It may seem an odd turn of phrase for a universe as imaginative as Star Wars, but “I’ve got a bad feeling about this” has become a recurring sentence in the Star Wars canon, having been uttered in numerous movies, TV shows, and video games related to George Lucas’s sci-fi series over the years.
Originally appearing in 1977’s Star Wars, this wholly distinct phrase quickly became a staple of Star Wars, popping up in each subsequent entry in the Original Trilogy, the Prequels, and the Disney Sequel Trilogy. In some cases, it may be said by a character in response to an uncertain or tense situation. Other times, the words may be altered slightly, with later Star Wars directors, writers, and showrunners knowingly paying homage to the phrase in a tongue-in-cheek manner.
With how much Star Wars media there’s been over the years, it’s worth wondering whether the words, “I’ve got a bad feeling about this,” truly does appear in every Star Wars movie, and if so, what situation it’s presented in. Here’s every time “I’ve got a bad feeling about this” (or some other variant of the sentence) appears in Star Wars.
1. The Phantom Menace
Having had the phrase appear in each of the three original Star Wars films, George Lucas knowingly added the phrase to his next three films in the Prequel Trilogy. In the case of The Phantom Menace, it’s said within the film’s opening 10 minutes. As Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan prepare for their meeting with the Trade Federation leaders on the flagship, the Saak'ak, Obi-Wan says to his master, “I have a bad feeling about this.” (Interestingly, this is Obi-Wan’s first lines in the Prequels.)
2. Attack of the Clones
Compared to how early it’s said in The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones waits far later in the film to mention the phrase than its immediate predecessor. The line’s delivery comes as Anakin, Padmé, and Obi-Wan await their execution in the gladiatorial pits of Geonosis. As the alien creatures are introduced to the arena and turn to their respective quarry, a chained Anakin ominously says, “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.”
3. Revenge of the Sith
Like its earliest chronological entry, The Phantom Menace, Revenge of the Sith delivers the line far earlier in the film than Attack of the Clones, with Obi-Wan once again saying it within the opening ten minutes of the movie.
As the space battle between the Republic and the Separatists rages over Coruscant, Obi-Wan and Anakin race against time to reach the hangar bay of General Grievous’s flagship before the blast doors close. With the doors moments away from slamming shut and Obi-Wan and Anakin’s starfighters moving quickly, Obi-Wan – noticing how close the cut-off will be – says over his comm link, “Oh, I have a bad feeling about this.”
4. Solo: A Star Wars Story
From a linear standpoint, Solo: A Star Wars Story bridges the narrative gap between the Prequels and the Original Trilogy. At the time it was made, however, the film’s writers had become aware of just how often “I’ve got a bad feeling about this” was used in most Star Wars films, and decided to have a bit of fun with it when it came to the phrase’s inclusion in the film.
Instead of the usual forlorn phrase, Han Solo says to his crew members aboard the Millennium Falcon, “I have a really good feeling about this!” as they soar out of the maelstrom, coming precariously close to near-destruction in the process.
5. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
As with Solo, Rogue One similarly decided to poke fun at the phrase rather than having it appear in its usual format. Looking to steal the Death Star battle plans away from the Empire on Scarif, Jyn, Cassian, and K-2SO go undercover as Imperial personnel to infiltrate a heavily-fortified facility. As they enter an elevator and prepare to descend, K-2SO starts to say, “I’ve got a bad feeling about th …”, only to be cut off by both Cassian and Jyn humorously shushing him.
6. A New Hope
The original Star Wars film is notable for having the phrase appear not once, but two separate times in the movie. The first instance comes when the Millennium Falcon is caught in the Death Star’s tractor beam, which begins slowly pulling the ship towards the battle station. With the Falcon being towed into the Imperial hangar bay and the ship’s personnel scrambling to hide, Luke utters, “I have a very bad feeling about this.”
Later in the film, Han, Luke, Leia, and Chewbacca have retreated into a trash compactor to escape an onslaught of Imperial stormtroopers. Shortly after battling an unseen monster lurking somewhere in the room, a loud grating noise can be heard that sends the creature scurrying away. As more mechanical noises are heard, Han says to the others, “I got a bad feeling about this,” moments before the trash compactor doors begin to close in on them.
7. The Empire Strikes Back
Setting a precedent for the series moving forward, George Lucas followed up the two appearances of “I’ve got a bad feeling about this” in A New Hope by including the phrase in his immediate sequel, The Empire Strikes Back. The line comes courtesy of Leia after the Millenium Falcon sets down in what looks like a strange cave on an asteroid. Seeing mynocks clinging to the Falcon, Han, Leia, and Chewie go out to investigate, with Leia saying to the others, “I have a bad feeling about this,” seconds before a mynock swarm flurries forward.
8. Return of the Jedi
Given that the phrase appears twice in A New Hope, it shouldn’t be surprising George Lucas chose to insert two different “I’ve got a bad feeling about this” moments in the saga’s initial conclusive chapter, Return of the Jedi. The first time it’s said, R2-D2 and C-3PO have just managed to infiltrate Jabba the Hutt’s palace on Tatooine. As they exit down a hall in search of the Hutt gangster, a frightened 3PO says to his close friend, “R2, I have a bad feeling about this.”
The second time the phrase appears occurs much later in the film. Searching for Leia, Han, Luke, Chewie, R2, and 3PO are captured by a tribe of Ewoks, who bring the six back to their village. Preparing to set a large fire ablaze in order to begin cooking them, Han – his eyes wide as he sees the Ewoks stacking more and more wood – says to his companions, “I have a really bad feeling about this.”
9. The Force Awakens
The first film in the Disney Sequel Trilogy, The Force Awakens contains plenty of ties that help thematically connect it to the earlier George Lucas-produced films. As an example, the film carries on with the tradition of having the phrase, “I’ve got a bad feeling about this,” appear somewhere in the film.
Shortly after Rey and Finn first meet Han and Chewie on their freighter, the Ervana, Han confronts two criminal gangs on the ship in a meeting that quickly gets out of hand. Hearing an eerie mechanical grating somewhere in the ship, Han mutters to himself, “I got a bad feeling about this,” knowing that rathtars have just gotten loose on the ship.
10. The Last Jedi
The third film to feature a droid mentions the phrase, The Last Jedi is unique in that it's the first (and so far only) Star Wars film in which the sentence is said in binary rather than in Galactic Basis (the predominant language heard in Star Wars).
In the first act of the film, the Resistance hurriedly evacuates their base on the planet, D’Qar. Trying to hold off an imminent attack from encroaching First Order Star Destroyers, Poe Dameron takes a Star Fighter to bide time for the Resistance to escape. Facing off against the First Order armada, BB-8 nervously says, “I have a bad feeling about this” in binary. Poe, confident in his piloting abilities, responds to his droid by saying, “Happy beeps here, buddy, come on.”
11. The Rise of Skywalker
The eleventh time the line is said aloud comes in the ninth and final chapter of the Skywalker Saga, The Rise of Skywalker. Near the end of the movie’s first act, Rey, Poe, Finn, and Chewbacca land on the isolated desert planet of Pasaana.
There, they come across former Rebellion general, Lando Calrissian, who informs them where they can find Ochi of Bestoon’s ship. Seeing First Order troop carriers land on the planet in search of Rey and her friends, Lando says to his younger counterparts, “I got a bad feeling about this.”
Richard Chachowski is an entertainment and travel writer who has written for such publications as Wealth of Geeks, Looper, Screen Rant, Fangoria, and Sportskeeda, among many others. He received his BA from The College of New Jersey and has been a professional writer since 2020. His geeky areas of interest include Star Wars, travel writing, horror, video games, comic books, literature, and animation.
Richard has been an avid consumer of movies, television, books, and pop culture since he was four-years-old. Raised on a diverse mix of Clint Eastwood Westerns, Star Wars, sci-fi and horror films, Alan Moore comics, and Stephen King novels, he eventually turned his various passions into a creative outlet, writing about film, television, literature, comics, and gaming for his high school and college newspapers. A traveling enthusiast, Richard has also managed to create a career out of journeying abroad, venturing to such awe-inspiring places as the Sonoran Desert of Mexico, the rainforests of Costa Rica, and the scenic coastline of Haiti. Upon graduating from TCNJ, Richard set his sights on a career in journalism, writing extensively about the art of traveling and the entertainment medium for various online publications. When he’s not busy making his way through The Criterion Collection, he can be found either reading or planning a trip somewhere (preferably someplace with a scenic hiking trail).