Carrying on our look back over the best moments of Star Wars, our travels now take us back to where all the magic began for many fans.
Following the fall of the Jedi order and the rise of the Galactic Empire, our journey through the story of the Force picks up with the first feature film simply named (At the time anyway) “Star Wars”.
Moment 10: “Use the Force Luke”, A New Hope
We kick off our list with perhaps one of the most significant moments in all of Star Wars, the moment that I young moisture farmer from the backwater planet of Tatooine realised the power he held inside and brought about the destruction of the largest battle station ever created.
Using the Force as his deceased former Master as his guides, Luke does what no other pilot in the Rebel Alliance was capable of, he destroyed the Death Star, saving millions of lives and bringing hope to the Galaxy.
Moment 9: Luke vs. Vader 2, Return of the Jedi
The culmination of three film’s worth of build. As his allies fight in space and on the forest moon of Endor, Luke Skywalker confronts his father and the Emperor for the final time. In what is to be considered one of the better lightsaber fights in Star Wars history, we witness father and son battle with the emotion and conflict that only these two characters could muster.
The fight allows Luke to show not only Vader, but the audience as well, how far he has come as a character. From the moisture farm of Tatooine, to a battle against the ruler of the Galaxy, Luke has finally affirmed his role as a Jedi Master and this battle brings out the best in every character involved.
Moment 8: Obi-Wan’s Sacrifice
Now perhaps the moment that helped make Luke the character he became. Slayed by his former Padawan, it was Obi-Wan’s sacrifice aboard the first Death Star that helped Luke to understand his role in the Galaxy, that the good of the many outweighed the life of the one.
It was an important lesson for Luke to learn so early into the trilogy and enabled Obi-Wan to become far more powerful and useful to Luke in the form of an ever-present force ghost. A fitting end to an outstanding character.
Moment 7: “Never tell me the odds”
In a scene that perfectly portrays Han’s character as a reckless scoundrel, who just so happens to be an incredibly confident and gifted pilot, the “never tell me the odds” quote captures the energy of the scene perfectly.
Although some Star Wars films are often criticised for having bland side-stories away from our lead Jedi protagonist, the story of Han, Leia, Chewie and C3P0 was perfectly executed in The Empire Strikes Back.
Moment 6: “I love you” – “I know”, The Empire Strikes Back
And now onto the culmination of that story arc. Whereas the previous moment captured the scoundrel side of Han’s personality perfectly, this moment instead perfectly depicts his loving side. Not wanting to let his feelings show for fear that he would never see Leia again, Han ends his role in the Empire Strikes Back with a simple “I know”.
Not only is this scene heart-wrenching, but it was also a bold step for the franchise to take, deciding to end the middle film in a dark place with only the feint glow of hope to guide us into Episode 6.
Moment 5: The Battle of Hoth, The Empire Strikes Back
The best large scale battle scene in the entire original trilogy. Whilst the CGI and grandeur of the action may not hold up with later installments of the franchise, the gravity and importance that you feel when you first watch this battle unfold will be difficult to ever match.
A perfect example of the might of the Empire, with all its power, wealth and heavily armored machinery, battling against a ragtag group of Rebels who are fighting with little more than battered speeders as they try to buy enough time for their allies to escape.
Moment 4: Vader redeemed, The Return Of the Jedi
The culmination of Anakin Skywalker’s story across the entire saga. Growing from young boy, to a troubled young man, before morphing into the “more machine than man” figure known as Darth Vader, before finally realising his wrong doings, allowing the light to win the fight inside himself and fulfilling the prophecy of the Chosen One as he slays The Emperor to save his son.
Say what you want about Anakin’s turn to the dark side, but his redemption was handled perfectly. Character is something that the Original Trilogy does best, and this is by far one of the best examples of character-arcs.
Moment 3: Twin Suns/Binary Sunset, A New Hope
Perhaps the most beautiful of moments from the Original Trilogy, and yet perhaps the one which is the most insignificant to the actual story. The binary sunset scene, otherwise known as the twin suns scene, tells us all we need to know about both our protagonist and the universe in which we’re about to adventure.
The scene is one of longing and hope. As Luke watches over the sunset we are engulfed by John Williams’ perfect musical score, and it’s because of this that despite having little narrative importance, this scene lives in the hearts of many Star Wars fans.
Moment 2: The Opening Sequence, A New Hope
It’s been said a million times before, but the opening sequence of A New Hope was masterful. The way in which the scene is shot was not only a wonderful use of CGI for the time in which it was released, but it perfectly sets up our story without having to use a single line of dialogue.
The size of the Imperial Star Destroyer compared to Leia’s smaller cruiser tells us perfectly about the wealth and power available to the Empire, a visual depiction of the “long arm of the Empire”. Compared to the smaller Rebel ship, which in comparison is tiny, an immediate comparison through which we can understand the situations of both the Rebels and the Empire immediately.
A truly masterful opening.
Moment 1: “I am your Father”, The Empire Strikes Back
It had to be didn’t it? THE moment from Star Wars, the scene that even people outside of the fandom will recognise to one degree or another. The shocking revelation which was kept secret from even the cast of the film.
To this day it is arguably the biggest twist in cinematic history, a revelation that broke through the boundaries of the film itself and became a part of pop-culture. It is the perfect twist within a near perfect film, and is without a doubt the scene which helped to cement The Empire Strikes Back as the best of the bunch when it comes to Star Wars films.