|Via LA Screenwriter|
Despite the original trilogy being focused around Luke's journey, it's truly at its best when treated as an ensemble film. The characters and their goals bouncing off of each other - Leia's need to get the plans back to the Rebels, Han's need to look out for himself, and Luke's need for adventure - makes for great cinema, and my favorite scene from A New Hope has just that.
The entire scene in the trash compactor is perfect*, as we get to see all the characters display their own unique personalities in response to their predicament. Leia was innovative in her solution to escaping the stormtroopers, even if it did lead them into a precarious situation, and she manages to stay in control as much as she can, ordering the guys around and racking her brain for a new step in her ever-evolving plan to get back to the Rebels (and to not die in the tentacles of the dai noga). Chewie's reluctance to dive into garbage was hilarious; I like to think that the Wookiee was kind of prissy when it came to cleanliness, considering his luxurious fur. Han's pessimism and sarcastic comments - "One thing's for sure. We're all going to be a lot thinner." - contrasted perfectly with Luke's youthful exuberance as they both brainstormed on a second escape plan and especially when the walls started to close in. Add to this Artoo and Threepio as they scrambled to stop the trash compactor from liquifying the crew, with Threepio nearly going into hysterics when he thought that Luke had perished. This is just such a delightful scene that could have been played a lot more seriously or humorously, but it meets right in the middle and makes for one of the more memorable scenes in the whole saga.
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* Well, almost perfect, save for the whole "I've already tried that. It's magnetically sealed" line that Luke delivers after Han tries to blast his way out of the trash compactor. Neither Han nor Chewie were that far behind Luke and Leia when they went down the trash chute, so I find it very difficult to believe that Luke had the time to test his own laser gun. But oh, well. It's a minor quibble really.