For the past couple months, I’ve been doing a series on fight scenes and how to make them more effective:
And, in case you don’t have time to read those other posts, what IS the secret to a really great fight scene?
Fight scenes, really good fight scenes, are all about character.
Today we’re going to talk about probably my favorite fight ever…
Luke vs. Vader from Return of the Jedi.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: a fight scene without character stuff is meaningless: it’s just pretty choreography, and this scene, even though the fight choreography isn’t wicked intense (like in, say, the mediocre prequels with their lava battles and such) is still a totally riveting scene. Luke is trying to redeem his father; Vader is trying to push Luke to the dark side and, meanwhile, the Emperor is just being a jerk to everyone in a sort of “Let the best minion win!” kind of thing.
If Luke wins, the Emperor wins because he’ll have pushed him to the dark side.
If Vader wins, the Emperor still has his trusted right hand henchman.
This is one of the few fights I can think of where the stakes are this high, and the outcome of the fight is actually really crummy for the two combatants no matter who wins. Conflict! Character! Story! Awww, all the ingredients for a really great fight.