Ranking My Favorite Space Moments from Each 'Star Wars' Movie
From a Galaxy Far, Far Away
The Star Wars saga is one of the most recognizable and lore-filled science fiction brands in existence. It spans four decades and has a committed fan base making it unlikely to slow down any time soon.
With Episode 9: The Rise of Skywalker now out on DVD I thought it would be a good time to look back at every space scene that I loved from each movie. This is a revision of a previous list which I had posted in the months before Solo was released.
I did limit this to be live-action films, sorry Clone Wars fans. So with that said and no restraint on spoilers let's get started!
#11: Battle of Exegol - 'Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker'
Due to my work schedule at the time I could not watch The Rise of Skywalker while it was in theaters like I did with Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. I had to wait for the DVD release and, at the time I revised this list, only just recently watched it. As you can guess from its pivotal battle being ranked so low on the list, I was not a fan.
A huge fleet of Star Destroyers with planet destroying weapons (wouldn't that make the ships Planet Destroyers?) are launching and the exhausted Resistance must eliminate them all before they sweep across the galaxy.
I have to ask, why are we doing this again? Taking a superweapon and then multiplying it to a fleet of superweapons doesn't make it unique, just a different retelling of the same story we've seen several times already.
Also, they dragged the battle out for far too long and it seemed they reached for reasons several times to keep the battle going. The space battle was the least compelling part of the finale, instead of finding dumb reasons to keep the battle going they should've had it start later in the final act.
#10: Battle of Naboo - 'Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace'
Next is the best space moment from Episode I, the Battle of Naboo. It fully utilizes the CG that Lucas delayed the prequels for making it a fantastic sequence. The problem? It has to rely on a plot hole to conclude, how, with the enemy shields raised, does Anakin, a ten-year-old kid, manage to land in the enemy hanger bay?!
You're telling me a ten-year-old managed to accidentally figure out that the enemy shields didn't cover the hanger bay entrance while skilled pilots failed to notice this?! Then, on top of this, the droids don't bother to shoot the enemy ship inside their hanger bay until it raises its shields?! Yeah, I call BS all day long on this scene.
#9: The Hyperspace Jump from Inside the Hanger - 'Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens'
In the second act of Empire, we get to see Han's piloting skills as he outmaneuvers pursuing Imperial forces, but we missed out on seeing him use the skills in Return of the Jedi. The Force Awakens fixes this problem multiple-times over with several scenes that show Han using his piloting skills to their fullest.
While the landing approach at lightspeed later in the movie is neat, I did choose the scene he did a Hyperspace jump from inside the hanger of another ship for this list. It was a timely getaway that hearkened back to the escape from the Mos Eisley hanger in A New Hope. The enemies blasting at the Falcon combined with the rathar attaching itself to the cockpit makes the scene feel like the perfect escape.
#8: The Kessel Run - 'Solo: A Star Wars Story'
I will admit it, I actually like Solo: A Star Wars Story. It does have its flaws, but it is still a fun romp of a space heist-origin story mash up. While I understand that it was not wanted by the fandom, I do not think it deserves all of the negativity it receives.
Solo showed us how many pivotal moments in Han's story happened including how Han met Chewie, how Han and Chewie met Lando, but most importantly it showed us Han's legendary Kessel Run. This is an amazing sequence and my favorite part of the movie, so I am sure you are wondering why it is so low on this list.
My biggest gripe with the Kessel Run sequence is it is a carbon copy of the asteroid belt part of Empire Strikes Back. The Falcon runs into Imperials who chase it into a dangerous area of space, Han manages to defeat the Imperials but the chase caused damage to the Falcon, while it is being repaired the crew discovers they've ran into a large space creature that they have to escape from.
Now, this is not to say the Kessel Run doesn't have any merits. I actually love how Han used the Falcon to destroy two of the TIE Fighters, one he knocked into an asteroid and another he destroyed by kicking up debris that destroyed the window and killed the pilot.
#7: Battle of Coruscant - 'Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith'
After the disappointments of Episodes I & II, Episode III had a lot to make up. As the closing chapter of the prequel trilogy, it had to bring all of the plot lines of the prequels together and line them up to that of the original trilogy.
With so much to do and not a lot of time to do it Episode 3 drops us straight into the action with Anakin and Obi-Wan leading a rescue mission to rescue the Supreme Chancellor from Count Dooku. The space battle is CG galore, but a fun romp that does not fall into the pitfalls that the Battle of Naboo found itself in.
Buckle yourself up, because Episode III is one hell of a ride, and its opening is no exception.
#6: The Seismic Charges in the Asteroid Field - 'Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones'
Slightly outdoing its successor for best space moment of the prequels, Episode 2 gives us an origin story of Bobba Fett as penance for Episode I. Jango Fett, Bobba's, well I guess we will call him father, played a part in the assassination plots against Padme which caused him to come into conflict with Obi-Wan who was investigating the assassination attempts.
Obi-Wan pursues Jango and Bobba into an asteroid field where they quickly come up with a way to get rid of Obi-Wan, detonating seismic charges in the asteroid field. This creates a unique sequence that dials up the tension and will leave you on the edge of your seat.
I know sound doesn't travel in' space, Star Wars isn't known for being scientifically accurate anyway, but the sound effect they used was amazing!
#5: Light Speed Battering Ram - 'Star Wars Episode 8: The Last Jedi'
Okay, okay! I already hear all of the hardcore Star Wars fans GROANING at this one. But I absolutely love it so it is the scene that makes my list.
The First Order has the Resistance on the ropes as it tries to reach a fortified base and broadcast an SOS. All of the Resistance board smaller transports while the Resistance's second in command remains behind to pilot the main cruiser to draw the First Order's fire and attention from the cruisers.
When she realizes her plan isn't working she turns the cruiser around and, in one of the best set pieces of the Star Wars saga, jumps to Hyperspace smashing into the First Order's ship and annihilating several of the armada, it has following the Resistance. The silence the filmmakers used perfectly emphasized the scene, and it will give you chills. When one of the Resistance members stated she was fleeing and Poe replied with no she isn't I thought "no... she isn't...!!"
#4: The Attack Run on the Second Death Star - 'Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi'
The Battle of Endor was a complicated affair, Han, Leia, and Chewie are on the forest moon trying to lower the Death Star's shield, Luke is trying to save Vader from the dark side while confronting the Emperor and Lando is leading the attack on the Death Star in the Falcon. The last part is where the best space moment of Return of the Jedi comes from.
After Han, Leia, and Chewie succeed in lowering the shields Lando leads the fighters in entering the incomplete Death Star and what follows is a claustrophobic dogfight between the rebels and several TIE fighters that followed them in. While this may seem like a retread of A New Hope, it does still have its own merits that should not be overlooked.
#3: Star Destroyer Destroys Star Destroyer - 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story'
Rogue One is a fantastic movie; if you have followed my posts, you would know that I genuinely adore it. It functions perfectly as a sequel to the prequel trilogy, a prequel to A New Hope and it entirely works as its own movie. In addition to enhancing the plot of A New Hope, it also delivers some of the best characters and action scenes we had seen since the original trilogy.
The Battle of Scarif was an incredible third act, and this scene shows us why. Two Star Destroyers are guarding the Scarif shield gate when the rebels arrive after Rogue One infiltrated the Scarif base. One is fully disabled leading to the rebel leader formulating an incredible idea to destroy the shield gate, use the Star Destroyers! A rebel ship rams into the disabled Star Destroyer causing it to crash into the other sending both crashing into the shield gate. It is a brilliant idea that I am glad the filmmakers used.
#2: The Millennium Falcon Evades the Empire - 'Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back'
As I stated above Han is a fantastic pilot, we did get to see his piloting skills briefly in A New Hope but it was in The Empire Strikes Back that we were shown them in full. He did indeed have a few tricks up his sleeve, and we got some fantastic sequences of the Falcon outrunning and outmaneuvering better-equipped ships.
The asteroid sequence was a close runner-up, but for this slot, I decided to give it to when Han attached to the Star Destroyer to evade being tracked. It is an iconic moment that helped us fall further in love with Han and his ingenuity. Let's be thankful that the Empire doesn't have windows on that part of Star Destroyers; otherwise, the Falcon wouldn't have gotten too far.
#1: The Destruction of the Original Death Star - 'Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope'
Was there any doubt as to what would be the #1 pick for this list? The destruction of the original Death Star was a game-changing moment for the science fiction movie genre. Up until A New Hope, sci-fi films were regarded poorly and never fully invested in like movies from other genres.
The success of A New Hope helped usher in a new age for science fiction movies and remains a staple of pop culture to this day. A group of ragtag kids from different walks of life manages to come together and give an oppressive regime a very noticeable black eye. Use the Force, Luke!