It suddenly came to me today that after over a year of blogging about things that I love, I’ve never really talked much about Star Wars except for the times I’ve written about film scores. So in honor of the second greatest movie trilogy of all time, I’ve decided to dedicate this week’s Awesome 13 list to Star Wars and its 13 awesome moments.
13. Escape From the Sarlaac (Return of the Jedi)
After Jabba the Hut’s little party gets crashed by Luke Skywalker and company in attempts to rescue the carbonite-frozen Han Solo, Luke and Han are sentenced to execution by way of Sarlaac, which is a horrible way to die because basically you’re dropped into a hole deep in the hot desert of Tatooine only to be eaten and digested by a huge mouth lined with several rows of sharp teeth. As a kid I was terrified of the Sarlaac, which probably had more to do with my fear of falling than the actual monster itself. But it’s a fun scene to watch now – hearing Lando’s hilarious scream as he falls towards the mouth before he’s rescued, watching Boba Fett’s unfortunate demise, and the exciting conclusion of Luke and Han breaking free and destroying Jabba’s sail barge right before Leia makes her own escape after strangling Jabba with the chain from which she was captured. Good times.Luke: “I was born here, you know.” Han Solo: “You’re gonna die here, you know. Convenient.”
12. The Real Anakin Skywalker (Return of the Jedi)
All this time we’ve grown to hate Darth Vader. He may be Luke’s father, but he’s Pure Evil. We’ll never root for him, right? Well, that all sort of changes in Return of the Jedi when Vader sees his son almost die at the hands of The Emperor, who’s far more evil than Vader will ever be. He saves his son, giving his own life in the process, and as he lay dying on the ground in his son’s arms, we see the real face of not Darth Vader, but Anakin Skywalker. We get a small glimpse into who Anakin really was before he became more machine than man, and even though 16 years later we get to see the evolution of Anakin Skywalker, we cherish this moment between Luke and his father, the father he never knew, the man he could finally forgive.
Anakin: “Tell your sister…you were right.”
11. Leia Meets Wicket (Return of the Jedi)
Hate on the Ewoks all you want, but I like ‘em. They’re cute, they’re fuzzy, and they will attack you if you piss them off. The cutest of all, of course, is our Ewok hero Wicket, who Princess Leia meets after her disastrous speeder bike ride. She’s curious about him, and he’s definitely weary of her, even when she tries to offer him food. I admit, I’m a sucker for this scene because it’s just plain cute and silly. We know he’s not dangerous, even though he’s holding some sort of spear, and we just want him and Leia to be friends so we can continue to watch him be cute.
Princess Leia: “You’re a jittery little thing, aren’t you?”
10. Ewok Celebration (Return of the Jedi)
Speaking of Ewoks, they throw the best parties. Again, people like to hate on the furry guys, but admit it…you love the end scene of Return of the Jedi. In the original release of the movie, we get an awesome song called “Ewok Celebration”, originally titled “Yub Nub”, which means “Freedom” in Ewokese (betcha didn’t know that!). The song is utter nonsense, but it’s hilariously fun. We also get to see Luke’s vision of the spirits of Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Yoda watching over him. In the original, the actor playing Anakin is the same guy we see in the aforementioned scene when Vader dies. In the re-release of the movie post-prequels, the spirit of Anakin is suddenly played by Hayden Christensen, who plays Anakin in the prequels. Now I know some people (husband and brother) who are completely offended by this change. Me? Not so much. I honestly don’t mind it at all. But whatever. It’s a fun way to end the trilogy, crazy Ewok song and all.
9. Introducing Han Solo (A New Hope)
Since Han Solo seems to be everyone’s favorite character, we can’t deny that his intro in the first movie is pretty memorable. I’m not sure if it was memorable when the movie first came out, but we love it now despite the fact that we’ve seen his intro about 500 times now. We meet Han when Luke and Obi-Wan are looking to hitch a ride out of Tatooine. Han’s got the rep and the ship to do it (even though Luke thinks the Millennium Falcon looks like a piece of junk). But the price has to be right, and the three of them manage to strike a deal that pleases all. Right away we know that Han isn’t a good guy (he did, of course, SHOOT FIRST), but we love him anyway.
Han Solo: “Han Solo. I’m captain of the Millennium Falcon. Chewie here tells me you’re lookin’ for passage to the Alderaan system?”
Obi-Wan: “Yes indeed, if it’s a fast ship.”
Han Solo: “Fast ship? You’ve never heard of the Millennium Falcon?”
8. Rescuing the Princess (A New Hope)
As a kid, and like all other nerdy girls from the mid-80s, I loved Princess Leia. She remains to this day one of my favorite female characters of all time. Strong, feisty, and not clumsy at all (take note, young adult fiction writers), she’s everything a Princess should be. After being taken prisoner by Governer Tarkin, she’s rescued by Luke, who’s disguised as a Stormtrooper. And then comes one of my favorite dialogue exchanges in the movie…Leia: “Aren’t you a little short to be a Stormtrooper?” Luke: “What? Oh…” (takes off helmet) “I’m Luke Skywalker. I’m here to rescue you.”
And, okay. I know that I love Leia because she’s strong and independent woman who doesn’t need the help of some farm boy from Tatooine. But I can’t help but swoon every time. Even though he’s really her brother. *shudder*
7. A Moment With Han and Leia (The Empire Strikes Back)
At the beginning of the second movie (and hands-down the best of the bunch), we see what it’s like when Han and Leia spend quality time with each other on the ice planet Hoth. We know from the first movie that even though they don’t get along, these two peeps have got it bad for each other. They’re just too proud to stubborn to admit it. So what do we get instead? Banter. Lovely, lovely banter between the Nerf Herder and the Princess.
Princess Leia: “Let go.”
Han Solo: “Shh.”
Princess Leia: “Let go, please.”
Han Solo: “Don’t get excited.”
Princess Leia: “Captain, being held by you isn’t quite enough to get me excited.”
Han Solo: “Sorry sweetheart. I haven’t got time for anything else.”
For some reason we all love a good love/hate relationship between two characters, and this one is one of the best. It’s a realistic scene that humanizes two people amidst a sci-fi/fantasy story, in a galaxy far, far away, and we can’t get enough.
6. Time on Dagobah (The Empire Strikes Back)
One of the reasons why I love The Empire Strikes Back so much is because of Yoda. Some of my favorite scenes take place during Luke’s time on the planet Dagobah where he meets Yoda and trains to become a Jedi. First off, I love the look of the planet. Wet, swampy, humid…nothing like the dry desert of Tatooine. And Yoda is, for lack of a better word, awesome. He’s come to Dagobah to live in exile after failing to defeat Darth Sidious, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have any mojo left in him. He teaches Luke the way of the Jedi, and also rides on his back and steals Luke’s weird hot-dog-looking food when he’s not looking. Yoda’s a feisty, grumpy old man who’s determined to turn Luke into a Jedi, and I love him for it.Luke: “I want my lamp back. I’m gonna need it to get out of this slimy mudhole.” Yoda: “Slimy? Mudhole? My home this is!”
5. Destruction of the Death Star (A New Hope)
In what is probably the most exciting and anticipated scenes in the first movie, we get to see Luke transform from innocent, whiny farm boy to a X-Wing flying prodigy. I’m sure no one thought that Luke was going to be the one to save the galaxy by shooting a ball of fire into an exhaust port two meters wide, but with the help of The Force, he does it. The whole scene is a blast (no pun?) to watch, from the roll call (“Red Five standing by.”) to the trench run to the final explosion, which looks cool whether you’re watching the originals or re-releases. It’s one of those can’t-help-but-cheer moments…especially when Han Solo and his Millennium Falcon come and save the day (re: save Luke’s ass).
Han: “You’re all clear, kid! Now let’s blow this thing and go home.”
4. Vader’s Confession (The Empire Strikes Back)
This is the most famous scene in all three movies, and it’s the most important and pivotal as well. Up to this point – if we’re watching it for the first time, that is – we don’t know much about Darth Vader except that he’s a pretty evil guy. But when it comes out that he’s actually Luke’s father (spoilers?) – the one person whom Luke hates most in the galaxy – well, let’s just say that everyone’s jaw hit the floor. DARTH VADER IS LUKE’S FATHER!!!! Yep, it’s pretty huge. And even though Luke makes some pretty weird-looking faces during the scene, it’s powerful and intense and never holds back.
Darth Vader: “Obi-Wan never told you what happened to your father.”
Luke: “He told me enough! He told me you killed him!”
Darth Vader: “No. I am your father.”
Luke: “No. No. That’s not true. That’s impossible!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
3. “I Know.” (The Empire Strikes Back)
Two words. Two words are all it took for us to realize how Leia and Han felt about each other. No need for any grand declaration of love, no balcony speech, no sappy love song. Just a simple “I know.” And really, can you imagine any other response from Han? Granted he didn’t have much time, what with the whole being lowered into molten-hot carbonite, but still. Simplicity is best.Leia: “I love you.” Han: “I know.”
2. The Throne Room (A New Hope)
Star Wars is filled with memorable images, but the one that stands out in my mind as my favorite is the final scene in the first movie. The Death Star has been destroyed, and now Luke and Han are being rewarded for it (but not Chewie, poor wookie). The scene itself is awesome. The actual Throne Room is a long, rectangular hall with a long walkway that Luke and Han walk up to receive their reward from Princess Leia. Luke is wearing a sweet-looking mustard-colored 70s jacket. Han has a permanent smirk on his face. And Leia is looking at the two of them like they’re silly, little boys. There’s no dialogue, only music – a majestic march that only John Williams could think up, which provides the perfect ending for an awesome movie.
1. The Opening Crawl (All Three)
Okay, admit it. You get all giddy like a little kid when you see the opening crawl at the beginning of each movie. Your heart jumps when “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…” appears on the screen, and then…WORDS!!!!!! A bunch of words slowly moving up the screen. It’s a odd way to begin a movie, that’s for sure. But it just makes sense. If a Star Wars movie didn’t have that opening crawl, then it just wouldn’t be a Star Wars movie. Who knew that reading background info about rebel alliances and empires could be so exciting?