Continuing my Five Favorite Things about the Star Wars movies, here’s my entry on Return of the Jedi.
Luke with Leia on Endor. I loved this intimate scene where Luke tells Leia that they’re siblings, and that he must leave to face their father, Darth Vader. It brings their relationship to a new level, as well as helps her understand what he needs to do and why. It’s also the most emotional and upset we’ve seen Leia onscreen, and reminds us that even though she’s tough as nails, she can also be vulnerable.
Luke vs. Vader on the Death Star 2. All the films in the Original Trilogy showcase just one major lightsaber duel, and in ROTJ, this is it. And it’s wonderful and glorious and fraught with tremendous emotional weight, as father and son duel it out in front of the Emperor, who naturally cackles with evil delight. The stakes couldn’t be higher: Luke fights not only for the fate of the Rebellion and his friends, but for his very soul–and his father’s soul, as well. We see that he comes perilously close to the dark side as he gives in to his anger and slams away at Vader, nearly defeating him–but he realizes the cost and steps away. Which leads to….
When Luke steps away from battle with his father and declares these words to the Emperor, then throws his lightsaber away, he shows us his true character: committed to the Light, to good, to the kind of man his father was before he was corrupted by the dark side. This is Luke’s pivotal moment, his most glorious hour. I love it.
Han Solo quippery. Of course.
Most Impactful Character
Darth Vader. Darth Vader’s return to the light and saving his son from the Emperor is clearly the most satisfying event in the movie, at least to me. The moment he picks up the Emperor, who is killing his son with Force lightning, and throws him down that shaft, is the most thrilling scene of the movie, the trilogy, perhaps the entire saga. With his sacrifice, Vader–or perhaps we should call him Anakin here–saves his son, and fulfills his destiny as the Chosen One, bringing balance back to the Force. It’s electrifying (if you’ll pardon the pun), deeply moving, and the perfect end to the trilogy.