Recently we rejoiced in the 10 Funniest Moments in The Force Awakens, because it definitely proved itself to be the funniest of all the Star Wars movies. But, as ridiculous as some of George Lucas’ attempts at humor were in the original six movies (especially the prequels), there are most definitely some classic comic moments.
Sometimes it’s great lines delivered to perfection, whether by a human, an alien or a droid. Sometimes it’s a recurring theme. Sometimes it’s an unexpected reaction following a sequence of action. And sometimes it’s not even words that bring the funny (we’re looking at you, Artoo!). So here they are, the 10 Funniest Moments In The First Six Star Wars Movies, which paved the way for the great comedy in The Force Awakens.
10. “The ability to speak does not make you intelligent.”
Early on in The Phantom Menace, Qui-Gon Jinn encounters a lanky, goofy, amphibious weirdo named Jar Jar Binks. Well, more than “encounters”; “literally runs into” would be more accurate, while both are trying to escape the Federation’s giant troop transport vehicles on Naboo. Once safe, Qui-Gon complains, “You almost got us killed. Are you brainless?” Jar Jar’s odd, nonsensical response is, “I speak!” Which perfectly sets up Qui-Gon’s jab: “The ability to speak does not make you intelligent.”
This one is funny on a couple of levels. First, because it’s probably something we’ve all thought about a lot of people in our lives. Second, it’s funny in retrospect, considering how much hate was levelled onto Jar Jar following the release of the film. It’s almost like George Lucas knew how annoying the character was going to be and got in a jab at him before anyone else could, through his own script. Not likely, of course, but let’s throw him a bone for creating the whole thing.
9. R2 burns the battle droids
In Revenge of the Sith, it doesn’t take long for R2-D2 to grow weary of the bad guys’ various droids. In the opening sequence, during the battle over Coruscant, first Obi-Wan and Anakin (with their droids aboard their fighters) are attacked by vulture droids. Then R2 watches his pal (Obi-Wan’s astromech droid) R4 get torn apart by buzz droids. Then one of the buzz droids is about to do the same to R2, but he gives it a buzz of its own before it has a chance. Once aboard the Invisible Hand (General Grievous’ ship), Obi-Wan and Anakin are attacked by battle droids.
At this point, R2 has about had it with his fellow buckets of bolts. The Jedi are stuck in an elevator, while R2 is down below, hiding from a couple of super battle droids. Obi-Wan is calling R2 to get him to fix the elevator. It’s a little strange that a droid needs to be holding a sort of phone that transmits the caller’s voice loudly through a speaker, but we’ll skip past that. The point is it’s loud, so R2 comically puts it inside his body so the sound is muffled, harder for the bad droids to hear. It’s like he’s saying, “Shut up, human, you’re gonna have me killed!” Finally, the battle droids find him and call him a “Stupid little astro droid.” And then R2 gloriously proves that you don’t talk to him that way, in a hilariously destructive sequence where he first spews oil on them, then uses his rockets to set the oil – and the super battle droids – on fire. Finally he glides to safety, then proudly looks back on his handiwork.
8. Obi-Wan’s hatred of flying
Flying is a pretty important skill in the Star Wars universe, with all the planet-hopping they do – especially if you’re a Jedi. Obi-Wan Kenobi definitely displays some skill at flying starships, but that doesn’t mean he likes it. And as Obi-Wan, actor Ewan McGregor spews some pretty choice lines about flying during the prequels. In fact, he’s pretty much the only actor in the prequels that’s able to convey genuine humor (even Liam Neeson’s line in No. 10 on this list was more a product of the script than a brilliant line reading).
In Attack of the Clones, he’s taking on blaster fire from Jango Fett while evading asteroids, when he complains, “Blast! This is why I hate flying.” On its own, it’s kind of funny that a brave Jedi Master has such a basic fear. Later, during the speeder chase on Coruscant, Obi-Wan is demonstrably tense, in a sort of comedic way, while Anakin flies aggressively, loving every minute of it. Anakin apologizes, “Sorry, Master, I forgot you don’t like flying.” To which Obi-Wan replies, whipping his head to the side in shock, “I don’t mind flying. But what you’re doing is suicide!” When Anakin crash-lands the Invisible Hand in Revenge of the Sith and the ship finally comes to a complete stop, Obi-Wan deadpans, “Another happy landing.” Earlier in the same film, while nervously trying to evade missiles, he blurts, “Flying is for droids.”
7. “You came in that thing?”
In the original trilogy, Carrie Fisher played Princess Leia with deadpan, sarcastic brilliance, which is a trait that seems to come natural to her, as she often displays the same qualities on talk shows to this day. We’ll talk a little more about a great exchange with Han in The Empire Strikes Back later, but she had some choice lines in A New Hope as well.
Even in her first meeting with Luke, she brings that trademark sarcasm – and this is a scene where she’s locked up in a Death Star cell and a Stormtrooper has inexplicably broken in. Most people in that situation wouldn’t be so quick with humor. Little does she know, that Stormtrooper would prove to be a great ally (and brother!). “Aren’t you a little short to be a Stormtrooper?” she asks. Later, as they’re on their way to the Millennium Falcon to make their getaway, Leia gets her first look at the infamous, but evidently unimpressive starship. “You came in that thing?” she asks Han. “You’re braver than I thought.”
6. “You want to go home and rethink your life.”
Jedi mind tricks are not only awesome, but they’re also good for a little dose of comedy from time to time. Rey uses her first ever mind trick with comical results in The Force Awakens. But there’s another funny one in Attack of the Clones. Following an attempt on Padme’s life, Obi-Wan and Anakin chase after bounty hunter Zam Wessel. They wind up searching for her in a nightclub, when some sleazebag-looking dude (indeed, his name, according to the script, is Elan Sleazebaggano) approaches Obi-Wan.
The sleazebag, with strange antennae atop his head, asks, “Wanna buy some death sticks?” With his trademark calm, Obi-Wan puts down his blue drink, doesn’t even look at the sleazebag, waves his hand in front of him and says, “You don’t want to sell me death sticks.” A confused sleazebag says he doesn’t want to sell him death sticks. Then Obi-Wan lays down the punchline, still not even looking at the guy: “You want to go home and rethink your life.” And Sleazy goes off and, presumably, does just that. Another life saved by Obi-Wan!
5. Luke meets Yoda
On orders from the ghost of Obi-Wan, Luke heads to Dagobah to meet a legendary Jedi Knight named Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back. Luke has no idea what Yoda looks like or where to find him, only that he’s supposed to be somewhere on this swampy, seemingly uninhabitable planet. He’s just chatting with R2 when suddenly this strange little green creature with a cane appears behind them. Of course, we all know now, but upon first viewing the audience doesn’t know – and Luke certainly doesn’t – that this is Yoda. And Yoda knows exactly who Luke is, so he messes with him by pretending to be this naïve little jokester goofball.
When Luke tells Yoda he’s looking for someone, Yoda says, “Looking? Found someone, I would say. Hm?” And he cackles madly at his own little joke. Soon, Yoda steals a bite of Luke’s unappetizing-looking crunchy food stick. He doesn’t like it, and when an irritated Luke takes his food back, Yoda responds with a jab: “How you get so big eating food of this kind?” Yoda goes on to goofily make a mess of things and steals Luke’s flashlight. Then there’s a funny little fight between Yoda and R2, who’s trying to get the flashlight back. Yoda bats at the droid with his cane, childishly shouting, “Mine! Mine! Mine! Mine!” The whole scene is almost funnier in retrospect, knowing that this goofy creature is the most revered Jedi in the galaxy.
4. “They’re dying, Artoo!”
In A New Hope, our gang of rebels get stuck in a trash compactor while trying to bust Princess Leia out of the Death Star. It’s a place where blaster fire bounces off walls, overflowing with discarded hunks of metal, long beams and swampy water. Suddenly a tentacled creature grabs on to Luke and drags him underwater. When he finally breaks loose, the walls start closing in to compact the trash – and our heroes.
It looks like certain doom. But Luke calls his droid friends for help and just when they’re about to be crushed, R2-D2 stops the walls and all the tension is finally broken with a bit of humor, as C-3PO mistakes the rebels’ hollers of joy for cries of death. In a panic, he moans, “Listen to them! They’re dying, Artoo! Curse my metal body! I wasn’t fast enough. It’s all my fault! My poor master!”
3. “When 900 years old you reach…”
It would seem that, according to the Star Wars saga, once you’ve lived centuries, you not only grow wiser and profoundly small and wrinkled, but you also develop a pretty playful sense of humor. We most recently saw it with Maz Kanata in The Force Awakens, claiming Chewbacca to be her boyfriend. But prior to that it was all about Yoda.
Even as he was preparing to head to his death bed, he cracked himself up in Return of the Jedi. Luke had come to visit him on Dagobah one last time. He sadly told Luke of how old and weak he had become, but was quickly struck by a burst of mirth. “Hm,” he blurted, looking up at Luke, then said with mock sternness, “When 900 years old you reach, look as good you will not. Hm?” Luke was too sad to acknowledge the humor, but Yoda had a good cough-filled chuckle at himself.
2. “Boring conversation anyway.”
In A New Hope, Luke and Han have dressed up as Stormtroopers in an effort to walk around the Death Star incognito, break into a detention center and rescue Princess Leia. Han orders Luke to go find the princess in Cell 2187, while Han says, “I’ll hold ‘em here.” Meaning he’ll keep the real bad guys at bay, following the noise of their big shootout to clear the detention center, while Luke finds Leia.
His idea of holding them is to call into the intercom and awkwardly say, “Everything’s under control. Situation normal.” And he blames all the blaster fire from the shootout on a “slight weapons malfunction.” Harrison Ford’s next line reading is hilariously awkward: “Everything’s perfectly alright now. We’re fine… we’re all fine here… now… thank you.” Finally he politely asks, “How are you?” and immediately winces, knowing it was a stupid thing to say. When pressed, he suddenly claims there’s a very dangerous reactor leak. And when asked for his operating number, he just shoots the intercom with his blaster and groans, “Boring conversation anyway.” Harrison Ford’s comic timing couldn’t be better in this scene.
1. “Who’s scruffy lookin’?”
In The Empire Strikes Back, the rebels are on the ice planet of Hoth and Luke is recovering from exposure to the extreme cold, following his bout with the Wampa. Han and Chewie are visiting their old pal but preparing to leave Hoth, when Leia comes along and she and Han enjoy a classic battle of wits in what we’re calling the funniest overall scene in Star Wars history. When Han claims she doesn’t want a “gorgeous guy” like him out of her sight, Carrie Fisher masterfully delivers the line, “I don’t know where you get your delusions, Laserbrain.” Even Chewie thinks that’s hilarious, offering a chuckle. Han throws the next comic punch at the Wookiee, groaning, “Laugh it up, Fuzzball.”
Then comes the pièce de résistance. After Han divulges to Chewie that he and the Princess shared an intimate moment in the south passage, an offended Leia delivers the classic, rock-band-inspiring line, “Why you stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf herder!” To which Han responds with the even more iconic line, “Who’s scruffy lookin’?” It’s a classic comedy formula (someone is hit with a barrage of insults, but only takes offense to one) played to perfection.
Any other funny moments in the Star Wars movies that you can think of? Let us know in the comments!