[Contains spoilers for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker… But honestly, if you haven’t seen it yet, are you even going to?] For over four decades Star Wars has made us laugh, cry, cheer with excitement, recoil with fear, and burst with rage. To say that there were many times when the franchise has piqued our emotions is an understatement. Many of them, as might be expected, involve death…. But not all. There’s Leia’s profession of love in the carbon freezing chamber in The Empire Strikes Back. Yoda’s pained reaction to the execution of Order 66. And then, of course, there was that scene in The Force Awakens when our beloved scoundrel met his end. But what are the most emotional scenes of each Star Wars trilogy? Here’s our list.
Most Emotional Scenes in Star Wars
The original trilogy
As I mentioned above, many such scenes involve the death of a major character, but not all. One of the most emotional scenes of the original trilogy, if not the entire saga, is, of course, “No, I am your father.” Unready for the burden of knowing the truth of his lineage, Luke Skywalker rushed off to face Darth Vader in Cloud City. He was already beaten in every sense when Vader uttered those now infamous words. Literally clinging to survival, Luke remained defiant…. Defiant, that is, until Darth Vader eviscerated him psychologically and emotionally with those five little words.
“No. That’s not true. That’s impossible!” Luke exclaimed as he tried to comprehend what he’d just learned. Luke was so overcome with anger, grief, and disbelief he literally let go of all of it and left his fate to the Force. This easily ranks as one of the most emotional scenes, if not the most, of the original trilogy.
At first I thought this one would be tough for me. The prequels just didn’t resonate with me on the same emotional scale as the original trilogy films. Notwithstanding, there is one sequence that easily stands out as one of the most emotional scenes in Star Wars. That is thanks in most part to superb acting from Ewan McGregor.
“You were my brother, Anakin. I loved you!” McGregor made the pain and anguish of Obi-Wan Kenobi having to vanquish his closest and most trusted friend truly palpable. We all knew the story of Anakin’s turn to Vader. But McGregor bringing it to life with such raw power created one of the most emotional scenes in Star Wars, and of the prequel trilogy.
(Surprisingly, our most emotional scene in Star wars comes from the sequels, which you can read about on the next page.)