With the battle for Endor (and the galaxy) in full swing, and the AT-STs making short work of the Ewoks, something’s needed to change the balance. Enter Chewbacca, who after doing his best Tarzan impersonation, hijacks one and proceeds to turn the tide of the battle. Is there anything he can’t do?
9) “Strong am I in the Force. But not that strong”
He’s been around for 900 years, but even Yoda can’t cheat death forever. It’s somehow apt that Yoda, one of the most powerful beings in the galaxy and one of the few Jedi to survive Order 66, simply succumbs – willingly, no less – to old age, passing away in his chair while becoming one with the Force. As well as being a truly sad moment, it hammers home that Luke really is alone – the last of the Jedi.
8) Dead Ewok
Battles have collateral, and while not everyone’s a fan of the cuddly Ewoks, you’d need a heart of stone not to at least feel something about this one’s death. If you’re not in a foetal position while his friend fruitlessly tries to revive him, then there really isn’t any hope for you.
7) “Someone who loves you”
We thought that Boushh looked a bit shifty. Han was never going to stay in carbonite for long, but you have to admire Leia’s sheer ballsiness in striding boldly into Jabba’s palace, thermal detonator in hand, threatening to blow the place up if she doesn’t get the deal she wants. Sure, it doesn’t quite work out, but their reunion is still a touching moment.
6) Victory celebrations
We’re talking either version here (even if the special editions made the fan-baiting decision to give Jar Jar Binks the final word in what was then the end of the saga). Everyone dancing, all the Jedi ghosts showing up, Lando, Wedge and Admiral Ackbar dancing along, drumming on the Stormtrooper helmets – what a great way to end a trilogy.
5) “I will enjoy watching you die”
When Luke strides into Jabba’s palace, using the Force liberally to get what he wants, it becomes clear that he is no longer the farmboy we encountered in A New Hope; he is something else entirely. Saying that, it’ll take more than confidence and bravado to win round Jabba the Hutt, as shows when he gets shoved defenceless into his Rancor pit. Everything about this scene is great – we even felt for the sobbing Rancor keeper at the end.
4) “Run for help, go!”
Some may claim that Return Of The Jedi doesn’t quite reach the heights of its two predecessors, but if anything the action sequences get better and better. Somehow not having aged a day since we first saw it, this break-neck chase sequence is always thrilling, and somehow manages to keep us guessing every time.
3) “Jabba, this is your last chance: free us or die”
Things are looking bleak, with Leia a prisoner and Luke, Han and Chewbacca due for execution, yet Skywalker is strangely confident – and we find out why when he flips off the plank, plucks his new lightsaber from the air and proceeds to lay waste to Jabba’s minions. From Boba Fett’s demise and Lando’s scream to Leia’s offing of Jabba, this scene just gets better and better.
2) “Let me see you with mine own eyes”
Having rescued his son, it’s clear that the newly returned Anakin’s days are numbered. Darth Vader was always a silent, menacing presence, but the reveal of the human remnants beneath his armour is effective and emotive nonetheless – for a moment you forget the numerous atrocities he committed, and get lost in what is happening on the screen in front of you: father and son truly meeting for the first time. Eyebrows or no eyebrows, this is a classic moment of cinema.
1) “I’m a Jedi, like my father before me”
Having beaten Vader, Luke shows what he’s truly made of, embracing death for the second time rather than turn to the Dark Side. Unfortunately, this isn’t going to wash with the Emperor, who promptly unleashes his true power. As well as showcasing his true power for the first and only time, we also get to see the conflict of Vader, with knowledge of his betrayal of Mace Windu in Revenge Of The Sith making this moment even more effective. It takes his son’s imminent death for Anakin Skywalker to return and throw his master into the abyss at the cost of his own life, thus bringing the saga full circle, and fulfilling the ‘Chosen One’ prophecy, albeit in the most roundabout way possible.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be released in cinemas on 17 December 2015. Read our bumper Force Awakens special in issue 113 of SciFiNow, on sale now. You can download our Complete Manuals to the Original Trilogy and Expanded Universe from GreatDigitalMags.com.