The Star Wars movies are filled with action sequences, but as memorable as those scenes are, it is the character moments that fans truly hold dear. These moments forever shape the characters and are the reason why characters like Darth Vader and Han Solo are so memorable. Here are some of Star Wars’ best character moments, in no particular order.
I Am Your Father.
In 1980, when Empire Strikes Back was first released, movie audiences were shocked at the revelation that Darth Vader, the quintessential villain of Star Wars was in fact Luke Skywalker’s father. This one line changed the audiences entire view of the story. It went from being a scifi adventure story to something much deeper. Although today’s audience will go into this movie knowing that Vader is Luke’s father, the impact of this scene still remains a game changer, both in its impact on Luke and in the way that Darth Vader’s character is transformed into one that later seeks redemption.
Death Star Battle
The Death Star battle at the end of Episode IV is easily the biggest action sequence in the movie, but it also contains two important character moments. We see Han Solo, who is all set to take his reward and leave, return in the Millennium Falcon right when the rebels needs his help the most. Meanwhile, Luke is getting ready to take his chance at the trench run that will destroy the Death Star. The rebels are getting pounded by the Empire and can’t afford to have him miss his shot. Yet, Luke makes the decision to turn off his targeting display and trust that the Force will guide him. This is Luke’s first step to mastering the Force.
Order 66 occurs in Episode III. This is when Senator Palpatine declares that the Jedi are enemies of the Republic. Following this order, the audience is shown Jedi’s across the galaxy fighting for their lives. It is at this time that Anakin Skywalker is given the name Darth Vader and is sent to the Jedi Temple to kill the young children who are in training to become Jedi. The brutal killing of the children is the point at which there is no turning back for this character. We have seen glimpses of him reaching out to his dark side, most particularly in Episode II where he slaughters the Tusken Raiders that killed his mother but it is the murder of innocent children that crosses the line.
Throughout most of the original trilogy and also during Episode I, the audience has been told what a great Jedi master Yoda is, and what an excellent fighter he is. But it is not until nearly the end of Episode II that audiences get to see it for themselves when he takes on the formidable Count Dooku who has already managed to get away from both Obi-Wan and Anakin. Suddenly we see a different side to Yoda, one who is deceptively fast and capable.
Darth Maul’s Fight Scene
Darth Maul is an interesting character in that despite his continued popularity, he appears fairly briefly in Episode I. He is most notable for killing Obi-Wan’s mentor, Qui-Gon, however, Obi-Wan later does battle with him and kills him. To many fans, this strange character with his demonic look and dual lightsaber, seemed like the perfect villain for this new trilogy. And while the character didn’t last as long as many had hoped, his spectacular fight choreography, mainly due to the fact that martial artist Ray Park portrayed Darth Maul, coupled with a unique look, makes him a memorable character.
Darth Vader’s Entrance
Technically, Darth Vader’s first appearance is in Episode III, but the first time audience’s saw him was in Episode IV when he appears in the doorway of Princess Leia’s ship, flanked by stormtroopers who quickly rise, standing to attention. Darth Vader is tall and imposing. We can’t see his face and even his breathing doesn’t sound human. There is absolutely no doubt that he is the one in charge and right now he is ready to tear the place apart in search of stolen plans.
Han Shoots First
In the original version of Episode IV, when confronted by Greedo, one of Jabba the Hutt’s flunkies, Han shot Greedo first. George Lucas went on to edit the scene, changing it so that Greedo shoots first and it appears that Han was shooting in self-defense. Unfortunately, this changes an important character moment for Han Solo because, unlike Luke, Han is an anti-hero. By shooting Greedo, we see that Han is more than willing to kill someone if it gets him out of a tough situation.
Obi-Wan versus Anakin
This action scene occurs at the end of Episode III. After Anakin casts Padme aside, Obi-Wan and Anakin have a gripping fight scene amongst the hot lava which will eventually consume Anakin, at least enough to cause deformities that lead him to become Darth Vader. At the end of the scene, we even get to see Obi-Wan pick up Anakin’s lightsaber, which he will eventually give to Luke. Throughout the prequels, audiences know that Anakin will turn to the dark side and that he will eventually have to fight it out with his mentor, Obi-Wan. This scene serves as a major payoff to the first three movies.
Han is Captured
Not only is this scene a shock to the audience, after all, the movie is almost over and one of the heroes has been captured, but it also served to highlight yet another excellent Han Solo moment. Princess Leia tells him he loves her, and he responds with “I know.” As most Star Wars fans already know, the original script had him say “I love you, too,” but after having trouble with the line, Harrison Ford changed it to “I know” which is the perfect way for a scoundrel like Han to respond.
The Death of Jabba the Hutt
After a botched attempt to rescue Han Solo from Jabba, Princess Leia is herself captured and forced to wear a slave girl outfit while being chained to him. No doubt, the attire was intended to be a humiliation for her, however it backfires when she ends up choking him with the very slave chain he was using to control her. Leia has been a strong character throughout the movies, and she proves, yet again, how strong she is, when she takes back control by killing Jabba.