Four Weeks from The Force Awakens. A New Hope for the future of Star Wars.

A New Hope AwardsThe countdown keeps on truckin as we are now only four short weeks from the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  And with it the future begins.  We leave behind the old era and begin one anew.  We look back fondly on what came before, but as new Star Wars content had been slowing before the sale to Disney, we now look forward with A New Hope towards what the future holds.


So in honor the original, under whichever nomenclature you choose to identify it with, we theme this week’s countdown to 1977’s Star Wars. (Episode IV: A New Hope).  What does that hope mean to you?  Well, in addition to your hopes of sprawling dogfights, twirling lightsabers, and some genuine top shelf space melodrama come December 18th, you also have the hope of winning more free stuff.


But first, the results of last week’s contest.

 – The Making of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith

– The Art of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith

– Star Wars T-Shirt from FifthSun



This Week our own Dekka129 takes us into the trenches of the first Star Wars superweapon.  The original Death Star Assault.


Dekka129 – A New Hope – Death Star Assault

A New Hope X-WingsBack in 1977, when this film was known to the world simply as “STAR WARS!!!” I was a nine year-old aviation nut, particularly when it came to the classic fighter planes of WWI and WWII. So, when Dad took us to see this new movie that everyone was talking about, I was completely blown away when, after everything else – the creatures, the gunfights, the lightsabers – the film’s climax ended up being this massive fighter plane battle in space!


Of course, I later came to find out that George Lucas had assembled clips of dogfights from numerous old WWII movies when he was plotting out the Rebel attack on the Death Star, and that a great many of the final effects shots of X-wings and TIE fighters battling it out closely resembled the original WWII footage.


Even some of the details about the starfighters themselves reflected the aircraft of the WWII era. One that always particularly impressed me was the bat-like TIE fighter with its signature engine howl. This was very clearly adapted from the vulture-winged German JU-87 Stuka, which had air sirens attached to its landing gear to create a loud wailing sound as the planes dove in at their targets. It was the little touches like this that took an already mindblowing action scene and made the whole thing infinitely cooler to me.


And that initial thrill never really faded for me. Almost 4 decades later, the Death Star assault still holds up for me as one of my favorite scenes from the entire Star Wars saga. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that, out of all six movies released thus far, this is the only one that truly focuses on the fighter pilots. We got some of that in the Hoth battle in The Empire Strikes Back, of course, but the attack on the Death Star had it in spades. You had two squadrons flying two very different styles of starfighter, attacking a virtually impregnable enemy space station with multiple flight-groups making a “hail Mary” run on a shielded target that wasn’t much larger than the proton torpedoes they were launching at it.BiggsAnd throughout this, we got to know (all too briefly in most cases) almost a dozen different pilots as they fought for their lives, the lives of their squadron-mates, and the lives of everyone on every world that might conceivably fall under the Death Star’s superlaser. All of this while the clock ticked away the minutes until the Death Star would obliterate their base and most of the Rebel leadership.


While the later “Special Edition” changes to the scene added some flashier special effects, the original version still holds up just fine. It’s the pacing, the editing, the dynamic movement of the starfighters and the ever-building drama of the scene (a large part of which is generated by John Williams’ amazing musical score) that makes the Death Star battle a true work of cinematic art. As each flight group makes their run on the exhaust port, determination gradually gives way to desperation as the Empire’s TIE fighters cut the pilots down one by one. Gold Leader and his flight of Y-wings don’t even get close enough to the target to take a shot, Red Leader and his wingmen barely get into firing range before his shot goes wide, and then it’s down to Luke, Wedge and Biggs… then Luke and Biggs… then just Luke. And he even loses Artoo to underscore the hopelessness of his task.


By the time Han and Chewie come screaming down out of the sun to blast the fighters off Luke’s tail, Han’s triumphant “YAHOOOOOO!!!” still echoing in the theater, you’ve got pure standing-ovation material there. And many is the time, even years after the movie came out, when I’d see ANH in the theater and the audience, familiar as they already were with the movie, would break into a spontaneous cheer.Xwings_trenchrunIt’s practically a note-perfect scene for what, in the summer of 1977 became the first good old-fashioned “popcorn movie” in years.


True, it’s never really explained just WHY they needed to skim their way down that trench instead of just making a run at the exhaust port from above. Had Lucas and ILM designed the end of the trench a bit differently, creating an overhang above the exhaust port necessitating a lateral attack run (which was the rationale for the fjord attack run in the movie 633 Squadron, which was one of the main inspirations for the Star Wars trench run) then even this minor quibble wouldn’t have arisen.


But for me, that bit has always been easy for me to overlook. As a kid, seeing this scene for the first time (and the second, third, and god knows how many more times) made me think of Pappy Boyington, Eddie Rickenbacker and all the other fighter pilots I’d read about. There was a personal connection there to the Rebel pilots that carried over somewhat to the first act of Empire Strikes Back, but that we never really got again after that. Star Wars became more and more focused on the “capital-H” Heroes. The Death Star assault was about the “small-H” heroes – the individual pilots, some of whose names we never heard onscreen.


“All wings report in!”



Let us know what your favorite action sequence from A New Hope is in the comments to win some prizes:


1. The Illustrated Star Wars Universe:

The Illustrated Star Wars Universe

2. Star Wars Storyboards: The Original Trilogy:

Star Wars Storyboards Original Trilogy

3. Officially licensed t-shirt from Design by Humans:


+ posts

55 thoughts on “Four Weeks from The Force Awakens. A New Hope for the future of Star Wars.

  • November 20, 2015 at 11:18 pm

    My favorite action scene from ANH is the whole assault on the Death Star. It doesn’t get any better than that. Oh, the tension!

  • November 20, 2015 at 11:20 pm

    The Battle of Yavin still one of my favorite battles from The Original Trilogy

  • November 20, 2015 at 11:47 pm

    The opening bit is my favorite ANH action scene. From the second the camera pans down, the audience is thrown right into the middle of it. Everybody mentions the juxtaposition of the Rebel cruiser and the so-big-it-blows-your-mind Star Destroyer, and once we get inside the Tantive IV, the contrast is even more pronounced.

    The Rebels line up and just get trounced by the Stormtroopers … and then Vader shows up. And the s**t gets real.

    It was just such a perfectly executed way of setting up the scrappy underdog Rebels and the monolithic Empire, with Threepio’s terrified rambling giving us all the information we need to know.

    Just a gorgeous, perfect sequence, thrilling and evocative of the entire OT saga.

  • November 20, 2015 at 11:48 pm

    I love the Battle of Yavin, but I also have always loved the TIEs chasing down the Falcon as the heroes make their escape from the Death Star. The turrets, sound effects, and music just really make it great.

  • November 20, 2015 at 11:57 pm

    I seriously love all the bits from this movie. It’s both so magical almost like a fairytale but still keeps the exciting action together.
    My favourite action sequence would be the Battle of Yavin. The battle has a super weapon – like nothing has ever been seen in the sci-fi history – and a tickling clock for both of the sides in the galaxy. It’s either the Rebels or the Empire.
    I also like how Vader took the lead after some time of the Empire’s defense. We don’t get to see Vader doing stuff like that every quite often. 🙂

  • November 21, 2015 at 12:06 am

    It’s got to be the Tantive and the Star Destroyer over-the-camera intro shot. Mind blowing stuff! I didn’t see it in theaters. I saw it, probably around ’86 -’87 or so. Even ten years later there was nothing like it out there. And there still isn’t!

    That’s just one scene. The entire movie is great. Artoo and Threepio are a blast the entire movie. Han! Chewie! The Force! What a great movie.

  • November 21, 2015 at 12:09 am

    The Sandpeople vs Luke is the action scene for me. It’s a special scene where both protagonist and filmmakers somehow manage to seize victory from the jaws of defeat. In solving so many problems with location, weather, cameras, editing, scale, costume, and props – it’s not only Luke Skywalker but the whole crew showing us that courage, perseverance, recklessness mixed with a little sensitivity to the Force can be delightful.

  • November 21, 2015 at 12:29 am

    The opening attack on Tantive IV blows me away. This is where I was introduced to the Star Wars universe: its people and its droids, including all their problems. Each thing you see instantly becomes iconic, and you cant take your eyes off it. It’s first time you see a storm trooper, the first time you see them miss, the first time you see R2D2 etc, and it all leads up to the build up for Lord Vader. At this point you had no idea where this movie was going, not to mention you get a taste for a handful of masterful John Williams medleys. There was a galaxy out there and there is already so much to be found on a teeny tiny ship.

  • November 21, 2015 at 12:32 am

    *prepares for the hate* I didn’t like this movie as much i would explain why but i would be killed

    • November 21, 2015 at 12:44 am

      Shun the unbeliever! Shun!

    • November 21, 2015 at 1:14 am

      i would be curious to hear reasons. this is a safe zone…mostly. 😉

      • November 21, 2015 at 1:47 am

        well to me it didn’t make sense how they killed off all the pilots except for two or three(Han does not count) also how Vader just went spinnig in his tie couldn’t he do something to make it stop spinning also why didn’t the the rebel’s have no evac plan ready just in case they did fail

        • November 21, 2015 at 1:50 am

          No offense, but these really seem like nitpicks to me. Maybe you’re just a very detail-oriented person, but these things never really occurred to me as true problems with the movie.

          • November 21, 2015 at 2:54 am

            im not sorry if i do why wouldn’t you have a plan ready if your attack plan failed if i was Leia i would have had almost all personel loaded on board transports just in case and have and already have the engines warmed up and ready to take off

        • November 21, 2015 at 2:18 am

          the first two points are only really explained because thats what lucas wanted, needed to happen for the plot. the last one about the evac is interesting considering how quick the rebels bailed when the empire found their base on hoth. i think a large part of it was that they wanted the death star to come to yavin so they could destroy it, but yeah its was huge roll of the dice on their part.

  • November 21, 2015 at 12:46 am

    Three words: HAN. SHOT. FIRST. That brief confrontation between Han and Greedo at the Cantina still stands out to me as one of the greatest character expositions. Ever. We’ve already seen that Han is a mercenary, now we also know how serious the trouble he’s in as well.

    • November 21, 2015 at 1:11 am

      totally agree, along with his casually walking away from the table and tossing the barkeep some coin for the mess. so bad ass. 🙂

  • November 21, 2015 at 1:08 am

    as much we all like to crack on the special editions of the OT(and with good reason) i’ll always remember getting to see episode IV on the big screen back in 1997. as kid that grew up wearing out my family’s VHS tapes of those films it was a huge thrill.

  • November 21, 2015 at 1:20 am

    The battle of Yavin, no doubt.

  • November 21, 2015 at 1:42 am

    As wonderful and exciting as the Death Star trench run is, the scene that just makes me giddy with every viewing is that moment when Luke, Han, Chewie, and Leia are pinned down in the detention block with no hope of escape. After seeing that the boys aren’t going to get them out of their current pickle, the tiny princess – the damsel in distress if you will, picks up a blaster and starts plugging away, leaving her rescuers gawking.

    Screw the gold bikini, that’s the moment most of us really fell in love with the bad-a** Princess Leia.

  • November 21, 2015 at 2:07 am

    The action sequence I enjoyed, was Luke training with the light saber. I remember feeling disappointed that there was not more light saber combat.

  • November 21, 2015 at 2:39 am

    Escaping the Death Star, shooting down the tie’s with the Falcon’s quad cannons.

  • November 21, 2015 at 3:04 am

    The exhaust port on the Death Star was “sheilded” thereby preventing any direct overhead bombardment. The trench run was the only way to approach beneath the shielding. That being said, the opening sequence panning down on to the Tantive IV and this monstrous Star Destroyer that just kept coming and coming, getting bigger and bigger – this was/still is a knockout scene and pumps up the excitement level to 12 before the film has barely begun. Awesome!

  • November 21, 2015 at 3:07 am

    “True, it’s never really explained just WHY they needed to skim their way
    down that trench instead of just making a run at the exhaust port from

    I’ll admit I haven’t watched ANH in a while, but I’d assumed it was A) so they had fewer defensive turrets shooting at them as they approached the port and B) to avoid getting swarmed by huge numbers of TIE fighters in open space. Possibly the port was on the opposite side of the Death Star from they direction they were approaching and getting in that trench meant they wouldn’t out in the open as long as if they tried to fly around? I dunno, just some guesses.

    Edit: Just read Sifo Dyas’ comment that makes a lot more sense.

    • November 21, 2015 at 5:22 am

      correct. the trench was below the turrets

  • November 21, 2015 at 3:14 am

    When I was little, I preferred A New Hope and Return of the Jedi to Empire. Not because I didn’t like Empire, but because I love space battles. Seeing X-Wings and TIEs duke it out just made me happy. So of course, my favorite scene in A New Hope is the entire Death Star attack.

    • November 21, 2015 at 6:02 am

      I know where you’re coming from. As a kid watching ESB for the first time, I felt a bit cheated out of a climatic battle. I felt I’d seen half a movie. I also recall finding the Dagobagh parts of the movie boring. I love the movie now, but back then I didn’t like it half as much as ANH, or just ‘star wars’ was it would’ve been known then.

  • November 21, 2015 at 4:26 am

    I always loved the scene in which the imperial troops try to stop the falcon from leaving Tatooine. For me, that scene is one of the main sequences in Star Wars that feel like it is plucked from a western: The way Han holds his blaster, the explosions and laserbeams gone astray.

    I always felt that the term “space western” was kind of silly when applied to Star Wars, even thinking that it was a smart marketing gag by Lucas to advertise his project to the studio bosses: Tell them it is a western in space and use the 70s enthusiasm for that genre as momentum. In retrospect I have to take that back, and believe the Tatooine escape sequence is the strongest source of western imagery in Star Wars.

  • November 21, 2015 at 4:57 am

    My favorite action scene has always been the trash compactor sequence. My mom always used to make me close my eyes when I was a little kid because she thought the dianoga was too scary for me but that just made it creepier to hear everyone screaming and the walls close in. Even having seen it now it’s always keeps that chilling action and suspense feel for me

  • November 21, 2015 at 5:02 am

    My favourite from a new hope was always the scene where Han Luke and Chewy went to go rescue Leia in the Death Star! The scene where Han talks on the transmitter to the other imperials and then starts to joke about a “weapons malfunction” is priceless. I hope we get similar humourous but exciting scenes in the force awakens!

  • November 21, 2015 at 5:16 am

    The Battle of Yavin still has better dogfights than Top Gun. Yes, I’m dead serious.

    But the favorite moment that stands out to me is still the Twenty-Six Most Beautiful Words:

    “The Force is what gives a Jedi his power. Its an energy field created by all living things, it surrounds us, it penetrates us, it binds the galaxy together.

  • November 21, 2015 at 5:21 am

    For me, it boils down to one scene. Luke’s final run on the Death Star trench. He drops his targeting computer and gives in to the force. The entire thing builds to that moment. What follows after with Solo streaming in and the death star blowing is simply one of the most satisfying scenes in the history of cinema. Even after seeing it hundreds of times, the adrenaline still surges. Williams’ music is a huge part of this as well.

    • November 21, 2015 at 11:21 am

      Most of you have probably listened to this, but here is a fan’s recording that he made with a cassette tape from the theater in 1977. Han comes screaming in about the 2:40 mark and you get to listen to the audience cheer.

  • November 21, 2015 at 5:53 am

    My favorite scene is the one in which Vader chokes that dastardly cur, Captain Antilles to death. Antilles was of course responsible for aiding and abetting Obi Wan Kenobi in the child abduction of Luke and Leia, and child trafficking. As with Obi Wan Kenobi, he got everything he deserved.

    If you think about it, Star Wars really is the movie ‘Taken’ in space. If Liam Neeson had a death star, I’m sure he’d have made liberal use of it in the recovery of his daughter: ‘I’ve got a very particular set of skills. First I choke you with the force, then I destroy your planet.’

  • November 21, 2015 at 5:59 am

    I really enjoy the scenes of them running through the Death Star, don’t get me wrong, but the best scene is when Luke is the last one in the trench and it looks like there is no hope left. That’s when Chewbacca and Han come rolling in to save the day by creating the best distraction of all time. Luke uses the force, shoots his proton torpedoes, and “…blow(s) this thing and go(es) home”. Definitely a good moment in my life every single time I see this scene. It’s really breathtaking and suspenseful every single time.

    • November 21, 2015 at 7:37 am

      “Yeah, we’re fine, everything’s fine,… uh, How are You?”

  • November 21, 2015 at 6:20 am

    I love the Falcon gunner scene after they escape. The music is epic.

  • November 21, 2015 at 6:28 am

    My Favorite moment in ANH was the duel between Darth Vader and Master Kenobi. At the time, it felt so powerful, the apprentice finally beating the master, and that harrowing line “Now I am the master”. It was wonderful and saw Kenobi become more powerful than Vader, as he was now immortal. That moment still tears me up because of poor Luke’s reaction.

    I would also like to add a thank you to this website. Swnn is the best Star Wars news site and we wouldn’t have information of this quality from any other Star Wars website.

      • November 21, 2015 at 4:21 pm

        Haha lol

        A wild Vader appears,
        Obi Wan I choose you,
        Obi Wan uses Jedi spin,
        It’s not very effective,
        Vader uses brutally murder,
        It’s very effective,
        Obi Wan Kenobi Uses force ghost,
        Obi Wan managed to escape, from a certain point of view.

      • November 22, 2015 at 7:51 am

        Shoulda, woulda, coulda.

  • November 21, 2015 at 7:50 am

    I was four when my father first sat me down and showed me Star Wars. He had borrowed the Trilogy on VHS from my Uncle and decided I was old enough to watch them. The entire opening of the film is ingrained into some of my earliest memories. The blast of music as the title appeared, the opening crawl I was barely old enough to understand, and that moment that the Star Destroyer cruises overhead and just doesn’t seem to end. Even the next sequence blew me away – sirens blaring, explosions rocking the ship. And the sight of the Stormtroopers busting their way inside and the whole hallway fight! Vader’s introduction and that moment I heard his insidious, unnerving breathing the first time – all the way to the moment the droids blast away in the escape pod to the planet below. It was unlike any other movie I’d ever seen at the time, and I was completely in awe throughout the rest of the film. I don’t know if the opening is truly my favourite scene or not, but it’s a scene that brings out some of my oldest, dearest memories, something I will never forget for the rest of my life; the extraordinary opening to the first film in a series that inspired me — and has still inspired me to this day, to do as Lucas did and make the art of filmmaking my career. God, I freaking love this movie.

  • November 21, 2015 at 8:02 am

    My favorite action scene was the very beginning of the movie as the Imperials boarded the Tantive. When I first saw it, it had me on the edge of my seat and it still does today. The stormtroopers rush in. Rebels are firing at stormtroopers. Stormtroopers are firing at Rebels. All in a harrowing pace. Then it seems like time slows down as we are introduced to Vader. Big and menacing. He has an air of invincibility. A perfect introduction for the ultimate villain

  • November 21, 2015 at 8:12 am

    The most creative and interesting environment that came out of A New Hope is by far the Cantina sequence. It broadens the horizon of how diverse and dangerous the universe really is. With creatively designed alien species spotted all over the place, it makes for a fantastic environment. The iconic encounter with Han Solo, along with the first on-screen usage of a lightsaber as a weapon, it doesn’t get much better than the Cantina scene.

  • November 21, 2015 at 8:28 am

    My favorite action scene had to have been Leia and Luke vs the Stormtrooopers several levels above them. It was a great moment of action that was perfectly placed to bring an abrupt sense of danger after the two come to a dead end, and the swing across, after Luke comes up with a plan on the go, is one of the most iconic scenes and widely referenced ones if the saga. It also had a little bit of comedy, with one Stormtrooper constantly sliding back after multiple shots were fired at Luke and Leia, which always and still looks like the guy is shrugging, and that he’s saying “I’m gonna getcha!” The Death Star Run was fabulous, but for the multiple reasons above, I always cherish and enjoy the “swing-across” scene.

  • November 21, 2015 at 11:12 am

    My favorite action scene is when the Tusken Raiders attack Luke. The Sand People are one of my favorite creatures in SW. I remember seeing them for the first time when I was a kid, I was scared & amazed because I never witnessed anything that looked like that up til that point. The sound they make is just awesome also one of my favorite sound effects from the SW Galaxy.

  • November 21, 2015 at 11:13 am

    It has to be Yavin. But, specifically, Luke’s trench run. So much is happening here in just a few minutes – interactions between the pilots, them being killed by Vader, base command center, Tarkin on the Death Star, Ben talking to Luke with Force theme playing and finally Han coming back to help. It’s the payoff for everything that came before and it’s fantastic. 🙂

  • November 21, 2015 at 11:42 am

    Sorry to go a little off topic, but as starwarsnewsnet recently switched to Disqus, I just noticed they did the same over at makingstarwars dot net. So nice to be able to comment on these sites now.

  • November 21, 2015 at 11:46 am

    It’s has got to be the moment where Han runs through the corridors of the Death Star and into a platoon of Stormtroopers. Han’s reaction and running away always had me rolling on the floor as a kid. The perfect combination of humour, action and character that the PT was sorely missing.

  • November 21, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    The trash compactor scene.

  • November 21, 2015 at 3:50 pm

    Just can’t wait for the moment in TFA when Han reaches for a medal, but Chewie steps in front of him like “not this time, bruh” and gets the medal.

  • November 21, 2015 at 5:18 pm

    For me, it has to be the Death Star space battle. I love the designs of the ships and until today, the X-Wings remained my one of my favourite ship designs. When the X-wings were flying to the Death Star and the sequence where the Xwing locks the S Foil one by one. Man, its still my favourite scene.

  • November 21, 2015 at 8:15 pm

    I always loved the scene where Han is chasing the stormtroopers down the hallway in the Death Star

  • November 21, 2015 at 10:45 pm

    Favorite action sequence in A New Hope…there are so many, but I really like the scene where Luke and Leia are escaping, and they have to swing over to the other side of the passageway since the bridge is no longer there. After blasting a couple of stormtroopers, Leia says “good luck” to Luke and they swing across successfully!

  • November 21, 2015 at 11:09 pm

    The initial hallway gunfight is actually more important than we typically give it credit, because it establishes Imperial stormtroopers as a legitimately threatening force. In spite of their well-documented inaccuracy later on, there would be no tension in those scenes if they were established as impotent morons (like the battle droids at the beginning of TPM).

    That being said, the final battle edges out the Falcon’s escape for my favorite.. The Falcon vs. TIE fighters is unique, because it pits a quasi-stationary target with 2 (extremely cool) quad cannons against 4 mobile targets. That being said, the Battle of Yavin forms the focal point for the entire Star Wars timeline (e.g. 1 ABY, 32 BBY). It’s where we first see someone successfully use the Force after approaching it as a newcomer like us. It’s often remarked that the exhaust port is a silly vulnerability for an imposing space station to have, but it wasn’t an exactly a glaring weakness. Remember, it was too hard for two experienced pilots to hit with the aid of targeting computers. Familiarity causes us to take Luke’s accomplishment for granted. As a kid, I was able to identify with Luke, and his big hero moment was like nothing I’d ever seen in a movie. That’s not even counting the whole groundbreaking battle as build-up.

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