Top five scariest Star Wars moments
Updated: Nov 2, 2020
Halloween is right around the corner. We decided what better way to get in the spooky spirit than by creating a top five scariest Star Wars moments list to get everyone into the holiday spirit.
5. The Dagobah and Ach-To Force Caves
Before we get into the very real, physical horrors in Star Wars, we must first stop to consider terror of another kind: existential.
The cave on Dagobah does have a visually terrifying moment when Luke sees Vader step out of the shadows, and beheads him. The sight of Luke's lifeless, disembodied head is a haunting one, and is arguably the scariest visual in the entire Original Trilogy.
But what makes these two Force caves scary, particularly as an adult, is the very idea of what
they represent. Both Luke and Rey are lured in by the call of the Dark side. The only things they carry are "what you take with you", in both a physical and emotional sense. Once down in the cave, both must confront their greatest inner struggles: the darkness within them, and their search for identity.
This reading of the Force caves probably won't scare a child, but as an adult it's terrifying to consider a location and an energy that seduces you by promising to tell you what you want to hear, then forcing you to confront everything you thought you knew about yourself. To have to confront your own loneliness, and face the darkness within yourself is just scary enough to land these two moments on this list. With From a Certain Point of View: The Empire Strikes Back (out November 10) devoting a whole story to the Dagobah cave, it'll be interesting to see how this notion is built on going forward.
4. The Phylanx Redux Transmitter from Last Shot
Daniel José Older's Last Shot is an excellent heist/adventure story that follows Han Solo and Lando Calrissian on two separate missions: one they undertake together in the years after the battle of Jakku, and then one individual mission each sometime before A New Hope.
What each of these adventures have in common, though, is that they all revolve around a device known as the Phylanx Redux Transmitter. Once a medical droid, the new directive of the Phylanx Redux is to override the existing programming in any droid across the galaxy, so the mandate of each and every one becomes "kill the organics."
Daniel José Older skillfully walks that line between comedic and terrifying, and it is no better exemplified than in the scene where Han and Leia's household droid finds itself taken over by the Phylanx, and goes from keeping an eye on 2-year old Ben, to nearly loping his head off.
3. Darth Vader in VR
I know this sounds like a cop out, but hear me out. I wasn't scared of Darth Vader as a kid. And I was scared of everything. Darth Vader was the larger than life figure in the Star Wars movies. Then he was the Anakin Skywalker I had come to know and love trapped in a breathing suit, alone and scared. But he was never scary.
Flash forward to 2018, Los Angeles. Some friends and I decide to check out Secrets of the Empire, a full-room Star Wars VR experience put together by ILMxLAB and The Void. Right at the end of the story, you - disguised as a Stormtrooper, on a mission from Cassian Andor - find yourself in an underground vault where you've uncovered the ancient laser sword you've been sent to find. Then a lot of things happen at
once, most notable of which is the sound of heavy mechanized breathing. The sound every Star Wars fan has committed to memory. Darth Vader is here. He uses the Force to break your blasters, and is currently crossing the chasm that separates you with every intention of running you through with his lightsaber. By this point you've been in the game so long, your brain no longer recognizes it as virtual reality. It is screaming at you that Darth Vader is very real and he wants you dead.
Playing Vader Immortal on my at-home VR also came with its share of anxiety, as I never knew when he was going to pop up behind me and command me to do his bidding. Video games have finally done what years of Star Wars movies could not: they made me afraid of Darth Vader.
2. The death of Luminara Unduli in Star Wars Rebels
Anybody can do a jump scare, but it takes a special storyteller to move immediately from a jump scare to deep psychological horror. But that is exactly what we get in Star Wars Rebels 1x05 "Rise of the Old Masters."
Kanan Jarrus and Ezra Bridger receive a transmission from Jedi Master Luminara Unduli, who had supposedly died during Order 66. Thinking she's still alive and in custody, the two head to Stygeon Prime to find and free her. Upon arriving, they do find her. Only she isn't alive, she's been dead for years, her slowly decaying body being used by the Empire as a means of luring Jedi out of hiding.
This was a surprisingly grim and gruesome route for a children's series to take. I was a fully grown adult when I saw the episode, and the image of Master Luminara's decayed face slowly coming in to view haunts me still.
1. The Fexian Skullborers from Heir to the Jedi
Generally speaking, Heir to the Jedi is a charming, delightful read, and is one of the few canon novels that features Luke Skywalker. And this one has him in a leading role, no less! But somewhere among Luke discovering more about his Force abilities and his (lack of) flirting abilities, comes the side quest to the world of Fex, where Luke and his companion Nakari encounter a species of insect known as the skullborers.
Fexian Skullborers are horrific little creatures. They are invisible to the naked eye while moving, and must be knocked out in order to be seen. Most never get that opportunity, as they latch onto the head of their prey, drill a hole in the skull and literally suck the individual's brain out. I don't do particularly well with body horror, and just the idea is making my stomach turn.
Fortunately this particular plot point doesn't last too long. I probably wouldn't recommend the book if it did. But as it is, it freaked me out so much the first time I read the book, that I mentally blocked it out until I revisited it earlier this year. Though I understand the interest in the freakier side of Star Wars, I'm personally glad this one never made it into the movies or shows, as it is the single most terrifying thing in the whole Galaxy Far, Far Away.
Preorder "From A Certain Point Of View: The Empire Strikes Back", out November 10.
What do you think the scariest moment in all of Star Wars is? Let us know on Twitter @BTBDNet to continue this Star Wars conversation.
Arezou is a writer and a longtime Star Wars fan. She loves reading all the canon material she can get her hands on and has a particular affinity for the "Freaky Force Stuff". She is a fanfic reader, a Funko pop collector, and a prequel kid through and through.
When she isn't writing for Beyond the Blast Doors, she can be found professing her love for Rey, Ben Solo and Obi Wan Kenobi (for different reasons) on Twitter or on her website. She also hopes to tell stories in the GFFA in an official capacity some day.