Photo credit: Lucasfilm
The Battle of Yavin
The Evil Galactic Empire’s sinister DEATH STAR has tracked the Millennium Falcon carrying our heroes and the key to destroying the massive station back to the Rebel base on the fourth moon of Yavin. Luke Skywalker, unable to convince Han Solo to stay to defend the Rebels finds himself in the pilot seat of an X-Wing fighter in a desperate effort to stop Yavin IV from meeting the same fate as Princess Leia’s homeworld Alderaan.
The fighters leap into the sky and approach the artificial moon, little more than insects against the gigantic mobile weapon. One by one, the fighters are destroyed by fire from the station, or the ace Imperial pilots who have met them in space in their own TIE fighters. With the Death Star almost ready to fire on the base, Luke alone is pursued down the long trench toward his target, Darth Vader himself giving chase.
The Dark Lord is ready to reduce Luke’s ship to so much flaming debris on the station’s surface. Suddenly, a familiar voice cries out over the radio as Han and the Falcon swoop in, clearing Luke’s way to make his shot, bringing the threat of the Death Star to an end.
In 1977, we hadn’t seen anything like it, and yet it was completely familiar. Calling on the best moments of WWII fighter plane and bomber movies, writer/director George Lucas gave us the first taste of what war in the stars could be. Movies changed, science fiction changed, we changed, everything changed. Had this final act of what was intended to be a pulpy little space movie not left its audience gasping and enthralled, we likely would not now be waiting for ANOTHER one of these films 42 years later!
The pacing, the stakes, the tension, and the exaltation; it is all perfectly balanced with cutting edge visuals (and I’ll take the theatrical release any day, thank you) to make this an experience, an event rather than just a movie.
As J.J. Abrams brings this saga, now in its fifth decade, to an end, it would do him well to look back at the original epic Star Wars battle, and with a sense of George Lucas style rhyme fulfill the destiny, complete the circle, and bring final balance to the Skywalker Saga. Following the original’s lead, Ep IX can be a movie we’re still writing essays about 42 years from now.
Any thoughts on what Star Wars elements you want to see reflected in Episode IX? Think there are other battles that deserve recognition not mentioned here? Hoping for a theatrical release of the Umbara storyline? Sound off in comments below and let us know what you think!