Ranking the best moments of modern day Star Wars: Numbers 31-35

On Twitter, Bryan Young recently asked his followers what their favorite moment of the modern Star Wars era (the Disney era) is, and there are too many great ones to count.  Inspired by that, we’ll be taking a look at this author’s top 50 moments from recent Star Wars material.  Today, we look at numbers 31-35.

35. Chopper comforts Hera

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Chopper goes to be with Hera following Kanan Jarrus’ death (Rebels season 4, Episode 11: “DUME”)

Immediately after the death of Kanan Jarrus, the love of Hera Syndulla’s life, Hera, Ezra, and Sabine arrive back at their base on Lothal completely distraught.  Zeb arrives to greet them, but knows something is wrong when Sabine throws her helmet in anger and storms past in tears.  Ezra tells Zeb that Kanan is gone, and the two share a hug.  Chopper, meanwhile, rolls over to Hera, who has walked off in sadness, and reaches his mechanical hand out to grab Hera’s.  There the droid – who normally doesn’t know how to shut up – stays silent as he stands with Hera, comforting his master in her distress.  It’s a quick moment, but it’s tremendous and emotional.  Star Wars doesn’t exactly always give its characters time to process grief (see: Leia in A New Hope), but Rebels allowed their heroes a bit of time to mourn the loss of Kanan.  This is obviously hardest on Hera, and while the whole episode focuses on Hera and the others dealing with the major loss, the most touching moment is this scene with Chopper.  The background is beautiful with the sun setting, but the emotions of the moment are even more so.

34. Stardust

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Jyn listens to the message from her father (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story)

When Jyn Erso meets up with her friend Saw Gerrera on Jedha, he shows her a transmission from Galen Erso – Jyn’s father.  Jyn had presumed him dead after not seeing him for years, but he explains to her that when he was taken from them to work on the Death Star, he realized that he could get his revenge.  Motivated by his family, Galen pretended to be invested in the project while putting a fatal flaw deep within the reactor of the battle station.  He tells Jyn how much he misses her and her mother, and he tells Saw that the readouts of the Death Star can be found on Scarif.  As this is happening, the Death Star prepares to fire on Jedha.  It’s a great montage as the Death Star prepares to fire and as Galen discusses the Death Star, and it’s a very emotional scene as Jyn hears from her father for the first time in years.  It’s a great scene by itself, but it also adds to our understanding of A New Hope: it was Galen Erso who put the flaw within the battle station, hoping that it would be used to get revenge against the Empire.  The plans on Scarif were still needed to find a way to get to the reactor, but once the Rebellion found a way in A New Hope, Luke Skywalker blew up the station.  It adds to our understanding of the Death Star (and also why the Empire would have seemingly been confident in building a second one) while being a tremendously emotional and great scene on its own.

33. Hope

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Leia Organa receives the Death Star plans (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story)

One of the goals of Rogue One was that it would flow seamlessly into A New Hope, since it ends right before it and since it fills in some additional details, and it certainly did its job.  Rogue One stole the Death Star plans from the Imperial archive on Scarif, and they managed to transmit the plans to the Rebel fleet in orbit.  Grand Moff Tarkin arrived with the Death Star and fired on the planet, wiping out the Rebel strike team and the Imperials on site as well, hoping to prevent the plans from being stolen.  Aboard the disabled Rebel cruiser, soldiers scurried to download a hard copy and transport it to a capable ship – since their own was damaged.  But Darth Vader arrives with a boarding party to get the plans, and he begins cutting down every soldier in his path.  The Rebels manage to get the plans into the Tantive IV and launch, rushing away from the battle with the precious plans that so many had given their lives to get.  As Vader watches the ship race away, a Rebel hands the plans to a figure dressed in white, who removes her hood and takes the plans.  The Rebel asks, “what is it they’ve given us?” and Princess Leia Organa responds: “Hope” as the ship jumps to hyperspace.  Though some object to the use of CGI for a recreation of Leia (Carrie Fisher wasn’t one of them, by the way), it’s really well done and fits so perfectly with the ending of the film.  It’s a dark film – in that all the main characters die – but nonetheless there’s a beam of hope running throughout.  Leia is right: that’s exactly what they’ve been given.  And Leia is the perfect one to say it, tying the film in perfectly with the start of A New Hope.

32. Leia uses a lightsaber

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Leia Organa uses the weapon of a Jedi (Forces of Destiny Season 2, Episode 14: “Traps and Tribulations”; also Star Wars comics) 

As far as we know, Leia never has a lightsaber of her own, since she chose to focus more on her political career and the New Republic rather than become Luke’s first apprentice.  Because of that, it’s extra cool to see her use a lightsaber.  And she has a couple of times in canon material so far.  In a Forces of Destiny short set on Endor, Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa assist a couple of Ewoks in resetting their traps in order to subdue a Gorax.  Luke distracts the monster while Leia and the Ewoks work to free the traps, but Leia finds the Ewok spears too dull – so Luke throws her his lightsaber to use.  That works perfectly, and after the Gorax is subdued, Leia seems a bit hesitant to give it back.  Additionally, the Star Wars comic line (set in-between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back) shows Leia using a lightsaber… but not just Leia!  Han Solo and Chewbacca also wield lightsabers as well as they enter into a massive fight in the arena!

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It’s a really gratifying thing to see Leia wield a lightsaber and fight with it, and it just gets even better when Han and Chewie get in on the action too.

31. Becoming a Rebel

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Leia joins the Rebellion (“Leia: Princess of Alderaan,” by Claudia Gray) 

To Star Wars fans, Leia Organa is the epitome of a Rebel – in a good way.  She is the most prominent member of the Rebel Alliance in the films, is a very respected leader and politician, and has been with the Alliance since the first minutes of A New Hope.  It is hard to think about the fact that she was not always involved in this Rebellion, then, and in Claudia Gray’s terrific novel “Leia: Princess of Alderaan,” we see the teenage princess finally get involved in the Rebellion.  Her parents, Bail and Breha Organa, are leaders in this fledgling Rebellion, but they do not want their daughter to get involved as they try to protect her.  So Leia begins to investigate on her own, and she winds up having a staunch defender in Mon Mothma.  Following a thrilling dinner party exchange in which Grand Moff Tarkin unexpectedly arrives, Bail and Breha fake a massive argument (over Bail’s supposed affair with Mothma) to throw Tarkin off the scent, and Leia bursts into fake tears to sell Tarkin on the reality of the situation.  He leaves, and after some conversation Mothma defends Leia to all the others in the room, saying that they’ll need young leaders like her.  As the book goes on, we see Leia gain more and more trust – especially from her parents – as she truly gets involved in this Rebellion for good, making friends with Mon Mothma, Amilyn Holdo, and others, and rising to the full rank of Princess of Alderaan.  Knowing how crucial Leia is to the Rebellion, it’s awesome to see the start of that commitment.

 

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