Yeah, we’ve seen “Return of the Jedi” enough times to memorize the number of gray hairs on Yoda’s head. Yet, our favorite moments have yet to lose their luster. Since “Jedi” is turning 30 we decided to nerf herd our favorite moments together.
10. C-3PO: THE AUDIO BOOK
Who needs the Cliff’s Notes to the “Star Wars” saga when you’ve got C-3PO? As Luke and the rest of our ragtag band of Rebels chill in Ewok village, Threepio gives his new fuzzy friends a crash course in Nerd 101. The droid explains the events of Episodes IV, V and part of VI, complete with sound effects. We thought only Darth Vader could breathe like that.
9. THAT ROCKING RANCOR
Knowing that just below the party at Jabba’s palace lurks some sort of creature is pretty darn creepy. When Luke plummets to the depths of the dungeon we see just how wicked cool this thing is. The giant, monstrous Rancor may just be Godzilla’s galactic cousin, and it doesn’t take us long to fall in love with the badass beast. Of course, we want Luke to escape. But after the Jedi wacks the behemoth, the Rancor’s keeper isn’t the only one who gets a little misty.
8. THE SISTER REVEAL
It’s big news in the galaxy when Luke learns Leia is actually his sister. The love triangle no longer exists between Leia, Luke, and Han, and the space pirate is one happy camper. Professional movie hecklers get some satisfaction, too. This now gives them the opportunity to yell “incest” every time Luke and Leia kiss during public screenings of “A New Hope” and “Empire.”
7. WATCH OUT FOR EWOKS
The anti-Ewok campaign among “Star Wars” fans still exists 30 years after “Jedi’s” release. In defense of the alien teddy bears, we love to cheer them on as they stomp the Empire’s technological warfare with rocks, arrows, sticks and homemade hang gliders. Remember, the Ewoks aren’t so adorable. At one point in the film, they contemplate having a Luke lunch, a Han sandwich, and chewing on Chewbacca.
6. GHOSTS WITH THE MOST
It all wraps up in a nice bow when the ghosts of Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda, and Anakin Skywalker appear before Luke at the end of the film. We prefer the Sebastian Shaw version of Anakin rather than Hayden Christensen, but whatever. Those Jedi specters do have us jonesing for a “Star Wars”/“Ghostbusters” crossover. Jedi mind tricks versus proton packs!
5. RUMBLE ON THE SAIL BARGE
The fisticuffs on Jabba’s sail barge provide one righteous rumble. It’s the first time Luke turns on his saber in the film, and he puts it to good use. Leia gets serious payback for Jabba’s sexual harassment, not to mention the fact the giant slug was using her boyfriend as a piece of home furnishing. Our only complaint is Boba Fett’s untimely demise. After Han accidentally knocks the bounty hunter into the sarlacc pit, Boba has to spend the rest of the flick in the belly of the beast.
4. DEATH STAR BATTLE
When the Rebel forces prepare to attack the second Death Star, it gives Lando a chance to do the right thing and show off his skills piloting the Falcon. (Remember, Han won the ship from Lando in a game of sabacc.) Wedge gets some action, too. But the real reason we fast forward to this part of the movie is to hear Admiral Ackbar proclaim, “It’s a trap!” Memes will never be the same.
3. SLAVE LEIA
In a misogynistic move, Jabba the Hutt reduces the regal Princess Leia Organa to eye candy by forcing her to don a skimpy dress, and a collar and chain. Sexist? Sure, but that image continues to help fan boys make it through puberty. Cue the pause button.
2. SPEEDER BIKE CHASE
You don’t get much cooler than flying motorcycles blazing through the redwood forest. ’Nuff said.
1. HELMET REVEAL
Call us sentimentalists, but our all-time favorite “Jedi” scene finds Luke removing Vader’s helmet and getting to look in his pop’s eyes for the first time. The make-up job on actor Sebastian Shaw stills holds up today. But is it just us, or does the unmasked Vader look a bit like Humpty Dumpty after he’s fallen off the wall?