It’s called ‘passing the torch’ and it’s an important part of show business and life to be fair since it indicates that those that have paved the way feel confident that those that are coming in their wake are ready to take on the responsibility they’ve kept for so long. Some folk might think it’s a useless gesture and that the young will eventually supplant the old no matter what, but the fact is that in the movies as well as in life, the act of earning your way up is what separates those that deserve it from those that don’t. In the movies, it tends to happen quickly or over a prolonged period of time but it’s usually meaningful in that it pits two of the best in the business with one another and it’s a way for the older of the two to pass along the title with a great deal of dignity and grace that fans do enjoy seeing now and again. It doesn’t mean the older actor is done, washed up, or finished, but it does place the responsibility of what they helped to build on someone else’s shoulders for a while, and as such it tells the fans that the older actor realized it was time to step down and let the future take the wheel.
Here are a few of the best passing of the torch moments in movies.
5. Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker – Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Daisy Ridley
This could be premature in a way since there’s no telling if Daisy Ridley will ever come back for another Star Wars project whenever a new trilogy does emerge, but it was fitting at the end of the most current trilogy that the combined knowledge and power of the Jedi find a terminus in someone that knew both Leia and Luke and was able to learn from them. A lot of fanboys and critics might want to argue that this makes no sense considering the fact that Disney is uncertain how to keep Star Wars alive, but at the very least this was a possibility that could be salvaged and could make a great story moving forward.
4. Star Trek – Leonard Nimoy and Zachary Quinto
Star Trek is another franchise that’s kind of in limbo at the moment when it comes to how the main cast will be advanced, especially since there’s no way to tell if Zachary Quinto will ever come back. But to see a scene like this was still fun since it brought the past in line with the future and made it clear that Leonard Nimoy had made his peace with what was happening to the show and the movies that had made him so famous in his own time. Realistically Zachary was probably one of the best actors to use for Spock that’s been found in a while, though as I mentioned, it’s uncertain if he would ever come back.
3. The Longest Yard – Burt Reynolds and Adam Sandler
Obviously Burt Reynolds and Adam Sandler are very different actors, but the fact is that they’re both funny and they can both keep peoples’ attention. While Burt has since passed away, Adam has definitely slowed down in a big way throughout his career, but this movie made it clear that Burt was willing to at least give Adam his blessing in a big way. The original Longest Yard was interesting enough, but the remake was, as a lot of people feel, kind of campy and a bit ridiculous. The trick is that it wasn’t supposed to be entirely realistic and it was fun all the same since it brought together some of the biggest celebrities.
2. Creed 2 – Sylvester Stallone and Michael B. Jordan
This probably should have happened quite a while ago since Stallone’s whole idea of passing the torch has been stretched out over the years and has made it clear that he was more interested in continuing his franchises than really passing them on, or ending them. But with Creed, it became obvious that he’d found a successor in Michael B. Jordan, who played the son of the man that he’d initially fought and come to respect in the Rocky series. While fans are a little divided on whether Creed is the answer to the Rocky franchise, it’s hard to deny that there is a market for this, if the story is treated with some respect.
1. The Rundown – Arnold Schwarzenegger and Dwayne Johnson
It was subtle, it was quick, and it was perfect. Arnold Schwarzenegger has been THE action hero for a long time, no matter that Sylvester Stallone has been just as big. The fact that Arnold showed up in this movie, one of Dwayne’s most exciting and one of those that really kickstarted his career, was absolutely great. When it comes to passing the torch, this was one of the most perfect moments in the movies that simply can’t be discounted.
Passing the torch is important, don’t let anyone tell you differently.