Top List Thursday – 15 Greatest Star Wars Moments

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As if there was ever a chance of today’s theme being anything other than Star Wars! So with talk of a new trilogy currently sending the geekisphere into pandemonium, lets have a look back at the previous 6 films to see their finest moments. Yes, I said 6 films, because no matter how many times you tell yourself otherwise, not only did the prequel trilogy actually happen, but they also have some of the coolest moments of the entire saga.

Not Jar Jar Binks though. He can die in a fire.

Darth Maul shows up for the first time

I don’t care how much you hated Episode 1: The Phantom Menace, you’d really have to have bantha poodoo where you heart should be to hate Darth Maul. Easily one of the coolest characters George Lucas has ever created, and nothing less than a spinning backflip off a speeding hoverbike straight into a lightsaber duel with a Jedi master would do as an introduction to Maul’s badassery.

Episode 1 Pod race

One of the best moments of Episode 1: A Phantom Menace, this super fast and super deadly race clued us in to exactly how Anakin Skywalker developed the skills to eventually become “the greatest starfighter pilot in the galaxy”. This one sequence also happened to spawn one of my favourite video games of the early 2000’s, so it definitely deserves a mention.

Luckily I managed to find a version of this clip that just focuses on the racing and crashes and completely cuts out Jake Lloyd’s laughable attempts at acting.

Geonosis arena battle

While there had already been plenty of amazing moments of brilliance from solitary Jedis before and during Episode 2: Attack of the Clones, it was during that film’s finale that years and years of fan-fiction finally became reality. As a group, led by Master Mace Windu, showed up to rescue Anakin, Amidala and Obi-Wan from Count Dooku’s droid army, we finally saw what a Jedi “army” could truly do in a battle.

I think it took about 2 hours to get the smirk off my face.

Princess Leia strangles Jabba in a gold bikini

And no, this is not only on the list because of her infamous gold bikini and the fact that we were all 12-year old boys with dirty dreams once. No, here Leia proves once again that despite her Princess title, she is definitely no damsel in distress. Taking the very same chain that’s shackling her to the trachea of the disgusting Jabba the Hutt, Leia puts on a display of girl power at it’s very finest.

Also, boobs.

Order 66

In what is easily one of the most brutal and emotional scenes in the entire saga, the evil Emperor Palpatine issues Order 66, the kill-code for all his Clone troopers to turn on and execute their Jedi allies. This is the moment where Anakin finally fully succumbs to the Dark Side by introducing a group of defenseless young padawans to the business end of a lightsabre. You bastard, Anakin. You bastard.

Yoda vs Count Dooku

Was there anybody who saw this coming? We’d already seen Yoda’s mastery of the Force in performing massive feats of strength, and when this confrontation first begins between master and teacher, we once again get a display of Yoda’s “telekinetic” ability. And then Dooku lashes out with Force lightning, hereto the most devastating Force attack we’ve seen, and Yoda simply blocks it like it was silly string. And then just as we’re all still nodding all impressed at what the ancient looking little green alien had just done, he ever so smoothly draws his robe to the side, Force-pulls a lightsaber from his belt into his hand and unleashes twirling, tumbling, blurring hell.

“I know…”

There’s a reason why this scene regularly appears near the top of the greatest unscripted scenes in movie history: It’s just that good. After trying countless other variations of Han’s declaration of love to Leia just as he was about to be frozen in carbonite, actor Harrison Ford just felt that none of them really rang true to the character of Han Solo. So he improvised. And one of the greatest lines in movie history was born.

Luke Skywalker: Jedi knight

When we last saw Luke Skywalker in Episode III: The Empires Strikes Back he wasn’t exactly in a condition to be very… handy to the Rebel forces. Skip ahead to Return of the Jedi, and we now get a totally different Luke. Decked out all in black, he is calm, analytical, strategic and a complete badass. Never is this more evident than straight after we meet him in his new obsidian duds, as he allows himself to be captured by Jabba the Hutt so as to free Han Solo, as well as Leia and Lando who had infiltrated Jabba’s palace.

Read  Despite controversy, Star Wars: The Last Jedi is the best-selling Blu-ray of 2018 thus far

And yes, this clip does show us Leia in the gold bikini again, but really if you’re complaining about that, then I’m not sure that we can be friends.

The Duel of Fates

Still considered by many to be the best fight scene in Star Wars history and rightfully so. We’d seen Darth Maul make an appearance earlier, but that was never a true showing of his skills. But when he steps up to challenge both Obi-Wan Kenobi and Master Qui-Gon Jinn at the same time? That’s badass. This entire sequence –  from the moment Darth Maul first unveils that second blade on his lightsaber (at which point there was much jizzing of pants), to Qui-Gon’s silent mid-battle meditation, and of course to the ridiculously fast and frantic final fight between Obi-Wan and Maul –  goes a long way to redeem all the many missteps we had to endure in Episode 1: The Phantom Menace up until that point.

The destruction of the Death Star

Confession time: On my personal bucket list, I have an entry that says “Pilot an X-Wing”. Yes, I know that that’s impossible and all, but a boy is allowed his dreams, isn’t he? And the origin of said dream was none other than this scene in Episode IV: A New Hope, as Luke leads Red Squadron on one of the most famous bombing runs in movie history. It has everything from iconic lines (“Use the force, Luke!”), to Vader personally leading a Tie attack squadron, to Han’s last minute save with the Millenium falcon and is still as thrilling today as it was 35 years ago.

Anakin Skywalker vs Obi-Wan Kenobi

And if there was ever a fight to challenge “The Duel of Fate”‘s right to the Best Fight throne, this would be it. What makes it better, is that this is the fight we’d all known for years was coming. The final battle of wills pitting friend against friend, student against master, and transforming the love-sick Anakin Skywalker into the most evil force in the galaxy. And by Jabba’s chins, did it deliver! Framed by the industrial factories and lava flows of the planet Mustafar, it’s a truly epic battle of  good vs evil.

While you may be able to argue that “The Duel of Fates” is a better fight, you simply can’t deny that this is the most important fight in the entire saga.

“A long time ago in a galaxy, far, far away…”

Forget all the CGI backgrounds, all the outlandish sets, all the Frank Oz puppetry. This scrolling block of yellow text is easily the best bit of world building that George Lucas has ever dreamed up. I remember seeing it for the first time and the questions and thoughts that raced through my head: Civil war? Between who? What the hell is a Death Star and how can it destroy planets? Throw in evil Galactic Empires and Princesses that need rescuing, and couple that with that booming, boisterous John Williams theme song, and before the first frame of footage had ever even shown any action, I had already been transported to another world.

Darth Vader kills the Emperor

This is it. The great moment of redemption for Darth Vader. With Force lightning running all over his armour, x-raying his body beneath, Vader saves the life of his son by physically picking up the evil Emperor Palpatine and hurling him to his death. Never before has throwing out the trash been as dramatic or rewarding.

Episode IV: A New Hope opening scene

And just as my mind is still racing from that opening text we get greeted with this, one of the most amazing opening shots ever put on film. We pan down straight from the opening text to reveal a planet’s hemisphere with a moon hanging in the distance. Preceded by the sounds of laser blasts, a spaceship appears, hurtling pass the screen, explosions dancing around it. And then that star destroyer arrives, dwarfing not only that earlier spaceship, but also anything that audiences had ever experienced in a cinema up until that point. Jaws dropped. History was made.

“Luke, I am your father.”

You probably didn’t need the Force to see this one coming. Yes, it’s cliche to give it the top spot. But it only became cliche because it completely deserved it. A plot twist of epic proportions that not only gives pop culture one of its most iconic lines of dialogue, but also leaves your hero a mewling, one-handed mess at the end of your film? How could I not choose this?

(Unfortunately, finding the original version of this clip online seems to be impossible, so you’ll have to make do with this “special version”.)

Last Updated: November 1, 2012

Kervyn Cloete

A man of many passions - but very little sleep - I've been geeking out over movies, video games, comics, books, anime, TV series and lemon meringues as far back as I can remember. So show up for the geeky insight, stay for the delicious pastries.

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