Thursday was Star Wars’ 40th Anniversary and technically I wanted this post up by then, but this turned out to be quite a lengthy post to write, especially since I found it impossible to pick only 40 moments… But anyways, the 25th of May marked 40 years since the release of A New Hope, 40 years since George Lucas took us all to a galaxy far, far away, and 40 years of amazing storytelling and cinematography. So what better way to celebrate than to revisit some of the most amazing moments that Lucas and co. have brought us over the years? I have tried to pick some of the more low-key moments, the ones that don’t necessarily pop up on all the lists, but I’ll leave it up to you whether I succeeded or not. So in no particular order, here are 40 of my favourite Star Wars moments!
1. Gungans in the Mist
When I saw The Phentom Menace in the cinema and saw the Gungans striding out of the mist, it genuinely took my breath away. It was a beautiful shot that gave the Gungans a sense of dignity. They were very consciously marching towards a battle they would most likely lose, but they did so in the hope to save their planet and help their friends. It’s absolutely shocking I couldn’t find a good gif of this moment and had to use a picture instead.
2. Darth Maul Enters
Yup, two The Phantom Menace moments in a row, but when I thought of the Gungan entrance above I couldn’t help but this of the epic moment when Darth Maul joins the battle on Naboo. Together with John Williams’ score, it is no understatement to say Darth Maul became iconic the moment those blast doors opened.
3. But Uncle, Power Converters!
I’m sorry for those of you who don’t like this scene or line, because it’s perfect. It is so childish yet completely understandable and immediately shows in what kind of mindset Luke is at the beginning of A New Hope. He is young, he has no idea what is happening outside of his own little farm and he is struggling against the power his uncle has over his life. If there ever was a more accurate portrayal of a teenage boy in Sci-Fi, I don’t know. (Actually…)
4. No One Can Kill a Jedi
This moment in The Phantom Menace is so endearing and sweet, and only grows more painful as the Prequel saga unfolds. Anakin’s unwavering belief in the power of the Jedi, in that good will prevail, is what drives his character for such a long time, and this moment is one of the strongest reminders of that. Also, it has led to some hilarious Tumblr memes.
5. Who Shot First?
As we talked about entrances and introductions above, I always loved how we meet Han Solo in A New Hope. While some really care about who shot first, etc. it doesn’t really matter that much to me. But this scene shows us Han Solo both in and out of his element. He lives for this kind of danger and his smoothness and cool in this situation immeditely made him Star Wars‘ resident bad-ass.
5. Why You, …
This moment is everything! Leia is so annoyed, Han Solo is so over it, and Luke is so lost as to what’s happening. Chewbacca is having the time of his life, though. This is perhaps one of the best insults ever written and I am still patiently waiting for the right moment to use it myself.
6. Oh Shit…
Actually, I’m not finished with entrances yet. Although Rogue One already gave us some Darth Vader, it was that final scene that blew everyone’s mind. It was exactly what we wanted to see and it was incredibly badass. This is the Darth Vader we saw on Mustafar, the one against whom everyone else is simply screwed. It is glorious!
7. So This is how Liberty Dies
I will never be over this moment and as I look around the world today, this scene, but actually The Revenge of the Sith overall, has never felt more relevant. Padme’s quiet disgust and outrage at what is happening to the worlds and the political system she loves so much is very timely, and her line rings incredibly true.
8. This Much Green
Speaking of ladies who are right, Rey usually is. But this moment was heartbreakingly sad. Much like Luke, Rey has been sequestered for her whole life on a secluded desert planet with not much to offer. This was a beautiful moment of naivety on Rey’s part that showed us that despite all of her strength and skills, she is also still a young girl experiencing many things for the first time.
9. This is When the Fun Begins
Oh and wasn’t Anakin right! The opening to Revenge of the Sith is my favourite Star Wars opening and I will fight you over this. It has the perfect mix between action, beautiful shots, plot building and… fun! Also, considering what happens in the rest of the film, it may be one of the last times we see Anakin smile.
10. The Count is concentrating
‘Dooku Captured’ is probably one of my favourite episodes of The Clone Wars because it feels both absurd and utterly natural for STar Wars. Here are three of the most important people in the whole Galaxy, casually captured by some pirates, tied together and trying to escape. And what do A=Obi-Wan and Anakin do? Sass Dooku to exasperation. Simply beautiful.
There will be a lot more The Clone Wars in this list, but for now, I want to talk about the Mortis arc. This really elevated the storytelling I thought was possible in TCW. Not only was it stunningly beautiful, it also added so much to Star Wars as a whole. What, I can’t pick a whole arc as a “moment”? Fine, I guess I’ll pick the moment above, but know I’m not happy about it!
No, not that moment! That moment is sad and heartbreaking and we don’t talk about it, ever! This moment, however, is adorable and sweet and gives an insight into how the Jedi teach. Obi-Wan goes to a Master for answers, but is given help by a small Youngling. Truly wonderful the mind of a child is!
13. C3Po: Life of the Party
You can always rely on good, old C3PO to bring some lightness and cheer into your life. From this moment in A New Hope I knew I;d lovehim, I just never thought I’d ever so slightly turn into him as well…
14. Close Your Eyes, Feel it!
This moment deserves its own star on the Walk of Fame and it’s right up there with the most beautiful shots I have ever seen. Rey calling upon the Force in her hour of need is acted so beautifully by Daisy Ridley that it has an enormous amount of impact. The different emotions that move across her face, the lighting of the scene, the MUSIC! Everything about this is perfect.
15. Go girl!
Speaking of perfect, Jyn Erso kicking Storm Trooper ass in Rogue One was pretty badass and even got a nod of respect from Cassian. And you know that is the highest praise anyone could ever receive. Girl’s got the moves.
16. Aggressive Negotiations
Every couple needs an inside joke, and of course Anakin and Padme’s manages to combine politics and fighting. A small moment of lightness in an otherwise intense battle scene, I’ve always loved this moment for showing their sense of humour and how their friendship has grown over the film.
17. But why, Dave?
And now for something incredibly sad, yet beautiful. Ahsoka’s trial on Coruscant was an incredibly interesting storyline, but everyone hoped for a happy ending. But when we got it, Ahsoka released and the real traitor captured, Feloni and co had to go and make it worse. A necessary development, it still hurt and wasn’t helped by how beautifully the moment was animated, along with a stunning score.
18. Yoda, your Crazy Neighbourhood Guy
Yoda’s first appearance in The Empire Strikes Back will always be one of my favourite Star Wars moments. Rather than testing Luke with difficult questions or with a fight, he wants to test his patience and his kindness. Having seen the Prequels, it is clear these were major tenets of the Jedi code, but in ESB it looks slightly ridiculous but highly entertaining.
19. Seismic Charges, Baby
This particular air duel is one of my favourites for a particular reason: seismic charges. I love the sound they make, the short moment between when they hit and explode, just everything about them is amazing. Also, shout-out to Daniel Logan for Boba’s evil laugh, we love it!
20. Star Wars’ ‘Guernica’
This is less of a moment and more of a shot, perhaps? The battle between Darth Maul, Savage Oppress and Darth Sidious in The Clone Wars is epic and deserving of a moment of its own, really. But what has always stood out to be was the mural in front of which they are fighting. It provided a stunning backdrop to the fight, but also captures the eye on its own behalf. Please
21. Sky Guy & Snips
There are not enough nick names in Star Wars, so let’s celebrate the normalcy of Anakin and Ahsoka having nicknames for each other that they are both annoyed at and yet find endearing as well. It is these small touches of humanity which make Star Wars special and I think they’re underappreciated by a lot of people.
22. All the Tears
Time for another heartbreaking moment, this time from The Return of the Jedi. Ewoks are, surprisingly, something of a contentious topic but I’ve always loved them, which is partially why this moment always hits me quite hard. However, it is also a brilliant shot that, just for a few seconds, quiets the noise of battle and strips all the excitement away, revealing the true cost of war. The Ewoks, much like the Gungans, help the heroes partially because of their own need, but also out of the kindness of their hearts and they suffer for it. The fact Lucas doesn’t cover this up but rather dedicated time to it has always meant a lot to me.
23. Chirrut Bringing the Laughs
Part of the reason for picking this moment is because Chirrut is an amazing character who deserves all the love, but also because all the times I saw Rogue One in the cinema, this moment brought everyone to tears with laughter. Star Wars is full of these moments of joy and that’s part of the reason why I love it. Also, I’m here for the blind representation!
24. This One Might Be a Cheat
So this moment really wasn’t intended by George Lucas, but I love it because it makes me giggle every time I see it.
25. Darth Vader Bringing It!
The animation on Star Wars Rebels is amazing and I truly started to appreciate it when Darth Vader showed up and he was absolutely terrifying. Kids’ show you say? The Darth Vader of Rebels is very similar to Darth Vader in Rogue One, in that he is at the height of his power and can kick anyone’s ass. This is the kind of moment that makes you gasp.
26. Solitary Shmi
My love for Shmi Skywalker knows no bounds and this moment in The Phantom Menace always tugs at my heartstrings. It is her quiet acceptance of Anakin’s leaving, yet also how she almost cradles herself and sighs that make this moment so believable and emotional. Shmi deserved so much more!
27. So Smooth
No one in Star Wars will ever be smoother than Lando Calrissian and that is a fact. No matter he is selling them all out to the Empire, there is always time for a flirtation or two. (Also, sorry for the terrible GIF quality.)
28. Leia Hutslayer
I’m always here for Leia slaying Jabba and I will always praise the fact we got to see Leia get her own personal revenge for being objectified and sexualized by him. The fact so many people miss how crucial this is and how it changes the whole “bikini thing” makes me mad enough to slay a Hutt myself.
To be honest, the whole Ryloth arc deserves all the praise in the world, but Numa and Waxer’s bond really is something special. Numa is an amazing character and her willingness to trust Waxer and Boil, her perseverance in the face of destruction, it really elevates the episodes on Ryloth.
30. That Tear
And for another stunning piece of cinematography: Anakin on Mustafar. The way Anakin moves counter to the wind, the tear that slowly makes its way down his face, his clear unhappiness, it all comes together to very succinctly show how he is feeling at the moment.
31. That Sounds Illegal
Of course Palpatine’s claim to complete and authoritarian rule has to be on this list. It’s a line that is both terrifying and almost funny. Looking at some of the news nowadays, that;s becoming a familiar and disturbing trend.
32. *mind blown*
The opening of Revenge of the Sith is mind-blowing and, in my opinion, the best opening to any Star Wars film ever. The way it is filmed, how detailed everything in the background is, the drum beats at the beginning, just everything about it is amazing.
33. Choke on your words!
I was thinking of using Krennic’s choke here but decided to go for the first time we’re introduced to Darth Vader’s classic intimidation tactic. It is one of those moments that becomes instantly iconic and it gave me one of my favourite comeback lines.
This is another moment that brings the laughs. Here we have two Jedi who had no idea that the “girl” they have been looking after and, occasionally, have patronised, is actually the queen. They had no idea and their faces so clearly show it. I’m so happy this was included in The Phantom Menace.
How could we not include this amazing moment? Not only is it a beautiful explosion, it is also a very cathartic one.
36. Feel the Love
Not only do I love the movement of the camera in this moment, I also love the quick moment of acknowledgement and affection between Poe and Finn. Whether you think it’s Love with a capital L or just friendship, I appreciate how The Force Awakens tried to portray these two men and their bond.
37. Yoda Bringing It
Every list of Star Wars moments should have Yoda bringing the badassery! When I saw Attack of the Clones in the cinema it was a jaw drop moment for most people, something we never thought we’d see. And again, the movement of the camera is amazing.
38. Can we include this yet?
This is just a stunning shot. The power that radiates of Rey here, the muted tones that are yet very vibrant as well, it all comes together to make me anticipate The Last Jedi even more. I’m sure that once the film comes out I will be writing about it extensively.
39. Happiness and Clapping
What other franchise can say its films end this happily? Look at the smiles, the clapping, the whole crew assembled and together! Of course ever since The Force Awakens we know it didn’t stay this happy, but it is a moment of relief and joy that I’ve always relished.
40. A long time ago
I treasure the moments this appears on my screen because for the past 40 years these words have meant that hours of amazing stories are in store for me. I could not imagine my life without Star Wars and these words are like coming home.
So, these are some of my favourite moments from the last 40 years of Star Wars. Do you agree? Of course there are many more, so do share some of your favourite moments with us below in the comments. Here is to many more years of Star Wars!