Happy 35th birthday, Star Wars! Today marks the anniversary of A New Hope, the first film in the original trilogy. To celebrate, we’re counting down the 35 reasons we love the original trilogy—and why you should, too.
35. “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.”
So how ‘bout those mind tricks, huh? In a demonstration most stylish, Obi-Wan Kenobi proves that he’s not just some old guy, but some old guy with Jedi powers. The phrase has since gained meme status and instant notoriety with Star Wars fans everywhere.
34. The fans.
Star Wars fans are a force unlike any other. Spanning over 30 years, the fandom of Star Wars has neither slowed nor abated; it lives on through cosplay, collector’s items and much, much more.
33. Shoot first, ask questions later.
In the original version, the classic Han-Greedo scene features Han pulling his weapon first. In the 1997 remake, Greedo takes the first shot—and misses. But we prefer the former of the two, since obviously Han is the kinda guy who doesn’t take any chances.
32. Tatooine’s dairy products.
You can count on Star Wars fans to let not even the tiniest of details slip—or in this case, the strangest. What goes better with a few cookies than a cold glass of Tatooine’s finest blue milk?
31. The ever-abundant Wilhelm scream.
The Wilhelm scream is present in a number of George Lucas’ films, and Star Wars is no exception. Appearing in all three of the original trilogy (and even in the first prequel), the Wilhelm scream is the go-to sound effect for bad guys biting it. And once you’ve heard it, you’ll never miss it again.
30. It made Mark Hamill famous.
If you can find no solace whatsoever in the Star Wars films, then perhaps you can take pleasure knowing that they made Mark Hamill famous. Hamill went on to later become a successful voice actor as one of our favorite characters, The Joker, in Batman: The Animated Series.
29. “I find your lack of faith disturbing.”
Unlike most villains, Darth Vader doesn’t even need to make physical contact with you to do damage. He can mind-choke you. With The Force.
28. The classic tale of good vs. evil.
Star Wars takes the most basic of story archetypes and pushes it to the extreme. Characters must literally choose between the good guy side, or the dark side. Forget shades of gray; sometimes you just want to see the world in black or white.
27. Gratuitous amounts of tiny bears.
Return of the Jedi is memorable for one thing. No, no, it’s not the final fight scenes, or the conclusion to the story, or any of that. It’s the Ewoks. Little people in fuzzy bear costumes who manage to take down dozens of Stormtroopers. You get ‘em, little bears.
26. Persistent ghosts.
Does anyone ever really disappear in the Star Wars universe? Even if you die, you can still hang out as a ghost, even if you spent most of your life as a hyperventilating jerk.
25. Slave Leia.
Slave Leia is as iconic to the series as she is sexy. Thousands have replicated her badass bikini on Halloween, but no one will ever top Carrie Fisher. Except maybe this guy.
24. The Cantina band.
The Chalmun’s Cantina is the kind of bar we’d like to visit. While watching the eclectic crowds and occasional patron getting their arm chopped off is an interesting plus, we’re diggin’ the music. Which is a good thing, because they never seem to play anything else.
23. It takes place in SPACE.
But seriously, they made this movie in the ‘70s. That’s actually kind of impressive.
The AT-ATs that battle on Hoth are pretty fierce machines that sort of look like a robotic cross between a turtle and a camel. And like turtles, once you knock them over, they’re not getting back up.
21. Jabba’s death scene.
Don’t call us sadistic just yet. Sure, watching Jabba get choked out is a little…cruel, shall we say, but then again, Jabba’s no peach. It’s more than satisfying to watch Leia enact her revenge. After all, that metal bikini had to pinch.
20. R2D2 and C3PO.
What’s better than one robot pal, unless it’s two? C3PO probably couldn’t carry that role on his own, but he makes for a winning combination with robotic sidekick R2D2. And although R2D2 only speaks in beeps, we like to think he has some of the best lines in the movie.
19. Boba Fett.
There are few people that can take down our boy Han, but Boba Fett is one of them. Armed with a multitude of nifty gadgets and an actual jetpack, he quickly charmed his way into our hearts with his do-no-good attitude. But more importantly, Boba Fett made codpieces cool.
18. No one is safe.
Even good guys eat it. Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda are the most notable good guys to go down, and they’re also the most powerful.
17. Chewbacca’s yeti call.
Arguably one of the most iconic noises in the series, Chewbacca’s growling, guttural scream is somehow perfect for conveying any emotion. Excited? Yeti call. Emotionally Crushed? Yeti call. Pissed off? Well…you get the point.
16. Sassy puppets.
Before moviemakers had the power of CGI, they had to improvise. As a result, one of the toughest, wisest characters in the series is a puppet. Yes, that’s right; talking about Yoda, we are. And who could ever forget his great line, “Do, or do not. There is no try”?
15. Billy Dee Williams.
Of course Lando Calrissian is great, but even better is the actor who plays him, Billy Dee Williams, who later created some of our favorite beer commercials. We never forgot those two rules, Billy Dee.
14. The Force.
Being able to use The Force is kinda like being telekinetic, semi-psychic and Jackie Chan all at once. How does that not sound appealing?
13. Even garbage can be deadly.
Avoid trash compactors at all cost. Not only do they house scary trash snakes, but there’s that whole “compacted” thing, too.
12. The voice of James Earl Jones.
Oh, speak again, sweet angel!
11. Emperor Palpatine
Has there ever been a more evil, conniving and wrinkled baddie around? Every thing about the Emperor, from his moldy skin to his creepy voice screams awesome villain. He also shoots lightning from his fingertips, which no one else seems to be able to do.
Laser-like beam swords that “shing” into existence? And they come in more than one color, you say?
9. Tauntaun sleeping bag.
Surviving out in the frigid tundra of Hoth can be a little tricky, but fortunately there’s more than one way to skin this—errr, Tauntaun. Yep, that’s right. Your dead pet can also serve as a convenient space heater. And of course who could forget Han’s golden line, “I thought they smelled bad on the outside!”
8. Admiral Ackbar.
No one is exactly sure what Admiral Ackbar is, but he’ll forever be remembered for one famous line: “It’s a trap!”
7. The parodies.
No great pop culture phenomena goes without its fair share of parodies, and Star Wars is no exception. The series has inspired songs and remakes alike, each with its own hilarious merit.
6. Watch your head.
Every movie has its share of bloopers and screw-ups, and Star Wars is no exception. But hey, those Stormtrooper helmets are pretty hard to see out of.
5. “I am your father.”
The true parentage of Luke remains one of the most memorable and interesting twists to date. Geez, talk about daddy issues.
4. The music.
It’s hard to imagine Star Wars without its sweeping scores. John Williams created a soundtrack that’s iconic and emotional all at the same time. What would Darth Vader even be without the “Imperial March”?
3. The cultural phenomena.
Since its inception, Star Wars has spawned more memorabilia, toys, games and merch than you can shake a lightsaber at. Its reach is long and everlasting—at least, 35 years worth.
2. “I Love You.” “I know.”
Although not what the scriptwriters originally had in mind, Han’s response to Leia is perhaps one of the best lines in the trilogy. Han transcends his cocky badassery to deliver a line that’s cooler than we could ever have imagined. Harrison Ford, that was all you, bud.
1. They’re not episodes 1-3.
Do we even need to explain this one?