Darth Vader dances to "Thriller"
Galactic Binder has the 31 most bad-ass Star Wars moments. Certainly, this list doesn't need to include moments from the prequels, but alas, it includes too many.
#27: Leia kills Jabba the Hutt by strangulation (ep. VIII). Now, in its original context, this scene was about girl power; she was forced into the infamous gold bikini and exploited as Jabba's slave, and this was her revenge. But since the release of the prequels, Jabba's unstoppable evilness is more apparent and so the very fact that Leia -- Leia! -- kills Jabba is pretty bad ass.
#21: Darth Vader kills the Emperor (ep. VIII). The moment of Anakin's redemption, is there anything better? And especially with the prequels (as much as I try to ignore they exist, they really do heighten the best moments of the original trilogy to higher levels), we want Vader to be a good guy even more. In the original context, this scene showed that there is good in everyone, even the most evil of evils. Now, this scene represents that hope is never lost. It's triumphant on many levels, one of which is that we no longer have to look at the Emperor's ugly face.
#19: Darth Vader kills Obi-Wan (ep. IV). Really, I think this death is kind of lame. Obi-Wan just... evaporates. For the longest time, I kept expecting him to come back, but then his ghost in Return of the Jedi told me that would never happen. But this scene is really emotional in that Obi-Wan had a lot of weight on his shoulders, a lot of guilt, since Anakin became Vader, and now he was at peace. But Little Ani, how could you?
#18: Yoda lifts Luke's X-Wing (ep. V). Ohhh, so that's what the Force does...
#14: "I am your father, Luke" (ep. V). The original mind-frak. Wait, the good guy is the son of the bad guy? This scene considers the nature vs. nurture argument without being too philosophical about it, but Luke's expression is pretty much how any of us would've responded. Denial with a side of understanding. It's not enough to want to be good, Luke, you have really have to fight for it. This scene should've been #1, am I right?
#13: "These aren't the droids you're looking for" (ep. IV). Not exactly a bad ass moment (it definitely shouldn't be this high on the list), but it's probably the most oft-quoted geek-moment of the whole series. How many of us have waved our hand and tried the Jedi mind-trick on someone? Oh, all of us.
#12: Darth Maul's double-ended lightsaber (ep. 1). Okay, this was pretty bad ass. My theater gasped in awed unison when we saw it.
#5: Han shot first (ep. IV). It's seriously one of my favorite scenes. "I've been looking for you for a long time, Solo." "Yeah, I bet you have." Those lines are immortal, and they showcase Solo's fearlessness in the face of death. This scene defines bad-assery.
#4: Leia in the gold bikini (ep. VIII). This is definitely not bad ass, but Galactic Binder's explanation makes it somehow worth it. "Uhm… if you don’t know, we’re not sure we can explain it to you. Needless to say, millions of fanboys were launched into puberty all at one time." Literally, launched into puberty.
#3: Darth Vader chokes Admiral Motti in a conference room (ep. IV). Okay, I know that this scene introduces the pure evil of Vader, but... it's a lame use of suspension of disbelief. Vader's just cupping his hand and that other dude is pretending to lose oxygen. Even as a kid, I thought this scene was lame. The Emperor used lightening -- so much more bad ass.
#2: Yoda vs. Count Dooku (ep. II). (The only moment on the list from Attack of the Clones). I went to a midnight showing of this, and everybody clapped at this moment. I mean, everybody. Yoda is young, frisky, and ready to kick some ass.
#1: Han replies, "I know" (ep. V). This moment is pretty bad ass, but #1? Legend has it that Carrie Fisher was too high to remember her lines, so when she finally remembered the words "I love you," Harrison Ford was so irritated that he spat out the line "I know." Lucas liked it and kept it in. Whether or not this story is true, I prefer it to thinking that Lucas was clever enough to put this in his script.
And, although I understand the sheer awesomeness of any of the space scenes... there is no sound in space and Lucas stole all of these shots from Kubrick. There. I said it. I'd be interested in someone writing a 31 Most God-Awful Star Wars moments... but really, wouldn't they all involve the wooden acting and poorly written script? #1 most cringe-worthy moment: Amidala and Anakin playing in the fields with that rhino-donkey. I shudder just thinking about it.
Did you know Wikipedia has an entire page dedicated to the changes of Star Wars rereleases?