Star Wars is, for the most part, a series built on classic ideas. This post shows how the first trilogy follows an archetypal Hero’s Journey, but there have been a number of times we’ve been caught by surprise with clever characters or events:
Fire when ready.
In the first Star Wars movie, it’s clear from the very first scene the threat of the Empire. What gives us a real surprise is just how far they’re willing to go to stamp out all rebellion: destroying an entire planet. The scene of the Death Star’s obliteration of Alderaan tells us the Empire is not one to take half measures.
I do believe they think I am some sort of god.
Surprised to find Ewoks on this list? Nobody expects Ewoks. The Empire certainly didn’t! Showing they clearly are more than just half-pint Wookies, the Ewoks show the Empire exactly what they mean to do to protect their home, siding with the rebels and helping them destroy the second, even larger Death Star. They’re like if Chuck Norris went to Build-a-Bear and made an army.
I killed them. I killed them all.
In a movie none-too beloved, there’s plenty to dislike about Episode II: Attack of the Clones. The romance scenes double the length of the movie and add nothing, the CGI is, while well-done, overwrought and overpowering, and Anakin’s simpering angst over things the audience has no emotional knowledge of make most of the movie a drag. An exception is not only the death of his mother (something his dreams foresaw), but his evil and brutal extermination of the entire tribe of Tusken Raiders responsible. It’s an action placing him on the path to the dark side, but unfortunately one sandwiched between two halves of a clunky film.
Execute Order 66.
In perhaps the most emotional scene of the prequels, Clone soldiers all over the galaxy turn their weapons on their one-time allies, the Jedi. As they fall, the other Jedi feel the destruction through the Force, and lead to the finale of the galaxy’s first (chronologically) on-screen conflict. Some have said the scene is lifted from The Godfather, but no one can deny this scene’s surprising power.
No, Luke. I am your father.
The sudden family member surprise has been done a thousand times, but none more shocking and well-done than at the climax of Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. The reason this reveal (that Darth Vader is actually Luke’s father, in case, for some reason, you don’t know) works so well is Luke’s attempt to be like his heroic, Jedi father . . . only to be told his father is the villain he’s been fighting for two movies. It brings Luke’s heroic resolve down around his ears and sets up the final movie as something not to miss.
Thanks for reading! We hope you enjoyed this list of Star Wars surprises. Come back next week for more fun fan information!