Another “Star Wars” movie is about to be released tonight, this one set just before and during the events of the first movie, “Episode IV. A New Hope”. And that brings me back to a time “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.”
When the first movie was released, my world as I knew had left me, and the future now would forever change. It was filled with a new hope. India was a memory. I was about to learn a new language called English, which was strange cos we weren’t moving to England, but rather America. Years later, I would become American; but that’s another story. My sister was about to be born. I already had two younger brothers. My sister didn’t look like them at all. I would soon become diehard fans of the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Boston Red Sox. I would soon become a rabid Notre Dame football and a NINERS fan. It would be a few years before we would have our first dog. And we were still not yet in Indiana.
I was in the fifth grade when “Episode V. Empire Strikes Back” was released. My young mind could not comprehend what I had just heard and seen. Darth Vader revealed to Luke that he was his father, and I’ve never recovered. A child’s imagination was set loose, and I’ve never recovered. How could this be? And while some of the movies were exceptional and others far from it, the story was always good.
The movies became the tragic tale of Anakin Skywalker, his seduction and fall to the dark side, and ultimately to his eventual redemption through the love of his son. With the latest one, “Episode VII. The Force Awakens”, the story’s heart also became the journey of Han Solo, whose son fell backwards down the lonely, haunted and evil road of his grandfather.
With the eighth movie set to be released tonight, it’s time for top ten-plus lists. (Cos that’s what I do. I love lists, especially if there’s ten involved.)
- “Episode V. Empire Strikes Back” — so much to love about this movie. “Always with you it cannot be done… You must unlearn what you have learned… No, try not. Do. Or do not. There is no try.”
- “Episode VIII. The Force Awakens” — Harrison Ford is iconic in his role as the heroic Han Solo, the heart of this movie. “Chewy, we’re home.” The mystery of Rey and Finn provide new characters to root for. Kylo Ren is a tortured and worthy villian.
- “Episode IV. A New Hope” — I still hold my breath when Vader is boring down on Luke trying to take him down while Luke is trying to destroy the Death-Star. And all of a sudden Han & Chewy come out of nowhere in the Millennium Falcon to shoot Vader’s tie-fighter, giving Luke the opportunity for the killing shot. I was a little annoyed when Ben didn’t remember R2-D2 and when he referred to Darth Vader as Darth instead of Vader.
- “Episode III. Revenge of the Sith” — I actually loved this movie even with the bad dialogue between Anakin and Padme. Aside from that interaction, Hayden Christensen redeemed himself with this role.
- “Episode VI. Return of the Jedi” — Luke coming into his own … “He’s my father… You’re wrong Leia. You have that power, too. In time you’ll learn to use it as I have. The Force is strong in my family. My father has it. I have it. And… My sister has it. Yes. It’s you, Leia.” I always tear up when he says these words. I think about how much I love my own sister. When Leia asks Luke why does he need to confront Luke, he responds “…there is good in him. I’ve felt it. He won’t turn me over to the emperor. I can save him. I can turn him back to the good side. I have to try.” Luke believes in the best of people.
- “Episode I. Phantom Menace” — While the movie everyone at the time was waiting for left the audience a bit disappointed (and the character of Jar Jar Binks possibly one of the worst ideas ever), this movie watches better on replay.
- “Episode II. Attack of the Clones” — Hayden Christensen did not do himself any favours reading some of the worst dialogue in any movie ever. That being said, certain scenes (especially all the ones with Ewan MacGregor’s Obi-Wan) still resonate.
- Darth Vader — arguably the greatest, at the very least most iconic, villain in the history of villains (and the fact that he was originally a good guy “The Chosen One” makes him all the more compelling).
- Han Solo — Harrison Ford gave so much heart and soul to this character, the ultimate anti-hero who became the hero of all heroes.
- Qui-Gon Jin — next to Yoda, possibly the greatest of all Jedi, embracing all aspects of the Force while rebelling against much of the Jedi norms.
- Obi-Wan Kenobi — when you think about it, Obi-Wan failed miserably at being a Jedi to Anakin, who went from being The Chosen One to the most evil villain in the history of villains.
- Chewbacca — he had the best lines in the series outside Han Solo, as well as being the most loyal friend a person could have.
- Yoda — He’s a bad (little green) man!
- Darth Maul — with only three lines in the entire series of movies, his evil was palpable, fighting style unique, presence and reach unmistakable.
- R2-D2 — the bridge between both series and the connection between Anakin and Luke (even if they didn’t know it); comic relief at its best.
- Luke Skywalker —
- Senator Palpatine / the Emperor — this guy is just pure evil, so manipulative and so cunning
- Kylo Ren — he may move up the list. Upon initial viewing, he sounded like a whiny version of Vader’s grandson, but after multiple viewings, his character gets more compelling.
- Mace Windu — so much more could have been done with this character
- Rey —
- Finn —
- Princess Leia — her outfit in “Return of the Jedi”?? C’mon!!! And she kills Jabba.
- C3PO —I’m not sure why I want to put him on this list, but I did.
Greatest Fight Scenes
- Qui-Gon & Obi-Wan v Darth Maul (“Episode I. Phantom Menace“) — One of the most epic fight scenes of any movie ever. The only other villainous character better than Darth Maul? The iconic Darth Vader. It’s a shame Darth Maul was so underutilized.
- Darth Vader v Luke Skywalker (“Episode VI. Empire Strikes Back“) — The scene with the most iconic reveal of all-time. “Luke, I am your father.”
- Anakin Skywalker v Obi-Wan Kenobi (“Episode III. Revenge of the Sith“) — “You were the chosen one! It was said you would destroy the Sith, not join them! Bring balance to the Force, not leave it in darkness! …You were my brother, Anakin. I loved you.” …tragic, so sad, you knew it was all going to lead up to this moment, and yet it still hurt.
- Yoda (and Obi-Wan & Anakin) v Count Dooku (“Episode II. Attack of the Clones“) — everyone knew it was going to happen. The master of all Jedis showing the audience why the little green “man” is the baddest man in the Star Wars universe.
- Yoda v Darth Sidiuous (“Episode III. Revenge of the Sith”) —
- Kylo Ren v Rey & Finn (“Episode VII. The Force Awakens”) —
- Luke Skywalker v Darth Vader (“Episode VI. Return of the Jedi“) — With the Emperor goading Luke to join Vader or kill him, either choice a certain path to the dark side
- Qui-Gon v Darth Maul (“Episode I. Phantom Menace“) — a precursor to the greatest fight scene ever.
- Obi-Wan & Anakin v Count Dooku (“Episode III. Revenge of the Sith“) —
- Senator Palpatine v Mace Windu (“Episode III. Revenge of the Sith“) — The culmination of this battle led to Anakin’s total commitment to the dark side
- Obi-Wan Kenobi v General Grievous (“Episode II. Attack of the Clones”) —
- Darth Vader v Ben Kenobi (“Episode IV. A New Hope“) — The fight scene itself is extremely lackluster, but the significance of the moment has only grown, where Darth Vader avenged his alter ego Anakin Skywalker’s “death” at the hands of a much younger Obi-Wan.
So there you have it.
“In a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.”
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ALWAYS BE EPIC.