Countdown To 'The Force Awakens': Remembering 'Star Wars: A New Hope'

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is almost upon us and you know what that means... it's time to revisit the rest of the Star Wars saga for the thousandth time (give or take a few viewings). To get through the final days leading up the biggest movie geek event of the past decade, we're dedicating each day this week to one of the other six Star Wars movies. It's time to chat about what we love about each movie and what we don't love. It's time to bring up the common nitpicks and the most beloved scenes, the tiny little details we love and the the concepts that don't get enough attention.

Consider this your invitation to use the comments section below as a catch-all for any kind of Star Wars conversation you desire. This week is for you. The fan. Enjoy it.

Sunday we took a look back at The Phantom Menace, Monday we looked back at Attack of the Clones., Tuesday we looked at Revenge of the Sith. Today's subject: Star Wars: A New Hope.

Remembering Star Wars: A New Hope

Luke Skywalker


Luke Skywalker, the Brat

Everyone always makes fun of that scene where Luke complains to his Uncle Owen about having to do extra work "But I was going to Tosche Station to pick up some power converters!" he whines in a line that has become geek shorthand for someone selfishly moaning about having to prioritize something other than themselves. But this is the aspect of Luke Skywalker that I love the most. I love that he's a brat. I love that he's a total teenager who'd rather hang out with his buddies than think about the greater conflicts threatening the universe. I love how he turns down the call to action because he's scared. If Luke was even remotely cool from the beginning, his transformation into a warrior wouldn't mean a thing. Star Wars lets us see a kid grow up by actually treating him as an actual kid.

StudyingSkywalkersEpIV_Luke_Obi-Wan_R2_TatooineThe Filthy Universe

Everything in Star Wars is broken and dirty and in desperate need of a new coat of paint. At the time, this used universe was revolutionary. Nearly 40 later, it's still powerful cinematic shorthand. The Star Wars galaxy is not a paradise. It's rundown and operated by desperate men and women who can barely keep their spaceships flying. Other sci-fi shows and movies have borrowed this aesthetic, but this is still the high watermark. Realizing that the Millennium Falcon is an actual hunk of junk makes those who pilot it all the more heroic and all the more human.

Peter Cushing Peter Cushing Doing His Thing

Years before Christopher Lee would grace the Star Wars saga with his presence, another horror icon lent his unique flavor of villainy to the saga. Peter Cushing was a masterful performer and his Grand Moff Tarkin is one unpleasant fellow. As the Imperial officer holding Darth Vader's leash, he's icy and cruel and oh-so-casually British. He blows up entire planets as if he was requesting a cup of tea. Future Star Wars movies would lean hard on respectable British actors lending gravitas to various villains, but no one can top Tarkin and no one can top Cushing. It's a shame he only gets one movie to do his thing.



The Baffling Case of Porkins

Oh, the fat X-Wing pilot who dies first is named Porkins? It's the kind of dumb weird choice that's so stupid that it's almost admirable. There's a reason this guy is more of a meme than anything else at this point. Star Wars fans have to own this lest it embarrass them too much.

a new hope lightsaber duelThe Slowest Lightsaber Duel Ever

Obi-Wan Kenobi's showdown with Darth Vader on the Death Star is one of the most important scenes in the entire saga. Two old friends, a teacher and a student, face each other for the first time in decades. The last time they met, one mutilated the other. The years have been kind to neither. Their clash should shake the heavens. And while the scene features terrific acting and each dramatic beat functions well, the fight itself is... well, let's just be perfectly honest: totally lame. An actor wearing a helmet that limited his vision awkwardly swinging a laser word at an old man has nothing on the duels that would follow in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.