41 of The Most Shocking Moments of the Star Wars Films

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Luke appears to be on Crait — but isn’t (The Last Jedi)

Clone Luke

This one would be ranked higher if The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson hadn’t given hints in the film that Luke was on a planet other than the one where the Resistance had just been decimated by the First Order. It was still a surprise, however, as we saw a new power of Force projection.

Lightning comes out of Emperor Palpatine’s hands (Episode VI – Return of the Jedi)

Emperor Palpatine

No one knew that Palpatine had this power, and then all of a sudden, Palpatine was blasting Luke with it and Luke was on the ground, writhing in pain and struggling.

Han comes to Luke’s aid in the Death Star run (Episode IV – A New Hope)

Millennium Falcon

“WAHOO! You’re all clear, kid; now let’s blow this thing and go home.” Those were the words Han said to Luke after Han and Chewie surprisingly came to the battle of Yavin at the Death Star. Han shot a TIE fighter, distracting Vader, making Vader’s ship crash into another TIE fighter. That TIE fighter explodes against the trench wall of the Death Star and Vader’s ship spins out of control into space. That indeed cleared up Luke to shoot his proton torpedoes into the Death Star’s exhaust port, leading to an implosion of the Death Star and an improbable victory for the Rebel Alliance.

Han’s help was surprising and he had to come to the battle because he left the Rebel Alliance before the battle began.

Vader becomes good, saving his son (Episode VI — Return of the Jedi)

Especially before we saw who he was when the prequels came around, we thought Vader was the quintessential baddie! It was shocking to see that masked, robe figure turn to lift up his master on the dark side.

Rey’s parents are nobodies (Star Wars: The Last Jedi)

Rey; rise of skywalker novel; palpatine clone
Rey seeking to discover who she is in The Last Jedi. Image: Lucasfilm Ltd.

So much hype had been built around who Rey’s parents could possibly be – and then the opposite was revealed given that the people who were speculated to be Rey’s parents were somebodies.

Obi-Wan Kenobi speaks to Luke after dying (Episode VI – A New Hope)

x-wing; star wars
A squadron of T65-B X-wings approach the Death Star in Star Wars: A New Hope. (Image: Lucasfilm Ltd.)

The first time a Jedi communicated with someone after passing away was surprising. Obi-Wan speaks to Luke as Luke pilots an X-wing during the battle of Yavin.

Chancellor Palpatine pulls out a lightsaber (Episode III – Revenge of the Sith)

Darth Plagueis; Sheev Palpatine; Trevorrow script
Supreme Chancellor Palpatine tells Anakin Skywalker the tragedy of Darth Plagueis The Wise. (Image: Lucasfilm)

Because of the order of the Star Wars films, whereas we saw Emperor Palpatine before Senator and Chancellor Palpatine, we knew that Palpatine was a Sith Lord before we saw the revelation of that in Revenge of the Sith. However, we didn’t know that Palpatine had a lightsaber – and never saw one before that.

Shmi Skywalker says that Anakin Skywalker doesn’t have a father (Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace)

Mother's Day

What?! With the arrival of babies is usually fathers!

The quirky, diminutive, pointy-eared creature talking to Luke as Luke seeks Yoda is … Yoda (Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back)

Image: Lucasfilm

At first, that creature seemed to just be a funny being who skirmished with R2-D2. Then it was revealed that he was something more.

Greeting the heroes on Cloud City is … Vader (Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back)

Lando Calrissian seemed to be a friend of Han’s. So no one thought that Lando would put Han, Princess Leia, Chewie and friends in harm’s way, let alone in the path of a Dark Lord of the Sith.

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