It's 2019 and I can only express emotion using GIFs. That's a great example of hyperbole mixed with some very real admittance of emotional avoidance on my part. (But that's for another time.) It turns out Star Wars is the perfect vehicle to help me express emotion. Perhaps it's because it's a movie series I've been obsessed with my whole life and my brain never fully formed without it. Or maybe it's just because it's a sprawling franchise that is well-known and therefore easy to use as emotion shorthand.
Given the age of GIF-dom we live in, and being a year where a new Star Wars movie is coming out (though what year in recent memory hasn't given us a new Star Wars movie?), we may as well review the 20 best Star Wars GIFs of all time.
For the purposes of this list, we will only include GIFs from the eight films that make up the "Skywalker Saga" as of right now. And, though I really considered doing it, no, this will not just be a list of every GIF of a character saying, "I have a bad feeling about this."
This Hot Cheetos Cookie Is a Sweet Kick of Heat
We have to start off with everyone's favorite princess, Leia. Lots of Princess Leia's best moments are drenched in sarcasm but there is a look she achieves here that is pure, earnest, flirty perfection. Send this to a crush, but be warned, this image contains more power than the twin sunset on Tatooine.
Han Solo shrugging
Han Solo is the hottest person alive. And this shrug GIF is both erotic and also perfect to convey that I-shot-first attitude that we all need to embrace at various times in our lives.
Luke Skywalker yelling "NOOO!"
Luke Skywalker was never my favorite; he's kind of whiny, he's not sexy like Han, and he thinks HE is going to save Leia. Please. She does her OWN saving. But the turning point for him is once he finds out Darth Vader is his father. We then spend the rest of his appearances watching him get BADASS and damaged. It's a great character turn for me personally, and this GIF of him crying out "NOOO!" is the perfect reaction to any disappointing or disturbing news you might get.
BB-8 giving a thumbs up with a lighter
Lots of great characters get introduced in The Force Awakens (well, depending on who you ask) but one of the greatest is our new droid buddy, BB-8. He's a rounder R2D2 (I still love you, Artoo), but he immediately reached icon status when he pulled this move with a lighter on Finn. BB-8 is a much better way to say "yes" than just a thumbs up emoji.
Darth Vader goading
Besides this being a great moment and a great line about a father telling his son to tap into his anger to be able to kill him (relatable), it's also a line I can hear PERFECTLY in my head from hours of watching my brother play Rogue Squadron on his N64 when we were growing up. Use this GIF earnestly to encourage someone you love or, as would be my preference, sarcastically, to roast your friends in the group chat (I'm a delight!).
Luke has a bad feeling about this
This line has become a running joke in the Star Wars universe so let's honor it with its first utterance. It's a perfect GIF solely because of Chewbacca and it's a great GIF to use when you get an email from your boss that says, "Can you come in here?" and you start panicking about what that means so you forward the email to your coworker with this GIF attached before going into their office. Just me? Okay.
Mace Windu declaring the party over
It's a fact, universally known, that any Samuel L. Jackson GIF is a perfect GIF and the context does not matter. Use this Mace Windu GIF with caution because, though useful, it also reminds us that the prequels exist.
Admiral Ackbar yelling "IT'S A TRAP!!!"
This is one of the greatest GIF(t)s of all time. If you can HEAR this GIF we're probably best friends. I like to think of this GIF every time someone I went to high school with posts about an exciting new business opportunity they have that is definitely not a pyramid scheme!
Luke dusting the shoulders off
There's no way this moment was filmed without some writer thinking "this will be a great image to come up when you search 'dust shoulders off.'" But despite its contrived nature I still do really love this as a smug comeback to anything.
Darth Vader punishing insubordination
Let's get back to basics with some good old fashioned Darth Vader action. I'm pretty sure I saw this one come up multiple times in the group chat with my brother's wedding party but my favorite part of this GIF is seeing Admiral Motti being force-choked IN it. *chef's kiss*
It's Monday and you don't want to go to work? AT-AT GIF time. You drank too much and now you've got an early class you're struggling to get through? AT-AT GIF time. You got a fourth email from your grandma saying that women who get married BEFORE 30 are happier? You guessed it: AT-AT GIF.
Rey rejecting Kylo Ren's evil mind magic
Rey versus Kylo Ren is one of my favorite parts of the newest trilogy. This is the perfect GIF to me because it comes from a fairly serious scene and can be used in the silliest of ways. For example, use this if your friend suggests the exact burrito place you were daydreaming about to meet up for lunch. Foolproof!
Poe and Finn hugging
Somehow the GIF search I do most frequently is "hug." I think because it's a non-romantic way to offer support across social media. This has quickly become a favorite of mine because I love Poe and Finn, I love their hug, and I love all the Poe and Finn shippers of the world.
Wedge Antilles admiring the size of that thing
This GIF is extremely versatile in that you can use it both for sexting and for admiring food (also a form of sexting).
Young Obi-Wan Kenobi being let down
I'm not going to pretend I remember everything from the prequels but I'm also not going to pretend that they didn't give us some good GIFs. This is one of my favorites because I love the thought of tweeting this when a celebrity does something publicly disappointing (a situation that comes up every single day).
R2D2 beeping provocatively
Everything about R2D2 is perfect but the most perfect part of this little sarcastic droid is this GIF. Use this to express delight in a new piece of technology or to call your loved one hot, if you dare.
C3PO feeling helpless
On the opposite end of the spectrum is C3PO, who I can relate to as an anxious-ridden Virgo. He's not calm, he's not chill, he's worried about everything! There's no more useful GIF in our current time than this one.
Luke kicking back to everyone else's dismay
Another really relatable part of Star Wars is when Luke makes this super embarrassing move that becomes even worse somehow when you find out he's so smug about a kiss from his own sister. Use this GIF to be smug sincerely, or, preferably, to tell your friend they're being disgustingly smug by implying they're just-kissed-own-sister-on-the-mouth smug.
Yoda being kind of mean
Yoda gets a lot of credit for "Do or do not. There is no try." But he is also super rude and that is what *I* love about him. I love an elderly, smart, rude person because it is what I aspire to be one day.
Darth Maul flexing his dual-sided light saber
This GIF is the ultimate "weird flex but okay." Though, I could also see it used in a sext setting. Whatever you want. It's your life. Use all of these GIFs with caution and never tell me the odds of you actually using them (I am very much a Han Solo at heart).
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