JJ Abrams likes the Beastie Boys more than we thought. In fact, the Star Wars: The Force Awakens director likes them so much, he has given them an on-screen character.
A newly-created X-Wing pilot named Ello Asty, it turns out, has a name that is just two letters off of the Beastie Boys’ famed 1998 album Hello Nasty. A funny coincidence, many said, until photos of the character’s upcoming Hasbro toy were leaked.
The inscription on Ello Asty’s helmet is in Aurobesh—a made up Star Wars language—and reads “Born to Ill,” which is an obvious reference to the Boys’ debut album Licensed to Ill.
Hardcore Abrams fans may already know he enjoys the Beastie Boys’ music. It’s a fact that started as a rumor: When the director added the group’s track Sabotage into his reboot of the Star Trek franchise, he was faced with accusations that it was a reference to Star Trek actor William Shatner’s constant mispronunciation of the word as “saabotage.” Abrams put that rumor to bed in an interview with MTV in 2009, when he said he just “dig[s] the song.”
Although the Shatner theory might not have panned out, through fans’ nerdy efforts, we do now know about the Asty/Beastie Boys connection.
There is no word on how big a role Asty will play in the new film, but he will probably only serve a minor one, much like the various other X-Wing pilots that can be seen in the original trilogy.
The character’s description? “A skilled if occasionally reckless X-wing starfighter pilot for the Resistance.”
In a cannon of films full of dozens of new characters that all need to be named, there are bound to be some easter eggs. New starring character Poe Dameron, for example, is known to be a mash up of the names of effects supervisor Darren M Poe and Abrams’ former assistant Morgan Dameron.
And so, for every new character, there is a fan theory as to how they got their title, with some being more ridiculous than others. As a matter of fact, Ello Asty was initially thought by some to be a reference to Abrams’ Lost series, with a phonetic spelling. El-Oh-Es-Tee.
Any more specifics regarding Asty’s character will likely follow the release of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed in theaters on December 18, but, for now, at least fans have a bit more info to chew on.