The first of two Star Wars Top 5s to celebrate the release of Rogue One next Thursday. This week Michael Hamon and I are looking back at our favourite moments from the existing Star Wars films. There are 8 films to choose from (Although I’m not sure anyone will be picking from the Clone Wars film) and so many incredible, dramatic, emotional moments that you really cannot fit them all into just a Top 5 list. But we’ve tried our best anyway. Obviously there are big spoilers ahead, but enjoy our Top 5 Star Wars movie moments.
- Shuggie: The Battle of Hoth – This is a truly epic war moment, probably the only ground battle in the original trilogy (we don’t talk about Ewoks). That shot where the AT-ATs first appear is such an epic moment it really stays with you. The only part of the Original Trilogy that I can remember seeing for the first time is the Battle of Hoth. We get some awesome moments, like the snowspeeders using a tow to bring down the AT-ATs, and Luke singlehandedly blowing up an AT-AT from the inside. As with most of Empire it’s a moment where our heroes are losing, and this isn’t the rebellion fighting to win, but to help the bulk of their people to escape. This is truly the moment that put the wars into Star Wars.
- Michael: Twin Suns – The striking moment we see the double sunset in Episode IV is simple but powerful. John Williams does a fantastic job with the musical score for this scene creating an almost majestic moment and we sense the frustration coming from Luke as he wants to be out there exploring, as opposed to working on a moisture farm. This scene is a classic Sci-Fi moment where we see how George Lucas has made such a striking scene with such a simple idea as putting a second sun in the sky. This reminds us of how vast the Star Wars universe can be, it leaves you wanting to follow the characters as they embark upon their journey and discover more of the Star Wars universe.
- Shuggie: “I am your father” – It’s by far the most iconic moment from Star Wars history, and there’s a reason for that. It’s not just famous line, but the fight between Luke and Vader leading up to it. This was leaps and bounds ahead of the static lightsaber dual from A New Hope. It also saw the start of Vader’s attempts to recruit Luke to the dark side, something that was even more pivotal in the following film. The line itself is one of the great twists in cinema history as the great villain of the franchise is revealed to be our hero’s father. On top of that we see that Yoda was correct about Luke not yet being ready to take on Vader, and we end the film with our heroes losing, rather than a happy ending. It’s a brilliant fight between the two, with an extremely powerful and emotional ending. Whilst it is the most iconic moment in Star Wars history, for me there are moments that better action wise or emotionally.
- Michael: Luke Meets Yoda – I remember the first time I watched the moment Luke met Yoda. Yoda was built up to be a really powerful Jedi master and what we end up with is a goofy, old green alien who talks kind of backwards and gets in to a fight with R2-D2 over a flashlight. I like how comical this scene is and it takes a serious moment and just adds a bit of silliness. You can tell how his isolation has caused him to go a bit senile but he ends up being the Jedi master Luke expected and more. I think the point of Lucas’s decision to portray Yoda like this is that you shouldn’t underestimate the little guy.
- Shuggie: Dual of the Fates – The prequels take a lot of flack, and rightly so, there is some terrible writing, acting, and effects in them. But for all that is wrong with them there is plenty of great stuff in each of the film. And the absolute pinnacle of the trilogy is the dual between the Jedi, Obi Wan and Qui Gon, and their adversary Darth Maul. Maul has actually had some excellent character development in some of the canonical expanded universe material such as the animated shows, but seeing this mysterious warrior taking on our heroes is brilliant. From John Williams’ score at his appearance and throughout, to the reveal of his double bladed, and the sensation choreography in the dual this is a work of art in action set pieces. The quieter moments building up to and following Qui Gon’s death are masterful in building up the drama. It’s by far the best-constructed sequence in the prequels and is right up there in terms of modern action set pieces.
- Michael: A New Hope Opening – The first scene of the first movie is a perfect introduction to the Star Wars franchise. After the opening credits, we get a shot of a planet in the middle of space and then a rebel ship flies on to the screen immediately being chased and completed dwarfed by an enormous and intimidating Imperial Star Destroyer which immediately sets the scale and possibilities for the rest of the film. We then switch scenes to inside the Rebel ship and are almost instantly thrown in to a futuristic fire fight with lasers and explosions, really cool looking Stormtroopers, the best droid comedy duo running around in the background and then we are introduced to the main villain of the entire franchise along with the imperial march playing John Williams yet again sets the perfect mood making Vader look all the more imposing and intimidating.
- Shuggie: Han Solo’s Death – As if the death of one of the most beloved characters ever wasn’t enough, it was done in such a way by director Abrahams that it had to make the list of best Star Wars Moments. Mirroring the family drama from the original trilogy Han tries to convince his son to turn back from the dark side. There is a moment where it seems to be working, but then Kylo Ren makes the opposite decision to Luke and Vader from the original trilogy, and chooses the dark side. This moment is brilliantly underscored by the change in music and lighting. I saw the film multiple times in the cinema, and every time I saw this it was such a well-directed moment that it never failed to be incredibly moving and dramatic. We lost many people’s favourite Star Wars character and it was done in such an emotional way
- Michael: Dual of the Fates – I just remember how excited I felt when I realised there was going to be a lightsaber fight between Obi Wan, Darth Maul and Qui Gon, and then Darth Maul unsheathed a double ended lightsaber and I just remember thinking it was the coolest thing I had ever seen! Raymond Parks delivered a fantastic acrobatic performance throughout the entire fight scene accompanied by yet another brilliant score by John Williams that helps to get across the feeling of desperation to win. After the death of Qui Gon, the choice to cut out the music and just have the sounds of the fight take the theatrical feeling away and give it a much more intense and gritty atmosphere.
- Shuggie: Luke v Vader and the Emperor – The real emotional crux of the entire original trilogy comes at the end of Return of Jedi as the Emperor plays off Luke and Vader in the hopes of getting Luke to turn to the Dark side. At the same time Luke is trying to bring back and redeem his father. In the choreography of the dual it’s probably second only to the Dual of the Fates. Luke only really attacks out of anger and fury brought on by Vader’s taunting. It’s all leads up to that key moment where Luke declares himself to be a Jedi, like his father before him, helping Vader make the choice to redeem himself by saving Luke from the Emperor. This is the moment that the whole of the Original Trilogy, and also the prequels of you watch it in that order, has been building to. The entire first 6 films is the story of Luke redeeming his father, and this is the moment it happen, so it has to be number 1 for me.
- Michael: “I am your father” – My number one favourite Star Wars moment takes place in ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ when it’s revealed that Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker’s father through the famous line “No, I am your father”. This is my favourite Star Wars moment, and how can it not be? This scene is iconic and forms a brilliant plot twist. I love this scene because of how many people know this quote, even if they are not Star Wars fans and everything about it is brilliant; the music, atmosphere and delivery from both actors. James Earl Jones’ voice is commanding and forms one of the greatest moments in movie history.
So those are our favourite moments so far from the Star Wars franchise. What Star Wars moments are your favourite? Do you think we should have included the trench run or the death sticks seller (ok maybe not that one)? And are you excited for Rogue One next week? Let me know in the comments. And you can follow me @shuggiesays on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.