The 30 Best Things About Star Wars: Return Of The Jedi

By David Wharton | 8 years ago

It’s a trap!
It’s a friggin’ meme. What more is there to say?

Trap
We know, we know.

Chewie Hijacks an AT-ST
I don’t know why he brought the two Ewoks along, but the sight of him yelling Wookiee profanity at them after they start futzing around with the controls of a newly vacated AT-ST always makes me laugh. And you’ve got to love the moment where Han and Leia think they’re boned, onto to have Chewie pop up out of the hatch.

“I love you.” “I know.”
Leia and Han’s exchange before he’s frozen in carbonite is one of the most iconic moments in movie history, and scientifically proven to melt the hearts of many of my fangirl friends, but nobody ever mentions the nice little reversal the couple has in Jedi. It’s a small note that lets Leia shine as a strong, capable character, the sort who you believe could verbally dress down a Wookiee, and you totally get why Han fell for the Princess. Aside from how well she pulls off the gold bikini, I mean.

Han Blows Up Everything
The final moment when Han and the rebels blow up the shield generator doesn’t disappoint, with the building going up in a truly massive explosion that seems to consume a huge swath of Endorian forest…while Han watches from like ten feet away.

“Intensify forward firepower!”
I don’t know what that random Rebel pilot was thinking as his fighter spun out of control into the bridge of a Star Destroyer…but I like to think the last thing he saw was the surprised looks on the Imperial officers’ faces as they soiled themselves.

Forward
Like a boss.

Lando Makes It Out…Just Barely
I’m sure Han was glad to see his buddy alive and everything, but you know there’s gonna be some fire damage that he’s never going to let Lando live down.

Vader vs. Luke vs. Palpatine
There’s too much brilliance in the climactic scenes on the Death Star to single out one or two or even a dozen. It is, stem to stern, one of those perfect cinematic experiences that excels on every level. The saber battle in Empire might be more impressive from an action standpoint, but this sequence has all the emotional weight of the trilogy weighing down on it, and it positively sings. The moment where Vader taunts Luke with his discovery of Leia and Luke comes unhinged is one of my favorite on-screen moments of all time. John Williams’ score swells as Luke’s rage erupts, and we see Luke truly losing control, hammering Vader over and over he takes the Sith Lord’s hand…only to stop short of falling completely. The long seconds as Vader watches his son writhe beneath Palpatine’s lightning, the way you can see the internal struggle purely through the body language of David Prowse inside the suit. The final point of decision where he lifts his former master overhead and tosses him to his doom. There are no misfires, no jarring notes; it’s simply perfect. (So perfect I could almost forgive Lucas for the added “NOOOOOO!” line for Vader in the most recent special editions. Almost.)

Luke Meets Anakin
Sebastian Shaw had a lot to live up to during his brief screentime in Jedi. He had to literally put a face to the name “Anakin Skywalker,” and wrap up the final, cathartic redemption of Darth Vader. He’s so good during his brief moments with Mark Hamill, it’s all the more unforgivable that his beautiful coda as a Force ghost alongside Ben and Yoda has been replaced…with Hayden fucking Christensen. George Lucas, I can forgive a lot of things, but I can’t forgive that.

Anakin
Hayden Christensen can suck it.

Vader’s Funeral Pyre
Let us all take a moment to thank whatever higher powers may exist that Lucas hasn’t tampered with this scene yet. It’s simple, it’s understated, and it’s a touching end to the story of Anakin Skywalker.

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