To celebrate the success of Star Wars: The Force Awakens becoming the number one grossing film of all time in the UK (only the second to surpass £100m), Dan Grant takes a look at some of the most iconic moments in the franchise’s history…
In honour of Star Wars: The Force Awakens becoming the number one grossing film of all time in both the UK, USCanada markets, here are the ten most iconic moments in Star Wars history. The following top 10 features notable plot points from all seven feature films including, unsurprisingly, some of the franchise’s biggest twists…
The following article features significant plot details from each of the Star Wars films from Episode 1: The Phantom Menace to Episode 7: The Force Awakens
10. Return of the Jedi (1983)
Princess Leia becomes slave Leia and teenage boys everywhere lose their mind
When George Lucas cast Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia, he decided that her breasts had to be taped to her body in the first Star Wars. This was because there was no bra to be worn for her costume. Fisher was once quoted as saying, “as we all know there is no underwear in space.” This all changed in 1983 when Princess Leia was captured by Jabba the Hutt and forced to don chains and her sexy slave bikini. It was the first real acknowledgment of sexuality in the films.
9. The Phantom Menace (1999)
Duel of the Fates
There are many things to love about Star Wars, but the lightsaber has always been the most iconic. Arguably the best lightsaber duel in Star Wars history is the battle between a young Obi Wan Kenobi, Qui Gon Jin and their nemesis, the Sith Lord, Darth Maul. This featured Maul with a double edged sword and it allowed all three Jedi masters to battle it out with acrobatic beauty. It ends with Obi Wan using more of the dark side than light to defeat Darth Maul after he has put a lightsabre through Qui Gon’s stomach.
8. The Force Awakens (2015)
Kylo Ren kills his father
Han Solo approaches Kylo Ren while on a long bridge with no railing. His son takes off the mask that gives him a Darth Vader like aura. What we see is a young man, struggling between the good and the darkness. Han tells him he wants him to come home and Ren tells him that he is being torn apart and he wants to be free of the pain. He hands Han his lightsaber and it looks like redemption will come to this tortured but murderous soul. And then Kylo Ren ignites the saber through his fathers chest and he twists it for good measure. Han Solo then falls into the abyss and suddenly Star Wars fans everywhere cried out in anger and sadness.
7. Revenge of the Sith (2005)
The Birth of Darth Vader
After Attack of the Clones ended, most knew that Anakin would be close to death in the next episode and that the most iconic villain of all time would be seen once again. And we were not disappointed. Vader is seen donning his black suit and then when the mask is put onto his head, we hear the breathing, the famous John Williams Darth Vader theme and like Frankenstein being born, he breaks the shackles and frees himself. Sure, Lucas took it a tad too far with the silly “NOOOOOO” but that doesn’t take away from a brilliant birth of Darth Vader.
6. The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Leia: “I love you” / Han: “I know…”
Darth Vader has decided to use Han Solo as a test subject to make sure the carbon freezing will not kill Luke Skywalker when he meets him. After being captured, Han is forced into the carbon chamber. In the script what follows was supposed to be a simple and beautiful romantic exchange between two people who obviously loved each other but had never expressed it. But Harrison Ford understood Han Solo a little better than George Lucas did and he was the one who changed the line from “I love you too” to “I know”. It worked brilliantly and the legend of Han Solo grew even more.
5. A New Hope (1977)
The entire Mos Eisley scene, start to finish
“Mos Eisely spaceport. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.” This is how Obi Wan describes the cantina. Then as they approach the spaceport, they are greeted by stormtroopers looking for two droids, who just happen to be sitting in the land speeder. Obi Wan tells them these are not the droids you are looking for, you can go about your business…move along. Once inside, we see Han Solo shoot first, we see Obi Wan draw and use his lightsaber for the first time as he cuts off someone’s hand and we learn that the Millenium Falcon did the Kessel run in 12 parsecs. All of these scenarios are now famous Star Wars-isms and all happened in Mos Eisley.
4. The Force Awakens (2015)
Rey overpowers Kylo Ren to get the lightsaber with her mind
This is my personal “Holy WOW!” moment from all of the Star Wars movies. The setting is right after Kylo has killed Han Solo and Chewie has blown a hole in Kylo’s belly with his blaster. Finn and Rey are confronted by a very angry Kylo Ren. He uses the force to throw Rey into a tree, rendering her semi-unconscious and then he toys with Finn before knocking him out with a lightsaber blow to the back. As the lightsaber is laying dormant in the snow, he attempts to use the force to bring it to him. But it doesn’t budge. He concentrates harder, this time it flies towards him and then past him into the outstretched arms of Rey. On a personal level, it’s this scene that brought a lump to my throat. However, from an impartial point of view, it is this scene and the one to follow that left us with more questions than answers.
3. The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
That is why you fail
Luke has just begun his training with Master Yoda. He is learning to control his fear and his anger. But when his X-Wing ship begins to sink further in the swamp, he becomes distraught and loses his concentration. Yoda tells him to bring it out and Luke responds with “I’ll try.” Here Yoda admonishes him with, “NO. Do or do not. There is no try.” Luke begins to get the ship out of the swamp but then it sinks back in and this causes an exhausted Luke to tell Yoda that it’s too big and it’s not possible. Yoda then closes his eyes and not only makes the ship rise out of the swamp, but he lands it gently in front of Luke, just to prove a point. Luke tells Yoda, “I don’t believe it!” Yoda looks at him with piercing disappointed eyes and says, “THAT IS WHY YOU FAIL”.
2. Attack of the Clones (2002)
Yoda and Dooku’s epic lightsaber battle
In the first three Star Wars films, Yoda was a puppet and played by Frank Oz. This presented certain limitations for the character. By the time the prequels were made 16 years after Jedi wrapped, Yoda was now a CGI character. Count Dooku has just defeated both Obi Wan and Anakin in a lightsaber battle. All looks lost and hopeless…until Yoda shows up, cane and all, and limps into the scene to confront Dooku. After Dooku unsuccessfully tries to kill Yoda with debris from the cave, they decide that they will have to settle it with a lightsaber battle. When Yoda first draws his lightsaber, there was a collective gasp that went through the theater the first time I saw Attack of the Clones. We had only ever been told about Yoda’s power with the force but all we had ever been treated to was discussion of his legacy. All of that changed when our little green friend dons a ninja like pose and then bounces off the floors and ceiling while yielding a lightsaber.
1. The Empire Strikes Back
M. Night Shyamlan eat your heart out: The twist that beats all other twists
The Empire Strikes Back was a fantastic movie up until Luke meets Vader in Cloud City. It became one of the best films ever made once this battle begins. In it, Vader finds Luke is full of surprises and the first real epic lighsaber battle takes place. And then we find out that Obi Wan never told Luke what really happened to his father. Luke then tells him that he knows that Vader betrayed and murdered his father. “NO. I AM YOUR FATHER.” Our world was shattered. Young boys cried. Teenagers were left in shambles. How could this be? How could the pure and innocent and inherently good Luke Skywalker have a murdering maniac for a father who commits genocide against an entire planet? And yet it’s true, all of it. This is considered the greatest twist in film history. It was even kept under wraps from the cast. The line in the script was, “Obi Wan killed your father.” And then when James Earl Jones did the dubbing for David Prowse’s voice in post production, the line was then changed to what we know today.
Written & Compiled by Dan Grant
There are probably more than one hundred iconic moments in Star Wars. These are just ten from my point of view, a certain point of view if you will. What do you think? What am I missing? Do you agree, disagree? Either way, it’s fun to speculate and of course, as always, may the force be with you.