Star Wars has long been a favorite escape and fascination of mine. The movies, cartoons, comics, games, and now live-action tv shows have provided some absolutely amazing content. In celebration of the end of the Skywalker Saga with the release of Episode IX back in December, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the Skywalker Saga as a whole.
Star Wars means a lot of different things to a lot of different people, but this list is mean to serve as my own personal views of the top moments from the Skywalker Saga. If you would rearrange these into a different order, disagree, or want to share you own, please feel free to comment and let me know!
Before we begin, here are my Honorable Mentions that didn’t quite make the Top 10:
- Pod Racing
- Death Star Escape
- Duel on Star Killer Base
- Battle of Endor
- Battle of Yavin
- Ben Solo’s Redemption
- Han Solo’s Death
- Rey’s Force Lighting
- Obi-Wan’s Sacrifice
- Voices of Jedi Past
- Obi-Wan Explaining the Force
Ready? Let’s Begin:
10. Binary Sunset – A New Hope
The moment that we see Luke looking out over the twin suns setting on Tatooine is one of the most relatable moments of Star Wars for me. Looking out onto the horizon and dreaming of a great adventure or the unknown is a very human moment that we all can relate to. The scene is iconic and has been recreated throughout the Skywalker Saga with echoes of circularity shown through Owen and Beru Lars holding the baby Luke at the end of Revenge of the Sith, and Rey closes the Saga by returning Luke and Leia’s saber’s back to the same spot years later. The ridge over the Lars Residence serves as a stepping off point for many heroes, whether it be stepping off onto their own adventure, or stepping off screen for the last time.
9. Order 66 – Revenge of the Sith
When the prequel trilogy first appeared and audiences got their first glimpse at the incredible number of Jedi in the galaxy, fans began speculating on what happened to leave Obi-Wan and Yoda in exile as the last of the remaining Jedi. How did the galaxy go from having thousands of saber-wielding Jedi acting as the police of the Republic to being referred to as a “hokey religion” by the time of A New Hope? This scene was inevitable, but still sits with me as a very impactful moment in Star Wars. Star Wars fans who have not delved into the Clone Wars animated series may not have as strong of feelings towards many of the supporting Jedi characters, but seeing the heroes of the story struck down.
8. Battle of Yavin / Trench Run – A New Hope
This is the finale for a New Hope. Some of the best dogfights from the series come from this first film, which is not a surprise considering George Lucas helped pitch the idea of space battles by splicing together dogfights from WWII films. In particular though, we get to see Luke as a pilot and small member of a much larger rebellion. Like the best heist and adventure scene, we get a rundown of the plan from the mission brief and have a sense that this effort might just work. The sounds and lights of the space battle are some of my favorite moments from Star Wars. Even when I get a chance to play the games today, I’d rather hop in the cockpit of an X-Wing or N-1 Starfighter than wield a blaster any day.
Once Luke enters the trench, things get serious. He has relied on skill and technology to best the stormtrooper pilots, but just as life goes, technology fails him as he approaches the final stretch of the run. Obi-Wan reaches out to Luke through the Force asking him to trust the Force and let it guide his shot. Luke hesitates, but in one final leap of faith, Luke closes his eyes and takes his shot. The look of relief on Luke’s face after seeing the proton shot drop into the vent is felt by the entire audience as he make his escape, the Death Star explodes, and our heroes have won!
7. Battle on Jabba’s Barge – The Return of the Jedi
This scene makes the list for me for one reason: Jedi Master Luke. After the defeat that we are left with at the end of Empire Strikes Back, it is such a relief and mystery to see a confident, calm, and powerful Luke enter into Jabba’s palace unarmed in an attempt to save his friends. When we had last seen Luke, he had learned of his heritage, lost a hand, and was left battered and bruised. But at the start of Return of the Jedi, Luke is first scene entering into Jabba’s palace where he uses Dark Side powers to knock out the Gamorean Guards. After proceeding to let himself be captured, the real masterminding of Luke’s plan in revealed as he steps out onto the plank of Jabba’s Sail Barge. As Luke gives the salute, fakes the dive, catches, and ignites his new lightsaber, I am instantly taken into the movie.
Seeing Luke in action is great, but so much more is offered in this scene. Leia though taken a slave, is able to use her ingenuity and strength to take out Jabba himself, while cool and collected Han is struggling to regain his eyesight and must rely on the help of others to survive, juxtaposing his into to the series as being strong and independent. Seeing Leia and Han swap their places of hero and helpless from their escape of the Death Star in A New Hope.
Of course, this scene is not listed as my top favorite moment, and a lot of that has to do with how poorly Boba Fett is treated! I know that on screen, Boba is mostly there just to look cool, but after all of the cool adventures he went on in the comics, Clone Wars, and other media, his “death” was such a letdown.
6. Yoda Lifts Luke’s X-Wing – The Empire Strikes Back
Though not particularly spectacular or monumental in the vast array of Star Wars moments, it is nonetheless quite important. For original viewers, this was the manifestation of Yoda’s, “size matters not” speech. This shows the audience the true power that the Force can yield when properly channeled. By this point in his training, Luke has physically transformed himself into a warrior, but still lacks the mindset needed by a Jedi to unlock his true potential. Luke is impatient and easily defeated after failure. Yoda takes this moment of Luke being at his lowest to teach and demonstrate that, at least this aspect, is mental. Yoda does the seemingly impossible with great effort on his aging body, but through his actions teaches Luke that there is much more to learn, along with presenting him with a choice: to stay, to train, and follow the old Jedi way of removing oneself from many of the problems of the galaxy, or to go after his friends and make a difference in that moment, even if it means ending his own life.
5. Battle of the Heroes – Revenge of the Sith
Hands down, this is the best fight to watch in Star Wars. I know I have other’s ranked higher, but this one is the coolest! Anakin has fallen to the Dark Side, and Darth Vader has now taken his place. Obi-Wan now faces his most dangerous opponent, someone he taught, raised, aided, and loved. Though he technically draws his blade first, it is Vader who makes the first attack. For the first few rounds of the duel, the two are measuring each other. Vader hits hard with aggression, but is effortlessly parried by Obi-Wan who soon goes on the aggressive side and takes control of the fight.
This moment, to me, is the duality of the Force incarnate. Vader is filled with such passion and hate, while Obi-Wan’s sadness and grief stems from his love of his lost friend. The two merge so closely together in the Force that at one point, they both aimlessly swing their blades and miss completely. Though a moment of comedic relief, it also represents their skills being equal to each other.
As the fight goes on, Obi-Wan transitions back into a primarily defense-based fight. Vader has pushed the dual into the heart of Mustafar’s lava streams and damaged their only safe haven in the process, making it literally impossible to turn back. His rage is focused on Obi-Wan and ultimately, this blind rage leads to his downfall. Though the high ground certainly has its advantage, Obi-Wan showed us in the Duel of the Fates that it is not an end-all. Vader, however, does not see his options. He believes that simply embracing the Dark Side will be enough to power him through any situation, leaving himself vulnerable to Obi-Wan’s final disarming (and dis-legging) blow. As Vader collapses onto the lava bank, the last fleeting grasps of Anakin are purged from his system as the Dark Side in its fear, hate, and anger fill every last void left in the fallen Jedi. Obi-Wan knows the Force and believes that Anakin had been lost long before that blow, and pick’s up his friend’s lightsaber, leaving the Sith Lord helpless on the ground behind him. Though we know that Anakin was not entirely gone in that moment, Obi-Wan was not the one to save him. That job will fall to Luke in the years to come.
4. Throne Room Fight – The Last Jedi
At the time of writing, The Rise of Skywalker is still unavailable for home video so I have not been able to re-watch it near as many times as the others, and there may be another scene from that film that will replace this particular entry. But for now, this scene from The Last Jedi is serving as my favorite entry from the Sequel Trilogy into my top 10 star wars moments.
Rey and Kylo Ren / Ben Solo are described as a dyad in the Force. That has not been elaborated on much at this point, but it is clear they share a unique connection and bond despite being representatives of opposite sides. Beginning with Snoke’s very poor choice of words describing his vision of Kylo striking down his true enemy, the next several minutes of screen time are a wild ride. Working together in synchronicity normally attributed to long time allies, Kylo and Rey begin clearing out the Throne Room of the Praetorian Guards. Kylo and Rey’s combat styles mirror both each other as well as their own personality traits outside of combat. Though Rey is typically more calm and collected than Kylo, she releases her rage and fights with anger, yelling, and with a fiery passion. Kylo, on the other hand, frequently loses his temper and rages at the slightest inconvenience, but is one hundred perfect calm, collected, and focused on his fight. The two work together in picking apart the guards, and moments like the saber-drop, and when Rey throws the saber allowing a trapped Kylo to click it on and back off again in the single coolest kill in all of Star Wars! Such a great scene, regardless of how you feel about the sequel trilogy.
3. Duel of the Fates – The Phantom Menace
This scene is one of my earliest memories from seeing a movie in the theater. I remember the weeks of anticipation where I rewatched the other movies with my Dad, browsed the toy department at Wal-Mart and K-Mart to look at the toys, and I still have my original ticket stub from the showing. So much about this fight scene is amazing!
To begin, I consider the start of this scene when Darth Maul ignites the second blade of his lightsaber. The second whoosh of that blade coupled with John Williams’ score is enough to send any Star Wars fan to the edge of their seats! Compared with the on-screen lightsaber duels of the Original Trilogy, the Duel of the Fates stands out for its speed and choreography. Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan move together in such synchronicity that you really can believe they have fought side by side many a time, but not against a Sith Lord. Maul’s acrobatics and ability to fight off two Jedi at once is one of the things along with his amazing character design that quickly sent him to the top of a lot of people’s favorite character list.
2. I Am Your Father – The Empire Strikes Back
For many, I expect this to be the number one, but still is a close second for me. I wish I had been able to experience the reveal of Vader being Luke’s father when the movies originally came out, but can still remember my jaw hitting the floor when I found out the first time! Prior to this reveal, many fans were not even sure that Vader was even human. “More machine now than man,” Obi-Wan had stated, but the ratio still had not been fully revealed.
This moment shakes Luke to his core. He had spent most of his life thinking he was a nobody growing up in the shadow of the Empire and suddenly an old hermit reveals that he is the son of a Jedi and can experience the Force. After his first steps into this larger world, Luke quickly adapts and excels at Jedi training. He makes choice after choice to be the best friend and fighter he can be, but in one moment of defeat and desperation, this world is flipped on its head with the reveal that he is the son of the most feared and evil man in the galaxy, second only to the Emperor.
Luke’s choice to not accept family over principals, Luke makes a choice that I’m not entirely sure he knew the outcome of: he drops. Rather than take the hand of evil, he falls to an uncertain fate, only to be picked up by his friends, who have become his new family.
1. Vader’s Redemption – Return of the Jedi
As his ears are filled with the desperate screams of “Father, help me!” coming from Luke as he is writhing on the floor in the throws of Emperor Palpatine’s force lightning, Vader faces a difficult choice…
This scene is the ultimate finale of the Skywalker Saga for me, and I’m sure for a lot of people. Overall, I enjoy the Sequel Trilogy and am a fan of most of the lore-enhancing reveals and plot decisions that came from it. However, the redemption of Vader is the singular event that the Original Trilogy, and by extent the Prequels, was building towards. Luke had not even realized that Vader had redeemed himself and that the moment was over, but instead tells Vader, “come with me, I can save you.”. Then Vader replies, “you already have”. That moment makes my hair stand on end every time! It is in this moment, even though the suit is still on, we see Anakin.
We see the boy who had fear, the man who harbored anger, hatred, and sadness is happy for the last few moments of his life. This is true redemption and forgiveness between a Father and a Son. The rest of the Galaxy will, rightfully, remember Vader for his crimes, but Luke witnesses the redemption of a soul, allowing Anakin to become one with the Force, just as Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon had done. The journey is complete and over six films, we receive the rise, fall, and redemption of Anakin Skywalker.
And there you have it, folks! Those are my Top 10 Moments from the SKywalker Saga. Let me know if you enjoyed my list, or share your Top Moments in the comments below. May the Force be with you. Always.