In the event that we ever end up going toe-to-toe in outer space, it turns out that things wouldn't look anything like Star Wars. No, an actual space battle would probably be very fast, very boring, and extremely quiet, as PBS points out.
In an episode of the online series It's Okay To Be Smart, Joe Hanson from PBS runs through some of the problems with space combat that you might not have thought about. Manoeuvring? Difficult, thanks to the scarcity of fuel in space, and the problems of turning around. Laser weapons? Energy hogs, and invisible to boot (although the feasibility of plasma bolts is given a miss).
Whichever way you look at it, it's fairly clear that an actual space battle would look radically different to the movies — something that becomes obvious when you realise that Star Wars was actually based on WWII dogfights, rather than reality. [YouTube via Neatorama]