In case you missed it, a little movie released by Disney this weekend broke a few records. No, it wasn’t Alvin and the Chipmunks 4 (good god, who sold their soul for that one??). The movie that may be the biggest box office titan of all time was the long anticipated Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. Picking up where Episode VI: Return of the Jedi left off over 30 years ago, The Force Awakens reunited original cast members Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Peter Mayhew, Anthony Daniels, and Carrie Fisher, and introduced audiences to a new cast of actors to pick up the mantle. The movie may have its flaws but there is no doubt that director JJ Abrams truly made some lifelong Star Wars fans happy with his treatment of the material. Everyone who has seen the movie definitely has their favorite moments of the film and if you have read this far, it should be a safe bet that you are among this group. If not, you may want to turn around NOW. Seriously. Here there be spoilers. Not big enough? SPOILER ALERT!!!!!! Alright, if you are still here, you are either looking for spoilers (shame on you) or you have already seen the film. So, if you’re ready to see if your favorite moment made the list, let’s get started!
Ok, seriously. This is your LAST chance. If you are hoping for mild spoilers but don’t want the movie ruined for you, this is NOT the feature you are looking for. Are you the type of person that reads the epilogue of a book first? Of course you aren’t. So, again, last chance…MASSIVE SPOILERS AHEAD.
Still here? Alright, then, let’s get to it!
10. “Chewie, We’re Home”
Now, this was a moment straight from the trailers and there wasn’t a single Wars fan alive who didn’t get goosebumps every time they heard Han Solo’s gravely voice speak the line. So, of course it was one of the most anticipated scenes of the film. Still, even with months of hearing the line and seeing the trailers, seeing the scene on the big screen was amazing. The line is spoken after Rey and Finn manage to get the Millenium Falcon off of Jakku, only to have it captured by a familiar smuggler. Seeing Han Solo and Chewbacca boarding the Falcon was a moment that brought every audience member right back to their childhood. Amazing.
9. Poe Dameron Meets Kylo Ren
It imperative to start this one off with a simple proclamation: POE DAMERON IS A BADASS. The first scene of the film shows the absolutely destructive power of the stormtroopers of the First Order. For the first time in the entire saga, stormtroopers are exactly what they should be: scary, deadly, and without conscience. During this scene, Poe is tasked with getting a map to Luke Skywalker’s whereabouts to the Resistance. The stormtrooper invasion ruins those plans and while defending the village he is currently in, Poe manages to fire a shot from his blaster at the ominous Kylo Ren. The not-quite-Sith senses the shot and stops the blast in mid flight, then two troopers grab Poe to bring him to Kylo. The short dialogue between the two is humorous, thanks to Poe’s bravery (foolishness? haughtiness?) and serves as a perfect introduction to the two characters. Oh, and that blast once Kylo let’s go? Yep, great scene.
8. Poe/Finn Escape
Alright, yes, this is yet another great Poe scene but, again, the Resistance’s best pilot is a badass. In this particular scene, after dealing with a conflict of conscious, First Order Stormtrooper FN-2187 decides to flee the Order but in order to get out, he needs a pilot. Luckily for him, the Order has a pretty capable pilot being held prisoner…As FN-2187 frees Poe, they decide to hijack a TIE Fighter to make their escape. Unfortunately, somehow, FN-2187 forgets that the TIE Fighters are generally anchored to the bay. So, of course, as they make their escape, the anchor cable stops them dead in their tracks while Poe attempts to release the ship from its restraint. This results in a humorous scene in which FN-2187, now officially dubbed “Finn” by Poe, winds up showing off some nice canon work before the TIE fighter makes its way out of the hangar. This escape scene manages to show off Finn’s abilities as a capable canon man while Poe’s piloting skills were on display for everyone to enjoy. Interesting side note here: in a recent interview with GQ magazine, Oscar Isaac, who plays Poe, discussed the fact that Poe was originally supposed to die in this scene, which is why the audience doesn’t see Poe again until the third act:
Isaac says he had been summoned to Paris for what he suspected might be a role in The Force Awakens. Sure enough, earlier that day, he had met with Abrams, screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan, and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, and Abrams had pitched him the character of Poe Dameron, a badass fighter pilot battling against the remnants of the Empire.
“He’s amazing!” said Abrams.
“Sounds good!” thought Isaac, whose first experience in a movie theater had been seeingThe Empire Strikes Back.
“He opens the whole movie!” said Abrams.
“Sounds great!” thought Isaac.
“And then,” Abrams went on. “He dies.”
“Oh,” thought Isaac.
Considering just how wonderful the character wound up becoming, it is a damn good thing that Abrams cracked that story.
7. Droids Meet
After Finn, Han Solo, and Rey manage to make it back to the Resistance with BB-8 in tact, the little droid decides to take a little journey around the place. As she is checking things out, BB-8 manages to find R2-D2 under a cloth covering. Threepio is quick to come to his friend and explained to BB that Artoo has been running on low power ever since returning from Luke Skywalker. It’s not an exciting scene. to be sure, but there is just something about seeing the trio together on screen that promises something amazing in future installments. Seriously, if BB-8 and Artoo don’t become best friends, something went horribly wrong.
6. Return of the Lightsabre
Han Solo has some of the most peculiar allies in the galaxy and Maz Kanata is one of the most interesting audiences have seen on screen. The wonderfully zen owner of a very Mos Eisley Cantina-esque drinking hole offers some guidance to Solo, Finn, and Rey before Rey happens to hear a child’s voice. She follows the voice to a cellar where she stumbles upon a chest which just so happens to contain Luke Skywalker’s lightsabre. She attempts to pick it up, only to be hit by a massive vision of the past, which included a brief glimpse of Luke Skywalker next to a fire with R2-D2 at his side. According to her vision, Kylo Ren and the Knights of Ren slaughtered the new Jedi Order and Rey was sent to Jakku to be left with someone, presumably for her own protection. After Rey refuses Maz’s offer to take the lightsabre, it is eventually handed off to Finn. The moment when Finn raises the elegant weapon for a more civilized age and hits the switch…Oh, man. Seeing the lightsabre and hearing that electronic crackle…If you didn’t get chills or at least cheer this moment, you shouldn’t call yourself a Star Wars fan.
5. Millennium Falcon Chase On Jakku
Early in the movie, after Rey and Finn meet for the first time, the First Order invades Jakku on a hunt for BB-8. As Rey and Finn attempt to escape with the droid, they have no choice but to board an old junked ship and try to get it running. Turns out, that junked ship happened to be a very familiar character: the Millennium Falcon. Rey manages to get the old ship to start, though, things are a bit rocky to begin with. Luckily, the scavenger happens to be a very proficient pilot (a bit like Anakin and Luke, huh?) and pulls things together very quickly. After a very cool high speed chase with Finn in the gunner position, the Falcon, as usual, makes it out on top. Not only did it give the audience a clue to Rey’s lineage but this scene was a reminder why that bucket of bolts is the best ship in the galaxy.
4. Kylo Ren
It really is tough to narrow down a single scene with Kylo Ren/Ben Solo so, it would be fair to call this one a bit of a cheat. Really, each and every scene with Kylo Ren was amazing. Adam Driver, the actor behind the Vader wannabe, managed to display the perfect amount of fear and pain and uncertainty throughout the entire film. Basically, he played a much better Anakin Skywalker than Hayden Christensen could have ever dreamed. Kylo Ren’s temper tantrums were amazing and humorous and truly showed off that Skywalker family connection. His displays of power were interesting to witness, especially as he extracted information from his prisoners’ minds. One of the more predictable aspects of the film presented itself with Han Solo’s explanation of Luke Skywalker’s attempt to begin a new Jedi Order. While Kylo Ren was assumed by some to actually be Luke Skywalker in disguise, in reality, Skywalker trained his nephew in the ways of the Force before Kylo was seduced to the dark side. Again, pretty much every Kylo Ren scene was amazing but there is one in particular…
3. Kylo Ren/Rey Fight(s)
Ok, so this one is another bit of a cheat but it’ll be the last one! All of the new characters were really amazing but audiences truly cheered Rey, who is basically the star of the picture. Two scenes in particular really stick out. After being captured by the First Order, Rey is being interrogated by Kylo Ren, who is very confident in his abilities to draw information from those who don’t want to provide that info. As he begins his probe, Rey manages to find something in herself and fights against the probe using the Force, eventually turning the probe back on Kylo Ren as she extracts information from his head, effectively stopping him in his tracks. This moment is amazing as audiences were able to get a glimpse behind the curtain to see just how insecure Kylo is at his core. Not to mention, that look of fear when he realizes his secrets are exposed…Yeah, great scene. The forest lightsabre fight at the end of the film, though, that was something special. After being knocked out for a bit of the fight, Rey awakens just in time to use the Force to grab Luke’s lightsabre before Kylo can claim it for himself. That’s when shit gets real. The lightsabre fight between Rey and Kylo is wonderful but once Rey remembers she can call upon the Force, it gets even better. Eventually besting Kylo and leaving him for dead, Rey manages to make it off the Starkiller Base thanks to Chewie and the Falcon.
2. Starkiller Base
So, the Death Star was nothing but a moon sized weapon capable of destroying a planet. The Starkiller Base, on the other hand, is the size of a planet and drains the nearest star to its death in order to fuel its canons. The base is definitely a much scarier foe than the Death Star ever was and has no pesky ventilation ports to conveniently drop a bomb to destroy the entire works. Seeing the base in action is an example of a worst possible scenario. Once it is fully charged, the weapon can unleash the power of a sun, destroying anything in its path. Audiences witnessed its power as it destroyed several planets, and witnessed the terror in the inhabitants eyes as they realized that they would die and there was absolutely nothing they could do to avoid the destruction. This may have been the only moment in the movie during which the entire audience was completely silent. Definitely one of the most emotional scenes of the film. Though, not THE most emotional scene in the movie. That honor would go to…
1. Han Solo’s Death
If you have ever followed the now non-canon expanded universe novels, you are no doubt aware that Han can be a bit of a tough-love-type of father. Solo is a smuggler and a scoundrel, and generally, those particular handles aren’t saved for Father of the Year. While that expanded universe may be a thing of the past, a bit of that tough love remained in The Force Awakens. While audiences were never really clued into the trigger that caused Ben Solo to become Kylo Ren (sure, he was seduced by Snoke but how? Why?), it was very apparent that there were definitely some father/son issues in that relationship. When Solo finally catches up with his son, with the hope of saving him, Kylo removes his mask so that Han can see his son’s eyes. Han truly wants to help his son and Kylo uses that to his advantage. Kylo appears to plea to his father for help in finding himself and as his father attempts to be the dad he always should have been, Kylo takes the opportunity to stab him through the heart with his crazy lightsabre, killing him and as Han dies, he caresses his son’s cheek with forgiveness. There were only a few people surprised at this turn, after all, Ford was always reluctant to return to the role and once his return was announced, most knew it would lead to the scruffy-looking nerf herder’s death. Still, knowing and seeing are two different things and seeing it, yeah, it hurt like a wampa bite.
If honesty is what you are looking for, the entire movie was full of brilliant moments. From beginning to end, the film was pure Star Wars (almost to the point of reboot rather than homage) and made up in every single way for the less than perfect prequels. Grabbing just ten of those moments is a tough task!
What were some of your favorite moments? What were the biggest surprises? How well did your predictions play out?
Quote Source: GQ