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The 50 greatest Star Wars scenes

Your boss's boss

The Scene: Darth Vader gets to his knees as he address a hologram projection outside his medication chamber. There, shimmering in blue light, is a shadowy figure who Vader chillingly refers to as master. Before the prequels, this was the first time we met the Emperor.

The Awesome: When you see the mighty Darth Vader kneeling in front of somebody, you know youre in deep do-do.

Mace Windu

The Scene: In Attack Of The Clones, Jango Fetts on the war path, offing Reek with a single shot in the Geonosis arena. Hes too busy doing that to notice Mace Windu wielding his purple lightsaber, which the Jedi Master uses to behead Fett in one smooth motion.

The Awesome: It gives Samuel L Jackson a chance to go badass.

The walls are moving in

The Scene: In A New Hope, Luke, Leia, Chewie and Han are caught in the Death Star's trash compactor as the walls move in to crush them. Don't you just hate it when that happens?

The Awesome: Its old school sci-fi a simple idea flexed for maximum impact. A great tension-cranker.

A new birth

The Scene: After his fight with Obi-Wan on Mustafar (in Revenge Of The Sith), Anakin is horribly disfigured. Luckily, he has space technology at his hands, and emerges as Darth Vader in full black with a newly-installed breathing apparatus.

The Awesome: Ignore the mood-killing Noooooooo! and this is a shiver-inducing moment in which a villain is born, and a hero dies.

Guess who's coming to dinner...

The Scene: Too late in Empire Strikes Back, Han and Leia realise that theyve been set up by Lando. Led down a corridor in Cloud City, they're taken to a room containing a very nasty surprise - Darth Vader himself.

The Awesome: Han doesnt hesitate in firing at the Sith lord. Ever ready, Vader deflects the blasts with nothing more than the palm of his hand.

Emotional eruptions

The Scene: In the most complicated lightsaber battle ever, Anakin and Obi-Wan finally clash at the climax of Revenge Of The Sith. On Mustafar, they fight through molten lava in a bitter duel that can only end badly.

The Awesome: Its a mite drawn-out, but its the clash weve all been waiting for and a bit of backward foreboding for when these two fight again in A New Hope.

Redemption

The Scene: Just when you think Lukes a goner at the end of Return Of the Jedi, it all takes a very sudden about turn. How? Well, Darth Vader saves his estranged son by chucking a manically-gurning Palpatine down a shaft. Nice one.

The Awesome: Vader redeems himself, and balance is restored to the universe. We do like a good happy ending.

Operatics

The Scene: At the Blitzball Opera in Episode III, Senator Palpatine talks with Anakin, dialling his charms up to 11 in order to seduce the young Jedi over to the darkside.

The Awesome: Hell, if we were Anakin wed probably fall under Palpatines spell as well. The combination of his slippery words with the dreamy operatics of the performance they're watching weaves a seductive kind of magic.

Yoda vs the world

The Scene: Yoda gets saber-happy in Episode III, slinging his weapon about like its nobodys business. Having shown off in Attack Of The Clones, here Yoda throws his lightsaber right into a clones chest and then leaps onto him to pull it out again.

The Awesome: Yoda may be old, but he definitely knows his way around a battlefield. Impressive.

Rancorous Rancor

The Scene: At the beginning of Return Of The Jedi, Luke goes 10 rounds with Jabba the Hutts favourite pet the towering and fearsome Rancor.

The Awesome: The old-school stop-motion effects of the Rancor are still seamless to this day, and its a fun throwback to stop-motion classics.

Will Salmon
Will Salmon

Will is a freelance film and TV journalist, whose words have appeared in publications including GamesRadar, Total Film, SFX Magazine, The Quietus, and the Radio Times. He is also a podcast producer, and runs the cassette music label, Modern Aviation. Will is also a former Future journalist, working on Special Editions for the Future Film Group, the Comic Heroes magazine, and others.