Despite being an avid naysayer of the sequel trilogy from Disney Star Wars, admittedly, there were some amazing moments now and then. Moments where even I had to stop and think ‘wow, that was really well done’.
And while several factors play into them, we’re going to be looking at the scenes as a conglomerate whole. What made these scenes so good, and why did they stick with us so much in the first place?
No matter how much we’ll disagree on Star Wars, it will forever hold a soft spot in mine, and millions of others, heart. So, without further ado, let’s jump right into the list!
Millennium Falcon Flies Again – Star Wars: The Force Awakens
After more than thirty years, fans flocked in the droves of millions to see the premier of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The return of the storied franchise marked a momentous occasion in pop culture history.
While the films featured new characters, new planets and new villains, one thing got the crowds pumped up like no other film before. When the Millenium Falcon made its triumphant return, with the iconic music and sound effects that everyone knows.
Following that amazing reveal, what transpired was an epic flight chase through the dunes of Jakku and the derelict wreckage of old Star Destroyers. Music was incredible, the cinematography was amazing and the nostalgia hit so hard I nearly cried.
Lightspeed Ramming – Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Okay, so yes, I am not the biggest fan of this scene for a lot of reasons. Mostly due to some editing errors that no AAA film should ever make, but I digress.
After the Resistance tries to run from the ever encroaching Supremacy Star Destroyer, something terrible happens. As the destroyers open fire, the Resistance is slowly and methodically picked off, and Admiral Holdo makes a bold decision.
She turns the cruiser around, aims it down the length of the Supremacy and guns the hyperdrive. The music and sound cuts out, the dark of space is lit up by flashes and beams of white light as the cruisers collide in destructive beauty.
We can’t say how your theaters responded to this scene for the first time, but ours was quiet. Nobody spoke or said anything, mouths simply dropped and everyone just kinda took the moment in. Canon notwithstanding, this is an incredibly well shot scene.
Ben Solo Kills Han – Star Wars: The Force Awakens
When Han Solo made his return in The Force Awakens, fans were excited to see where his character would go. But they soon got a sinking feeling in their stomachs when he decided to confront his wayward son, Ben. Going by the name Kylo Ren, Ben faces down his father and finds his morality torn in two.
Trying to figure out how to save himself while his father tries to save him in whatever way possible. Featuring phenomenal acting by both the veteran Harrison Ford and the relative newcomer Adam Driver.
As the music quiets, the coloring fades to red, the sun is drained, the silence stretches out, only to be broken by the startling crack/hiss of a lightsaber. Ben drives the blade through his father’s heart, followed by loud sobbing from Chewie and Rey. Just about no one expected it to happen, and the shock still hurts to this day.
Fighting Amongst the Waves – Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker
During the runtime of Rise of Skywalker, we struggled to find moments that truly stuck out to us. But, one of the scenes that managed to do so was the penultimate fight between Kylo and Rey.
After scouring the wreckage of the second Death Star near Endor, Rey manages to find the last remaining Sith Wayfinder. She isn’t the only one who finds it however, Kylo Ren shows up and manages to destroy the Wayfinder. Rey lashes out and what follows is a cold and calculated fight by Ren.
Constantly on the defensive and moving backwards, Rey blocks and jumps her way out of the ever encroaching Kylo. He strides through the water and wreckage casually and confidently. Eventually, as they come to the final blow, Ren slashes and beats Rey to her knees, only to be stopped by his mother Leia.
While we hate the way that Kylo would be treated, it was great to see him fully embrace his skill and power. Showing Rey that if it wasn’t for others, he would have dismantled her easily.
Luke Skywalker Fights Kylo Ren – Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Alright, I strongly dislike this movie for a lot of reasons. Not because of Rian Johnson and his wanting to do something different, but we’re not here to discuss any of that so let’s move on.
While the Resistance tries to simultaneously put up a last fight while also trying to find an escape, Luke makes the ultimate sacrifice. He strides out to face down the massive AT walkers and angry Kylo Ren on the salt flats of Crait.
As the two warriors stare each other down and exchange words, fans sit on the edge of their seats with anticipation. Luke outmaneuvers and outfights Kylo at every turn. In a scene reminiscent of Kurosawa Samurai movies, quick slashes and long strides play out over the course of five or so minutes.
With amazing coloring and cinematography setting an epic backdrop. We loved the set up to this scene, and the execution of it left us with some annoyances, but it’ll stick with us for years.
Finn Fights Ren – Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Something that the prequels managed to get better than every other Star Wars movie ever was the intense lightsaber duels. Combatants were more fluid, graceful and artistic with their moves. Invoking more martial arts as opposed to brutal medieval hacks and slashes.
However, where Force Awakens managed to improve on it, was the absolute savagery of Kylo Ren. Invoking much more of the medieval style of fighting as he uses his brute strength to dismantle and maim Finn.
And while Finn puts up an admirable fight, he is no match for the sheer strength of Ren. He brutally slashes his spine and smashes apart trees in swings that look almost animalistic. And we loved every single second of it.
Rey’s Vision – Star Wars: The Force Awakens
One thing that JJ Abrams got right with The Force Awakens was setting up mystery and intrigue inside of the Star Wars universe. He gave viewers something tantalizing to examine with the character of Rey.
Especially when about halfway through the movie, she comes across a chest containing something that threw fans into a frenzy. It was the lightsaber that Luke lost in Empire Strikes Back, the lightsaber of Anakin Skywalker.
When she touches the saber, the terrifying sound of Darth Vader’s rebreather shattered the speakers in theaters. The environment warped and twisted around Rey. The voices of Alec Guinnes, Frank Oz, Ewan McGregor spoke to Rey by name. Making many think that Rey was secretly a Kenobi.
Nonetheless, while that theory never panned out, the vision scene is still watched millions of times a year, because it was just that well shot!
All the Jedi – Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker
As Emperor Palpatine makes his triumphant return and drains the life force from Rey and Ben, Rey finds an unexpected strength. Staring off into the stars as her friends fall around her, some familiar voices find their way into her head.
Qui Gon, Obi-Wan, Anakin, Mace, Ahsoka, Knaan and several other recognizable voices from Jedi’s long past. Urging Rey to get up, keep fighting and to use their strength against the power of Lord Sidious. After she struggles to her feet, she unleashes the strength of all of the Jedi.
While we had issues with reusing the character of Palpatine inside of the sequel trilogy, we loved the Force Ghosts scene. It reminded us of why we loved the Star Wars universe, because the characters that we love are never really gone.
That’s our list folks! That’s our picks for the best moments in the Star Wars Sequel trilogy. As said, we have our share of criticisms with these movies, but that doesn’t discount their prowess as pieces of filmmaking.
With excellent music, great color grading, awesome cinematography, stellar art direction and great acting. The sequel trilogy did get some things right, and they should be commended for that skill.