With Episode VIII: The Last Jedi finally hitting theatres this week, PoweredOn thought we’d look back at the top ten Star Wars moments so far.
Important note – Before anyone hunts me down and throws me to a Rancor, these top ten Star Wars moments have been chosen based on the influence and meaning we believe they will have on the story and characters of The Last Jedi.
So, sit back and relax with a glass of blue milk or a Jawa beer, and let’s take a trip down memory lane…
10. Anakin slays the Tusken Raiders – Episode II: Attack of the Clones
Whilst on a mission to protect Senator Padmé Amidala on Naboo, Anakin has a dream of his mother suffering so leaves to go to Tatooine to find her.
Anakin tracks his mother to a Tusken Raider village, and although he finds her she is extremely weak after a month of torture, and dies in his arms. Consumed by rage, the young Jedi touches the dark side of the Force and massacres the entire village, killing every male, female and child.
When he returns to the Lars Homestead with his mother’s body in his arms, Anakin tells Padmé of the massacre, and shows no mercy to the Tuskens. Blaming the death of his mother on his master, Obi-Wan Kenobi.
We’ve included this moment in the top ten, as although this is the first moment Anakin truly embraces the dark side, he remains conflicted between the light and the dark for some time after. These struggles almost exactly foreshadow the internal conflicts his future Grandson, Ben Solo suffers as he becomes Kylo Ren, so we’re intrigued to see which side Kylo will choose in the future.
9. Luke sparks up Anakin’s lightsaber – Episode IV: A New Hope
Some of you may be thinking – ‘Wait, how is this moment in your top ten over others?! This is just like five seconds, why is it so important?!’ – I understand that, but for me, Luke picking up Anakin’s lightsaber was a symbolic way of showing that Luke’s journey will lead to him becoming the next Jedi.
It’s effective, especially if you’ve just watched the prequels, in showing that Anakin’s torch is being passed to his son. Although it’s technically Obi-Wan that’s passing the lightsaber to Luke, considering how close he and Anakin were, in a way Obi-Wan is like Luke’s father too.
So, although this moment isn’t particularly fancy, or action packed, it’s symbolic and special in a subtle way and really sets up where the saga will ultimately lead, which is why it’s included in our top ten.
Rey obviously delivered that same saber to Luke at the end of Force Awakens after being given it by Maz Kanata, so it will be awesome to see where in the galaxy it’s headed next, as it’s had quite the journey so far.
8. Order 66 – Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
One of the saddest scenes in the entire franchise. Palpatine orders the clone army to execute ‘Order 66′, and the clones kill their Jedi generals across the galaxy.
Not only does it show the literal death of the Jedi, but also the death of the Jedi Order. Also, it’s a turning point for when the dark side has truly prevailed. And when darkness prevails, the lightness dies. Ultimately this is the moment that leads to Luke Skywalker becoming the last Jedi.
You almost feel the light slowly die in yourself as you watch the Jedi fall one by one. And when Yoda grabs his chest because he can’t believe what he’s feeling…damn, don’t tell me that doesn’t yank on your heartstrings.
7. So long Solo – Episode VII: The Force Awakens
Han and Chewie’s return to the Millennium Falcon in Force Awakens was one of the highlights of the movie. But all was not right with everyone’s favourite scoundrel, as we quickly learned that he had been dealing with some big stuff in the past three decades.
Turns out his and Leia’s son, Ben, whom Luke had been training in the ways of the force, had decided he related more to the dark side his Grandpapa was so fond of. This had ended Han and Leia’s relationship and sent uncle Luke into exile somewhere across the galaxy.
So when Han had the opportunity to come face-to-face with his long-lost son on Starkiller Base, he felt he had to try one last time to bring him home to the light, if not for him, then for Leia.
This was an extremely tense moment, as Han ventured out onto the shallow bridge to meet his son, now Kylo Ren, whilst Rey and co. looked on nervously. For a moment it appeared Han may be getting through to his son, who talked of struggling with temptation and asking if his father would help him.
Han of course dutifully agreed, but unfortunately for him the temptations Kylo was trying to dismiss were those of the light, and to fully embrace the dark side he murdered his father in front of Rey, Chewie and Finn. Cue Chewie activating terminator mode to destroy as many Storm Troopers as possible and Rey retreating from the base, devastated at the loss of her father figure.
6. Rey & the Force – Episode VII: The Force Awakens
Not long after Han’s demise, Kylo has caught up with Finn and Rey as they try to escape Starkiller Base. Finn wields the lightsaber and tries his best to protect the two from Kylo, but he’s no match for the commander of the First Order, who cuts down the one-time storm trooper, after Force throwing Rey into a tree.
What follows is one of the coolest moments in the franchise, as the lightsaber Kylo attempts to bring to himself with the Force flies straight past him.
During recent publicity duties for The Last Jedi, Mark Hamill has said that when he read the Force Awakens script, he thought it would be Luke that the saber was flying to. Nope, Rey was the lucky recipient of the iconic weapon. And it was badass.
It’s clear in the Force Awakens that Rey is only really discovering the basics of what she is capable of, and is acting more on instinct than any real ability, so it’s going to be awesome to see Luke train her in the ways of the Force.
5. Vader danger – Rogue One
As one of the most iconic villains of all time, Darth Vader has had his fair share of intimidating moments. But in the original trilogy we didn’t really get to see him in full ‘Vader’ mode.
At the start of Episode IV his reputation as the most feared man in the galaxy is already well established. A few glimpses of his abilities are shown, but most of the atrocities that earned his status have been committed off screen, during the 19-years between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope.
This scene has become so important as it shows rather than tells why Vader was so feared, and just how powerful he was. Even though we know the Rebel fighters got the Death Star plans to Leia, this is such a suspenseful moment you find yourself completely forgetting that, and getting swept right along with the terror unfolding, as Vader mows down the Rebels like they’re nothing. It perhaps also shows just why Kylo Ren is so eager to follow in his Grandfathers footsteps.
Yes, I’m aware Rogue One isn’t part of the episodes, but come one, this moment deserves to be included!
4. Obi-Wan vs Anakin – Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
This entire scene, from beginning to end, is just epic. It’s got action, it’s got stakes, it’s got choreography, great acting and an awesome score – it’s got everything. Many may complain it goes on too long, but I’m okay with that, because in a lot of ways this fight is the personification of the light vs the dark.
At this point Obi-Wan and Yoda are essentially the last piece of the light, and in a last-ditch effort they go to try and take down the darkness. But unfortunately, they fail. Even though technically Obi-Wan does defeat Anakin, the fight really solves nothing. The dark side still prevails in the end and Palpatine gets his way.
From the beginning of the fight when Anakin chokes Padme and Obi-Wan must step in, to their duel taking them through the factory, and on top of the lava, Anakin is full of rage throughout. He has truly become Darth Vader and you can see that in his eyes.
Although we’ve already seen the original trilogy, and we already know the culmination of the story, this final fight scene between the light and the dark, is easily the best scene in the prequels. You were his brother, Anakin! He loved you, dammit!
Our guess is there will be another legendary battle between the light and dark to come in The Last Jedi. Perhaps between Luke and Kylo, as they clearly have unfinished business.
3. Luke & Yoda train – Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
This scene is funny, yet also really emotional & moving, and perhaps perfectly encapsulates Star Wars. Yoda has been on his own for a while because he’s a little wacky and seems to be going a little insane, but he’s trying to get a young Luke to understand what the Force is all about.
As they’re training, Yoda tells Luke through a great monologue that the Force is between them both, and the rock and tree, and all the things around them.
It ends in the perfect way possible, with a frustrated Luke telling Yoda that he expects the impossible. Cue Yoda using the Force to lift the X-Wing out of the swamp to Luke’s shock – “I don’t believe it!” he exclaims, to which Yoda famously replies – “That, is why you fail”.
From the trailers it’s clear that Luke has now become the Yoda figure to Rey, so we’re looking forward to a training montage for a new generation.
2. Luke doesn’t succumb – Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
Following their previous fight in Episode V, Luke gets the better of Vader and ceremoniously chops off his hand, fully succumbing to the rage. You see Luke fully embracing the dark side as the anger pours out of him, but he stops and takes a breath.
He realises that what he’s done, and what he was about to do, is wrong. You see the exact moment he becomes a Jedi Knight, as he shows restraint, turns off his lightsaber and throws it to the ground. Acknowledging that he is a Jedi Knight, like his father before him. He will never succumb to the Dark Side.
Which characters will have similar choices to make in The Last Jedi?
1. Who’s your daddy? – Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
The entire scene leading up to this moment is great. Luke confronts Vader, thinking that he can stand a chance. Although he’s gotten better through his Jedi training, he proceeds gets his ass kicked as he’s still not nearly good enough to take him on.
You can see that it quickly dawns on Luke that he’s in way over his head as things start going south, ultimately leading to him losing a hand. The fight gets more interesting as it goes on though, because it’s clear Vader can take out Luke for good whenever he wants, but doesn’t. In fact, it almost seems like he’s taking his time. Preparing for something, and just keeping Luke at bay, until the perfect moment.
Of course, at the end of the scene we find out why Vader was doing this. As he reveals he didn’t kill Anakin Skywalker, as Luke believes, but he is Anakin. The realisation that Luke Skywalker’s father is this dark lord, destroys him inside, as he lets out a painful screech of anger. And one of many great things about this scene, is that when Luke gets his hand cut off, it clearly hurts him, but no where near as much as hearing those immortal words – “I am your father!”
This remains one of the most iconic moments in cinema history, and there’s rumours another huge reveal may be coming in The Last Jedi.
So that’s our list of the top ten Star Wars moments leading up to The Last Jedi. Did you agree? Let us know if you would have included other moments and why!
The Last Jedi is released on December 14th.