Star Wars: The Force Awakens is finally here, and there's nothing we can do to stop it. By now, many fans are on their fifth or sixth viewing, most likely, all of which contributes to this blockbuster's record-breaking box office success. Director J.J. Abrams' sci-fi adventure opened with a massive $238 million in its first weekend of release, shattering Jurassic World's record of $208.8 million set just a few months ago. While we wait for more box office records to fall (could Avatar's all-time best record be in danger?), we thought it would be the perfect time to break down the 11 best scenes in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
To be perfectly frank, if you enjoyed Star Wars: The Force Awakens as much as I did, this list could include almost every single scene. I don't know about you, but I had an ear-to-ear smile plastered on my face throughout the film's 135-minute runtime. But we don't have the time, nor the inclination to break down every scene in this epic adventure, so we're breaking down the best of the best, the scenes that set Star Wars: The Force Awakens apart from the beloved original trilogy, and the much-maligned prequel trilogy as well. Be warned, if you have not yet seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens, there will be MASSIVE SPOILERS revealed below, so read on at your own risk.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens not only featured the return of some of our favorite iconic characters, but a slew of new characters as well. The cast of Star Wars newcomers is lead by John Boyega's Finn, Daisy Ridley's Rey and Oscar Isaac's Poe Dameron, along with Adam Driver's villainous Kylo Ren. Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Harrison Ford (Han Solo) and Carrie Fisher also returned to reprise their roles from the original trilogy, although some were seen more than others... and some may never be seen again. The Star Wars: The Force Awakens supporting cast includes Domhnall Gleeson as General Hux, Lupita Nyong'o as Maz Kanata, Gwendoline Christie as Captain Phasma, Andy Serkis as Supreme Leader Snoke and Max von Sydow as Lor San Tekka.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens was praised by many fans for bringing back the same aesthetic as George Lucas' original trilogy, chocked full of colorful, and, most importantly, practical characters, amusing one-liners and epic battles both in the sky and on the ground. While many of our favorite scenes are certainly reminiscent of the original Star Wars trilogy, others reflect the unique vision and directorial style of J.J. Abrams. Like it or not, the filmmaker has given a new generation a franchise to call their own, which can still be embraced by fans of the original trilogy.
A big part of what made some of these scenes so memorable ties into the secretive nature of the production and the lead-up to the December 18 release. Rumors were flung from distant corners of the Internet, some of which turned out to be true, others patently false, but the sheer amount of rumors only meant that the appetite for new details about this galaxy far, far away was bigger than ever, which translated into the record breaking box office numbers over the weekend. With two sequels and three spinoffs in various stages of development, there is no stopping the Star Wars franchise from rolling over its competition over the next few years.
In fact, a recent profile on Disney revealed that the studio plans on putting out one Star Wars movie every year, indefinitely... until fans stop buying tickets. These new movies are just one part of Disney and LucasFilm's massive plans for the franchise, which include a slew of new novels and comic books, which are all part of the official canon, along with theme park plans and much more. Judging by last weekend's grosses, we won't see this franchise going away anytime soon, and now that Star Wars: The Force Awakens is here, the countdown begins for the first spinoff, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, in theaters December 16, 2016 and Star Wars: Episode VIII, arriving May 26, 2017. But, we're getting ahead of ourselves.
Before we start speculating about Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Star Wars: Episode VIII, lets take yet another deep dive into Star Wars: The Force Awakens, to break down our 13 favorite scenes from this incredible adventure that took us to new worlds and introduced us to a slew of new characters on both sides of The Force. We begin with the villainous Kylo Ren, and the scene that confirmed what many had speculated for the past few years.
1 Kylo Ren Is The Son of Han Solo and Leia Organa
We saw plenty of Kylo Ren in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but the biggest reveal about this villain is that he is in fact the son of Han Solo and Leia Organa. This reveal was actually teased throughout several scenes in the first half of the movie. In the opening sequence, Lor San Tekka reveals that Kylo's family has a history with the Light Side of The Force, and later Supreme Leader Snoke reveals who his father is. We get a bit of the villain's history in an exchange between Han and Leia, leading up to Han confronting his son, formerly known as Ben Solo, who know goes by Kylo Ren. Unfortunately, details are scant about why Ben turns to the Dark Side, but hopefully more details are revealed in Star Wars: Episode VIII.
2 Han and Leia's Reunion
Part of Kylo Ren's sweeping parentage reveal came during the reunion of two franchise favorites, Han Solo and Leia Organa. This scene was briefly teased by a shot in the trailer, where Han and Leia are seen embracing, but thankfully, more details about this scene weren't leaked beforehand, because it was immensely powerful to watch. Like most memorable scenes in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, we're given just enough to warrant a jaw-dropping moment, but director J.J. Abrams and writers Lawrence Kasdan and Michael Arndt hold enough back, leaving plenty to be desired and a slew of unanswered questions that will presumably be explored in subsequent sequels. Han and Leia's poignant reunion scene subtly reveals their union produced a son, Ben, who eventually turned into Kylo Ren. It's hinted that their son's transition to the Dark Side, and Leia taking a bigger role in the Resistance leadership, is what strained their relationship and eventually lead to them going their separate ways. While they each seem to regret how their relationship came to an end, it's clear they both still love each other, which makes the next scene even more heartbreaking.
3 Han Solo's Death At the Hands of His Son
Star Wars: The Force Awakens takes place 30 years after the events of Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi, and anyone who has lived for more than 30 years knows a lot can happen in three decades. Naturally, we don't know EVERYTHING that happened after Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi, but we do know that at some point, Han Solo and Leia gave birth to a son, Ben. He would eventually align with their old pal Luke Skywalker, who was training a group of new potential Jedi masters. While we didn't get many specific details, Ben eventually turned to the Dark Side and slaughtered Skywalker's Jedi recruits, transforming himself into Kylo Ren. All of this was either told or hinted at through dialogue, but it all lead up to possible the most iconic and memorable scene in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, where Kylo Ren kills an unarmed Han Solo in vengeful cold blood.
The irony of this scene is that it completes a legendary arc for Han Solo by having him sacrifice himself, an act Han would have never even considered as a selfish smuggler when we first met him in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope. We saw in earlier scenes that Han is still full of the boisterous braggadocio that made him so memorable in the original trilogy, but his heart is also full of regret, about what happened to his son and his failed relationship with Leia. Han's death at the hands of his son will be talked about for years, in the same way that Darth Vader's "Luke, I am your father" reveal was discussed continuously by fanboys around the world.
4 Finn's "I'm the Captain Now" Moment
John Boyega's Finn has possibly the most intriguing character arc in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, starting off as a reluctant First Order Stormtrooper before switching over to the Light Side, eventually doing battle with the nefarious Kylo Ren himself. But one of Finn's most memorable scenes provided one of the many instances of comic relief in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Before he escaped the First Order, Finn was under the command of Captain Phasma, but these roles were reversed, so to speak, when Finn, Han and Chewbacca subdue Phasma, and Finn excitedly yells, "I'm in charge now, Phasma! I'm in charge!" Han tells the former Stormtrooper to take it down a notch, resulting in one of the biggest laughs in the movie, which is somewhat similar to Barkhad Abdi's now-iconic "I'm the captain now" line in Captain Phillips. Of course, the circumstances and the Captain's themselves are much different, but it's interesting how these lines are so similar.
5 Finn and Poe's Escape From the Star Destroyer
Long before Finn's humorous takedown of Captain Phasma, he was part of another iconic scene early on in the film, where he completely denounces The First Order and helps the prisoner Poe Dameron escape from a massive Star Destroyer ship. We saw in the first scene, when Kylo Ren ordered the slaughter of an entire village, that Finn certainly wasn't on board with all of this death and destruction. When Poe Dameron is taken prisoner, FN2187 (a.k.a. Finn) decides to spring into action, helping Poe sneak off the ship as they steal a TIE Fighter and make their escape. It's a brilliant sequence that also features the first utterance of the iconic Jedi Luke Skywalker. Poe argues that he needs to go back to Jakku, and while Finn protests, Poe reveals that he needs to retrieve part of a map that leads to Luke Skywalker, a name Finn seems to recognize. This scene also includes the birth of Finn's actual name, given to him by Poe, since it is relatively close to his FN2187 Stromtrooper ID number.
6 The Millennium Falcon's Reveal and the Jakku Escape
After Finn and Poe escaped, their TIE Fighter crashes on Jakku and Finn cannot seem to find Poe among the wreckage, only his jacket. This leads him back to a village, where he meets Rey, who, at first seems to be in need of assistance, before it's clear that Rey can certainly take care of herself. Since Finn is wearing Poe's jacket, it catches the attention of BB-8, who claims Finn stole the jacket. But, just after Finn mentions Luke Skywalker, Stormtroopers spot them and they have to take off in a hurry. Finn points to an unseen ship, which Rey dismisses as "garbage" before settling on another ship. Before they can get to said ship, known as a Quad Jumper, it explodes, causing them to turn to the "garbage" ship... the Millennium Falcon. After dismissing the ship's capabilities while in the cockpit, Rey takes off from Jakku and an epic aerial battle ensues, with Rey flying and Finn taking the gun turret. This is one of several memorable aerial battles, that leads into the return of our favorite smugglers. Best of all, this is the one moment in the sequel that was shot using IMAX cameras.
7 Han Solo and Chewbacca Return Home to the Millennium Falcon
There was a lot of speculation earlier this year that Han Solo and Chewbacca were no longer the owners of the Millennium Falcon. It turns out, that was one of the few rumors that proved to be correct. After Rey and Finn escaped from their dogfight alive, Rey insists on going back to Jakku, but then they have some company. They both hide, believing that they are being boarded by Stormtroopers, but it turns out to be Han Solo and Chewbacca. Han is not interested in having these kids aboard his ship, telling Chewie to drop them off at the next habitable planet. But, once Luke Skywalker's name is dropped, Han and Chewie agree to help them, as they take off in search of a clean ship, which leads us to our next item.
8 Maz Kanata's Bar and Rey's Force Flashbacks
One of my personal favorite scenes in Star Wars: The Force Awakens is when Han Solo and Chewie take their new friends Rey and Finn to Maz Kanata's bar. There had been rumors a few years ago that Star Wars: The Force Awakens would take fans back to the Mos Eisley Cantina from Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope. That didn't turn out to be true, but in its stead, fans were introduced to this extremely colorful watering hole, filled with unique characters, including Maz herself, all of which were truly a delight to behold.
While the bar scene had fans feeling nostalgic for the old Cantina, the most important part of this scene is when Maz takes Rey into a different area, where she produces Luke Skywalker's lightsaber. When Rey touches it, she has visions of the past, present and future, which includes a few familiar voices calling out to this new hero. Director J.J. Abrams has since confirmed that they used a previously-recorded line of Alec Guinness saying "afraid" to produce "Rey" in this vision, while we also hear Ewan McGregor's younger Obi-Wan and Frank Oz's Yoda. This scene reveals just how "force strong" Rey really is, which will certainly come in handy later on in the film.
9 Starkiller Base Battle
It wouldn't be a Star Wars movie without a massive aerial battle between the forces of good and evil, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens delivers in spades with an epic battle on the enormous Starkiller Base. It was revealed during a pre-battle strategy session (which revealed Admiral Akbar for the first time) that the Starkiller Base is exponentially larger than the Death Star, and with a bigger base comes a bigger battle. There are plenty of throwbacks to the original trilogy as well, with all of the iconic trenches these ships zoom in and out of, and the whole battle was truly a sight to behold, especially in 3D. With Star Wars: Episode VIII coming in 2017, it remains to be seen whether The First Order has constructed another epic weapon of mass destruction like the Starkiller Base, but we'll just have to wait and see.
10 Poe's Continuous X-Wing Battle Shot
We saw part of this sequence in the trailers where Han, Chewie and Finn are seemingly surrounded by First Order Stormtroopers, during the battle at Maz Kanata's castle. These heroes are ready to surrender, when, out of nowhere, Poe Dameron's X-Wing ship comes to their rescue, blasting these troopers into oblivion. While the scene itself is unspeakably cool, it also shows how truly gifted a pilot Poe Dameron is, and that he always has his friends' backs. It is also one of the best scenes that shows off J.J. Abrams' amazing direction in these fight scenes, skills he certainly honed on the first two Star Trek movies. We'll have to wait and see how other directors like Gareth Edwards and Rian Johnson showcase these aerial battles in the future, but the bar has certainly been set high by J.J. Abrams.
11 BB-8's Lighter Flick/Thumbs Up
Fans old and new alike have been enamored with the ball droid BB-8 ever since his debut in the Star Wars: The Force Awakens teaser trailer that launched last November. The lovable robot played a much bigger role in Star Wars: The Force Awakens than imagined, since he literally carried the missing part of the map to Luke Skywalker, that was sought out by both the Resistance and the First Order alike. There are certainly a number of BB-8 scenes that would be worthy of inclusion on this list, but the one that stands out for us was the ball droid's memorable "thumbs up" he gave to Finn, by sticking out a small lighter. This indicates that BB-8 trusts Finn, despite his First Order background, while telling Rey that she should do the same. This incredible touch with the thumbs up/lighter takes what could have been a throwaway moment and instantly etches it in franchise history.
12 Rey Overpowering Ren With The Force
In the months leading up to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, we got one big clue about Rey's fate through the unlikeliest of sources: Topps trading cards. These cards featured logos which showed each character's affiliation to different organizations, and Rey's featured not only the Resistance insignia, but also the Jedi Order. This came as quite a shock to fans, since we had never seen Rey display any sort of force strength in any of the previously-released footage, while, at the same time, her new BFF Finn had been seen wielding a lightsaber numerous times, and yet, his card only featured the Resistance emblem, not the Jedi Order. In what many may consider the best scene in the entire movie, we saw Rey's true Jedi power on display when she squared off against Kylo Ren. After this villain struck down Finn, his lightsaber was resting in the snow, but when Kylo Ren tried to use the force to make it come to him, the Jedi weapon wouldn't budge, until we saw it fly into the hands of a bewildered Rey. Her powers will certainly be explored further in the subsequent sequels, but this moment will be discussed by fans in far reaches of the galaxy for years and years to come.
13 The Return of Luke Skywalker... FINALLY
Since Luke Skywalker wasn't shown in any trailers, clips, TV spots, posters or photos for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, many weren't sure how large of a role he would even have in the movie. As it turns out, Luke Skywalker was only revealed in the movie's final moments, after the map to his whereabouts was finally completed when R2-D2 came to life once again. Rey is the only character to interact with this Jedi master, returning his lightsaber that Maz Kanata had kept safe all these years, but he says nothing to Rey, only gazing at her with a look that fans will be dissecting and analyzing from now until the release of Star Wars: Episode VIII in May 2017. There is plenty of speculation that Rey, who was abandoned on Jakku years ago and is clearly strong with The Force, is Luke's daughter, but we don't know for sure. Mark Hamill has confirmed that this Jedi master will be back in Star Wars: Episode VIII, and scenes have already been shot at Skellig Michael Island, where the Jedi sanctuary Skywalker has been hiding was shot. We'll have to wait and see if Star Wars: Episode VIII will pick up directly where Star Wars: The Force Awakens left off, but unfortunately we'll have to wait until May 2017 to find out for sure.
That wraps up our breakdown of the best scenes in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which is currently playing in theaters worldwide. Star Wars: Episode VIII won't hit theaters until May 26, 2017, but fans will be treated to the first spinoff, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, arriving on December 16, 2016. Do you have any scenes that you would add to this list? Let us know what you think and stay tuned for more on all of the upcoming Star Wars movies, as soon as more information is unveiled.