The Top 20 ‘Star Wars’ Moments
This Friday the entire Star Wars saga finally hits blu-ray. Excited you ask? Despite an already infamous “Noooo!”, yes, I am very excited to see several of my favorite movies get the high-def treatment. I am eagerly anticipating watching the Death Star explode and the battle of Hoth in 1080p. The extras sound pretty great too, the best of which may be a 90 minute collection of Star Wars parodies. So to celebrate the blu-ray release, I am picking the best moments from the saga. Here are the top 20 moments that make me squeal “Yippie!” in excitement or “Noooo!” in heartbreak every time I re-watch them.
At this point in the original movie Luke Skywalker was still being very carefully developed. His life had little to do with the Empire or the Rebellion besides the two new droids he and his uncle bought. But R2-D2’s recording of a princess in peril sets the story in motion and gives the original movie the direction it needs to become the exciting sci-fi action classic that it has become.
Phantom Menace is easily the worst Star Wars movie, but that doesn’t mean it has no redeemable qualities. Say what you will about Darth Maul’s character development, but holy Sith can he fight! At the climax of the first prequel we get one of the best choreographed fights of all time set to one of the best scores ever composed. This lightsaber duel is all kinds of awesome and easily the highlight of an otherwise dull movie.
Throughout the original trilogy we get many insights on the Force, but it is mostly from the perspective of the good guys. Finally, in Revenge of the Sith, the Dark Side was understood. Palpatine tells Anakin of Darth Plagueis, a Sith who was betrayed by his apprentice after discovering how to create life. Anakin sees this as a way to save Padme, and the catalyst that sends Anakin over the edge is finally in place.
All seems well on Cloud City when the Millennium Falcon lands. Han’s old friend Lando is really charming and friendly. John William’s has some really cheerful music playing in the background. Yeah that’s until Lando shows Han and his gang the deal that will keep the Empire away forever. Without even thinking, Han takes out his blaster and Darth Vader several times to no avail as he lets the shots hit his hand as if nothing happened. It is one of the most surprising and exciting moments in the whole saga.
Before George Lucas went completely nuts and took all the subtlety out of Star Wars, the original trilogy was filled with moments like this that lacked dialogue but got the point across. Luke longs to leave his farm life on Tatooine, but he can’t so he stares off into the sunset and John Williams once again takes us away into the world that is Star Wars.
Even those who hate the prequels have to admit that this is a really cool scene. The little short green puppet we grew to love got the CGI treatment for the second prequel, allowing the filmmakers to show off just how in touch with the force Master Yoda is. This is just one of the many moments where fans had to pick their jaws off of the ground.
The climax of Return of the Jedi is pretty incredible. The most emotional of the three battles going on is the fight between Luke and Vader as the Sith Lord tries to turn his own son over to the Dark Side. The fight is filled with beautiful imagery of Luke’s face flashing between the light and the dark. Plus, Luke’s skills as a Jedi have greatly increased since their last fight making for a pretty even match this time around.
There are plenty of sad moments in the Star Wars saga, but nothing compares to this. Unfortunately due to Hayden Christensen’s poor acting skills his transition to Darth Vader was not very good. However, the tragedy that occurs right after is the single most depressing moment in all of Star Wars. We get a montage of clones killing their Jedi leaders in the middle of battle. Obi-Wan and Yoda are forced into hiding. But worst of all, Anakin kills a bunch of kids. Kids! Nothing about Order 66 will leave you feeling hopeful for the galaxy far, far away.
Sometimes an action scene is just so awesome and thrilling that you simply cannot blink. The speeder bike chase in the forests of Endor is one of those scenes. It is a timeless action sequence as it’s still incredible to behold by today’s standards. We had seen nothing like this in previous Star Wars movies and never would again.
After an intense fight with his former mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin is left burned and practically limb-less. Naturally this leads to the classic costume we saw in the original trilogy. Anakin is rebuilt with robotic limbs and a new mask to help him breathe. First we get a look at the never-before-seen inside of Darth Vader’s mask as it is attached to his face. Then he takes a breath and the transformation is finally complete…
With the words of Admiral Ackbar, the chaotic space battle above Endor began. It is the climax of all climaxes and one of the best action scenes ever constructed. Lando pilots the Millennium Falcon rather than Han this time around and manages to destroy the Death Star with the help of a small band of fighters. This is how the Rebellion defeats the Empire and the ending to the best trilogy of all time.
Perhaps the biggest signature of Star Wars is that each movie has an opening crawl that brings the audience up to speed on the latest happenings in the galaxy. With the subsequent sequels and prequels I must say that there is almost nothing more exciting than sitting in a movie theater watching the opening crawl of these movies to John Williams’ classic theme. A New Hope started it all and prepared the world for Star Wars the best way possible with its opening scene.
The ending of Empire is the most intense part of the saga. Perhaps the hardest part to watch is Han Solo being frozen in carbonite. The look on Leia’s face is difficult enough, but we also get the famous improvisation “I know” by Harrison Ford. Then of course the way the grey slab slams onto the ground revealing a frozen Han. Had it not been for Luke arriving shortly after, all hope would have been lost.
The climax of the original Star Wars is an adrenaline filled space battle that ends the film on a major high note. Luke pilots a ship into the trenches of the Death Star and Darth Vader is in hot pursuit. Then Han Solo comes to save him and Luke uses the Force to destroy the Death Star. It is one of the most satisfying climaxes in all of cinema and ensured that Star Wars was here to stay.
In the Star Wars saga this is the battle of all battles. AT-ATs attack a Rebel base meanwhile fighters try to take them down by tying up their legs. It is one of the most creative battles ever seen on the big screen. Even though the special effects in the prequels benefit from two decades of technological advancement, no battle in that trilogy matches up to the Battle of Hoth. The best part? When Luke single-handedly destroys an AT-AT with his lightsaber and some thermal detonators.
Luke and Padme knew it all along, there was still good in him. After all the evil deeds that Darth Vader commits in the whole saga, he finally redeemed himself by throwing the Emperor into a chasm after electrocuting Luke. Then, the dying Vader, reveals his face to Luke in his final moments. It is a surprisingly tear jerking moment for one of the baddest villains in movie history.
Luke has trouble accepting a few of Yoda’s teachings on Dagobah. This all culminates when Luke gives up on lifting his ship using the Force. Yoda finishes the job and shows just how powerful the Force can be. In this moment we get a deeper understanding of what it takes to master the Force and how it exists in the world Lucas created.
The climax of the prequel trilogy is an incredible feet for the series. The main hero of the prequels and the main villain of the entire saga square off on the lava world of Mustafar. Jedi vs. Sith. Master vs. apprentice. Brother vs. brother. This is the best lightsaber duel in the series and is the most epic and heartbreaking action sequence in the saga.
The first time we knew Star Wars was really something special was when Luke and Obi-Wan go to the Mos Eisley Cantina. The amount of aliens we see in this rag-tag bar is incredible. Not to mention the music. It is also where we are introduced to Han Solo and Chewbacca. Everything in this scene is perfect. Many other films have tried to copy it and have failed miserably.
And the number one Star Wars moment is…..
Just kidding…here is the real number one moment:
Could it have been anything else? It is the most shocking moment in the history of film. It also follows an incredible lightsaber duel between Luke and Darth Vader. Empire is easily the best movie in the series and does an amazing job of building the characters further and creating an epic finale that shocked audiences back in 1980. The whole Star Wars saga is built around this fact.
There you have it fans. So did you agree with my picks? Please tell me any moments you love that I did not include in the comments section. Enjoy your marathon this weekend! I know I will.