Star Wars is, overall, only a mildly violent franchise. The majority of the films are rated PG, and that's good because they are focused on audiences of all aged and can be enjoyed by adults and children alike. However, Star Wars definitely has some darker moments, and occasionally people do die in these films. Because we think of Star Wars as a family franchise, it's easy to forget that some of our beloved characters actually kill other citizens of the galaxy far, far away. Take Han Solo, for example, who shoots Greedo in his very first scene of the franchise.
This isn't the only time this scruffy-looking nerf herder shoots to kill, though. In fact, his total kill count may be higher than you think. Luckily for us, Youtuber Mr Sunday Movies has taken the time to find out Han's kill count once and for all.
Ok, first of all, I should mention that I don't really agree with them counting the Mynock and the Rathtar, but to each his own. Anyway, this video got me thinking about death in Star Wars. There have been so many deaths that are meaningful within the franchise. So, let's take a look at the most meaningful deaths in Star Wars:
Why is Greedo's death possibly meaningful? His death is one of our first interactions with Han. Han shooting Greedo (whether it be first or second) showed part of Han's character. He's a rough and tumble cowboy. If it comes down to saving his own skin, Han is perfectly willing to shoot somebody. Greedo helps establish Han's gritty western take on life and also reinforces his selfish attitude. This way, later on when he risks his life for Luke, it holds even more meaning.
9. Jabba the Hutt
Yes, he was one of the main villains of the first trilogy, but that's not why his death has meaning. He had kept Leia, the main female character at that time, in a humiliating outfit, location, and occupation. She, however, as a strong independent female character, rose up and defeated her captor. She literally broke the chains that bound her and used them to choke her slaver to death. In a way, Jabba's death is a representation of the empowering affect that Leia has on the female viewership. Leia is just amazing, there's no other way of putting it.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars had many meaningful deaths, but in my opinion, the death of CT5555 or 5's had the most meaning of all. He discovered the conspiracy behind Order 66. He found out that he and his brothers were programmed at birth to murder the Jedi they were created to follow. His death symbolized the resilience and intellect of the clones. They were people who should have been allowed to make their own choices, but sadly they were born as slaves to the corrupt empire that would one day cast them aside when they were no longer useful.
7. Qui-Gon Jinn
Liam Neeson's Star Wars character was killed off far to early, however his death carried weight. Qui-Gon's belief in Anakin lead to Obi-Wan's insisting to train him. Qui-Gon, in a way, is the original instigator of the creation of Darth Vader. On top of that, we discovered in The Clone Wars, that Qui-Gon was the Jedi who taught Yoda and Obi-Wan to live on as force ghosts after their deaths. Luke may never have defeated the empire had he not been guided by Obi-Wan's force ghost.
With Yoda's death came two important revelations for Luke. On his death bed Yoda revealed that Luke had a sibling. He would later find out from Obi-Wan's force ghost (see number 7) that Leia is his twin sister. More importantly, Yoda revealed to Luke that he is the last of the Jedi. This fact may have bolstered Luke's courage and determination during his confrontation with Vader and Palpatine.
Padme is the wife of Darth Vader and the mother of Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia. She plays a pretty big role in the fate of the galaxy. Because of her failure to date before marriage, she marries her abuser who is the eventual cause of her death. Her dieing, pushes Anakin over the line to become Vader. His only chance of redemption would come from their children.
The death of Emperor Palpatine represents the end of the empire and it's oppression. After Palpatine's death there was balance in the force. On top of that, Palpatine's death finishes off the story arc of Darth Vader. His death at Vader's hands brings Anakin Skywalker redemption and peace before his own death.
3. Obi-Wan Kenobi
Obi-Wan's death is one of the pinnacle moments of A New Hope. Luke loses his mentor and friend which motivates his story arc over the next two films. Obi-Wan's death finishes the battle between Vader and Kenobi which was started back in Revenge of the Sith.
2. Darth Vader
Anakin Skywalker was born as the most powerful force user in the galaxy. He was a hero of the Clone Wars and then descended into evil. He became the most fearsome villain in the galaxy. Only just before his death, was he able to return to the light and redeem himself. Vader's death is the ultimate conclusion to a story of redemption. He gave his life to save his children and the galaxy. In his death, Vader regains his nobility and once again is a hero of the galaxy.
1. Han Solo
In The Force Awakens I think we can all agree the Han was the ultimate representation of the original trilogy. His helping Rey and the Resistance blended the old with the new in a way. His death at the hands of his son held immense meaning. In a way, this scene was Lucasfilm telling us they have moved on to new heroes, new places, and new stories, but at the same time they have deep respect for, and will never forget, the classic elements of Star Wars. Han's death proved Lucasfilm's love for the old and their desire to respect those original stories as they move on into a new era.
Star Wars is a very unique franchise when it comes to death. Lucasfilm has never shied away from killing off important characters, but they don't do so frivolously. They know the weight these characters carry and so they make each death meaningful and emotional. You've got to love a franchise that puts as much thought into the death of old characters, as it does into the creation of new ones! Which Star Wars death broke your heart? Tell us in the comments!