There’s no doubting the huge influence that George Lucas’ Star Wars franchise has had on the sci-fi genre and the film industry as a whole. With its entirely unique storylines, unparalleled world building, and groundbreaking visual effects, Star Wars has a lot to offer dedicated fans and casual viewers alike.
At the same time, the franchise has some serious flaws. Many fans attribute the movies’ deepest offenses to George Lucas’ writing and direction. Look to Empire Strikes Back for a simple example: Lucas neither wrote nor directed the one film widely considered as the strongest installment of Star Wars. However, even movies from Disney’s latest revitalization of the franchise have some questionable aspects.
The fact of the matter is, for a franchise that has proven itself to be among the most influential of all time, Star Wars has many scenes that are downright awful. Unfortunately, these scenes are completely jarring and will often throw viewers completely out of the films as they watch.
From the original trilogy, to the infamous prequels, all the way up to The Last Jedi (fair warning: spoilers below), this is a roundup of some of the most puzzling, baffling, and bizarre scenes in the Star Wars film franchise.
Here are the 15 Jarring Scenes That Take Us Out of Star Wars Movies.
15. The Phantom Menace: Podracing
When fans of Lucas’ original Star Wars trilogy heard that the filmmaker was planning on making a prequel trilogy to explain the origins of Darth Vader, they grew extremely excited. They probably weren’t expecting the young Darth Vader to be into podracing.
Complete with a shoehorned Jaba the Hutt cameo, aged CGI, and awkward comic relief moments, The Phantom Menace’s podracing sequence truly has it all. The scene was the last thing fans wanted when they were curious about Anakin Skywalker’s upbringing. To add insult to injury, the sequence goes on far too long, clocking in at around 15 minutes.
Worst of all is when Qui-Gon Jinn tries to make the ridiculous sports competition a moment of Jedi training, urging the young Anakin Skywalker to concentrate on the moment and use his emotions. He even sends him off with a final “May the force be with you.”
14. The Last Jedi: Luke Milks a Thala-siren
When The Force Awakens ended with that fated meeting between Rey and Luke Skywalker, fans eagerly awaited The Last Jedi to find out what Luke say.
Some were left disappointed. Luke ended up walking away from Rey without a word and remained distant and bitter for most of the movie.
However, perhaps the most jarring scene involving Luke took up less than a minute of screen time. As Rey follows Luke around his island, desperate for recognition, Luke takes a pit stop for a quick drink by milking the udders of an enormous Thala-siren. Luke slings a glass of the milk back and even gets it all over his beard, glaring at Rey as he does it.
13. Revenge of the Sith: Vader Mourns Padmé
Easily one of the darkest moments in Lucas’ prequel trilogy was when Anakin Skywalker physically transforms into the Darth Vader we all know and fear after the spectacular battle with Obi-Wan.
Lucas couldn’t just let this moment breathe, however. The filmmaker isn’t known for his subtlety, and his penchant for ruining delicate moments came through when Vader rises from his operation, fully suited.
The first thing Vader asks is about Padmé’s wellbeing. Lord Palpatine lies to Vader and tells his apprentice that he killed the mother of his children in order to stoke the fires of his anger.
Vader launches into a vicious tirade, and while it’s a good concept on paper, seeing the ominous Sith Lord melodramatically shout “Nooo!” completely erases the emotion of the moment and just makes it bizarre and cringe-worthy.
12. The Last Jedi: Kylo Shirtless
Try as he might, Kylo Ren can’t seem to measure up to the level of intimidation of his grandfather Darth Vader. One scene out of The Last Jedi seriously undercuts Kylo’s efforts to be Star Wars‘ next “big bad.”
Rey and Kylo share a special force connection throughout The Last Jedi that enables the two to converse with each other as if they were in the same room. At one point in the film, Kylo starts a conversation with Rey while he’s completely shirtless, with pants that seem to come up far too high.
Whether it was meant to impress Rey or reflect how comfortable he was talking to her is anybody’s guess. However, the near-laughable move completely overshadowed the scene’s attempt at a serious tone.
11. Return of the Jedi: Boba Fett’s Death
No Star Wars character is quite as cool as the mysterious bounty hunter Boba Fett. Few characters are able to go as brazenly toe-to-toe with Lord Vader as Fett, and his lethal skills are equally as impressive.
Until Return of the Jedi rolls around, that is. The skillful bounty hunter that is able to bring Han Solo to the Empire is somehow rendered entirely useless in the third original Star Wars movie.
Lucas gives him one of the worst, most insulting on-screen deaths in cinematic history when a bumbling Han Solo mistakenly hits Fett’s jetpack, sending him into the Sarlacc pit.
The scene left people scratching their heads, and it completely took fans out of the film when they saw that one of the trilogy’s most interesting characters was swept to the side without a second glance by Lucas.
10. Attack of the Clones: Anakin’s Awkward Seduction
The prequel trilogy is chock-full of awkward scenes between Anakin and Padmé. In this regard, the worst film of all is Attack of the Clones, which is largely devoted to telling the story of how Anakin and Padmé fell in love.
Despite the fact that the movie ends with the two getting married, the romance isn’t exactly smooth sailing. In one scene, Anakin spills his heart to Padmé, and it’s nearly too painful to watch. Padmé is made visibly uncomfortable by Anakin’s words and actions, and she shuts him down completely.
With its clumsy dialogue and stiff acting, the scene looks like it is straight out of a made-for-television melodrama and seems completely out of step with the sci-fi movie that fans wanted to see from Lucas.
9. A New Hope: CGI Dewbacks
In 1997, George Lucas announced that he would be releasing a special remaster of the original Star Wars trilogy, celebrating the 20th anniversary of A New Hope and brushing up the beloved films with new CGI technology.
While the added CGI did brush up certain scenes, allowing Lucas to inject some additional flair to his original trilogy, the new material mostly bogged the movies down with strange distractions.
One of the best examples is Lucas’ addition of CGI dewbacks when the stormtroopers are searching Tattooine for the missing droids and Death Star plans. Though it may have been impressive back in 1997, the CGI now seems aged and out of place.
There are way too many dewbacks in the scene and with multiple ships zooming across the horizon, the scene just seems to be Lucas showing off all of the different CGI figures he could add to the landscape.
8. The Last Jedi: Hux and Poe’s Comic Relief
The Last Jedi might have its critics, but there’s no denying that it has one of the most thrilling opening sequences of the entire franchise. The Last Jedi’s opening gives an extremely tense, ultra-realistic peek at what a battle in space might actually look and feel like.
Which is why it’s so jarring when a comedic routine pops up right in the middle of the sweeping battle sequence. When hotshot pilot Poe Dameron reaches out to General Hux to buy time for the rest of the Resistance fighters, he pretends to have a comms malfunction.
When it spirals into one big “your mom” joke, it just becomes too much. The Last Jedi’s opening battle is slick and electrifying, but the random humor nearly ruins the tone.
7. The Phantom Menace: The Midi-chlorians
One of the questions that Lucas attempted to answer with his prequels was the science behind The Force. It was a question that few fans truly wanted an answer to.
Lucas went ahead with it anyways. In The Phantom Menace, when Qui-Gon Jinn suspects that Anakin is unusually Force-susceptible, he takes a blood sample to find out his midi-chlorian count.
Anakin later asks Qui-Gon what midi-chlorians are, and the answer doesn’t seem in line with the spirit of Star Wars at all.
In the scene, Qui-Gon explains that and individual’s Force capabilities rests in their midi-chlorians, a microscopic organism that lives in the cells of all living beings. The scientific explanation for The Force left fans confused and frustrated.
6. Return of the Jedi: Ewoks Defeat the Stormtroopers
Thought of by many as the weakest installment of the original trilogy, some groups of fans consider the third film too loose and light-hearted. The Ewoks are certainly a big reason that many leave Return of the Jedi with that impression.
When Han and Leia are captured by stormtroopers on the forest moon of Endor, they’re rescued in a rather unusual way. While R2-D2 and C3-PO lure stormtroopers away from Han and Leia, a force of fuzzy Ewoks swarm the Imperial troops and somehow manage to overpower them with rocks and mini bows and arrows.
Even though stormtroopers have never truly been an impressive military force, the scene is downright ridiculous and illogical. The climactic Ewok battle caused many viewers to roll their eyes at Return of the Jedi.
5. Rogue One: CGI Tarkin
One of the difficulties filmmaker Gareth Edwards encountered when directing Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was how to portray beloved characters like Grand Moff Tarkin. Instead of casting lookalikes, the director opted to use stand-in actors and go full CGI with the characters.
While some viewers were impressed by the abilities of modern technology, others were left unnerved by the special effects. The infamous character seemed just a little bit off, especially when next to his human scene partner Director Orson Krennic. It was enough to shake some fans and throw them out of the film whenever Tarkin was on screen.
The scene even stirred up some controversy. The use of CGI to fill in actors who have passed away also sparked debates online, with some arguing that the move was unethical.
4. Revenge of the Sith: Palpatine Fights the Jedi
A lightsaber duel between Darth Sidious and four Jedi Masters, one of them being Mace Windu, sounds incredible on paper. It’s too bad the actual scene in Revenge of the Sith doesn’t live up to it’s potential.
The scene falls flat for a number of reasons. After he does a bizarre spin through the air, Palpatine is able to cut down three of the Jedi Masters with ridiculous ease because they hardly fight back.
Palpatine’s battle with Windu is a little more interesting, but the scene takes a quick nose-dive once Anakin intervenes. While Windu is distracted, Palpatine shoots him with Force lightning and gives his unbearable “unlimited power!” line, which kills the scene completely.
3. The Phantom Menace: Jar-Jar Binks’ Introduction
Ask any Star Wars fan what the worst part of The Phantom Menace is, and the answer will probably be unanimous: Jar-Jar Binks. The movie has other serious flaws, but Lucas’ choice to add the absurd, annoying Gungan is no doubt the worst of all.
Jar-Jar is immediately introduced as a bumbling mess when he runs into Qui-Gon Jinn on the planet of Naboo. Jar-Jar literally clings to the Jedi Master during an invasion, causing Qui-Gon to stumble and fall.
Watching a composed Jedi Master played by such a skilled actor as Liam Neeson converse with an annoying CGI character is confusingly out of place and almost unbearable.
2. The Last Jedi: Leia’s ‘Marry Poppins’ Moment
Star Wars has always relied on its fans’ willingness for suspension of disbelief. However, some scenes are harder to believe than others.
Enter The Last Jedi. When Kylo Ren hunts down his mother Leia’s ship but is unable to kill her, another one of the Empire’s pilots shoots the Resistance’s ship and blasts a hole through its hull. General Leia is flung into space, but she uses The Force to pull herself back into the ship and save her own life.
For many fans, the loops in logic that justify the scene were simply too much. Putting aside the fact that Leia was able to survive the hull blast and in space without a suit, many questioned how Leia could be that skilled with The Force.
1. The Force Awakens: Han Solo’s Death
Walking into The Force Awakens, its fair to say that next to nobody expected the beloved Han Solo to be killed off. Watching Harrison Ford’s Han Solo swagger on the big screen once again was one of the main lures of The Force Awakens.
The shocking plot turn of having Kylo Ren lure in his father with a fragile admission of guilt only to kill him moments later rocked viewers to their core when the movie first came out.
While certain fans applauded J.J. Abrams’ bold decision to kill off Han Solo, others cried foul, upset over the death of such an iconic and irreplaceable character. Some have turned their back on the movie altogether because of it.
Any way you look at it, the choice was controversial, and it remains a hot debating point amongst Star Wars fans to this day.
Did we miss any of the most jarring, strange scenes from the Star Wars movies? Let us know in the comments!
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