the best scenes in star wars - spoilermagazine - galaxy

TRYING TO CHOOSE THE BEST SCENES in the Star Wars universe

is a near impossible task, harder than making the Kessel Run in less than 12 par secs, or hitting a small thermal exhaust port, as there are just simply too many brilliant scenes throughout the known SW universe – and certainly by no means is this list complete or finite. I’ve tried to cover each of the three trilogies in one shape or form. So without any further hesitation, here is a list of some of the most iconic, and some of the best scenes in Star Wars history, whether they be signature duels, deep emotional reveals or ones that boast an epic score by John Williams.

15. STAR WARS EP VIII: THE LAST JEDI – SNOKE IS HALF THE MAN HE USED TO BE

Many audience members did not see this one coming, including yours truly. Yes, I felt Snoke would meet his demise eventually and that Kylo Ren would seek some form of redemption or at least a power grab for the keys to the kingdom in the First Order, but we didn’t think this moment would arrive until Episode IX. Quite a shock when this scene first hit theatres; Snoke is caught completely unaware when Kylo Ren ignites Rey’s lightsaber instead of his own, immediately piercing Snoke’s torso and floating it across to cut the man in two- Darth Maul style. From there, Kylo- Ren and Rey face off against the Imperial guards, who prove themselves to be much more capable than those that guarded Palpatine against Yoda. After their ensuing lightsaber battle, Ren surprises once more by refusing to spare the lives of the Resistance and continuing to bombard them, much to Rey’s dismay and subverting our expectations for a further opportunity for redemption, and rather a power grab for Kylo Ren to become the autocratic leader of The First Order.

From this point, we get another fantastically heated, dramatic exchange and more hints towards Rey’s true parentage, as well as the emblematic message Ren declares, “let the past die”.

14. STAR WARS EP VII: THE FORCE AWAKENS HAN CONFRONTS KYLO REN

I’m sure many fans would skip this heart-breaking moment. Harrison Ford finally got his wish to kill off Han Solo, but the moment it transpires in The Force Awakens is truly heart- wrenching. Many would question whether Kylo -Ren was considering turning to the light side or whether it was just a ploy to lure his father closer to make the final death-stroke. From the self-serving and sometimes callous smuggler, Han goes out the best way possible, sacrificing himself like a Jedi to allow others a chance to escape, but also looking into his son’s eyes one last time, filled with love and touching his cheek one last time before falling into oblivion.
Sorry, is someone cutting onions? Both Ford and Driver are excellent in this powerful scene.

the best scenes in star wars - spoilermagazine - galaxy
the best scenes in star wars - spoilermagazine - galaxy

13. STAR WARS EP II: ATTACK OF THE CLONES YODA VS. DOOKU

After various iterations of the wonderful puppet work by Frank Oz and crew, we were yet to see Yoda in combat. While Obiwan and Anakin lay on the floor wounded, a confident Yoda saunters in Clint Eastwood- style for an epic showdown with Count Dooku. After a brief exchange of words, and a show of the force, they challenge each other to a contest of lightsabers, only to watch Dooku outmatched by an amusing whirling green frenzy of power reminiscent of the Tassie Devil character.
Dooku barely escapes with his life as the Jedi Master proved that nearly 900 years of age cannot prevent a good Jedi from revealing the warrior within.

Natalie Portman Episode II - Attack of the Clones. Spoiler magazine - Galaxy

12. STAR WARS EP III: REVENGE OF THE SITH THE TRAGEDY OF DARTH PLAGUEIS THE WISE

One of the highlights of this film was seeing the ultimate manipulation of Anakin Skywalker through a series of scenes, with none more poignant than a night at the opera.
Here McDiarmid delivers a note of Shakespearean villainy of the highest proportions, channelling his inner Iago or Richard III, as he circles Anakin like a predator about to pounce on its prey, before focusing on his innermost weaknesses. Palpatine’s cautionary tale of Darth Plagueis the Wise serves a number of purposes including: Embedding the power of the dark side as a pathway to prevent loss, foreshadowing the power of Palpatine’s cunning, and the inherent flaws in the Sith’s Master and Apprentice system. McDiarmid puts on a master class here – is it possible to learn this power?

11. ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY ‘EVERYTHING WE’VE
DONE WOULD HAVE BEEN FOR NOTHING. I CAN’T FACE MYSELF IF I GAVE
UP NOW. NONE OF US COULD.’

This scene feels even richer now that the show Andor has been released. This is the iconic moment not only when Jyn Erso makes a stand, but Cassian Andor and other battle-hardened members of the rebellion are determined to join her on the desperate mission to seize the death star plans. Each of these people know the stakes, they know that this will be a suicide mission, but as Andor says, they’ve had to sacrifice too much for this moment. It’s the face of the rebellion we rarely see, and it reveals the great toll the intergalactic war has cost on the rebel alliance, not only the lives lost in the turmoil, but their very souls. As soldiers like Andor, they have had to do some dark things all in the name of the cause. A great exchange and some wonderful dialogue that show the true commitment of people to the rebellion.

the best scenes in star wars - spoilermagazine - galaxy

10. STAR WARS EP VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI “YOU’RE GOING TO DIE HERE YOU KNOW“ – FIGHT AT THE SARLACC PIT.

The moment we were waiting for, the unravelling of the alliance’s plan to rescue Han, and to see Luke in beast mode, unleashing some of his Jedi powers. From the moment Luke gestures to R2-D2 we know it’s on, and what ensures is a series of action-packed moments where we see the Jedi in action, destroying Jabba’s small army of henchmen and with the satisfaction of Leia strangling Jabba the Hut. A series of well- choreographed and stunts reveal to the audience that the Rebel alliance are as powerful as suggested and have evolved from the final act of The Empire Strikes Back. Instead of licking their wounds, they are a force to be reckoned with, and easily dismantle a once powerful Hutt empire.

9. STAR WARS EP III: REVENGE OF THE SITH I HAVE THE HIGH GROUND

It was the climactic battle that had been built up for decades, where on the lava- flowing banks of Mustafar, the showdown between Obi-wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader would take place; After an epic duel, with bitter rivals replicating each other’s moves, they would reach the end where Obi-wan would declare the words that have been the source of so many memes, “It’s over Anakin, I have the high ground,” and what was once Anakin Skywalker would be decimated, leaving nothing but a disfigured walking carcass of blind hatred and evil. Emotions ran high as Obi-wan bursts into tears when his once dearest friend, squirming in agony after being dismembered and burnt alive curses “I hate you!” while an emotionally defeated Obiwan retorts, “You were my brother Anakin, I loved you!” It was both a disturbing and emotional conclusion to Anakin’s downfall, and ultimately justifies Obi-wan’s lament in ROTJ: ‘ He’s more machine now than man, twisted and evil.”

8. STAR WARS EP I: THE PHANTOM MENACE DUEL OF THE FATES

After viewing the dual light saber igniting in the trailers, excitement was at fever-pitch after the long awaited first prequel erupted onto cinemas, and fans were greeted with one of the best light saber battles in the whole star wars. With the epic stunt choreography and sword play of Ray Park, and the amazing Duel of the Fates by John Williams combined together to make one of the best scenes in the film, and a pulse pounding climax to the Phantom Menace. The use of the power gates, also builds tension and when Qui-Gon is killed, Obi-wan unleashes his full fury at Darth Maul, ultimately cutting him in two following the improper use of the high ground.

7. STAR WARS EP IV: A NEW HOPE – CANTINA SCENE AND HAN SHOOTS FIRST

In a wretched hive of scum and villainy is where we first meet Han Solo and Chewbacca. The Cantina scene plays out like something we see in a western, as we see a multitude of weird alien creatures and the catchy cantina music playing in the background like a viola amongst space cowboys having a drink at the saloon. Dr Evazan and Ponda Baba threaten and assault Luke, before being ‘neutralised’ by Obi-wan, and we see the famous exchange between Han and Greedo. While this is hotly contested now, in the original version, Han Shooting first was changed with Lucas feeling it necessary to make this alteration in the revamped versions of A New Hope.
Original fans could argue that Han loses some of his moral ambiguity in this change, however, it should also be noted he has a blaster in his face and is threatened the entire time. The scene is reminiscent of Tuco in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly when he reminds his enemy, ‘If you’re going to shoot, shoot.
Don’t talk.’ The scene is unforgettable and a firm reminder of how much Star Wars can overlap the western genre.

6. STAR WARS EP V: EMPIRE STRIKES BACK ‘SIZE MATTERS NOT.’

Another wondrous episode where audiences are given a glimpse into some of the larger aspects of the force as Yoda gives Luke (no pun intended) a crash course in Jedi training. It’s a moment of self-realisation for Luke, that despite his eagerness, knows his limitations as he struggles to move his X-wing out of the Dagobah swamp. Now adopting the mentor role, Yoda comments to Luke, ““Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you? Hmm? And well you should not. For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is.” The monologue suggests a number of things to Luke
as a student including the power of the force, self- belief, being one with the universe and the power of untapped potential. What is more mesmerising is how Yoda follows this wisdom with action, effortlessly lifting the X-wing up and out towards the land. Once again accompanied by some John Williams magic with the emotional “Yoda and the Force” score.

5. ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY – VADER HALLWAY SCENE

It could be a scene straight out of a horror film, and for a rebel officer on board the Tantive IV – the stuff of nightmares. Audiences looked on in horror to see a bacta-refreshed Vader unleash hell on the crew fleeing with the stolen death star plans on board the MC75 Star Cruiser, heading for the Tantive IV. A darkened hallway, with mist gathering and the haunting sounds of Vader’s cacophonic breathing set the mood before he ignites the menacing red lightsaber and does on a rampage.
This tremendous scene was added in as some of the re- shoots during Rogue One’s post-production phase but it’s all the better for it, as fans get to see Vader at his most physically menacing and adds further to the sense of sacrifice the rebels have made in preparation for the events of A New Hope.

the best scenes in star wars - spoilermagazine - galaxy

4. STAR WARS EP IV: A NEW HOPE – OBI-WAN VS DARTH VADER

It was a day long remembered. And one of the best scenes from the original Star Wars, as the wise mentor from The Hero’s Journey faces off against the ultimate shadow/villain in Darth Vader. Imagine a 1977 audience watching light sabers ignite for the first time and bringing a new edge to sword fighting.

What also makes this scene so iconic is that is not just a physical sword fight but a battle of words, with Obi-Wan delivering one of the best lines of the entire series. “If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine”, and from the moment Obi-Wan is struck down, people were captivated by his moment of transcendence into a being of a higher plane of existence, confirming our suspicions of this transformation with a voice now in Luke’s head, “Run, Luke, Run.”

3. STAR WARS EP III: REVENGE OF THE SITH ORDER 66

“Execute order 66.” Once Palpatine’s iconic words are broadcast, one of the greatest and most tragic montages takes place, as we see the horrific genocide of the Jedi order at the hands of their closest ‘allies,”. This is heightened by the imperialist marching of newly ordained Darth Vader and the clone troopers of the 501st advancing upon the Jedi temple. By now Anakin has truly turned to the dark side, which is further revealed by his off-screen slaying of the younglings that were hidden in the Jedi council chambers.

This is interspliced with some of the most powerful Jedi from the clone wars meeting a tragic ending, most notably Ki-Adi Mundi, Plo-Koon and Aayla Secura being ambushed by the clones surrounding them. A truly Shakespearean tragedy; only further enhanced by Williams’ score ‘Anakin’s betrayal,’ and ‘Jedi Temple March’.

It was very tempting to place this number 1 on the list, and you will see that numbers 1 to 3 are almost interchangeable in this list.

2. STAR WARS EP VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI VADER’S REDEMPTION

It’s a poignant moment; and the point where Darth Vader/Anakin Skywalker had experienced more pain than he could endure any longer, as his love for his son overpowered the dark side and his loyalty to his Sith master. Watching Luke experience force lightning bolt after lightning bolt, begging for mercy, “Father please,” was too much for even Vader to bear. In a clutch moment, he lunges for Palpatine, enduring some of the force lightning bolts himself before plunging the dark lord down the main shaft. For initial fans of the story, it was a triumphant moment and based on the Jedi lore, the moment where Anakin Skywalker would bring balance to the force, well, from a certain point of view. If this moment wasn’t dramatic enough, the next scene where Vader tells Luke to take his mask off, and ‘let me look on you with my own eyes’ is cinematic magic, allowing fans to see him finally become the Anakin Skywalker we once knew.

the best scenes in star wars - spoilermagazine - galaxy

1. STAR WARS EP V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK LUKE’S TRUE PARENTAGE

The grand spoiler alert, and one of the best cliffhanger endings of all time, the immortal words ‘No, I am your father’ still resonate in cinematic history today. In an age of spoilers, leaks (Thankyou Tom Holland) and film rumours, this one is the grand-daddy of them all. Audiences in 1980 were stunned by the sudden confession that one of the greatest villains of all time was actually the biological father of our beloved hero Luke Skywalker. Despite warnings from both Yoda and Obi-wan that he isn’t ready, Luke continues to face destiny in an epic showdown with Vader. He is completely outmatched by his opponent, from lightsaber duelling to force powers, with Luke unable to counter the numerous objects propelled at him from Vader’s strong use of the force. Finally, Vader breaks Luke’s will before severing his hand in true Skywalker fashion. To add insult to injury, Vader reveals this stunning emotional blow after taking Luke to the brink of physical exhaustion. A true watershed moment not only in the Star Wars universe, but the entire history of cinema.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

II: Attack of the Clones – Shmi’s death and Anakin’s reaction
Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi – Yoda’s final lesson to Luke
Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker – Han returns
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back – Lando’s redemption and Leia’s fury
Solo: A Star Wars Story – Han meets Chewbacca in the pit

About the Author: ROB LOCKETT

ROB LOCKETT

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