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R2-D2 In Star Trek: The Secret Star Wars Cameo You May Have Missed ... Twice

With "Star Trek" and "Star Wars" being two of the most beloved science fiction franchises in Hollywood history, it's no surprise that filmmakers who grew up on both universes would want to combine them. And that's exactly what director J.J. Abrams did in 2009's "Star Trek" reboot and its 2013 sequel, "Star Trek: Into Darkness" — but the crossover was so subtle, most audiences likely missed it.

In both of Abrams' "Trek" movies, the crew of the USS Enterprise find themselves having to navigate through hazardous minefields of space debris, and in both scenes, eagle-eyed "Star Wars" fans can spot a familiar droid as R2-D2 floats past the ship's windscreens. In "Star Trek," R2 can be seen among the wreckage of Starfleet ships when the Enterprise first arrives at Vulcan, and in "Into Darkness," Artie gets sucked into the vacuum of space when the Enterprise is shot out of warp speed by the USS Vengeance.  

Both appearances are blink-and-you'll-miss-it moments, but anyone willing to scrub through the scenes frame-by-frame will be rewarded with the iconic "Star Wars" droid hitching a ride with the "Star Trek" gang. And while R2 is hard to spot, Abrams himself has confirmed that it was, in fact, the droid we were looking for.

What is R2-D2 doing in the Star Trek universe?

If there was ever going to be a director to sneak R2 into "Star Trek," it would be J.J. Abrams. Easter eggs and sly references have been a staple of the director's for decades, going as far back as his TV days. He's already created a veritable multiverse of shows and movies by including the fictional drink Slusho! in his projects, beginning with season 1 of "Alias." The drink has since made appearances in shows like "Lost" and "Fringe," as well as movies like "Cloverfield" and "Super 8." In fact, early in the 2009 "Trek" movie, Uhura (Zoe Saldana) orders a Slusho! at a cantina, expanding the drink's already impressive reach.

Considering Abrams would transition directly from "Into Darkness" to helping launch the "Star Wars" sequel trilogy with "The Force Awakens," the decision to slyly work in R2-D2 seems obvious in retrospect. As far as Abrams' explanation for the inclusion, it's pretty simple — he just wanted to pay homage to a beloved franchise. "R2's really been in all of the movies I've done, really for no other reason than I'm a huge fan," he told Yahoo! in 2013.

While Abrams would eventually be able to properly work with R2 in the "Star Wars" franchise, the stalwart droid's brief appearances in the "Star Trek" movies show fans how much the director loves both universes.