Second Battle of Kuat, the Consortium capturing the Eclipse, a ship so big, it has a turbolaser that is powerful enough to blow a Super Star Destroyer in half, with 1 shot! Just going to town with that weapon is priceless, as it destroys anything that you target with it: IS Ds, Mon Cal cruisers, Space Stations, if it moves it can get blown up by the weapon. You should be cackling with glee when you fire it the first time.
You also own Thrawn to the point of having to retreat in an earlier mission.
The entirety of Dark Horse's By the Emperor's Hand is a Crowning Moment of Awesome for Mara Jade, especially the final arc in which she infiltrates Black Nebula's base, fools the villain of the piece into thinking she has incredible technology to help her win consistently in his casino (which he can then buy from her mysterious backers), and eventually kills him with a lightsaber embedded inside a bust of Xizor, to whom he had been the Understudy. But the greatest crowning moment of all has to be issue three, wherein Mara escapes from Ysanne Isard's clutches and makes her and all of Imperial Intelligence look like utter fools. Perhaps the best line to represent this moment is:
Mara Jade: "Ysanne Isard...you've left your datapad plugged in."
The Knights Of The Old Republic comic series (a prequel to the game) is basically a series of incredible awesome punctuated by a ridiculous number of Crowning Moments of Awesome. These include:
In the first story-arc, Commencement, Zayne and Gryph escaping five homicidal Jedi Masters and making it into the underworld of Taris; the Last Resort's escape from the planet; the Last Resort's arrival at the Taris asteroid, rescuing Zayne and Jarael from Zayne's former Master Lucien Draay; and best of all Jarael's rescue of Zayne from all five Masters complete with his lightsaber and ominous red spacesuit. Zayne even gets one in the epilogue when he contacts the Masters, with little trace of the old Comedic Hero about him, and gives them a chilling We Will Meet Again speech, ending with "And if I do end up collapsing the Jedi Order, just remember one thing. You started it."
In the second story-arc, Flashpoint, when the Mandalorians invade the planet and Camper wants to go back for Jarael, Zayne gets their loader droid, Elbee to bring Camper with them by speaking thusly: "Elbee! Cargo: Camper—to the loading ramp!"; later, when attacked by a Mandalorian warrior, he issues another command: "Elbee! Cargo: Mandalorian—to orbit!"
When Rohlan takes over the Last Resort, Camper informs him "This is my ship, Mandie! [brandishes Jarael's energy-staff] And this belong to the girl you took! [hits Rohlan with the energy staff, paralyzing him] Let's trade!"
Then, of course, there's Gryph and Zayne's utterly brilliant, incredibly complicated Batman Gambit to get the Mandalorians off Flashpoint and rescue Jarael and the captured Jedi. It goes perfectly.To an extent... It gives Demagol an opening to switch places with Rohlan for most of the comic's run, leading to the cataclysmic events of the final arc.
In the Vindication Arc, Gryph chews out Q'Anilia for never really understanding Zayne, as well as acknowledging that Zayne's "Prophecy" was his idea, and that he was technically the Sith the masters had seen in their vision. Q'Anilia's shock was absolutely priceless.
When Zayne tries to save Raana Tey in Knight's of Suffering; Think about it; This is the woman who helped kill his friends, framed him for murder, persauded his girlfriend to try and kill him, and who helped destroy his life more then almost all of the other masters (except Lucien). The fact that he was able to forgive her for all of that was just incredible.
Haazen gets one during The Reveal of his plan- he's launched a coup against the Jedi Council, has seized control of of the Republic fleet in orbit and is using it to rain down destruction on his enemies, and LucienDraay has his head against the wall weeping while he calmly explains his masterstroke. Then a bolt from one of the ships blows out the window Haazen is standing by, shredding his cloak and knocking everyone else off their feet, but when the smoke clears Haazen is still standing there, now revealed to be clad in Sith armor and looking like Satan surrounded by the fires of hell.
Haazen: The Prophecy of Five is fulfilled. Let the fire of truth rain down.
Exar Kun in The Sith War - he waltzes into the Galactic Senate while Ulic Qel-Droma is on trial, freezes the entire chamber in place with a Sith spell, forces the head of the Galactic Republic to say they are all weak pawns of the Jedi (and then drops him, possibly dead, into a puddle of his own goo), duels (and trivially murders) his former master on the Senate Floor, is so unimpressed by a former fellow student of his trying to attack him that he just throws her across the room rather than waste his time fighting her, and waltzes right back out again (with Ulic), leaving the entire room still frozen in abject horror. It's pretty difficult to top, as far as 'you are all utterly impotent to stop me' moments go.
In one of the Star Wars: Empire comics, we had Able One Seven Oh Seven, a clone trooper who survived in a jungle for twenty years. That he survived is awesome itself, but he really accounted for himself well when the Rebellion and the Empire landed on his world, and later joined the Alliance.
Star Wars: Legacy issue 4 which is about a squad of Stormtroopers ends with them fighting and killing a ''Sith Lord who's armed with a force whip and lightsaber" by shooting him in the back.
But the shooting's still not as awesome as what happen right before, when one of them, an ex-Mandalorian named Hondo Karr, picks a fight with said Sith Lord with a knife, which provided the distraction for the shooting.
Admiral Gar Stazi turn the trap laid by the Imperial fleet over its head and able to steal the Advanced Star Destroyer in Star Wars: Legacy 21. Him also giving badass retort to Valan's offer to surrender also makes him living up his name of GAR.
Also in Legacy, Cade Skywalker (Luke's great-grandson) gets a hold of a powerful Sith artifact called the Muur Talisman. The Sith Lord whose soul inhabits the talisman offers Cade all the power needed to take over the galaxy... and Cade literally just gives him a big "screw you" before destroying the talisman without a second thought.
Boba Fett clears out a flying Imperial concentration camp for a pittance, just to prove he's Boba motherfucking Fett. He even guns down the Mengele analogue who charges at him with a lightsaber, reminding him that "Jedi weapon doesn't make you Jedi". Then, when the Captain threatens to blow up the ship with them both on it, Fett just turns and walks away, promising to find and kill him later...luring the Captain out of the pilot's seat so Fett can kill him. Boba Fett is badass.
There was also the time that Fett and Vader went Back-to-Back Badasses to slaughter a neverending wave of bounty hunters, mercenaries, and assorted scum looking to make names for themselves. Why didn't Fett join them? Because he is that rare breed of person who doesn't fear Vader, but respects him.
A short story by Alan Moore brought Vader's awesomeness to unknown territories. The story starts with him playing some chess-like game (in which human-scaled pieces are burned on the spot when they're defeated) with some high profile dignitarian. Meanwhile, an assassin gifted with mind controlling powers which allows him to force his victims to kill themselves arrives. Said assassin kills all of Vader's bodyguards with his powers, before facing the Sith Lord... And yet, Vader proves to be way too big a prey for him as he doesn't even feel the assassin's attempts to mind-control him, and fries the assassin using the same device used in the game. Vader then kills the dignitarian who had plotted the assassination attempt. And as the Sith Lord walks away, the only thing that worries him is that he actually liked playing with the traitor.
And the post-Order 66 arc of the Dark Horse Clone Wars comics featured Vader utterly owning a group of at least half a dozen Jedi. With his lightsaber disabled by a cortosis blade...which he takes from the Jedi carrying it, then snaps her spine. Even when his right hand was cut off, he was still able to fight - he picked it up with the Force and hurled it, and the blade it was carrying, into the heart of a Jedi jumping at him.
In Nomad, Darca Nyl deflected blaster bolt with lightsaber. Seems mundane? Darca Nyl is not a Jedi, is not a force-sensitive, and has no lightsaber training whatsoever. He did it on pure reflex. Also, saving a couple and their farm from a gang with a caravan brought back just in time, and giving the Big Bad a Shut Up, Hannibal! with a bomb.
And realizing that Good Feels Good, and he has a reason to go on living even after killing the guy who murdered his son.
And that the virus is native to Concord Dawn, his homeworld, so he was inoculated in childhood, and that he does have an antidote, but it's in his ship sealed in a case rigged with a self-destruct nodule that will detonate if his heart stops beating. So Dooku better damn well agree to his demands.
The way that Jango kills Vizsla counts, too. After a brutal fight that leaves both men injured and weakened, Jango slashes Vizsla's stomach open with his gauntlet blades. Vizsla, holding his guts in, snarls that a little wound like that won't kill him. To which Jango, lying back in the grass, replies no, but they will. Vizsla turns just in a time to see a nasty lion like creature pouncing on him. Cue off panel screams fading away into a gurgle.
The climax of the Alternate Universe storyStar Wars Infinites: A New Hope has Yoda taking control of the Death Star, shooting a ton of Imperial ships with the superlaser before finally having it Colony Drop right on Palpatine's palace.
Yoda: Coming to see you, I am. Now.
There's a comic story where Darth Maul is resurrected and fights Darth Vader. Maul completely outfights him, while claiming he lacks the hatred to win. As he goes to finish it, Vader activates his lightsaber so that it goes through him and Maul. Cue this exchange.
Darth Maul: What could you hate enough to destroy me?
Darth Vader: Myself.
A rather chilling Moment of Awesome occurs in the backstory of a rebel general named Roons Sewell. After a hard childhood on the streets, he finds his place in a theater, and meets the love of his life there. Everything goes well until the Empire shuts down the theater mid performance due to the play's "subversive themes". Tension turns to violence and Sewell's lover is killed, though he escapes. The next day, he places her body in a speeder outside of her mother's house and has a neighborhood child deliver the message. Imperial officers immediately burst out of the mother's house and jump in their speeder to chase Sewell down, not noticing the chain wrapped around the speeder's repulsorlift. When it's yanked out, they crash and spill out onto the ground. Sewell approaches one (possibly the officer who had come to the theater), picks up the man's blaster, places it to his temple and says "Perhaps this will give you some appreciation for the classics."
Remember Luke's brief mention of a friend named "Tank" to Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru? Tank becomes a full fledged character in the Star Wars: Empire comic series as a junior officer named Janek Sunber. One of his earliest assignments sends him to a primitive jungle world on a routine patrol. Things take a turn for the worse when the natives lay siege to them, and only Sunber's quick thinking and original strategies hold the fort. Throughout the whole arc, he's firmly cemented as a Badass, but his Crowning Moment of Awesome comes when he and his unit are left stranded out in the battlefield when the group behind him retreats due to its cowardly commander. Sunber knows that if he doesn't do something, they'll all die. Spying the wreckage of one of their juggernauts, he primes a thermal detonator, noting to himself all of the ways this desperate gambit could fail. He throws the grenade, miraculously managing to place it so that it detonates the tank's fuel cells as the enemy advances, blasting them into disarray and allowing him and his soldiers to fall back.
Captain Raymus Antilles, the captain of the Tantive IV whom Darth Vader executes at the beginning of A New Hope, scores one in a prequel comic to Episode IV. A merciless Imperial officer has Leia at gunpoint and is planning to shoot her to make a point to her men. Knowing that there's no time to think, Antilles orders the gunners to fire, not at the officer, which would have vaporized Leia as well, but just over him. The shot scorches the man by mere proximity while leaving Leia completely unharmed.
In the non-canon comic Old Wounds, Darth Maul (sporting a pair of cybernetic legs) tracks Obi-Wan down to Tatooine and attacks the Lars homestead to provoke his response. When Uncle Owen tries to shoot him down, Maul uses the Force to grab Owen's blaster rifle and breaks the butt against Owen's face. With Luke in danger, Obi-Wan quickly intervenes and a vicious and altogether Badass fight ensues. Obi-Wan gains the upper hand and holds Maul at his mercy, deactivated lightsaber against his forehead and thumb hovering over the activation plate. Obi-Wan's internal struggle is cut short by the invocation of the Moment of Awesome when a heavily bruised Owen blows Maul's head off with the remains of the blaster.
The recently released Agent of the Empire, starring 'good imperial' Jahan Cross. Though only one issue has come out so far, the very concept behind it (Jahan Cross being the Star Wars equivalent of James Bond) is awesome.
That one issue even includes a few Bond-style lines:
Pew (a parody of Q): The problem with you, Agent Cross, is you almost never return the equipment in the condition it was given you.
Oh, and he's an old friend of Han Solo, from their training days together at the Imperial Academy. That's almost makes Agent Cross a Moment of Awesome simply by association.
Even the text on the front cover comes across as awesome:
Stormtroopers are the Empire's hammer. This man (Agent Cross) is its scalpel.
Speaking of Dark Empire, it's a shame Empatojayos Brand isn't mentioned here. At the climax of Empire's End, Palpatine's spirit departs his dying final clone body and attempts to possess Han's son Anakin. However, Brand (who was mortally wounded by Palpatine moments earlier) throws himself in the way, causing Palpatine to possess him instead. The result is that Palpatine is DRAGGED INTO THE FORCE BY BRAND'S SPIRIT, KILLING HIM. And unlike all of Palpatine's other deaths, this death is PERMANENT and FINAL. Did we mention Brand was an Order 66 survivor?
The Star Wars novel Sacrifice had one. Lumiya's death at the hands of Luke. "I'll never let you fall."
The Catfight between Mara Jade and Lumiya in the middle of the very same novel. One of two awesome Unstoppable RageMama Bear moments for Mara; she beats Lumiya to a bloody pulp and stabs her through the heart (you have to remember she's a Jedi Master by this point, so it's an action she'd not take otherwise). Which also leads to a crowning moment for Lumiya and a sentient ship she's got; not only does she survive that, but she commands the ship (who flew in to rescue Lumiya) to choke Mara, which it does (almost throttling her to death in the process), leaving Mara swearing like a lunatic afterwards (we don't get to see exactly what she says, but you can infer from the passage that it isn't pretty).
As a substitute example for Luke, how about his decapitating Yuuzhan Vong Supreme Overlord Shimraa with his and Anakin's lightsabers in "The Unifying Force".
Also from the New Jedi Order series: Chewbacca, bloodied and dazed, alone among wreckage and corpses on the dying planet of Sernpidal, looked up, stared a falling moon straight on, and loudly dared it to come claim him if it was bold enough to try.
Yet another NJO example: Admiral Pellaeon, Thrawn's former Bastard Understudy gets to deliver this line:
"Although you may win the occasional battle against us, Vorrik, the Empire will always strike back." (Yes, thatEmpire.)
Grand Admiral Thrawn. Not the ridiculously brilliant strategies for conquering planets, or a Gambit Roulette putting the entire galaxy in terror simply by making it appear that he'd come back from the dead. Rather, it was a fairly quiet moment in The Last Command when everyone expects him to give a mook the You Have Failed Me treatment when a technical issue allows Luke Skywalker to escape his clutches. Instead, he listens to the officer's explanation of how he tried to, and nearly did, overcome the flaw inherent in the system, and promptly promotes the man and assigns him to find a way to deal with the issue. Everyone who witnessed the moment instantly had a personal loyalty and respect for Thrawn that Bad Boss Darth Vader had never inspired. (Sorry, Needa. You were just serving under the wrong guy.)
"[Pellaeon] stood there beside the newly minted lieutenant, feeling the stunned awe pervading the bridge as he watched Thrawn leave. Yesterday, the Chimaera's crew had trusted and respected the Grand Admiral. After today, they would be ready to die for him. And for the first time in five years, Pellaeon finally knew in the deepest level of his being that the old Empire was gone. The new Empire, with Grand Admiral Thrawn at its head, had been born."
In a terrific callback, in the Hand of Thrawn series taking place ten years later, Lando tries the same escape tactic against a Star Destroyer, musing that it had worked so well for Luke ten years earlier... and the Star Destroyer counters it effortlessly. The new lieutenant obviously did his job.
The man even dies with a Crowning Moment of Awesome. After spending 3 books being an undefeatable master strategist obsessed with the artwork of the species that he's so handily defeating, he's killed simply by a knife stabbed into his back by his bodyguard. Pure white uniform, crimson blossom of blood..
Thrawn: But... it was so artistically done.
He gets a great moment when Joruus takes over his flagship to go capture Leia on Coruscant. Thrawn asks if he has the power to do it and C'baoth asks him if he doubts the power of the Force. Thrawn's response is pure Magnificent Bastard.
Thrawn: Not at all. I merely present the problems you and the Force will have to solve if you continue with this course of action. For instance, do you know where the Coruscant sector fleet is based, or the number and types of ships making it up? Have you thought about how you will neutralize Coruscant's orbital and ground-based defense systems? Do you know who is in command of the planet's defenses at present, and how he or she is likely to deploy the available forces? Have you considered Coruscant's energy field? Do you know how best to use the strategic and tactical capabilities of an Imperial Star Destroyer?
When Thrawn shoots down one of C'baoth's plans, the mad clone attempts to remind Thrawn that the Emperor would never tolerate Thrawn doing that. Thrawn responds by telling C'baoth that on four occasions, he refused to carry out the Emperor's plans on the grounds that they wouldn't work. The first time, the Emperor had Thrawn imprisoned. When the guy who carried out the Emperor's plans in Thrawn's place failed miserably, Thrawn was released and the Emperor never doubted him again.
Admiral Daala is one of the least impressive of the EU's villains, but she arguably gets the best example of this when, having locked the leaders of the warring Imperial faction in a big conference room, and tried in vain to get them to get along, she finally gives up, loudly denounces them, and gives the order to fill the room with poisonous gas, having brought a gas mask and provided Pellaeon with one beforehand, leaving the two of them the leaders of all the remaining Imperial forces.
In Shadows of the Empire, Xizor manages to make Darth Vader look like an idiot in front of theEmperor. To elaborate: Xizor tips off Vader about a Rebel base. Vader takes credit for it in front of the Emperor. Vader is sent off to pulverise said Rebel base. Xizor drops in on the Emperor for drinks and casually mentions giving the info to Vader. Vader phones in to report mission accomplished. The Emperor makes Vader thank Xizor. While kneeling.
It was good that they could not see his face when he spoke. "The Empire owes you...thanks, Prince Xizor."
Fortunately, Vader gets his own back when he turns up evidence that Xizor is behind the assassination attempts on Luke Skywalker.
Vader: You have two standard minutes to recall your vessels, and to offer yourself into my custody.
Xizor: I will not! I will take this up with the Emperor.
Vader: He is not here. I speak for The Empire, Xizor.
Xizor: Prince Xizor!
Vader: You may keep the title. [Dramatic Pause] For another two minutes.
Luke, Lando, Chewie, Leia and Dash Rendar all get one for this scene. The group is racing through Xizor's Palace trying to rescue the kidnapped Leia, only to find that she's freed herself. The race starts to escape, but at the same time, Xizor has figured out exactly where they are by watching the disruption of security camera feeds on each level. The rebels are forced into a small room under an overwhelming storm of blasterfire. They're all prepared to make a heroic Last Stand when they remember some of the equipment they bought ahead of time...and come out of the room holding an active thermal detonator.
Then Lando gets his own after the group has threatened their way out of the hopeless situation. Lando pulls out the second detonator, and Xizor sneers at him, saying "You can't blow us up any more with another of those." Lando just grins, sets the timer for five minutes, and drops it down the garbage chute into the basement. Cue hysteria as all of Xizor's Mooks essentially tell him to piss off and scramble for the exits.
While the rebels are escaping Xizor's palace (after the detonator was dropped into the basement), Luke is stopped by Xizor's human replica droid bodyguard/assassin, Guri. She doesn't care about killing all of them, but has been waiting the whole book to challenge a Jedi to hand to hand combat. Given that she can move faster than humanly possible and break durasteel handcuffs just by flexing, this is suicidal for Luke. However, he accepts the challenge. Luke centers himself, and the world slows down around him. When Guri throws the first punch, he dodges underneath and sweeps her legs out from under her. To repeat: Luke essentially goes hand to hand with a Terminator, and wins.
In the last book of the Bounty Hunter Wars trilogy, Boba Fett steals a brand-new Star Destroyer from its construction bay and pilots it all by himself for a few minutes, causing significant damage to the rest of the facility in the process.
Although the bombs planted and activated by the KDY executive throughout his shipyard also did a great deal of damage.
Not just a tip. A credit chit worth tens of thousands of credits—equaling the exact bounty that had been placed on the man's head. This story, written before the prequel movies, also becomes Fridge Brilliance in light of Attack of the Clones, when you see why Boba Fett has a soft spot for orphans.
Vergere: ''We are playing the same game we have been playing ever since Myrkr: we are playing "Who is Jacen Solo?"
Jacen: If that's the game, I can end it right now. I know who I am Vergere. No matter what you do to me. No matter what torture you put me through. If I never touch the Force again. It doesn't matter. I know.
Vergere: Do you?
Jacen: Yes. I'm a Jedi.
Jacen's best Crowning Moment of Awesome occurs earlier in Traitor: when he makes the living armor out of amphistaffs and looks at the Yuuzhan Vong warriors headed towards him, with the immortal line, "I'd like you to meet some friends of mine." Followed by a fantastic Curb-Stomp Battle.
Vergere gets one near the end of Traitor; when she's right about to 'leave' with Nom Anor and when Nom starts boasting about always having a contingency plan, Vergere switches Anakin's captured lightsaber on and holds it inches from his face, going off on a tangent about how elegant the lightsaber is, while Nom Anor is clearly terrified. She finishes it off with responding to Nom's accusation of "You...you said Jacen Solo would steal this ship!" with a theatrical sigh, and "When will you realize, Executor, that everything I tell you is the truth?"
The final battle between Jacen and Onimi in the Unifying Force, when Jacen achieves Oneness with the Force and causes Onimi's own poisons to liquify him from the inside out. Jacen might have been a Gary Stu by that point, but that sequence was still pretty awesome.
Jaina Solo actually got one in The New Jedi Order, back when the Expanded Universe's current female disenfranchisement complex was still in its infancy. At the climax of Destiny's Way, she took on Yuuzhan Vong Warmaster Tsavong Lah, with the final result that her lightsaber ended up embedded in his neck.
Minor example in The New Rebellion:
Mara: Overconfidence can get a man killed.
Han: I know. I'm counting on it.
Bigger example from The New Rebellion: Wedge, in command of a small taskforce going up against Imperial Star Destroyers, realizes the enemy ships are controlled by droids, and tricks the primitive AI into thinking he's on their side. They move into a defensive position, and then Wedge gives the all-clear to let 'er rip.
Another one from New Rebellion: Leia, at the end, when she takes out Kueller, who her brother had previously been fighting a losing battle against, with a simple blaster shot.
In Planet of Twilight, Leia squared off against a Force-wielding Hutt, Beldorian the Splendid. The result? Hutt kabob.
One for Admiral Gilad Pellaeon at the climax of each of Timothy Zahn's Hand of Thrawn books:
In Specter of the Past, he's waiting for a rendezvous with New Republic General Garm Bel-Iblis to negotiate a peace treaty between the New Republic and The Empire (though he fears Bel-Iblis might not show up.) Traitorous Imperial elements send a pirate fleet to attack Pellaeon's ship and make him think Bel-Iblis has turned him down. In one brilliant maneuver - a Crowning Moment of Awesome in its own right - Pellaeon demolishes the pirate fleet and proves they were not sent by Bel-Iblis (he used one of Bel-Iblis' own strategies). He then settles back down to wait for the real Bel-Iblis. When his second-in-command asks what they'll do if their unknown adversary comes after them again, Pellaeon responds "Let him try."
In Vision of the Future, just as the Imperial conspirators have General Bel Iblis under their guns, Pellaeon marches onto the bridge of the flagship and exposes the whole plot, bringing the conspiracy to a screeching halt.
Bel Iblis himself gets one just before it - when the conspirators have trapped his borrowed Star Destroyer and foiled the plan to save the New Republic from civil war, his reaction is to prepare to ram them.
Mara also had one in Vision of the Future: remote-control crashing her personal ship, the Jade's Fire, into the Hand of Thrawn complex's hangar bay.
Vision of the Future give an additional one to a character that was not very well respected by most of the main characters manages to talk an officer into using his warship to save Han.
Gavrison I have often heard it said that Calibops are long on words and short on deeds. Sometimes, though, it is the words that must come first.
Chapter 11 of Inferno: Luke finally calling out Jacen on all the stuff he did during the course of the series, including the massacre of the Jedi Academy earlier in the book + basically telling Ben to go assassinate the former leader of the Alliance, and literally rendering him immobile during the conversation (Jacen was force-pushed into his chair and pinned there). Keep in mind that Luke is still grieving over his wife's death and doesn't yet know the full details of that duel.
Mara did find out all this, and it led her to her death in the already-mentioned duel (read Sacrifice for that), but not without a tearjerkingFinal Speech:
Mara: You think...you've won, but Luke will crush you...and I refuse...to let you...destroy the future...for my Ben.
In the very next novel, Fury, we have Jagged Fel tricking Alema Rar into force-snatching his blaster. We then find out it's set to explode if it's taken from him...
Lando pulled a similar trick in Exile in which Alema steals his cane...at which point he orders it to shock her.
The Lusankya (the Super Star Destroyer mentioned above) and its captain, Eldo Davip, get three Moments of Awesome in Aaron Allston's New Jedi Order-era Rebel Dream and Rebel Stand.
The first one occurs when the Lusankya screws up Wedge's plan... by being dragged out of hyperspace in the middle of the enemy fleet, and subsequently decapitating its command structure. Whoops.
And Wedge's plan, by the way? To lose the planet, but do it in a way that would inspire people. That's right- Wedge Antilles tried to lose a battle AND COULDN'T.
The second one, Operation Emperor's Hammer, involved luring the Yuuzhan Vong to beseige their base on Borleias, and then blasting them from orbit.
The third one was called Operation Emperor's Spear. The Lusankya was systematically stripped of its weapons, fitted with an internal reinforced spear along its eleven mile length, and packed with explosives. Then Eldo Davip himself singlehandedly rammed it into the Vong worldship, before escaping in a Y-Wing made of spare parts for this purpose.
From that same book, Wedge Antilles in a damaged droidless ship taking down an entire squadron of coralskippers. An entire squadron! By himself! Jedi can only do that when they have superior firepower or tricks! Blackmoon Eleven: The Greatest Pilot Of All Time.
Made even awesomer (and a CMOF) by current Rogue Squadron (Wedge's old command) Leader Gavin Darklighter (a pilot Wedge trained way back when) not knowing who he's talking to and having the following discussion with his old CO:
Gavin: Blackmoon Eleven, what did you think you were doing going after an entire squadron?
Wedge in general is win in that duology. He's consistently, intensely brilliant, quick on his feet, able to see through deceptions, and daring.
The tactic he needed clicked into Wedge's mind. In the span of a second, he evaluated it, tested it for major weaknesses, dismissed the weaknesses as irrelevant because of the Yuuzhan Vong's current state of confusion, and decided that he could probably use the tactic again - once - at a later time.
Alan Dean Foster's The Approaching Storm has one for Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Luminara Unduli, and Barris Offee, when they have to entertain a group of Ansionian trader nomads as part of their diplomatic mission. Barris performs some stunning lightsaber gymnastics, Anakin sings a beautiful melody his mother used to sing him, Obi-Wan tells a spellbinding story, and Luminara does a sand show that ends up with her floating a meter above the ground with a virtual sandstorm swirling around her.
Early in Ambush at Corellia, first book of the Corellian trilogy, Luke gives Leia a new lightsaber signifying that, in his mind, she has achieved the rank of Jedi Knight (something the authors of New Jedi Order conveniently forgot about). He then challenges her to a friendly duel in which she disarms him with ease, explaining to her astonished brother that she had, indeed, been practicing.
There's also one for Mon Mothma, where she basically calls Luke out for acting like Leia's the only one who's missed her calling by not becoming a Jedi, and assuming there isn't anything he might be able to learn from her.
The third book, Showdown at Centerpoint has a series of Crowning Moments Of Awesome for Anakin, Jacen and Jaina, ages 7, 9 and 9, respectively. New Republic Intelligence agent Belindi Kalenda sums the list up nicely for the childist Admiral Ossilege:
Kalenda: The plain fact of the matter is that you have a repulsor down there because a seven-and-a-half-year-old boy found it for you, and turned it on. It is no longer in the hands of our enemy, and our enemy is in the brig because that boy and his siblings managed to walk through a working force field, repair a disabled starship, fly that ship into space, and shoot down a pursuing spacecraft flown by a professional military pilot.
And, of course, when Centerpoint Station is about to fire a blast that will kill upwards of eight billion people, seven-year-old Anakin manages to align the repulsor and intercept Centerpoint's shot at the last possible moment. Even as a little kid, that boy was Badass.
Don't forget, Han manages to bring an obsolete ship to a survivable landing, if not the most graceful. Bear in mind that half the systems were blown out, and he had to blow some more to make this work.
Matthew Stover's Shatterpoint. All of it, largely due to copious amounts of Mace Windu. To give you some perspective, imagine Jules Winnifield got really Zen, shaved his head and his face, and then someone handed him a lightsaber. Roughly four hundred pages of rich, CorinthianWin ensue.
Highlights include taking himself hostage to reason with his wayward former apprentice, Depa Billaba and getting his butt kicked by Kar Vastor and still coming out ahead. At the end, he incapacitates Vastor with a telekinetically thrown shield, having previously (with the help of the clones and Nick) killed all Vastor's Elite Mooks. Depa is down and catatonic. Nick Rostu is down and badly wounded. Mace remarks "Looks like I'm the last one standing."
Sidekick Nick Rostu also gets one just before that. Vastor is down, but Depa has finally snapped. Despite Mace's pleading, she raises her lightsaber to her temple. Before she activate it and put a blade directly through her brain, Nick—who up to that point appeared dead—summons enough strength and accuracy to shoot the handle out of her hand. That Nick is quite the Badass, and furthermore he lives.
The Battle of Lorshan Pass, and the clones' capture of the spaceport.
The beginning of that battle especially. First, while armed with two lightsabers, Mace captures a gunship hundreds of feet in the air by basically executing a Fastball Special. After Depa Bilaba captures another gunship, he attacks the remaining hundred or so enemy ships before tricking the droid fighters into attacking their allies.
The fact that he more or less single-handedly ended a war that had been raging for decades in less than a week.
Beating up two thieves in the airport shower. Naked. Shortly thereafter, his "negotiation" with Geptun, then breaking the hand of a guy who tries to punch him simply by bowing his head. No Force involved.
Geptun, when Mace realizes just how well he's been played. And again later; "I keep forgetting that he's smarter than I am." And then "Move over, young man, I'll drive."
Taking out a gunship and damaging two more while only using his lightsabers once.
The spy in the opening sequence is made retroactively awesome when Mace realizes what he must've done. He mentally compares the little man's strength to his own. It occurs to him that he might not have been able to do it. He spends a great deal of the book with various serious injuries and he still wins; Decisively.
What Shatterpoint is to Mace Windu, Dark Rendezvous is to Yoda. The whole novel is roughly a 50/50 split between Awesome and Heartwarming.
One of the awesomest moments is at the very end, where Count Dooku's emergency escape plan is revealed to be an orbital missile fired at Chateau Malreaux: simple and effective. Yoda uses his telekinesis to send it off course, which is like the part at the end of Attack of the Clones where he saves Obi-Wan and Anakin from a falling engine cylinder—only about thirty times as epic.
Oh, yeah. The entire Yoda/Dooku double Hannibal Lecture sequence is just 100% concentrated win-sauce.
There's also the way Dooku neutralized Asajj by raising a finger. The woman could stare down a sun, and he makes her blanch before even doing anything. By the time he's finished with her, she's crying. Asajj Ventress. Crying.
Mara Jade, a fan favorite, collects these. Within the trilogy of her introduction, she spent three days shooting vonskrs off Luke's back, flew a Z-95 Headhunter into a Star Destroyer's docking bay just before ejecting, snuck up on Imperial agents trying to kidnap Leia's kids (making them look like total idiots), saved Luke's ass from a clone of himself, and jammed a lightsaber in a Dark Jedi's chest. This was so awesome, that Callista was written out because of fan reactions to it.
Plus she engineered Talon Karrde's escape (with some help from Luke), managing to get the best of Grand Admiral Thrawn in the process.
Crippling, deadly spores in her lungs? Didn't stop her from killing the first Yuuzhan Vong she fought without breaking a sweat.
"The Jade's Fire flies my way, or not at all."
The time that she was coerced into an undercover mission for a greedy industrialist. "Rescue my daughter from the sadistic crime lord, or I'll kill your friends." So she allows herself to be captured by the crime lord, appearing as an average piece of eye candy sent with a gift for him, bides her time in his slime pits harvesting nasty little creatures with the rest of his female slaves, then ruins the crime lord's day and escapes with the girl and her ship.
Tenel Ka is being sadly ignored. Has everyone forgotten how she kicked a Nightsister's ass while unarmed? And, the second time, she did it with one arm!
In the first instance, she and Luke have just infiltrated the Shadow Academy. Tamith Kai confronts her and with one kick to the kneecap, sends her down. Second instance, she and Lowbacca storm a battle platform. She uses the Force to deflect away lightning, tosses her lightsaber into the air and nails a TIE bomber overhead, sending it crashing down, but not before kicking Tamith Kai's ass again-with a single palm strike to her chest.
Made even better by that damaged TIE bomber crashing into Kai's hovercraft, killing her, just after Tenel Ka dived overboard.
Simultaneously a Crowning Moment of Funny, when Han shuts down the arrogant Imperial commander early on in Destiny's Way. She brags about how The Empire would never have had the kinds of problems with the Yuuzhan Vong that the New Republic was having, as they would have mobilized their entire fleet at the first sign of trouble and then would have swiftly and mercilessly crushed the opposition. Han fires back by pointing out that The Empire would have done nothing of the sort and instead would have wasted god knows how much on a massively impractical superweapon that would have either not worked or would have had some design flaw that an enemy ace could exploit and destroy, and would have given it a stupid, grandiose name to boot.
That's not what the Empire would have done, Commander. What the Empire would have done was build a super-colossal Yuuzhan Vong-killing battle machine. They would have called it the Nova Colossus or the Galaxy Destructor or the Nostril of Palpatine or something equally grandiose. They would have spent billions of credits, employed thousands of contractors and subcontractors, and equipped it with the latest in death-dealing technology. And you know what would have happened? It wouldn't have worked. They'd forget to bolt down a metal plate over an access hatch leading to the main reactors, or some other mistake, and a hotshot enemy pilot would drop a bomb down there and blow the whole thing up. Now that's what the Empire would have done.
When Corran takes on Exar Kun and is all but broken from being utterly Mind Raped, Mara Jade strolls in like a Big Damn Hero and saves him by giving Kun an epicShut Up, Hannibal! / "The Reason You Suck" Speech. The most delectable part is when she reels off The Long List of every Imperial baddie she's ever worked with / against, and describes how they would have thought Kun — the undying, ancient Sith Master — to be a total incompetent.
Borsk Fey'la gets one and only one, when he blows himself and 25,000 Vong warriors up with a handheld nuke instead of evacuating. Almost makes up for how badly he screwed up everything else.
In Outbound Flight, Thrawn had a tiny picket force of three small cruisers and seven fighters. He beat two Trade Federation split-ring battleships, each with a massive complement of droid starfighters, and six armed Techno Union Hardcell-class transports, plus seven escort cruisers. Not one Chiss died. See, the Trade Federation remote-controlled their starfighters with comm signals that were supposedly unjammable, because if the enemy jammed one frequency they just shifted to another. No one would dare jam all frequencies, because then no one could communicate with the other ships at all. Except that Thrawn did that and countered the countermeasures. And found the weak points in the larger ships. And rigged up a stolen gravity-well generator so that no one could escape.
The best part? Before then, Thrawn had never seen a Trade Federation ship before.
Chak Fel's painful humility. He doesn't want to give up command, particularly to General Drask, but he's a pilot, not a commando officer, and Drask can command more effectively. Doubled when Drask tells Fel it will be a joint command, for no reason other than that it will let Fel keep a little of his pride.
Jinzler: "I am an electronics technician, like my father before me."
Allegiance: When the Hand of Judgment stormtroopers find out that Luke and Han are with the Rebellion, Han tries to dissemble by telling them that they're only sort of involved; they respond with "So you're only sort of traitors?" Luke reminds them that they are deserters, which is exactly the wrong thing to say, and Han defuses the situation by talking about how he was in their boots once, he left the Empire for similar reasons, how the Empire has betrayed its own ideals, and how the Rebel Alliance isn't out to break down order but to change things the only way that they can be changed. Other things too. He reflects what the stormtroopers had said back at them, and he says various things that actually reflect on him'', and his own uncomfortable semi-participation in the Rebellion. Han in the end manages to get the Hand of Judgment more or less on his and Luke's side.
Another reason it's a great moment is because it sums up the conclusion Han had been reaching throughout the story. He'd originally thought he was been taken for granted and was pretty much a Sour Supporter, but by that point he become a rebel through and through.
Joruus C'Baoth had a few. First up was his opinion on "Power" speech. Next up was using the force to reconfigure a person's mind. Then finally, outsmarting Thrawn and managing to what was basically seizing control of Wayland.
In the collaborative Timothy Zahn - Michael Stackpole novella Side Trip, Grand Admiral Thrawn returns from the Unknown Regions to play dress-up as Jodo Kast, destroy Black Sun's influence on Corellia, and get command of the Noghri from Darth Vader. None of the viewpoint characters know who he is or what he's doing; they think he's a bounty hunter going with the money. But the readers know, and can piece together what he's doing, and it is awesome.
From Legacy of the Force, the things an older Wedge Antilles gets up to are completely, utterly awesome.
In Betrayal he breaks out of an (admittedly cushy and low-security, but still monitored) prison cell using a tumbler of water, a video game, and a wheeled chair. By planning carefully, memorizing how his captors respond to what he does, timing things to the half-second, and moving very quickly when he gets the chance. After that he locks his captors and the security detail into that cell and thinks that now all he has to do is find a locker room, shed these clothes and substitute them for a local uniform, find a hangar, and steal something with a hyperdrive. All while evading members of Intelligence. He calls this task Easy - and it must have been, since his next appearance has him in an X-Wing, easily evading every attack coming at him. And identifying his attacker as his daughter because of her flying style, despite not knowing that she would be there.
Luke Skywalker Face Palmed when he heard that someone had tried to detain Wedge.
Thrackan: "General Antilles, acting as Chief of State and Minister of War for Corellia, I hereby order you to communicate with your daughter Syal and do your genuine best to persuade her to follow whatever course of action I recommend to her. Is that clear enough?"
Wedge: "Go to hell."
Thrackan: "Antilles, you've refused a direct order given during a military crisis, and I have it on record. Should I choose to, I can have security agents haul you away right now. I can conduct your trial within the hour and have you executed by morning."
Wedge: "Of course you can. You could also have me assassinated in a time of peace for having nicer hair than you. If I worried about that sort of thing, I'd never get any sleep."
In Exile, he meets with Jacen, who can't get a good sense of him through the Force - just an impression of confidence and patience. Later he gets fired from being the Admiral controlling the Corellian military because he's too moral, too willing to seek peace and strongly against assassinating good rulers to put bad ones who like Corellia in their place. He makes a complex decision in a quarter second. For a moment he feels panic, but realizes that he's now a target for assassination, which calms him down, so he is able to compose himself and give a smile "like he was a rancor and they were meat". Then he considers the situation, realizes that it would wrap up his story in a narratively tidy way if he was killed just after formally handing his power over to his replacement, and works with his wife, daughter, and family friends to avoid that.
Fury, sadly, has far less Wedge, but he still handpicks a number of Jedi and trusted excellent pilots to form Rakehell Squadron, which later takes on Rogue Squadron. Only one Rogue Leader has ever been killed in action as Rogue Leader - and Wedge was the one to do it.
In Dark Force Rising Leia single-handedly blows open the Empire's horrifyingly cynicalscam to secure their supply of Noghri commandosnote Their planet was poisoned by a spaceship crashing during the Clone Wars, and then the Empire made it permanent by secretly modifying the inedible plants so that nothing else would grow. Then they turn around and demand tribute in the form of Noghri commandos in exchange for very slowly cleaning the world of the damage they caused. Assholes.. The sheer righteous fury radiating off of Leia is something to behold.
Between Leia and her brother, in terms of their jobs and talents, Luke takes more after their father, Leia after their mother. In terms of temperament and ego, it's the other way around. Luke isn't very good at righteous fury - and the Noghri don't pick him as the mal'ary'ush, heir to Vader's power.
Hell, in the end Leia is probably the most awesome character in the whole trilogy. First, as mentioned, she turns around the Noghris, who, as should be noted, recently tried to abduct her with her yet unborn children several times. In The Last Command she gives birth to extremely force sensitive twins. Over the next few weeks, she discovers the brilliantly hidden bugging device Thrawn uses and figures out how he produces clones so quickly, then she immediately leaves to help Luke and Mara defeat C'baoth. Thrawn is killed by his Noghri Bodyguard, and without him the Empire is poised to lose the battle and the campaign - thanks to Leia, mostly. Oh, and the rest of the time she's busy doing politics, being of the most important leaders of the new republic.
Speaking of politics, the way she and Karrde manage to stop her main opponent's political career in the midst of a battle and save the other main characters (including her husband and her brother) from getting killed at the same time, also qualifies.
IG-88 becoming the Death Star II in Therefore I Am: The Tale of IG-88. And then he takes it a step further by opening and shutting doors in front of Palpatine, just to screw with him.
Boba Fett steals the show, however. An IG-88 assassin droid is an armored one-ton droid outfitted from head to toe with blasters, knives, and grenades, and even without those it can still rip people apart with its bare hands. It is bulletproof, fireproof, and has a mind as fast as a supercomputer. Fett casually takes one down with a simple EMP trap, disassembles it, and throws the parts in the junk heap.
Minor example, but in the recent Fate of the Jedi novel Allies, Grand Master Hamner's aide, a young human Padawan, deftly talks him out of personally negotiating with the massive Mandalorian force that has just laid siege to the Jedi Temple with orders to force them to hand over the mad Jedi. She outmaneuvers every argument he tries to make, and convinces him that she's the better person for the job, because nobody could possibly consider her a threat. True, she had no way to know that the Mandalorian commander would summarily execute her because she wasn't completely giving in, but it still qualifies.
In the same series, the trial of Tahiri is becoming more and more of a farce, and it begins to seem impossible that she will not be executed. Despite easily being capable of breaking out at any time, Tahiri refuses to do so, because it would mean turning her back once more on the Light Side.
The showdown between Luke and the Hidden One. Luke manages to show the hidden sect the folly of their isolation, beat the Hidden One in a massive Force battle, and then has his son finish him off with logic.
In Allies, Raynar Thul, perpetual Butt Monkey, executes a awesome one-liner before fighting off five Mandalorian Supercommandos off with a apprentice:
Luke, after meditating for several days (and being quite weak), notices a strike team of Sith Warriors coming to kill him and his son. What do they do? Take them all down.
The battle ends with Luke, in a single, split-second opening, cutting Olaris Rhea (who was leading the squad) into four pieces. She looked away for an instant and that was all she wrote.
In Vortex, a journalist's assistant gets one after said journalist, busy documenting the brutal suppression of a peaceful protest, is herself murdered by the commander of the suppressing army of Mandalorians. This assistant, given orders not to draw attention to himself so that he could complete the broadcast safely, decides to disobey those orders and kicks the Mandalorian commander down a flight of stairs, right into the waiting arms of two Jedi intervening to stop the massacre.
In Conviction, Leia runs to find Allana, who she realizes is acting in accordance with some prophetic dreams she (Allana)'s been having. This leads to Leia having to save Allana's hide from a Sith Saber (Equivalent of a Jedi Knight) leading a force trying to kill her and her mother. The Saber is twenty years Leia's junior, younger, stronger, and quite likely more experienced in combat. In about twenty seconds, he's decapitated without a second thought.
In Inferno, Jacen is making a habit of using the Force to influence warship commanders to follow his instructions. In one engagement, he repeatedly attempts to pressure the New Republic Admiral commanding the task group. Gavin Darklighter - a normal human, former Rogue Leader, understudy of Wedge Antilles - merely ignores his orders, ignores the Force pressure, does things his own way, and easily takes down the enemy. Jacen is forced to swallow his pride, and apologises for any... pressure the Admiral may have felt. Gavin burns him by being dismissive of Jacen. "You're young. You'll learn."
In Death Star, two contractors from the late planet Alderaan are Drowning Their Sorrows when a couple of jubilant stormtroops come in, saying that "the Rebel scum won't be giving us any more trouble after Alderaan, hey?" And one of the Alderaanians (who's smaller than both troopers) decks the motherkriffer, and the bouncer evicts the stormtroopers.
In Maul Lockdown: We get to see Maul fighting prowess without using his lightsaber. two moments includes killing a Yuuzhan Vong (While blind) and force feed it the head of its Amphistaff and Quote Ripped three of the large piercings from its right arm and jammed them upward through the lips, bending them back into barb hooks and fastening the mouth shut with the serpent's head still trapped inside. unquote and sensing that it was weakened from the Amphistaff venom he then finished it by headbutted the thing with his horn going through its eyes.
In his next bout he ripped out the heart of a Wampa from it's chest with his own TWO hands!
Legacy Of The Force, Dark Empire, Maul Lockdown, Allegiance, Jedi Academy Trilogy, The New Rebellion, Empire At War