You know it. I know it. Just about everyone knows it. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story premiers in four days. As a fan of the franchise I feel extremely spoiled. We were treated to a brand new Star Wars just last Christmas and once again Disney decided to bless us with further Christmas cheer. Couple that with all of the new merchandising, video games, concept-art, and a new wave of fan theories it can be said with confidence that it is a great time to be Star Wars fan. To celebrate, The Daily Diatribe has consulted our panel of Star Wars experts to weigh in on their favorite moments from all seven Star Wars movies in the anticipation of many more exciting moments to come.
Ethan Dragon, Michael McClure, and John Workman are BIG TIME fans of the franchise, having followed the space odyssey ever since they were younglings. They’ve seen each film several times and have done quite a bit of extensive research into the Star Wars lore including the expanded universe. As a gesture of veneration to their expansive knowledge we asked the question,
“What is your favorite moment in every Star Wars movie 1-7?”
As expected we got some very thorough and soul stirring answers. So without further ado lets start with the very first chronological episode:
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
Dragon: My favorite scene in the whole film and arguably, the whole prequel trilogy, is when lil orphan Anakin says goodbye to his mom. The acting in that scene from Shmi (who has an underrated performance in the film as a whole) is on point. Jake Lloyd actually kinda delivers his lines well here. The moment she tells him to “don’t look back, Ani. Don’t look back” as John Williams amps up one of the most emotionally charged Force themes ever. It’s just heartbreaking to know this innocent kid who wants to help people out is gonna become the most terrifying being in the galaxy and lose everything.
Workman: The lightsaber duel between obi-wan and Qui-Gon vs. Darth Maul would have to be my favorite scene. Star Wars would not be what it is without lightsaber duels. For a lot of millennials this was the first lightsaber duel that they had ever seen, and for older fans their first in over 10 years. George Lucas wanted the duels to be faster and more energetic in the prequels, and they didn’t disappoint. Pair it with one of John Williams finest composition, Duel of the Fates, and you have a moment that made many fall in love with Star Wars, and many others re-confirm that love.
McClure: There are two for me, one kinda feeds into the other. When Qui Gon and Obi jump out of the cloud of gas and we first get to see what the Legendary Jedi were like in action. Seeing their speed and capabilities, and why they were of such renown. Which leads into the truly best scene when the doors open and Darth Maul is standing there calmly waiting. Qui Gon confidently steps forward and says “we’ll handle this.” Everything about this seen is superb and makes the skin tingle. It also is symbolic of the entire Jedi downfall and things that Yoda addresses later on. For 1,000 years the Jedi had essentially been unchallenged as the supreme power in the galaxy, and had grown “too sure of themselves” The faces of each actor are perfect, the music iconic, the Jedi step forward more than sure that they will vanquish this enemy, only to meet the most formidable foe they’d ever encountered.
Star Wars Episode II: The Attack of the Clones
Workman: The ending scene with Palpatine and several senators watching as Star Destroyers begin taking legions of clone troopers to wage war with the separatists. There is something powerful about this scene. It embodies the statement that Yoda made in the previous scene “Begun, the clone war has” It also embodies a huge step in the Sith’s plot to divide the galaxy and spread the Jedi thin so that they can more easily take over. All of Palpatine’s work in the previous movie was to set the clone wars in motion. As the scene rolls, we see Palpatine watching the troops move out- a master beholding his handiwork as the pre -cursor to “The Imperial March” plays. Definitely a turning point in the series.
McClure: When Anakin exacts his revenge on the sand people. Hayden Christensen may not have been the best choice for the chosen one, but this is a scene he nailed. It is an extremely pivotal moment in largest Star Wars characters life, and it literally sent shock waves through the universe, so noticeable that it causes Yoda to stagger all the way back at the temple. I’m sure Sidious felt it, sitting in his chair with a smile. This is where we see love turn to grief, to anger, to actions of passion and vengeance. This is the Anakin’s road to the dark side, his love and passion.
Dragon: This one was a little more difficult to find a favorite scene because Star Wars to me thrives on characters and themes and characters excel through personal moments. The scene when Anakin buries his mother is kinda a sequel to that Phantom Menace scene. Everybody is quiet. Hayden “piece of wood” Christensen has looks down. And the look of pain on his face as he buries the one piece of hope he had in the galaxy is pretty heavy.
Star Wars Episode III: The Revenge of the Sith
McClure: For this one I have an honorable mention: Palpatine seducing Anakin at the opera. Love this scene, the acting of it, the careful crafting of a story. But the best scene, and so far, my favorite scene of all Star Wars, Obi wan responding to Anakin’s rage with “You were my brother, Anakin. I loved you!” There were many missed opportunities with III, and the prequels overall. This line’s execution is not among them. In this one line we hear and feel all that has transpired in the past three movies. Ewan absolutely crushes this scene and our hearts. It is the story of Star Wars in a line.
Dragon: The whole Anakin vs Obi-Man takes the cake. From “You will not take her from me” up until the point when Anakin is burning and Obi-Wan is talking about what he was supposed to be. Tears, manly tears every time.
Workman: Anakin’s immolation scene. There is also something really symbolic here. It’s as if the dark side is finally burned into Anakin. The darkness that was on the inside finally manifests itself on the outside. Followed by great emotion-driven acting by Ewan McGregor, the audience cannot help but feel the heartbreak that Obi-Wan has as he watches his friend, his student, his brother burned away to nothing. The immense grief is felt in Obi-Wan’s statement “You were the chosen one! It was said that you would destroy the Sith, not join them! Bring balance to the Force, not leave it in darkness! And the contrast between Anakin’s statement ” I hate you!” With Obi-Wan’s “You were my brother Anakin. I loved you” Two brother’s two different paths. Darkness and Light personified. Once again, the soundtrack here is amazing. This scene is the climax of Darth Vader’s transformation and answers the question that I’m sure many people from the older generation had “what happened to Darth Vader? What caused him to become more machine than man?”
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
Dragon: Luke taking the initiative to take on the Trench Run after everyone else has failed. This is the moment the whole film built up to. Luke, a young, naive farmboy, who is thrust into this war, does the ultimate version of maturing. The moment when he fires the photon torpedoes into the exhaust port and he gives a sigh of relief, victory, and triumph. Pure cinematic gold.
Workman: The duel between Darth Vader and Ben Kenobi. This is the first lightsaber duel ever–An epic fight between the ambassador of the darkness, and the sole defender of the light. While it is clear that Darth Vader is physically stronger, Obi-wan has become a master of the force during has exile and training with Qui-gon. Obi-wan allows himself to be defeated so that he can become a force entity, a spirit guide to Luke. This could have implications for the new series as well. Obi-wan is heard in Rey’s force vision. Maybe he comes back in the new movie. Maybe Luke sacrifices himself at a critical moment in order to guide Rey. Only time will tell…
McClure: When Vader chokes commander butt face on the Death Star. This is the first movie, and it was made in the 70’s. this revolutionary movie has just started, and it’s already broken boundaries (on a minimal budget, with nothing but scoffing from Hollywood) and enraptured us; but this scene takes it to the next level. Here we see a “war room” scene, not much unlike the many WWII movies that dominated the 60’s. the military leaders talking about their weapons and what needs to be done about the enemy. It establishes the galaxies political situation and frames the war in a nutshell. But then there’s Vader who is silent at first, but still looming large. His silence is even cooler when you take clone wars, and the prequels into account. This is one of the most battle hardened, experienced warriors in the galaxy, just chilling while these guys talk about the “power of the universe”. Anywho, he initially just addresses the concerns about the missing plans and is content to chill. But then Commander “I’m-An-Officer-What-Do-You-Know” decides to insult Vader and his belief system. Like many would be, Vader is “triggered” at this point. But he’s an older experienced Anakin, he doesn’t have an out burst. He calmly, silently lifts his hand, and with two fingers establishes dominance. This is the first time we see and hear the Force. This I’m sure was mind blowing in theaters in ’77. I just watched this scene last night, it’s awesome.
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
Workman: Darth Vader reveals that he is Luke’s father…this almost needs no explanation. Probably the best kept secret in movie history. Darth Vader reveals this fact maybe to gain an advantage or truly unite with his son in order to gain power to rule the galaxy. But this actually leads to his redemption. Had Luke not known that Vader was his father, Darth Vader would not have been pulled back to the light.
McClure: Vader tells Luke the news. The entire catwalk scene is why we love Star Wars. The saber battle, Vader’s costume (which got a huge upgrade from ep. IV) the other worldly set, dialogue. James Earl Jones historic role has his most historic line. This revelation was kept in absolute secrecy, it rocked the worlds. Mark Hamil’s response, which would in most cases be over the top, was appropriate for what was just dropped on him. James’ delivery of “No. I am your father.” And all the lines preceding it really, is perfection. Love it (also, Luke gets to see how outmatched he is).
Dragon: It could easily be “I am your father”, but I think Han’s Carbon freezing is just as important. Han and Leia actually really kiss for the first time. Han’s “I know,” the whole setting is very ominous with the lighting and everything. The score is great here and Vader is particularly menacing. Plus Lando regretting his “Judas” decision.
Star Wars Episode VI: The Return of the Jedi
Dragon: The scene on Endor between Luke and Vader. It’s kinda Luke’s last ditch effort to revert father back to the light. Dialogue and acting well rounded. The weight of the scene is good too. It’s the last time they can talk without the Emperor around or lightsabers and a battle to the death. Although the whole Death Star II throne room stuff is golden. And when Darth Vader threatens Leia and Luke just unleashes Jedi fury on his asthmatic ass. And he chooses not to kill him. It’s all great and performed really well. Hamill had solidified himself as a solid actor by the time Jedi rolled around.
Workman: Anakin’s redemption…Luke coming close to killing his father and turning to the dark side, Luke chooses to stay in the light. There is something powerful about the line “I am a Jedi, like my father before me”. Also this scene is the climax of the entire series (1-6) Vader restored balance to the force by killing the emperor and defeating the evil within himself.
Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens
Dragon: The ending when Rey finds Luke. There are plenty of good scenes in this one like Rey forcing the lightsaber in her hand, but this one takes the cake. When she approaches Luke with his old saber and the score swells, his look goes from oh crap they found it and me, to hey, she’s the hope I’ve been so desperately looking for. Let’s give this another shot. It’s just great.
Workman: Rey’s force vision…so many reasons to love this scene. It’s the start of of Rey’s journey toward becoming a Jedi. Rey, these are your first steps. Because so much of the vision is shrouded in mystery, it makes one excited for when it’s truths are revealed.
McClure: There are many contenders and moments of awesomeness in this film. Kylo stopping the blaster bolt, Han showing up again, Han getting killed, Rey force calling the light saber, and others; but for me the single greatest scene is Rey holding The lightsaber out to Luke, and seeing the decades of emotion on Luke’s face. Mark Hamill, without saying a word shows an ocean’s worth of memory and emotion. john Williams seals the deal with his signature awesomeness, and we have a beautiful scene that leaves you both fulfilled and begging for more.
And there you have it! I don’t know about you, fearless reader, but these reminiscent responses not only made me want to watch all the movies all over again but made me doubly excited to enjoy two hours of more moments to come in this brand new installment opening Friday. What will your favorite moment be?