Discussing Jungian archetypes and the Joseph Campbell hero arc might be a fun way for a lot of people to talk about Star Wars. But these broad strokes aren’t all there is to why people love Star Wars so much. One element I always find missing from the “why do we love Star Wars so much?” conversation is humor. When making jokes about dicey material, we’ll often ask the question “too soon?” But if everything was a long time ago in a galaxy, far, far away, then it’s never too soon!
Here are the ten funniest lines in all the Star Wars films, according to me.
10. “How you get so big eating food of this kind?” Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back
This line is great not just because Yoda is putting on a goofy persona to screw with Luke, but also because the basic logic to the sentences is a classic joke of misunderstanding. Small food=small people, right? The joke accepts this premise before it begins, which is why this random assertion from Yoda makes us giggle.
9. “Spring the trap!” Obi-Wan, Revenge of the Sith
The prequels famously are not-as-good as the old movies for a lot of reasons. But one of the biggest is the lack of actual wit. This random line from Ewan McGregor’s Obi-Wan Kenobi is an exception, as the humor relies on an inversion of an expectation in conversation. Anakin says, “I sense Count Dooku,” to which Obi-Wan replies, “I sense a trap.” Anakin asks what they should do next and Obi-Wan grins broadly and says, “spring the trap!” He set up his own joke, and then basically asserted he was messing with Anakin. Obi-Wan’s got this, people. And he’s gonna make jokes about it.
8. “Same as always…” Luke, Return of the Jedi
Everyone forgets that the first 25 minutes of Return of the Jedi are chocked full of awesome jokes. It’s hard to pick (Han would get way too many lines) but this one from Luke is up there. The whole exchange is worth repeating:
Han: How we doing?
Luke: Same as always…
Han: That bad, huh?
This reads like a comedy routine and the way Mark Hamill says “same as always” is so wonderfully timed, you can’t imagine it any other way.
7. “You came in that thing? You’re braver than I thought!” Leia, A New Hope
We LOVE Princess Leia for so many reasons, but her ability to throw in a shitty dig right in the middle of danger is at the core of why she’s great. These guys are literally running for their lives, trying to escape a maximum security space prison, and Leia is cracking insulting jokes about Han Solo’s ride.
6. “Who’s scruffy looking?” Han, The Empire Strikes Back
After Leia delivers a fantastic laundry list of insults, Han picks the most superficial diss to protest. He might be stuck up, half-witted, and possibly a nerf-hearder. But calling him “scruffy looking?” Well, you’ve just gone too far.
5. “Let the Wookiee win.” C-3PO, A New Hope
My Mom always laughed the hardest at this one when I was a kid, and for good reason. Playing holographic chess with Chewbacca was probably how it feels for adults to deal with children all the time. If they’re not going to behave, you might as well let them win. Anthony Daniels sets this one up perfectly with, “I suggest a new strategy Artoo…”
4. “The Emperor is not as forgiving as I am.” Vader, Return of the Jedi
You don’t necessarily think of Darth Vader, when you think of funny, but this line is great. Is it dramatic irony because Vader thinks he’s forgiving and we know he’s not? No! Vader knows he’s kidding around, and knows he’s a giant asshole to everyone. What’s funny is the scale of jerkdom Vader creates with this line. He might as well be saying, “Listen man, if you think I’m bad. Well, I’m like basically baking cookies for you in comparison with this guy.” In the Sam Raimi Spider-Man, The Green Goblin puts his arm around Spidey at one point. This is Vader’s version of that.
3. “I don’t know where you get your delusions, laserbrain.” Leia, The Empire Strikes Back
Sometimes a line is funny not because the context is great, or it utilizes great wordplay, but just because the actual noises of the language sounds funny. The words “delusions” and “laserbrain” next to each other just sound funny. The way Carrie Fisher delivers this one is so great that I almost wrote “laser” with a “z.” Lazerbrain!
2. “Shutting up, sir,” C-3PO, A New Hope
This is a subtle one, but this is a classic joke. Uncle Owen tells C-3PO to shut up, and in order to really, really make Uncle Owen think he is listening C-3PO says “shutting up, sir.” C-3PO wants to please his new boss so much, he just—well, you get it. The demonstration that C-3PO is actually really bad at being subservient to anyone is illustrated quietly and hilariously in this moment.
1. “Boring conversation anyway…” Han, A New Hope
Everyone knows Han Solo could fill up a list like this all on his own, but his exchange with a Death Star control room guy in the first film is easily the best. Han does his best to bullshit his way by pretending to actually work on the Death Star. The statement “boring conversation anyway” is so great because Han is delivering the ultimate understatement. They are so screwed! The bad guys are onto them! Like Leia, Han’s ability to make a trite joke in the face of total mayhem is why we love him. A runner-up in this exchange is when Han faux-sweetly asks the guy at the other end of the radio, “How are you?”
Okay, I know you are all furious that I excluded Jar-Jar Binks from this list. Chime in below with your favorite Star Wars lines!
Ryan Britt is a longtime contributor to Tor.com, has delusions of grandeur.