There’s no arguing with the fact that Star Wars has become a bigger part of global pop culture than any other movie franchise in history. The Star Wars universe has spawned many quotable lines which have been used, parodied, and meme’d since they came out. Here’s a quick user’s guide for non-fans to some of Star Wars’ most iconic quotes:
“It’s a trap!” – Admiral Ackbar
Appearance: Episode IV: Return of the Jedi
Context: Admiral Ackbar, commanding officer of the Rebel Alliance’s rag-tag fleet, ejaculates his immortal line when it dawns on him that he’s led his fleet into an ambush and they’re about to be annihilated by the Empire’s bigger, badder ships during the Battle of Endor.
According to several researchers, “It’s a trap!” is the most meme’d line of dialog from any movie in history.
“I know.” – Han Solo
Appearance: Episode V: Empire Strikes Back
Context: Han Solo is the archetype rogue who owes people money. He’s also roguishly charming, and by this point in the franchise he and Princess Leia have gotten close.
In this episode, he’s captured by an interstellar bounty hunter named Boba Fett, Jabba the Hutt’s henchman. Just before Fett freezes Solo in carbonite – which may or may not kill him in the process – Fett lets Leia say her last goodbyes. She blurts, “I love you,” to which he replies, “I know.”
Despite only a few minutes of screen time, this scene cemented Boba Fett’s position as a pop culture touchstone. He was so popular among the Star Wars fandom that Disney eventually spun a side story about his creed in The Mandalorian, which gave us Baby Yoda!
Appearance: Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
Context: After a climactic lightsaber battle between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader which results in Luke’s arm being chopped off, Luke climbs onto a metal structure to get away from Vader. When Luke accuses Vader of killing his father, Vader responds with the iconic “No. I am your father.”
One of the most hilarious pop-culture references is Toy Story 2, when Buzz Lightyear battles the villain Zurg, who tells him “I am your father.”
“Do. Or do not. There is no try.” – Yoda
Appearance: Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
Context: Luke Skywalker ends up on Dagobah to seek the tutelage of a Jedi Master named Yoda. During the Jedi training, Luke is tasked with Force-lifting his X-wing fighter out of the swamp. When Luke tells Yoda that he will try, Yoda scolds him with “Do. Or do not. There is no try.”
This is most famous for being used as a motivational speech, which is basically: “commit to it fully or don’t do it at all”.
“These aren’t the droids you’re looking for” – Obi-Wan Kenobi
Appearance: Episode VI: A New Hope
Context: When Obi-Wan, Luke, and the two wanted droids R2-D2 and C-2PO are in Mos Eisley, they encounter some Stormtroopers who ask about the droids. Obi-Wan uses the “Jedi mind trick” and says, “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.” The trick works – they leave them alone.
The line has been used and parodied many, many times in film and drama, from “That 70s Show” to “House” and “The Big Bang Theory”.
Did you know?
The phrase “I have a bad feeling about this” is the most prolific Star Wars quote in the franchise. The line’s been said – in various iterations – by a main character in every single episode, from A New Hope to The Last Skywalker.
This is an excerpt of the “I Am Your Father: Know Your Star Wars Quotes” article in Issue 68 of Campus magazine, which you can read for free here.