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Ranking the Movies of the Star Wars Skywalker Saga


4 months agoBusy5 min read

This past weekend, my son and I were lucky enough to attend the Star Wars Celebration. Although I was not there on Friday for the launch of the new trailer for Episode IX Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, I have not been able to get it, or the eight movies leading up to it out of my head.

One little game I have been playing in my head is attempting to rank the eight previous installments of the Skywalker saga. It was actually far more difficult than I had thought it would be. Four of the eight films were absolute no brainers, but the other four were tough.

I present...

The official @hanshotfirst ranking of the Star Wars Skywalker Saga from best to worst.

1. The Empire Strikes Back


  • It introduces the world to Boba Fett (although he had already been seen in the Holiday Special)
  • The Battle on Hoth is incredible
  • Yoda is so much fun... and very wise
  • The Lightsaber battle between Darth Vader and Luke is unforgettable
  • It includes one of the greatest reveals in the history of cinema
  • The bad guys win!
  • "I know."

2. Star Wars: A new Hope


  • Nostalgia. Seeing this movie was the most defining moment of my childhood.
  • Special effects: No one had ever seen anything like it on a movie screen. It changed the industry.
  • It is a great take on The Hero's Journey.
  • Han Solo
  • It established action figures as a must have toy
  • The crawl, the music, the action... wait how is this not number 1?

3. The Force Awakens

Why? (This was one of the four tough ones)

  • Nostalgia Part II: I created an everlasting memory with my own children. When Rey says, "The garbage will do!" I felt like JJ Abrams had given me back my childhood and let me share it with my children.
  • The movie stressed fun over just about everything else.
  • The entire movie is a love letter to Han Solo.
  • It perfectly built a bridge between the old fanboy generation of Star Wars fans and the new generation.
  • I like watching Kylo Ren snap.
  • Han's death: It is the most beautiful and powerful death scene I have or will ever see.

4. The Return of the Jedi

Why? (This was one of the four tough ones)

  • It is not a prequel.
  • It made sense for the most part.
  • Everything that takes place on Tatooine was awesome! (I am not counting the nonsense musical number Lucas added later)
  • Palpatine is a bad Ass
  • I will never forget the original Ewok Celebration song
  • There is more emotion in Vader's expressionless helmet as he agonizes over betraying the Emperor than in all of the prequels put together.
  • The Ewoks are pretty silly... but fun.

5. The Phantom Menace

I actually shocked myself that I put any of the prequels ahead of the other 5.

Why? (This was one of the four tough ones)

  • The Last Jedi was so epically bad that I could not put it above this.
  • The other prequels are unwatchable (unless you have an 8 year old next to you who marvels at the thought of them filming scenes in an actual volcano)
  • Darth Maul saves this movie.
  • The Lightsaber battle between Darth Maul, Obi Wan and Qui-Gon may be the best Lightsaber battle in the saga. The music that accompanies the battle is incredible.
  • Jar Jar is so terrible that I don't even want to talk about it.

6. The Last Jedi (This was one of the four tough ones)


  • This movie is so bad that Solo: A Star Wars Story was punished for TLJ's sins.
  • 45 minutes of the movie never needed to happen. There was no need for anything that happened on the casino planet.
  • There is no gravity in space. Bombers are useless.
  • The use of a ship traveling at lightspeed as a weapon completely trivializes episodes IV and VI. Why not just fly a ship through the Death Star... because it is impossible!
  • They made Poe a traitor.
  • Leia flew through space????!!!!
  • Rey's parents are no one???!!!!
  • The only reason this is not last is because the prequels were somehow worse.

7. Attack of the Clones


  • The title sounds like a bad 1950s B movie.
  • Everything Anakin says or does.
  • This quote from the Wikipedia entry on the film: "Senator Padmé Amidala comes to Coruscant to vote on a motion to create an army to assist the Jedi against this threat." Complicated politics in a fun kids movie. Ok.
  • The acting is horrendous.
  • I can't remember anything about it.

8. Revenge of the Sith


  • Lucas had one job: Explain how Darth Vader became Darth Vader. 15 years later... I still have no freaking idea.
  • Anakin goes from the chosen one to murdering a room full of children in a matter of seconds... for no apparent reason.
  • No battle has a distinct beginning, middle and end. Lucas just clipped together scenes from many different battles into one unwatchable mess.
  • Darth Vader becomes a parody of Frankenstein. Nooooooooooooooooo!

So that was mine. What is yours?

Images 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6


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