Another era of Star Wars has drawn to an end.
When the Walt Disney Company bought Lucasfilm back in 2012, it announced plans for a new trilogy of Star Wars movies. As you know, that trilogy is now complete and the future of Star Wars is once again uncertain. In those eight years, though, fans have been showered with all manner of Star Wars media—not just at the movies, but also on TV, in books, comics, video games, theme parks, basically everywhere you can think.
That’s obviously not going to stop anytime soon, but now that it’s 2020 there’s certainly a sense that one chapter is over and another is beginning. To that end, we decided to look back at the past several years of Star Wars (sometimes referred to as the “Age of Resistance”) and pick out the best moments.
Characters like Admiral Ackbar and Raddus play massive roles in the Star Wars films, but the story of their homeworld had been largely left mysterious. The Clone Wars show changed that but the Star Wars and Vader comics wrapped it up, telling a sweeping, generational tale of how and why the race joined the fight.
What happened to Jar Jar Binks? It’s long been a mystery Star Wars fans have thought about, and we found out the answer in Star Wars Aftermath: Empire’s End by Chuck Wendig. Jar Jar went back to his home planet of Naboo and became a street performer. A sad, downtrodden clown who acts broken because of all the mistakes he made in the past. It was an upsetting revelation and a reminder that Star Wars doesn’t always have to be super happy or exciting. Sometimes, it can just be real.
By now the tale of Imperials/First Order members defecting has become commonplace: Finn, Iden Versio from Battlefront II, or Captain Doza from Resistance are all examples. But in Yrica Quell, the star of Alexander Freed’s Alphabet Squadron, Star Wars gave us a character much more complex, conflicted and frankly, rewarding, than those. A true mirror into the murky post Return of the Jedi time period.
We all know Mustafar as the lava planet where Obi-Wan Kenobi defeated Anakin Skywalker, putting the finishing touches on his transformation into Darth Vader. We also learned, in Rogue One and more, that it’s where Vader built his personal castle. It’s a dangerous planet. A violent planet. But during the course of the Vader Immortal VR saga, we’re taught the spiritual history of the planet and how it’s changed, and as part of the experience help reverse that history, hopefully restoring it to its more natural, less magma-y state.
The Battle of Jakku is at the center of a lot of storytelling released around The Force Awakens. It’s the battle that “ended” the war between the Empire and Rebellion and resulted in that huge Star Destroyer you see in Episode VII. And while it was fun to race through it in Battlefront and the like, the way it became the climax of a complex, romantic relationship in Claudia Gray’s Lost Stars really gave this otherwise vague event a personal touch.
For a character who’s so central to Star Wars, how much did we really know about Padmé? Enter E.K. Johnston’s Queen’s Shadow, a fascinating look into the Queen turned Senator’s struggles as a young leader and a human being. More so than most Star Wars books, this one provided crucial context to a major, major player.
Star Wars creators have long been stomping on and on about diverse representation, but few have truly gone all-in on it and made it the focus of a story. That is until Marvel’s Doctor Aphra #16, where the good doctor finally got to share a kiss with her on-again-off-again crush, an Imperial agent named Magna Tolvan. There was no denying this LGBTQ representation.
Eventually, we’ll get to see Ewan McGregor return as Obi-Wan Kenobi. But so many great stories have already been told about the character. A few follow later on this list, but in Star Wars #7, we saw Kenobi at his full powers, dispatching Jabba the Hutt’s goons in a way that made us so excited for more stories from this era.
While the prequels can often get overlooked in forward-moving Star Wars stories, Aftermath Saga author Chuck Wendig figured out an amazing way to pay tribute to them by creating the character Mr. Bones. Bones is an old school Battle Droid that Snap Wexley customized and reprogramed to be a ninja-like killer. And every time he gets into the action, it’s awesome.
There are lots of magical Star Wars moments during the Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order game, but all of them are given added significance because of the main drive of the story. You’re Jedi Padawan Cal Kestis, who is forced out of hiding after Order 66 and dedicates his life to seeking out a Holocron containing the names of Force-sensitive children. Saving the kids that can save the galaxy, what could be more important than that?
Remember when you flew off Batuu, got captured by the First Order, then Finn helped you escape capture by Kylo Ren and General Hux? You don’t? Oh, that’s because it’s a theme park ride at Disney’s Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge called Rise of the Resistance. And while it’s largely inconsequential in terms of the overall story, it’s incredibly special and memorable to be able to literally go inside and experience a Star Wars story first-hand.
The Millennium Falcon is one of the biggest stars in Star Wars, so when we saw its shadow fly over the dwindling Resistance during the battle of Crait in The Last Jedi, it was a revelation. As Rey and Chewie began to pick off TIE Fighters and help save the day, it gave us the kind of goosebumps we love Star Wars for. “I like this,” Rey said. We do too.
Part of why Star Wars is so popular is because it’s familiar. Good vs. evil, the light and the dark, we get it. But then there are the moments we don’t get. Like in Star Wars Rebels when Ezra Bridger goes into a mysterious world between worlds where all eras of Star Wars somehow unite, connect, and can be traveled in between. The revelation was a massive game-changer, only to be sealed up and possibly hidden forever. Could we ever see something like this again? Probably not, but knowing it’s out there is tantalizing.
Han Solo was married. Sort of. The introduction of Sana Solo in Star Wars #6 sent shockwaves through fandom, opening up so many questions about what the hell Han had been doing before we met him in A New Hope. Of course, we eventually found out it was more a scam than anything, but the story was amazing none the less.
After 30 years outside the theater and two hours in one, finally, Luke Skywalker returned. There he was. Grey hair. Grey robes. Confused and...we wouldn’t know what he was thinking for another two years. It’s hard to wrap a big reveal and a cliffhanger ending into one but that’s what The Force Awakens gave us. And we’ll never forget it.
Star Wars is all about the small moments and few small moments in this era are better than the simple act of Rey putting on a Rebel pilot helmet and just chilling outside her AT-AT on Jakku. In a single image, we learned everything we needed to know about her.
The animated series Clone Wars and Rebels had shown us what it looks like when a group of Mandalorians team up, but we’d never seen it in live-action. That changed when the underground Mandalorians came out to save our hero in a rousing, exciting, powerful action scene at the end of chapter three of The Mandalorian.
It’s a moment fans had been thinking about for decades. How, exactly, did Han Solo win the Millennium Falcon from Lando Calrissian? And after a fake-out, Solo: A Star Wars Story finally answered the question, with a swindle worthy of both characters and a rousing ending that left you wanting more.
As Star Wars Rebels neared its ending, fans anxiously waited to see where the story would go. The answer was shocking. The show skipped the events of the original trilogy and picked up with Ahsoka Tano and Sabine Wren going off to find Ezra Bridger, who has been missing now for years. Where has he been? Why wait? What happens next? The speculation was delicious.
The Force Awakens was all about seeing our favorite characters again. Each one gets an amazing return moment, even the Millennium Falcon. The way J.J. Abrams reintroduces it, out of frame, referred to as “garbage,” was so clever and funny and fulfilling. Then when Rey says “the garbage will do” and everyone gets it at the same time, it’s magic.
You may think the first time we see Wedge in this new Star Wars era was in The Rise of Skywalker. Alas, that’s incorrect. Before that, he was in Rebecca Roanhorse’s Resistance Reborn, and was just one of many examples of a Star Wars story both paying off everything that came before, and setting the table for what would be next.
It was a long time coming but when Ben Solo emerges from the TIE Fighter in Rise of Skywalker to help Rey destroy her grandfather on Exegol, and the two team up, you felt the generations of the past in each of those characters. Plus, passing a lightsaber through the Force was very cool.
This is not so much about the specific moment when the evil Imperial mastermind was revealed, but more the idea that it happened at all. That Dave Filoni and the Star Wars Rebels team found a way to make an iconic Expanded Universe character canon was a massive moment for fans and a damned good one for Rebels and the books too.
With The Mandalorian set after the events of Return of the Jedi, there was no telling what winks to the previous films and shows would pop up. But no one could have expected a relic originally from The Clone Wars TV show to be the big reveal, setting up some huge stories to come.
The moment in The Rise of Skywalker that truly makes it a finale of the entire saga is when Lando and Chewbacca arrive on Exegol with basically every ship ever. Though we can barely see them, those ships represent all eras and stories in Star Wars, and you truly feel that while watching.
The legacy and power of Darth Vader was a major focus in this new Star Wars era, and one of the coolest things was how it somehow made him scary again. For instance, the moment in Vader Down #1 when he effortlessly takes down an entire Rebel army. We saw Darth Vader at maybe his most powerful...ever?
One of the best things to happen in The Force Awakens is when Luke’s lightsaber flies past his nephew and right into the hands of a mysterious, brave scavenger. John Williams’ music accompanies the moment beautifully, guaranteeing you get chills.
If you isolated one scene in the Sequel Trilogy and said “This is everything fans had ever wanted,” it would probably be this moment. The fully formed Jedi Master Luke Skywalker takes on an entire army of bad guys on his own. That’s the Luke fans imagined for decades and Rian Johnson showed us that while also twisting it and making it poignant. It remains as perfect as we’d ever imagined.
Putting the moment Han Solo returned to Star Wars into a trailer gave this moment a bit more oomph than it may have had otherwise. Either way, seeing Solo on screen for the first time in 30-plus years, and being the first original cast member to show up in The Force Awakens, was absolutely unforgettable.
We all know why Anakin Skywalker decided to become Darth Vader but we never really got to see him follow through with that, to truly see Vader explore the Force and if it could bring back Padme. Then Darth Vader Vol. 2 came out and its ending blew us away, mixing all eras of Star Wars into a shocking, glorious story.
One of the great unsolved mysteries in Star Wars has always been “What is Yoda?” Fans were always curious about where he hailed from, what his race was called, and why he was so powerful. So when it was revealed the Mandalorian was tracking down, and eventually protecting, another, younger member of that mysterious race, it opened up so many possibilities, it boggled the mind. Plus, more so than probably anything in this era of Star Wars, “Baby Yoda” completely exploded and took over pop culture.
Star Wars Rebels showed us how the long storied rivalry between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Maul ended...with Kenobi killing Maul. The show handled it perfectly. Powerful, poignant, exciting, emotional. In fact, the moment was so good, we kind of wish we got to see it in live-action.
Even though six movies exist that are specifically about Darth Vader, fans never truly saw him at his full power. That is until a group of Rebels stole the Death Star plans and he mowed down their friends with shocking, rollicking ease.
There are moments in Star Wars that obviously happened but we never think about until we see them. An incredible example was told in Star Wars #6 and Darth Vader #6. It’s the moment after A New Hope when Darth Vader finds out the identity of the Force-sensitive pilot that blew up the first Death Star. We knew he was looking for him. We knew he sensed something. But the impact of that revelation is unfathomable. Of course, it’s a person who shares his former last name. His son. Alive. It changes everything—and it was Boba Fett, of all people, who told him. A truly momentous moment in the history of the Saga.
The death of Snoke. The hint of Kylo’s turn to the light side. The slow-motion beginning to an all-out, kick-ass, epic action scene. A lightsaber through the torso. Love or hate The Last Jedi, the entire scene in Snoke’s throne room was not only the best moment of the new Star Wars saga, it’s one of the best all-time Star Wars moments, period.
As with most lists, we sure you all agree completely. If not, tell us what we missed in the comments.
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