18. Leia Tells Han She Loves Him
Film: Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
The Moment: As a way of testing the carbon freezing chamber, Darth Vader decides to freeze Han Solo. As he’s being led to what could be his death, Leia breaks character and tells Han that she loves him, something she had been dancing around but was too stubborn to come out and say. Han responds in kind, letting her know that he loves her too in the only way that Han can emit emotion — by saying ‘I know’.
Why It’s Memorable: It’s one of the most romantic moments in a Star wars film and also one of the most emotional. Leia telling Han she loves him, and Han replying that he knows is the most Han Solo thing that ever happened in any of the films. Ask anyone and they’ll tell you that this moment is the definitive thing that defines the character.
What also works about this is that it punches you in the motional gut. The tension between Han and Leia was building the whole film, and it came to a head in a moment where they weren’t going to be together. There was no guarantee that Han was going to live either, so this might have very well been the last exchange they ever had — which is way heavy.
Next: 17. Anakin Chokes Out Padme