Awesome: Return of the Jedi

  • When Luke ignites his new lightsaber after escaping his execution. Always has me grinning stupidly.
    • Or the moment right before that where it is made clear, via a combination of body langauge and camera cues, that the heroes are about to put their plan into action.
  • Flying into the Death Star is crazy enough, but then the TIE Fighters come in after them.
  • During the Battle of Endor, Green Leader aka Arvel Crynyd's fighter gets shot down. As his ship begins to break apart, the pilot manages to crash it clean through the bridge of the Executor, causing it to lose all control and smash into the Death Star. Best. Death. Ever.
    • Not only that, but according to the Expanded Universe, after the battle there was an award named after the pilot called the Crynyd Award, given for conspicuous bravery in space combat.
    • The Rebels also named a captured Star Destroyer after the guy.
    • It's worth noting that the Executor is so large, expensive, durable, and armed, that it is basically the equivalent of an entire fleet by itself. It's also a huge propaganda and psychological warfare tool, overshadowed only by the Death Star. The fact that a single fighter managed to basically obliterate it with what was essentially a pinprick at exactly the right place makes it one of the greatest achievements of the Rebel Alliance. On top of that, it was something that could only be done by ramming (a space superiority fighter lacks the ordnance necessary to do that kind of damage), which means he did it quite deliberately, making it the single greatest Dying Moment of Awesome in the entire series.
  • Watching the Executor, a ship so large it literally overshadowed the Star Destroyers from The Empire Strikes Back, get destroyed by plummeting into the Death Star, with the bridge crew of Ackbar's ship cheering triumphantly. Admiral Ackbar himself is in complete disbelief and just slumps into his chair slack-jawed as he watches.
    • Before that, there's the scene where while Ackbar orders his fleet to concentrate fire on the Executor, if you look out the window, there's a regular Star Destroyer exploding in the distance. It's like Lucas wants to show us what a Star Destroyer looks like being destroyed before showing us the destruction of the Executor.
  • "I am a Jedi, like my father before me." One of the most powerful scenes in the entire series happens when Luke throws away his lightsaber following his revelation from beating Vader.
    • Also doubles as a heartwarming moment, since it shows to Anakin/Vader that despite all he's done, his son still believes in his inner goodness.
      • This is made even more awesome as it's the first time that Palpatine has been really suffered a major setback, if you compile all the previous five movies (including the prequels), throwing away those he considered useless and manipulating everyone up to that point. Luke was the first one not to be swayed by his words, and he didn't like that.
      • And then, finally, there's the act that solidifies Vader's Heel-Face Turn: bodily lifting the Emperor overhead and tossing him into the Death Star's reactor core, saving his son's life and dooming his own in the process.
  • Instead of seeking cover like everyone else when Leia threatens to blow up Jabba, Boba Fett quickly picks up his blaster carbine.
  • After being captured by Jabba and made to wear a very revealing "bikini", Leia strangles Jabba using the same chain he was using to keep her prisoner.
  • Luke taking down three biker scouts during the speeder bike chase by the following methods: Jumping from the speeding bike piloted by Leia onto the back of one scout's and throwing him off. Then using that bike's blaster to shoot down another ahead of him. And then after falling off it, using his lightsaber to deflect the blasts of the third speeder scout and stepping out of the way and slicing the steering vane so it spins out of control and crashes into a tree.
  • During the fight on Endor, Leia is wounded, and they are cornered by two Stormtroopers while Han is huddled over her making sure she's alright. As the Stormtroopers order Han to put his hands up, he sees that Leia has discretely drawn her sidearm (not entirely unlike how Han once did when cornered in a bar on Tatooine...)
  • When Luke ignites his lightsaber for the first time, Chewie's reaction in the background could best be translated as, "Oh, hell yeah!"
  • The entire climax of the duel between Luke and Vader. The music slowly builds as Vader searches the throne room for where Luke is hiding, continually pushing him in an effort to break his cool. Then he finds the secret Luke has been keeping: Leia. The music continues to build as Vader threatens that if Luke will not be turned, Leia may instead. At which point Luke explodes with righteous anger born of his love for his sister, igniting his lightsaber one last time and screaming in challenge. The music and fury of the action to follow as Luke battles and overcomes Vader stands as the emotional climax and most powerful moment not of the film, but the entire franchise.
  • "You have failed, your Highness. I am a Jedi, like my father before me." Doesn't matter than the Emperor immediately got lightning happy, that was the moment the Good Guys won. Probably the second greatest Moment of Awesome in the entire series.
    • Looking at the progression of events around that point, that scene is when the tables turned and the good guys started to win. After that declaration, the Shield Generator blew up, Executor was destroyed, and the Death Star Run into the reactor began. Everything began to fall apart for Palpatine.
    • Just the fact that Luke's personal greatest triumph is then, when he wins without fighting - when he wins by not fighting. We saw earlier that he clearly has the courage to face giant monsters - we see here that he has a depth of emotional courage which runs every bit as deep. By believing, and by not acting, and by trusting in Anakin, he brought his father back.
    • It's even more awesome when you look at the history of the series. Palpatine has had everything go according to his plan for over 30 years (and, if you go by the Darth Plagueis novel, since he became an adult.) He hasn't suffered a major loss in his entire life, with even the destruction of the first Death Star not taking away his cool. Then Luke came in. He's the first person ever to do something the Emperor never expected-make him lose his cool.
  • Death Star battles seem to be powered by Moment of Awesome. In the finale of the battle, we first see Luke barely escape in Vader's ship, then Wedge makes good his escape, and finally Lando and the Millennium Falcon come blasting out of Death Star 2 with their hair on fire.
    Lando: YAA-HAH!!
  • Palpatine's "Oh, I'm afraid the deflector shield will be quite operational when your friends arrive..." It's just the way he says it, a mockery of a friendly old man's concern.
  • The Force Lightning assault has to be one for Palpatine. He shows up in the movie, and he's just a frail old man. Everyone is terrified of him, but you're never sure why. Then Luke throws his offer back in his face, and: "If you will not be will be DESTROYED!".
    • And the best part about that is the way he says it. The entire movie his tone of voice has been, as someone stated previously, like a mockery of a kind old man because he is so assured in his belief that he will win. But when Luke refuses to turn, he drops that tone and so the way he says that line, how it is just dripping in pure cold hatred and evil... classic.
    • If you watch the films in the order they were made, there's the impact of seeing the lightning for the first time. Palpatine gives some death threats etc, and you expect some big lightsaber fight or force choking or what have you. Instead, out of freaking nowhere he starts shooting LIGHTNING at Luke. While the lightning has been downgraded and made much more commonplace since then, back then not even Darth Vader could do it (now we know why, but the EU wasn't as developed at the time). It made the Emperor a grade-A badass.
    • Keep in mind that the Emperor is suffering from a Villainous Breakdown because, for once, his plans are failing. That doesn't stop him being awesome.
    • According to the novelization, the lightning was nothing less than a straight-up abomination of the Force, Palpatine using his sheer overwhelming hatred to break the very rules that bound the universe together. Consider that even in the prequels, we only see two characters who ever use it: Palpatine and his apprentice, Count Dooku.
  • After Vader has failed repeatedly to lure his son to the Dark Side, he finally discovers Luke's Berserk Button:
    "Give yourself to the Dark Side. It is the only way you can save your friends. Yes, your thoughts betray you. Your feelings for them are strong. Especially for... Sister. So, you have a twin sister. Your feelings have now betrayed her too. Obi-Wan was wise to hide her from me. Now his failure is complete. If you will not turn to the Dark Side, then perhaps she will."
    • The music cue that played at that moment especially made it powerful.
    • Luke's cry of "Never!" and then nearly taking Vader's head off in the duel was also awesome.
      • Even better. Immediately after Luke's Big "NEVER!", Vader quickly turns in his direction with a rapid Vader Breath... Yes, Luke got Darth Vader to gasp!.
  • Princess Leia choking Jabba to death in Return of the Jedi. After he objectified her the way he did, she was able to turn the tables. The novelization of this scene makes it clear that she's calling on the Force to help her with it.
  • The Emperor's arrival at the Death Star in ROTJ with a huge assembly of Imperial officers and stormtroopers awaiting in the hangar, a multitude of TIE fighters flying outside and the John Williams Imperial March blasting loud as his royal guards and then finally he disembarks from his shuttle.
  • The first point-of -view shot of the ROTJ speeder bike chase.
  • "Now witness the firepower of this fully armed and operational battle station!"
  • C3PO has his Moment of Awesome... it is, as befits him, rather subdued, but - when the Ewoks capture the "Pitiful little band", and they see their Golden God, and bow down to him - well, that's not it; it's a few moments later, when he speaks to the tribesmen, and Luke asks in surprise "Can you understand what they're saying?" and, of course, Threepio responds: "Oh yes, Master Luke... I am versed in over six million forms of communication!" Don't act so surprised, your highness.
    • Also, remember that C3PO has been complaining about the adventures he has been in, always being in danger, actually being nearly destroyed several times... but, in the end, he becomes the one that allows the Rebel victory, because it was his presence in all those adventures that allowed him to tell the Ewoks what was going on in the rest of the galaxy.
  • Luke walking off the plank over the Sarlacc pit, turning, grabbing the edge, flipping back onto the skiff, catching the lightsaber Artoo fires from Jabba's sail barge, igniting it, and proceeding to kick ass.
    • The buildup in that scene is awesomely constructed, especially the music, which was recycled for the teaser trailers for Phantom Menace, if you recall.
    • "You should have bargained, Jabba. That's the last mistake you'll ever make." C'mon! How badass is that!?!
  • THE ENTIRE BATTLE OF ENDOR IN SPACE. Some specific moments are
    Lando: Yes, I said closer! Move as close you can, and engage those Star Destroyers at point blank range!
    Ackbar: At that range we won't last long against those Star Destroyers!
    Lando: We'll last longer than we will against that Death Star! And we might just take a few of them with us!
    • Think of it this way: Your fleet is wedged between a shielded superweapon slash space station capable of destroying large cruisers and an enemy fleet. What do you do? Go in headlong against said fleet! This leaves the enemy forces with a Sadistic Choice: Lose large numbers in direct combat or fire the superweapon and risk disastrous amounts of friendly fire. Genius!
    • Commander Merrejk's total "Oh God we're dead" moment while Piett's shouting to "intensify the forward batteries" of the Executor and Merrejk sees off in the distance the out of control A-Wing coming straight for them.
    Piett: Intensify the forward firepower!
    Merrejk: TOO LATE!
  • With all the Luke/Vader action, it is easy to forget Han. In a flash of genius, he gets the men in the base to come out by pretending the Rebels have surrendered, only to jump them outside.
  • The Ewoks' Big Damn Heroes moment when they rescue the rebels from the Empire.
    • Though it must be admitted that the one stormtrooper who manages to actually laserblast one of those damn teddy bears always seems to get a cheer from the audience.
    • The Big Badass Battle Sequence on Endor is kicked off by none other than the Gang of Critters.
  • Leia pretending to be badly hurt and luring two stormtroopers near so she could blast them away was awesome. Topped off by a callback of Han telling her he loves her, to which she responds "I know."
  • Luke's first entrance into Jabba's Palace. The door slowly opens, and a lone robed figure stands there. Then he immediately starts striding purposefully into the darkness, pausing only to casually Force-choke a few guards that get in his way. The sequence is shot in such a way that the viewer knows a full-on Jedi beatdown is about to begin. The Hero's Journey is complete in that moment: Luke Skywalker left Tatooine a naive farmer, but he returned a Jedi.
    • And then there's more evidence of that journey's impact when Jabba drops Luke into the Rancor pit. The slavering beast sets its sights on Luke, and within three minutes, Luke takes it down. With a bone.
  • During the battle at the Sarlacc pit, Lando gets thrown off a skiff into the sand. Han, attempting to save him, gets his foot tangled in ropes hanging from the skiff, which keep him from getting thrown down as well. A tentacle grabs Lando and starts pulling him in, when Han gets a blaster from Chewie and blasts it, one-handed, hanging upside-down, and mostly blind.
  • Chewie along with two Ewoks taking control of a scout walker and turning the tide of the forest battle which had been going badly for the Ewoks. Also it allowed Han to use it to trick the remaining Imperials inside the bunker to open the doors.
    • Chewie's Walker shooting out the other walker becomes a rallying point for the Ewoks. Whereas they had had trouble dealing with the troops and the walkers, this time around their attacks (making a walker slip and fall over a bunch of logs, doing a "nutcracker" on another) are much more effective. We see a bunch of primitive, tribal creatures actually hold their own against the baddest army in the galaxy. They had every reason to celebrate that night at the victory party.
  • Remember that awesome "I love you./I know." from the previous episode? Called Back with a role-reverse during the Battle of Endor, and it was every bit as awesomely romantic then, too.
  • The scene where Luke surrenders himself to Vader in Jedi and addresses him as "Father". When Vader prods Luke that he accepted the truth, Luke firmly responds "I accept the truth that you were once Anakin Skywalker, my father." With a simple turn of phrase, Luke shows Vader how he has grown from a boy who was capable of a Heroic BSOD upon hearing Vader's little emotional sucker punch to a mature man who accepts an uncomfortable truth his way.
  • Still failing to turn his son, Vader watches him get fried by the Emperor, and in a moment of clarity remembers the noble Jedi he was. He then owns the Emperor and seals the victory of the Rebels. Maybe the greatest Moment of Awesome in all of Star Wars.
    • Also, arguably, the only bit Lucas himself has in tying the original series to the prequel trilogy. Watch the death scene again, and it's arguable that Vader finally realizes that he was always whining about other people limiting him, but it was always him — in staring at his ruined stump of a hand, just like Luke's, it's got to be a little apparent to him that Luke's been through almost exactly the same kind of life he had, but worse on almost every level, all without giving in to the Dark Side. It's very hard to hear in the film, but just before he lifts Palpatine, you hear the exact point it finally hits him:
    Vader: No......NO!
    • This is even better in the NPR radio adaptation, with Brock Peters' incredible delivery in this exchange:
    Palpatine: Put me down!
    Vader: I will put you down. Down the reactor shaft! Down to your death!
    Palpatine: I am your master!
    Vader: Darth Vader's master, BUT NOT ANAKIN SKYWALKER'S!
  • Luke gives his father a proper send-off, while the magical musical Force theme plays for the last time, and then we see the rebels and Ewoks (and in the HD remake, civilizations throughout the galaxy) celebrating freedom. And two Jedi ghosts watch in approval...and then a third Jedi joins them: the final proof of Anakin's redemption.