Disney purchased Lucasfilm and all it encompasses on October 30th, 2012. This week, to mark the ten-year anniversary of this momentous acquisition, AIPT will be reflecting on Disney’s impact on what is one of the most popular and influential media franchises to ever exist – Star Wars.
Disney’s been busy, y’all. Since purchasing Lucasfilm and Star Wars in 2012, Disney has released five films, four live-action streaming series, and several animated shows, not to mention the thousands of pages of books and comics. So much content has led to Disney already creating some of the most iconic images and sequences in all of Star Wars that can rival moments like the “No, I am your father” scene or the visual of a devil-horned, red-skinned sith igniting a second lightsaber blade for the first time. Let’s take a look at some of the most memorable moments from Disney Star Wars.
Episode VII’s concluding lightsaber duel
Episode VII — The Force Awakens, Disney’s first film since it purchased Star Wars, is full of memorable moments – the Millennium Falcon escaping Jakku, Han and Chewie arriving “home,” Han’s death, Luke’s final scene reveal. But, regardless of the films that came after The Force Awakens, the end lightsaber fight between Finn, Rey, and Kylo is an all-time iconic Star Wars moment. You have Kylo seemingly tearing down Finn (I don’t know how he survived that wound!) before force grabbing Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber… only for it to be snatched out from under him by Rey.
This scene sets up the major players for the rest of the sequel trilogy. It further cements that Rey and Kylo are going to be the keys to the future of the saga. The choreography is raw and heavy, the scenery is beautiful and dark, and the emotions are charged. These faces are the next generation of Star Wars, and at this point in The Force Awakens we are wholly invested in what their next steps will be.
The reveal of Grogu
The Mandalorian’s The Child, unnamed until midway through season two, took a hold of the zeitgeist at the end of 2019 and wouldn’t let go. “Baby Yoda” – as the internet affectionately named him – marketed the show all on his own, drawing people in who wanted to both gawk at the adorableness of the green puppet and see just where the hell the show was going to go as it costarred a 50-year-old force-sensitive infant.
For the millions of early viewers of The Mandalorian, The Child’s reveal at the end of the first episode must have come as an insane attention-grabbing surprise. It was also a genius move by Disney and the show’s writers because now people had to watch each episode weekly or else they’d miss out on the next big reveal while navigating an internet full of spoilers.
Holdo’s lightspeed kamikaze from Episode VIII
Now, I can rag on The Last Jedi as much as the next guy, but I want to use this space to be positive, so let’s spotlight one of the coolest visuals from all of Star Wars – the Holdo Maneuver (lame name; let’s go with lightspeed kamikaze). I still the heavy silence that overtook the opening day theater as no audio played over the beautiful shots of various First Order ships being sliced in half, save for a few whispered “wow”s. The silence was followed by a sharp and almost scary high-pitched “pew!” that snaps viewers back to the reality of the situation – the resistance’s ongoing escape from the First Order.
While it may have clashed with Star Wars lore for some fans, there’s no denying that Holdo’s lightspeed kamikaze was a standout and stunning moment from an otherwise polarizing film.
Hayden Christenson donning the Darth Vader mask
Even though Kenobi is less than six months old, I think it already includes one of the most iconic moments from Disney Star Wars. At the end of the series, Obi-Wan defeats Darth Vader in a duel, damaging Vader’s mask and revealing the weak, pathetic man underneath. We see Vader — no longer Annakin — as scarred physically and emotionally from his defeat on Mustafar.
Hayden Christenson perfectly portrays the hate and rage of Vader, showing this man hasn’t changed a bit since his downfall during Revenge of the Sith. The damaged voice box on Vader’s suit makes for a haunting effect as Vader’s voice oscillates between Christenson’s pained screams and AI-generated James Earl Jones’ deep delivery. Ewan McGregor is equally great as Kenobi in this scene as he seemingly gives up on his former apprentice once and for all.
Darth Vader’s hallway massacre from Rogue One
Probably the best moment to come out of Disney Star Wars is the Darth Vader hallway scene from Rogue One. Up until this point in the films, we hadn’t really seen Vader let loose and just wreck some dudes. I love the emotionally heavy lightsaber duels in Episodes 5 and 6, but Rogue One’s hallway scene shows a different Vader. He’s a murder machine at his zenith, tearing rebel after rebel down while displaying why he is such a feared force in the galaxy. He needs no words to instill fear in his prey; the mere sight of his lightsaber extending is enough to turn Rogue One from a war film into a straight-up horror flick for one short sequence.
I can criticize plenty of what Disney has done with Star Wars over the past ten years, but even I can admit this scene is dope as all hell.
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