With Star Wars turning 45 this year, the movie series has excited us and allowed us escape into a galaxy far far away. While the series is targeted towards children and teenagers, there are a couple of parts that are pretty intense… While the original Star Wars trilogy was given a PG rating by the MPAA, this was also at a time when Jaws was given that rating, so there were times George Lucas could get away with some heavy thematic elements dealing with the ‘war’ elements of Star Wars.
From Order 66 to Luke learning who his real father is, there’s some dark and at times downright disturbing moments in these movies. Also, while Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda’s deaths are sad they don’t fit the criteria of this list. Honorable mentions are Alderaan blowing up in A New Hope, Vader’s redemption in Return of the Jedi and Qui Gon Jin dying in The Phantom Menace.
The Fate of Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru
In A New Hope we discover the Jawas were slaughtered by Imperial Stormtroopers. Luke works out they must have followed their way to his homestead. It’s here we see what happened to Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru with their burnt corpses shown just outside their home.
A pretty grisly scene for a franchise that normally doesn’t show anything extremely bloody or gory, and it’s also a deeply emotional moment for Luke. The loss of your parents even when your adopted is extremely heartbreaking. It also demonstrates the Empire is a real threat and can destroy anything and everything in their path to achieve dominating their rule on the galaxy.
During Luke’s training he senses something’s cold and not right about a nearby cave. Yoda explains this is the dark side of the force and what’s there is only what you take with you. As he enters he sees none other than Darth Vader. Luke decapitates Vader, and we see his helmet roll off and explode. However, the face inside the helmet is Luke’s.
There’s an element of psychological horror in this scene, portraying a stage of Luke’s journey in which he is horrified by the prospect of becoming a ruthless leader like Vader.
Frozen in Carbonite
Han Solo is the coolest character in the Star Wars franchise and to see him tortured by the Empire and frozen in carbonite was extremely upsetting. Another scene that demonstrates the cruel tactics of the Empire to get what they want which was to get Luke’s attention to fight and join Vader.
As Han Solo is lowered into the chamber the scene becomes more intense as Chewbacca screams his lungs out, and it’s still just as intense as it was when it came out. Of course, we know he survives, but it’s still a very dark and memorable moment
I Am Your Father
The most iconic scene in the franchise has Luke lose his hand and his father’s lightsaber. From this moment Luke has always known Vader as a failed apprentice of Obi-Wan, however that turns out not to be the case. The failed apprentice is in fact Anakin Skywalker which Obi-Wan Kenobi rather deceitfully tried to cover up from Luke.
We see the pain and shock of Luke in his moment of failure and realizes he should haven’t shrugged off Obi-Wan and Yoda’s warning. To learn his own blood was responsible for the reign of terror on the galaxy also doesn’t make it any easier.
The Death of an Ewok
On Return of the Jedi’s release, fans criticized these cute and cuddly teddy bears called Ewoks. While they have a cute appearance, they’re also true warriors, and we sadly see one killed in action. The cry from the Ewok and the other Ewok sadly mourning him is an extremely depressing scene.
It’s in this little moment that shows war isn’t always fun and comes with devastating consequences even if you are a teddy bear.
I Killed Them All Every Single One of Them
In Attack of the Clones we see Anakin and Padme return to Tatooine. Anakin learns his mother Shmi was taken by Tusken Raiders as a slave. He immediately drives over there only to find out Shmi has been tortured and is on the brink of death.
Anakin in a fit of rage massacres all the Tusken Raiders including the women and children. While the line ‘killing the women and children’ has turned into a meme, the idea of genocide is an extremely mature concept and this plays into the Jedi massacre in Revenge of the Sith.
While Revenge of the Sith starts as your usual Star Wars yarn with humor and action it steps into a much darker direction eventually getting to the scene with Palpatine ordering the genocide of all Jedi. Only Yoda and Obi-Wan survive while all the rest including children get massacred by clone troopers.
The score by John Williams emphasizes the somber and devastating nature of the scene, and it’s one of the saddest in all the Star Wars franchise.
You Were My Brother Anakin
The final battle between Anakin and Obi-Wan ends with Anakin at the edge of a volcano burning alive. Obi-Wan extremely heartbroken by what Anakin has done says “You were my brother Anakin. I loved you”. Seeing Anakin be hateful and possessed by the dark side is a horrible sight.
The scene has even more of an impact when you watch The Clone Wars series and see how close Anakin and Obi-Wan were to each other.
The Death of Han Solo
Having such a beloved character like Han Solo killed in The Force Awakens by his own son was a heartbreaking moment for all Star Wars fans. There are times in the scene you think Kylo might come with Han, but we know that’s too good to be the case.
The suspense builds up, and we eventually see the red lightsaber enter through Han’s back. Seeing Chewie’s scream is heartbreaking as the tragedy of the death leaves an impact on all the heroes.
Luke’s Terrible Mistake
In The Last Jedi we learn why Luke becomes a hermit. Ben Solo was once an apprentice of Luke, however, Luke had a terrible vision of Ben turning to the dark side. He decides to kill him in his sleep. Ben is shocked at this attempt on taking his life, so he destroys everything.
Seeing Luke as a great Jedi at the end of the original trilogy to a pathetic old man in The Last Jedi who was partly responsible for another war was a devastating blow to fans. Some people were turned off Star Wars altogether while others found it to be bold storytelling.