There’s a new Star Wars movie out this week. I’ll repeat, just in case you think you’re dreaming, there’s a new Star Wars movie out in just two days. It’s not just any Star Wars movie, either, this is the first time we’ll be seeing our original heroes, Han, Luke, and Leia, on-screen together in over 30 years.
Some of you reading this probably weren’t even alive the last time that happened. Hell, I’m writing the article, and I wasn’t.
So, to celebrate the release of what’s clearly the motion picture event of the decade – no, I won’t hear any arguments against it – we’ve rounded up what are, in our mind, the most iconic, and most important, Star Wars moments so far. Purists be warned, we have taken the prequels into account, although you won’t find Jar Jar anywhere near this list, we swear.
Duel of the Fates
For better or worse, the first Star Wars movie I saw in theatres was our first slice of prequel disappointment, The Phantom Menace. While it’s universally accepted now that the prequels leave a lot to be desired, there are some stand out moments that hint at what could’ve been had Lucas kept himself on a tighter leash.
Once of those is the duel between Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn, his padawan, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Sith apprentice Darth Maul. At the time, this was our first glimpse of what Jedi Knights and Sith Lords were capable of at the height of their power, and it was breathtaking.
Indeed, whether you like the prequels or loathe them, you can’t deny that this scene is one of the Saga’s best, if only because John William’s score and Nick Park’s awe-inspiring choreography are out of this world.
Obi-Wan vs. Darth Vader
The only other moment from the prequels to make our list is the climactic duel between master and fallen apprentice, Obi-Wan and a young Darth Vader – arguably one of the most important scenes in Star Wars lore.
Merely hinted at in the original trilogy, the one thing George Lucas did right in the prequels is bring this scene to life exactly how we’d imagined it. Framed by the fiery, explosive planet of Mustafar, the gripping duel was everything we dreamed it would be.
It even brought out the best in actors Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen, who filled each second of the battle with more intensity than every other film in the prequel trilogy had combined.
No other scene in the series encapsulates what Star Wars is more than the shot of Luke Skywalker staring off into Tatooine’s binary sunset, uncertain about his future.
In fact, this isn’t just one of the most iconic scenes in Star Wars history, this is one of the most iconic scenes in cinema history: a defining moment full of poignancy, brought to live by the always exceptional John Williams.
Cloud City Duel
“Luke, I am your father.” Five words that ensured The Empire Strikes Back – quite rightly viewed by many as the best Star Wars film ever made – is still one of the most quoted movies of all time.
At the time, the twist as an unthinkable revelation, and capped the first on-screen encounter between our hero and the villainous Darth Vader. Although it might lack the finesse and fancy swordplay of the prequel’s lightsaber duels, it’s status as one of the most pivotal moments in the Star Wars saga remains absolute.
I know what you’re thinking, out of all the huge moments in Return of the Jedi, I’m placing Han’s rescue above them all?
Well, yes, I am, and for good rescue. Aside from being a great way to open the movie, this scene finally introduced us to a Luke Skywalker that’s accepted his destiny, and learned how to control his powers.
Now a Jedi Knight in his own right, we see Luke take on Tatooine’s most fearsome, and lethergic, kingpin, Jabba the Hutt, and display his newfound power with an (almost) perfectly executed rescue. The only thing wrong with this scene is that Boba Fett gets outsmarted by someone who can’t even see. Unacceptable.
Choosing which scenes to add to feature on this list was an almost impossible task, and it was inevitable that some classics would need be left out.
So, to appease anyone who’s currently foaming at the mouth because I neglected to mention their favourite moment, rest assured, The Cantina scene from A New Hope, the destruction of the first Death Star, Vader’s return to the light side, and Han’s best line of the entire original trilogy – “I know” – all very nearly made the grade.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a date with a galaxy far far away…
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