Everyone knows that my favorite of the original “Ol’ Holy Trilogy” (apologies to Kevin Smith when he was funny) is Return of the Jedi. I have a ton of reasons for it, including one that only myself and one other person know, but it is unquestionably my favorite.
However, unlike other geeks, that doesn’t mean my love is exclusive. I love The Empire Strikes Back as well. And through the years, that nostalgic love has brought me back to its orbit repeatedly. Sometimes, even though Jedi is my favorite, only Empire will do.
And the one thing I come back to, always, is my favorite moment in the entire film. It has a lot of great moments that still hit the right notes. Luke taking on the AT-AT by himself because screw it, he’s got The Force, man. Han kissing Leia because he’s that smooth. The betrayal scene, the revelation that Darth Vader was once a real human being.
But there’s one moment that remains my favorite and will always make me tear up, even if just a little bit.
The moment when all hope seems lost for our heroes – Luke is getting his ass handed to him, Fett got away with Han and the blast doors won’t open. Stormtroopers everywhere. And at the last moment, there he is.
R2-D2, breaking the code and opening the door like it ain’t no thing. Keeping his cool because f*** it, someone’s got to get it done. Everyone else losing their heads, unable to think their way out of the situation and boxed in by laser fire.
He opens the door, and as everyone else runs out he lays down a smoke screen. Because when you need something done, just do it. Don’t look for praise or credit; just do it. Get the job done and worry about yourself later.
R2 don’t gloat. R2 don’t sing his own praises or think he’s all that special. R2 just do what’s needed and then moves on.
Like a boss. R2-D2, unsung hero.