17. “I Am Your Father” vs. “Fly, You Fools”
What? Biggest plot twist in Star Wars, where Luke finds out Darth Vader is his father
What? Arguably the biggest twist in LOTR, where Gandalf apparently falls to his death after battling the Balrog
Verdict: Movie twists are overrated. Mostly because in movies as big as Lord of the Rings, they rarely pay off. Battles are lost, not wars. That trap isn’t as inescapable as you think. And the dead rarely stay that way.
Which was why Gandalf’s “death” at the end of Fellowship was so transparent. A movie as big as LOTR simply has too much to lose if they ditch among their most popular characters. He was always coming back.
Star Wars avoids this trope by having the twist be something that, once it’s revealed, can’t exactly be undone. Darth Vader is Luke’s father. The very blood that runs through Vader’s veins, the blood that turned to the Dark Side of the Force, also runs through Luke’s veins. This kind of psychological inversion frames the rest of the story and retroactively changes a lot about what came before. It’s precisely what a movie twist should be.
Star Wars wins
Next: 16. TIE Fighters. vs. Wargs