Ranking the best moments of modern day Star Wars: Numbers 21-25

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 21-25.

25. Fighting the Sith Lord

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Kanan and Ezra vs. Vader (Rebels Season 2, Episode 1: “The Siege of Lothal”)

The Ghost crew had caused enough trouble on Lothal that the Empire sent Darth Vader himself to deal with the rebel uprising, and it was quickly apparent that the rebels stood no chance.  As Vader arrived with a stormtrooper contingent, Jedi Kanan Jarrus and Ezra Bridger confronted the Sith Lord and were thoroughly and embarrassingly defeated.  In a haunting moment, Vader pins the young Bridger and, using the force, proceeds to push the young boy’s lightsaber toward his throat, saying, “Your master has deceived you into believing you can become a Jedi.”  Vader ultimately didn’t kill Bridger (thanks to Jarrus intervening), but after the two Jedi drop a walker on the Sith Lord and realize it didn’t kill him (or even seem to faze him) they narrowly escape with their lives.  The threat of Darth Vader is very real, and it’s a striking reminder during the show that these Jedi face an uphill battle.  It’s wonderfully executed to show just how real of a threat Vader is, and it’s fun to see him dominate inferior Jedi easily, essentially toying with them.

24. Family Roots

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Leia fights to liberate Naboo (Star Wars Battlefront II campaign)

The Battlefront II campaign shows plenty of interesting adventures for Inferno Squad (who are great characters in their own right), including some missions with beloved heroes like Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Lando Calrissian, and Leia Organa.  The mission with Leia is really significant for Star Wars fans, however, because we see Leia fighting to liberate Naboo.  General Calrissian leads a strike force to give General Organa support from the air, and Inferno Squad races to the surface to aid Organa’s ground assault.  They ultimately prove successful in detonating an ion pulse that disarms the Imperial weapons and ensures a New Republic victory.  It’s cool to see what Leia and Lando and the others were up to in the months following Return of the Jedi, but what makes this moment so significant is that Leia is fighting to liberate the world that her birth mother, Padme, ruled as Queen.  For fans of the Star Wars universe, that’s a really cool connection that ties the prequels together with the original trilogy, but also that ties mother and daughter together.

23. It’s the Resistance

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Leia forms the Resistance (“Bloodline,” by Claudia Gray)

Leia Organa seems to be the only one in the New Republic to understand the threat posed by the rising First Order, but with her political career in shambles due to the shocking public reveal that she is the daughter of Darth Vader, Leia opts to form the Resistance.  Sporting one of Han Solo’s leather jackets and already having invited her allies, Leia arrived in a New Republic hangar to find many dear friends loyal to the Princess: Admiral Gial Ackbar, Nien Nunb, Caluan Ematt, Greer Sonnel, Harter Kalonia, and pilots such as Joph Seastriker, Snap Wexley, and Zari Bangel.  At the end of the phenomenal novel “Bloodline,” Leia delivers the founding words of the Resistance: “The sun is setting on the New Republic.  It’s time for the Resistance to rise.”  Seeing how The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi develop the Resistance – and show most of all that the Resistance hinges upon loyalty to Leia – this scene has much more weight and meaning, seeing many familiar faces (and some new) join forces with the beloved Princess to take the rising threat seriously.  If the New Republic wouldn’t, the Resistance would.  And, well, we know what happened from there.

22. A Wining Gamble

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Han wins the Falcon (Solo: A Star Wars Story

Having lost in an earlier round of sabacc to Lando Calrissian, Han Solo is convinced that Lando cheated to win.  Han is clearly mesmerized upon seeing the ship – the Millennium Falcon – and gets a chance to fly her in the escape from Kessel, making the Kessel Run in an unbelievable twelve parsecs.  Lando takes his now severely-damaged ship and leaves, but Han and Chewbacca find him – and Han challenges him to a rematch.  This time, though, Han sneaks the card out of Lando’s sleeve, winning the game and winning the Falcon as he and Chewie fly off on an adventure.  Knowing how iconic of a duo Han and Chewie would become, as well as how iconic the Falcon would become, this scene has a ton of significance within the Star Wars franchise.  It’s really cool to finally be able to see it on screen.

21. “The garbage one will do!”

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Rey flies the Falcon on Jakku (Star Wars: The Force Awakens)

Fleeing from stormtroopers, Rey and Finn set out to find a ship… only to see that ship blown up.  So Rey admits that “the garbage one will do,” and the camera shows that the ship she’s referring to is the Millennium Falcon.  Rey, Finn, and BB-8 board the Falcon and take off, with Rey piloting and Finn shooting.  Their flight over the sands of Jakku pit them against First Order TIE Fighters and includes Rey daringly piloting the ship into the heart of a Star Destroyer to gain an advantage.  It’s a tremendous moment with plenty of nostalgic feelings and pure excitement, seeing the Falcon fly again.  This was one of the first shots we ever saw of the movie (in the initial teaser trailer), and seeing the Millennium Falcon in action three decades after its last significant appearance is something truly special.

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