There’s no denying the fact that Star Wars is an eminently quotable franchise. Across the many films there have been moments that are universally recognized as iconic in not just sci-fi, but across all of cinema as well. Even people who haven’t seen all the films are cognizant of these moments, with Star Wars having transcended generations since it first appeared in 1977. Most fans can rattle off their three favorite quotes without a second thought, with the franchise having existed at the forefront of pop culture for almost 40 years.
Among all these beloved quotes, only a handful count themselves among the most significant and memorable of the bunch. These are the ones that come to mind immediately whenever someone mentions Star Wars. If you were to ask your friend who had never seen a single movie in the series to quote the films, these are the ones they would still know by heart.
1. “Do, or do not. There is no try.” – Yoda
Ever the source of philosophical wisdom, Yoda’s spell as Luke’s Jedi mentor produced some of the most entertaining scenes in the Star Wars franchise. This one makes the list as a bit of wisdom that applies not just to Luke’s own sense of doubt, but to our own daily lives as well. Yoda may have gotten significantly more screen-time in the prequels, but this remains to this day his crowning moment.
2. “This is how liberty dies … with thunderous applause.” –Padmé Amidala
The prequels are jam-packed with cringeworthy dialogue, but in a rare moment of insight, Natalie Portman’s Padmé gets a chance to comment on a pivotal moment in the series. In it, Palpatine declares himself the ruler of the newly-formed Galactic Empire, ushering in an era of oppression that acts as a catalyst for the rest of the Star Wars story.
3. “Never tell me the odds.” – Han Solo
As everyone’s favorite space rogue, Han Solo is a treasure trove of quotability over the course of the original trilogy. This personality is embodied to a tee in a single exchange with C-3P0, during which the droid makes a futile attempt to warn Solo of the dangers of flying headfirst into an asteroid field. Han Solo is a character defined by his recklessness, making “never tell me the odds” something that would likely be written on his headstone as his life motto.
4. “Aren’t you a little short for a Stormtrooper?” – Leia Organa
If you think about the context of Princess Leia’s quip here, you start to see just how inherently bold she is in the face of adversity and oppression. Here she is, captured by the Empire as an accused traitor and rebel, and a Stormtrooper walks into her cell. As he silently ogles her in what anyone could perceive as a threatening manner, she has the gaul to insult his height. As we all know, it turns out to be Luke Skywalker on a rescue mission, but the point stands: Princess Leia is an unequivocal badass, and this one moment is proof positive.
5. “I know.” – Han Solo
In just two words, Han Solo gifted us with the most telling and iconic quote Star Wars has to offer. The scene kicks off with Princess Leia professing her love for Solo before he’s frozen into carbonite, with Solo offering the ultimate response: “I know.” Originally, the scene was written to include much more in the way of dialogue on both sides. The first draft had Leia telling him, “I love you. I couldn’t tell you before, but it’s true,” with Han reassuring her with, “Just remember that, ’cause I’ll be back.”
Harrison Ford didn’t quite agree with his roguish character being quite so wordy in his final moments, and after a sit-down with director Irvin Kershner, the line got changed. As Ford described it, “I know” won out for a simple reason: “It’s beautiful and it’s acceptable and it’s funny.” Hindsight being 20/20, it’s clear the right decision was made.
6. “No … I am your father.” – Darth Vader
There’s no arguing with the fact that the reveal of Darth Vader as Luke Skywalker’s father is one of the greatest twists in cinema history. Everyone remembers the moment they first saw the stunning scene when the fearsome Vader shattered Luke’s world with five words. It inspired decades worth of parodies and imitators, and will forever be remembered as George Lucas’ greatest moment as a creator (as well as Irvin Kershner as director, and Lawrence Kasdan as the writer).
7. “I have a bad feeling about this … ” – pretty much everyone
This one’s a quote so pervasive, that it’s uttered in literally every Star Wars movie. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story even flipped it on its head when K-2SO started saying it, but was cut off by Cassian mid-sentence. All in all, it’s a fun little nod to the origins of the franchise, and is always a good way to set up the tension of a scene where there’s clearly plenty to be worried about.
8. “That’s not how the Force works!” – Han Solo
Part of what made Star Wars: The Force Awakens such a good Star Wars movie was the way in which it recaptured the spirit of fun and adventure from the original trilogy. One particular moment of levity sticks out as a crowning moment of this tone, when Finn tries to convince Han that his experience as a First Order sanitation worker will be enough to infiltrate Starkiller Base. With little understanding of the Force as a whole, Finn opines that they can use the mystical power that binds the galaxy together to help them. Knowing firsthand how wrong that assumption is, Solo hilariously corrects the young former Stormtrooper, leading to a line that will always be remembered in Star Wars lore.
9. “You will remove these restraints and leave this cell with the door open.” – Rey
In a scene where Rey is only beginning to test her considerable abilities, it was intriguing to say the least to have her initiate her own escape, despite the rescue mission planned by Finn to do just that for her. And while it’s not exactly a line with the emotional resonance of a “I am your father,” it’s still an important instance of Star Wars establishing that its female characters aren’t simple damsels in distress.
10. “I don’t like sand.” – Anakin Skywalker
HA, gotcha. Admit it, for a second you were ready to take to Twitter and yell at someone for thinking Anakin Skywalker’s ode to sand belonged anywhere near a list including dialogue that actually isn’t terrible. The other half of you are probably piecing together a 140-character defense of this awful exchange, and that’s OK too. The prequels did a lot of things for the Star Wars story, but this particular moment numbers itself firmly in the “never should have happened” category.
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