With J.J. Abrams’ upcoming Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker the decade-spanning saga of the galaxy's most famous family will come to an end. Bringing together the Disney trilogies new characters, as well as the staple characters of old, everything that has transpired over the nine-film series is all because of the Skywalkers and their actions, both good and ill.
From Anakin Skywalker to his offspring and their brood, the branches of the Skywalker family tree have reached far and wide, their influence driving the events of one of cinema’s most iconic franchises. So, without further ado, here are the 10 moments that have cemented the Skywalkers as the most important family in the Star Wars galaxy.
10 Racing To Freedom
Considering Anakin’s overwhelming importance to all that followed, his time before becoming an asthmatic cyborg is largely made-up of whining, being lovesick and killing primitive natives and younglings. Before betraying his friends and beheading unarmed people though, he managed something quite spectacular whilst he himself was a youngling - winning a pod race.
Against all odds, Anakin emerging victorious from that perilous pod race is what thrusts the Skywalker’s into the fray, as well as demonstrate the power that the bloodline possesses. Winning gave Anakin his freedom, which led to him being trained as a Jedi, meet Padmé, have kids and the rest is Star Wars history.
9 The Foul Stench Of Tarkin
Due to the untimely death of beloved actress Carrie Fisher, The Rise of Skywalker will be the last time we see Leia Organa, so it behooves us to remember what made the character such an icon.
Upon being taken to Grand Moff Tarkin by Vader, Leia instantly displays her fearlessness, even whilst standing in a giant weapon terrifyingly named the Death Star. Leia begins her onslaught of insults by comparing Darth freaking Vader to a dog on a leash, before calling Tarkin’s hygiene practices into question. Boldly standing up to two of the galaxies’ most feared figures, Leia proves unequivocally why she is still one of the greatest heroines to grace the big screen.
8 Rebels, Meet Vader
Not everything that the Skywalkers have done is for the side of the light. In fact, Darth Vader’s actions in the finale of Rogue One could not be more drenched in darkness. Having heard about the ruthlessness of Vader, and having it teased throughout the original trilogy, Rogue One gives us a lingering look at the unstoppable power of the Skywalker pater.
As his heavy breathing fills the dark corridor, his red lightsaber ignites, illuminating certain doom. Vader gives no quarter as he cuts through the rebel soldiers without even breaking a sweat - if he can even sweat. Regardless, he leaves corpses in his wake as he demonstrates wonderfully the true power of the Dark Side, and why he is so feared throughout the galaxy.
7 Princess Leia Is The Bomb
Much attention is given to Return of the Jedi introducing Luke Skywalker as a fully-fledged Jedi, but what is sometimes missed is that Leia also moves from Princess to soldier. Working undercover in Jabba the Hutt’s grimy palace of reprobates, Leia goes completely unnoticed until she is found out when her love for Han Solo causes her to drop her guard.
Before being found out, and whilst heavily disguised as a bounty hunter, Leia uses the price on Chewbacca’s head as bait in order to infiltrate Jabba’s inner circle, and threatens to blow up everyone, including herself, over a few extra wads of space cash. Make no mistake, Leia is willing to go to any lengths to get the job done.
6 Blowing Up The Death Star
As the first sign that Luke Skywalker is going to be hugely important to the fate of the galaxy, the young farm boy leaves behind the world of picking up power converters to get his kicks and instead starts blowing up world-ending superweapons.
Taking the advice of Old Ben Kenobi, Luke is more than happy to appear to his colleagues that he’s losing his mind when he switches off his guidance computer and decides to use the Force instead. Firing a killer shot at a target no bigger than a rat, Luke reveals himself as the ultimate thorn in the side of the Empire and the most important Skywalker in the galaxy.
5 Like Father, Like Son
After giving into anger and almost hacking his unarmed father to death, Luke decides that maybe things have gone a bit too far and remembers the ideals that led him to want to become a Jedi Knight in the first place.
Tossing his lightsaber away, he chooses to embody those ideals, peace, pacifism, and compassion and defiantly he tells the tyrannical Emperor “I am a Jedi, like my father before”. It remains one of the most powerful declarations in the Skywalker saga and is only mildly undercut by Luke being battered with Force lightning seconds later.
4 Goin’ Mary Poppins
The Last Jedi is a film chock-full of polarising moments, with Leia’s return from certain death being one of them. Having been blown out into space by an attacking tie-fighter, along with most the Rebellion’s high command, the slowly diminishing rebel soldiers shed a tear at the demise of their general.
But, of course, with Leia being a Skywalker things are never quite as simple as all that. Using the Force to protect herself from the vicious cold of space, Leia reaches out a hand and Force-pulls herself back into the ship, showing everyone that just because Luke is on the missing list, the Skywalker’s are still here to fight.
3 Cutting Snoke Down To Size
Contesting Anakin as the black sheep of the Skywalker family, Ben Solo aka Kylo Ren has done some pretty terrible things so far, including killing one of the galaxies’ greatest heroes, his father Han Solo.
Kylo Ren has been torn between the light and dark throughout Episodes VII and VIII, and killing Snoke to save Rey brings that internal battle to the forefront. Cleverly deceiving Snoke by disguising his true intentions, Kylo Ren slices Snoke in half with Rey’s lightsaber before assisting her in taking down the imperial guard in a stunning ballet of sparks and stabbing. Though he may currently be the First Order’s Supreme Leader, acts like this do the Skywalker name proud.
2 Vader Kills His Master
Having been pretty much owned by his son in their final lightsaber battle, Vader watches his sadistic master cook his son alive with some fancy Force lightning, laughing while he does it. Torn between his lifelong allegiance to the Dark Side, Anakin crawls forth with the armor of Vader and once again discovers the light.
Using his large, robotic frame, Vader lifts the old-age Emperor above his head and throws him ceremoniously down an endless pit. As he falls down into the bowels of the ship, Vader’s breathing becomes labored as he accepts death, knowing that he is the Skywalker that brought an end to the evil that has ruled the galaxy...until The Force Awakens, of course.
1 Luke Skywalker’s Last Stand
Having thrown the Jedi and his responsibilities aside, Luke goes on quite the journey in The Last Jedi. Leaving himself stranded on the remote planet Ahch-To, Luke succumbs to destiny’s call and enters the fight in the only way he can, through Force projection. Allowing himself to also succumb to vanity, Luke projects a younger-looking version of himself onto the Crait battlefield and in the ultimate act of Jedi pacifism fights his nephew, Kylo Ren, without actually fighting at all.
Luke Skywalker stares down the first order and accepts the Skywalker legend that he tried so hard to put to rest, cementing the family name forever as the most iconic in the galaxy.