9. Luke Gets His Hand Cut Off
Film: Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
The Moment: In way over his head while battling Darth Vader on Bespin, Luke tries to overpower Vader and turn the tide of the fight. That doesn’t happen though, as Vader slices off Luke’s hand and send it along with his lightsaber plummeting to the garbage chute below.
Why It’s Memorable: This is the lead up to the biggest reveal in movie history but it’s shocking in it’s own right. We are pummeled with shocking moments that continue to one up one another until the big reveal that Vader is Luke’s father. But even without that, we have our hero at his lowest point in any of the films he was in as he’s literally losing pieces of himself in this fight against Vader.
It’s also a wildly symbolic moment that is revisited at the end of the film. We knew Anakin got overzealous in his skills and started losing limbs that shifted him towards being more machine than man — and now Luke was starting down that same path. You didn’t need the prequels to understand that symbolism but you get it a lot sooner if you have that context behind the moment.
Next: 8. Anakin Gets Cooked