there’s no reason that Kazaam won’t be introduced as the newest Jedi elder.
Filter: N6. Could the N be a reference to Naboo? Will there be six times as many scenes featuring people holding each other by the lake of Naboo? That’s a lot of holding, but Adam Driver has long arms, so hopefully he’s the hugger. They can always add longer arms in post-production with today’s technology.
The number “DL 9901EL” on the bottom of the slate: This is Damon Lindelof’s going rate for his infamous, long-running “Calrissian consulting” business: He gets $9,901 for each Lando joke he tells while visiting the set, a gig he’s had since Mission: Impossible III ("Hey Tom, what’s Billy Dee WIlliams’ favorite Genesis song? ‘Lando Confusion’! Get it?") Though Lindelof didn’t write Episode VII, don’t be surprised if 20-30 of these kind of jokes “accidentally” wind up in Abrams’ final edit.
The smudge over the right side of the Star Wars logo. This looks like Harrison Ford sneezed on it. A yellowish tinge, a contained spray: This has all the markings of a long-term phlegm problem caused by hiding in a refrigerator during a fake nuclear blast in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. So we can reasonably assume that at some point in the film, Han Solo will have an allergy attack. The only question remaining: Did Greedo sneeze first?
The “Director 5-11” above Abrams’ name. The 5-11 could possibly be the shooting date…but could it also be the model of a new director droid? Could J.J. Abrams actually be a droid, a long-held secret to be topically revealed in the run-up promotion? “I was able to get inside the head of C-3PO and the other droids because [dramatic pause, then he opens chest plate to reveal wiring], I am one myself.” Mass-produced Abramsbots would explain how he creates so many TV shows: Which droid was responsible for Undercovers, and has he been sent back to the factory?