Fellow Star Wars fanatics, our day of hopeful victory is almost here, and if you’re anything like me you have been practicing your binge-watching skills with the rest of the chapters in the franchise to prepare. The Force Awakens brings with it a new, likely iconic, menacing lightsaber that set the internet ablaze when it was featured in the first trailer that dropped for the film. Debates have ensued over whether this new saber is badass or bad news for the reputation of the classiest weapon around. So on that note let’s revisit some of the most badass moments the lightsaber has given us over the years:
Yoda vs. Count Dooku (Attack of the Clones)
Yes, the CGI rendering of Yoda is abysmal compared to the original Yoda we know and love, but this fight is one we were all tapping our feet to see happen. If the special effects that are so highly abhorred can be looked past, the battle between Yoda and Dooku is actually pretty fun. They settle on the traditional lightsaber combat after matching wits in all other areas of the force, and watching tiny Yoda fly actual circles around Dooku is well, kind of badass.
Mace Windu vs. Darth Sidious (Revenge of the Sith)
Samuel L. Jackson as a Jedi knight is one of the most redeeming things about the prequels, and Samuel L. Jackson using a lightsaber is, of course, nothing less than badass. Darth Sidious also rarely yields his lightsaber, opting instead to utilize the darker aspects of the Force, which he resorts to by the end of the duel after he’s bested in the Jedi’s weapon.
Obi-Wan vs. Ponda Baba (A New Hope)
Here is a prime example of bringing a gun to a knife fight. Obi-Wan gives us our very first glimpse of what a lightsaber can do when he slices off the arm of Ponda Baba after he threatens Luke in the Cantina. This encounter does more than just showcase the deadliness of this weapon, it also gives Luke a rude awakening. He’s swiftly dumped into the danger of not just the way of life for a Jedi, but also association with creatures who don’t bat an eye at the casual violence taking place around them.
Luke Skywalker vs. Darth Vader (Return of the Jedi)
This is the moment Luke has been preparing for since he found out Vader was his father, and, although Return of the Jedi isn’t without its flaws, this badass confrontation doesn’t disappoint. Both father and son are desperate to turn the other to the side each has chosen, and the anger that begins to fuel Luke leaves the outcome of this battle up in the air until the last moment.
Obi-Wan vs .Darth Vader (A New Hope)
Master and apprentice face one another for the last time in a fight that both of them can feel coming before it happens. Although the duel in itself isn’t the most exciting one to watch in the series, it’s one of the most symbolic. This is the first real lightsaber battle in Star Wars, and it marks the sacrifice Obi-Wan makes in order to best help Luke set out on his path to bring balance back to the Force.
Darth Maul vs. Qui Gon and Obi-Wan (The Phantom Menace)
The injustice of the prequels is that the best villain and the best lightsaber battle of the trilogy was buried in the worst entry. Darth Maul is, simply, a badass villain, accompanied by an equally badass double-sided lightsaber. One of the longest fight sequences in the series, this scene showcases the rare use of CGI that actually works in these films, and the use of force fields to separate the characters right in the heat of the action amp up the intensity and create a sense of dread that’s entirely unique.
Han Solo vs. Tauntaun (The Empire Strikes Back)
One of the most absolutely badass uses of a lightsaber doesn’t come from a fight scene, and as a matter of fact it doesn’t even come from a Jedi. Han Solo, sly, resourceful devil he is, uses Luke’s lightsaber to slice open a tauntaun in order to stuff Luke inside to keep him warm. Only Han could have pulled this off, and made dissecting and spilling the entrails of a giant disgusting animal look cool.
Luke Skywalker vs. Darth Vader (The Empire Strikes Back)
The pivotal moment in the franchise that changes it all. Of course the top two most badass moments both emerge from The Empire Strikes Back. Darth Vader tosses Luke Skywalker around like a rag doll, toying with him before turning his world upside down. This encounter not only makes us realize how deadly Vader is, but how far Luke still has to go on his journey to take down the dark side. Vader versus Skywalker and the outcome is a devastating representation of this flawless film as a whole.