Andy's top 10
1. Luke vs Vader, Return of the Jedi, Palpatine’s throne room
Absolutely brilliant scene. Begins with a semi-confident Luke against the two biggest villains in the galaxy. Then the line about Leia, “if you won’t join, then perhaps she will”, completely flips him out and he starts beating Vader. We see flashes of anger, but he regains his composure, withdraws his lightsaber and reiterates that he will never join the dark side. The music behind this scene is absolutely incredible, it builds and builds throughout. I’m not going to lie, it gets me emotional every time, especially when it leads on to my second favourite…
2. Ewok Celebration, Return of the Jedi, the forest moon of Endor
Controversially, I prefer the new music on this scene, rather than the original Yub Nub. It’s such a great ending. Beginning with the farewell to the Galaxy’s baddest villain (arguably cinema’s baddest) which is an emotional moment given the ups and downs of the previous scene. Once we have said our goodbyes to Vader, we are straight into the celebration. I quite like the addition of some of the celebrations on the prequel planets too, like Naboo, and the Gungan saying “Wesa free…!” A fantastic ending to a fantastic film.
3. The Pod-Race, the Phantom Menace, Boonta Eve Classic, Tatooine
Yeah, the prequels are always panned for the excessive CGI, but I have a soft spot for the Phantom Menace, it being the first one I saw at the cinema. And I remember the pod race like it was yesterday, I would have been 11 or 12 at the time, and I can still hear (and feel) the booming, hammering of Sebulba’s pod racer chasing down Anakin. I thought this entire scene was really cleverly done. It didn’t need to be 15 minutes long, nor focus purely on a very small aspect of a huge story. But for me it worked brilliantly.
4. The Arrival of Kylo Ren, the Force Awakens, Jakku
The entire opening scene for The Force Awakens is awesome. Every single character is new to the screen, and yet it grabbed me straight away. I felt genuinely tense when the First Order were descending to the surface of Jakku, and instantly warmed to Poe and BB-8. But the standout moment is the arrival of Kylo Ren. Filmed brilliantly, he makes his entrance on a really cool black ship, before walking to the villagers and ordering his troopers to “kill them all”. He’s no Vader, but still an instant badass after this scene, and the music also really helped to build his character. Oh, and about that ship… When I saw the Lego version on manager’s special in Target in the US in May 2017, I had to have it. I brought it home to the UK, and it reignited my love for Lego sets. I now have over 50 Star Wars Lego sets!
5. “No, I Am Your Father”, Empire Strikes Back, Bespin/Cloud City
No top 10 can exclude this scene surely? An absolute classic, often misquoted as “Luke, I am your father”, but not classic just because of this quote. The lead up to this defining moment is where we see a Luke desperately trying and failing to get anywhere near Vader in close combat. Vader, despite knowing Luke is his son, shows unrelenting rage as he smashes away with the lightsaber and uses the force to hurl multiple objects directly at a battered and bloody Luke. He then delivers the famous line, just after slicing through his son’s forearm. Awesome!
6. ‘Unleashing hell’, Rogue One, aboard Raddus’ command ship
What a scene! If we were unsure of the anger and menace exuded by Darth Vader before seeing Rogue One, this confirms his position as the biggest villain in the galaxy. Never have I seen so many actors have a look of such genuine terror and fear on their faces, as Vader slowly and methodically dispatches each rebel with terrifying ease and brutality. A member of The Jedi Council has met an actor from this scene, and they were apparently told to look like they were in the sea and Jaws was closing in on them. Personally I still don’t think this is as scary an idea as being stuck in a narrow corridor with a relentless, merciless, enraged Darth Vader bearing down upon you.
7. The Gungans vs The Droid Army, the Phantom Menace, Naboo
Also known as the ‘Battle of Naboo’, I really enjoyed this scene. What appears to be a battle in which the Gungans are lacking both the technology and numbers to make a dent in the droid army of what was then the Trade Federation, actually turns into an epic scene involving a complex war-like plot and innovative energy weapons such as the Boomas. Much like modern warfare, there is action on the battlefield, while at the same time a plot is unfurling behind the scenes, including Amidala trying to capture Viceroy Nute Gunray, the Naboo starfighters (awesome ship!!) assaulting the Federation command ship, and finally, my next point, the three-way Jedi-Sith lightsaber conflict…
8. Maul vs Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan, the Phantom Menace, Naboo
Firstly, we need to talk about Duel of the Fates, possibly the greatest 4 mins of music in John Williams’ extensive back catalogue. There are elements of this theme running throughout The Phantom Menace, but the music climaxes during this epic fight scene. Darth Maul and Qui-Gon Jinn are both characters that, in my opinion, were hugely underused – I was sad to see them both perish in this scene. The scene is choreographed extremely well, with some really complex and impressive moves involving all three characters. But, for me, the best moment is where Obi-Wan is trapped between the sections of energy field, and not only has to watch the death of his friend and mentor Qui-Gon, but also then has to watch a snarling Darth Maul pacing the room and staring him out, waiting for the energy field to open up.
9. Destroying the Death Star, A New Hope, above Yavin IV
Classic scene, and one of the most iconic moments of all of the Star Wars movies. The movie teases us with Luke’s potential in the Force, but we don’t really see it until he moves his targeting computer aside, and blows up the Death Star using a shot fired using only the Force. The scene following this, and concluding the movie is also excellent. ‘The Throne Room’ is a fitting celebratory end to the film, and the music that finishes the film is really climactic.
10. Snoke's Throne Room, the Last Jedi, aboard Supremacy
Given the tone of previous reviews of The Last Jedi by we, The Jedi Council, you’d be forgiven for being surprised to see a scene from the most recent episode of the saga featuring in one of our lists. But I really enjoyed this scene, mainly for the stunning cinematography and choreography during the fight scene. The twist of Kylo Ren turning and igniting the lightsaber to strike Snoke down was completely unexpected, and for a moment I assumed Kylo had turned to the light. This was affirmed when Kylo and Rey fought side by side against Snoke’s Praetorian Guard. This fight scene was brilliantly quick and complex, and reminded me of the combat style used by Japanese Samurai. The further twist between Kylo and Rey at the end of the fight rounded off a great scene.