Damn right, folks! It’s time for another ranking, and yes that means Star Wars…again. The simple reason for it is that our previous ranking is now obsolete and we did not include the Disney+ TV shows at the time, which feels pretty necessary now (considering their high quality). The holidays gave us the time to reappreciate some of the movies and best episodes in specific series, which calls for a re-shuffle of all the productions and where they stand up today.
Let’s dive in. Take note that I have not changed my opinion on specific movies, so some arguments will sound familiar. May the Force be with you!
15) The Rise of Skywalker (2019)
It took us three years to fully recognize that The Rise of Skywalker, the most recent Star Wars motion picture, is perhaps an abomination. We ranked it higher last time, because the experience of seeing it in theatres was still fresh, but we need to align with the fanbase: this movie is bad! Not just a slight lack of imagination, The Rise of Skywalker closes a narrative circle that started 45 years ago in a bombastic fashion, trying to honour too many characters, while also displeasing everyone. However, it focused a lot of attention trying to be so different from its predecessor (The Last Jedi) than trying to tell an excellent story, which led to its demise in the hearts of fans. This movie brings back “somehow” Emperor Palpatine for an unclear reason and makes way for an absurd final confrontation involving the entire galaxy and the spirit of dead Jedis, it remains a packed and messy film filled with too much information and too many useless McGuffins and illogical loopholes. It is dead last, unfortunately for director J.J Abrams.
14) Attack of the Clones (2002)
After many years of rants, debates and criticism, pretty much everyone admits that the prequel trilogy of Star Wars is weak in terms of dialogue and on-screen performances. However, Millennial fans, such as myself, learned to see them in a new light, despite their flaws. George Lucas showed the world that he wasn’t the best director for actors. While Ewan McGregor remains a fan favourite for his excellent portrayal of Obi-Wan Kenobi, the opposite is said of Hayden Christensen and his cringy attempt at the central role of Anakin Skywalker (although, he did make a successful comeback in the Obi-Wan Kenobi series). That being said, Attack of the Clones is close to last for its terrible script, over-abundance of CGI action and the weirdly creepy exploration of Anakin and Padme’s romance before his turn to the dark side in Revenge of the Sith. Some of the action sequences are entertaining, namely the duel between Obi-Wan and Jango Fett on planet Kamino, but not enough to save this overall flawed movie.
13) The Book of Boba Fett (2021)
This a great example of a show nobody asked for and they did mess up 75% of it. Boba Fett had about 4 lines in the original trilogy and instantly became a fan favourite, so obviously, people were still curious to get to know the bounty hunter once we know he survived his fall in the Sarlacc Pit. When the title character is actually not the best thing about the show, then you’ve got problems. What sucks for Boba is that the episodes where he’s not in it are actually the best of the series, and these specific episodes are centered around heroes from The Mandalorian. There were A LOT of flashbacks when our bounty hunter is resting in the Bacta Tank that gave us minimal payoff on his past and messed with the narrative flow, not to mention a gang of allies coming out of Grease or Spy Kids with their colored speeder bikes. Jon Favreau and Robert Rodriguez decided to write Boba in an unexpecting way: a soft gangster with little interest for violence. For a guy who worked for Jabba the Hutt, this is most disappointing. His appearance delivered so much promise in the second season of The Mandalorian, but the major fans of the character were left unsatisfied after The Book of Boba Fett wrapped, even the climax was ‘meh’ at best. So yeah, a letdown and most definitely the worst Disney+ Star Wars show to date.
12) The Phantom Menace (1999)
The Phantom Menace is not the last movie on our list because some of its action, however, few there is, is now considered iconic for fans. Yes…we’re looking at you, podrace sequence and that lightsaber duel with Darth Maul on planet Naboo! The Phantom Menace suffers from the same problems as Episode II for its poor script, the absence of a leading character and too many new character arcs. Also, this one also suffers for its goofy attempt at senate politics and trading negotiations, which is pretty boring for the Star Wars kids that we were at the time. Never the greatest in the whole saga, but we all remain grateful that George Lucas made The Phantom Menace for bringing us one of the greatest villains in the whole Star Wars universe: Darth Maul and his two-bladed lightsaber. His combat skills juxtaposed with John Williams’ Duel of the Fates gives us chills every time.
11) The Last Jedi (2017)
The controversial one! This is the movie that divided the fanbase like never before and created the toxic debate we still have to this day over the reign of Disney on Star Wars. To be fair, we warmed to The Last Jedi since we first saw it in theatres in 2017, considering we pretty much hated it upon first and second viewing. The plot surrounding the arcs of Rey, Kylo Ren and Luke Skywalker reflects amazing and bold storytelling, while everything else surrounding the chase between the First Order and the Resistance fleet, as well as the arc of Poe, Finn and Rose, is pretty weak. However, after a conclusion in The Rise of Skywalker that was filled with fan service and less innovative revelations, we all need to take a step back and at least respect what director Rian Johnson was trying to accomplish in The Last Jedi. Love it or hate it, this movie feels new and different from what came before it, which makes it original and memorable over the others. The Last Jedi better succeeded where Skywalker failed in some regard: creative storytelling. But still, it will never be great.
10) Obi-Wan Kenobi (2022)
I was so excited for this show, considering I grew up with the prequels as a kid. The term that comes to mind when I think of the Obi-Wan Kenobi show is ‘uneven’, a bit like The Last Jedi. In Disney’s defense, and much to the credit of Ewan McGregor as an actor, this show is not terrible and did succeed in giving us memorable moments (mostly in the final two episodes) and closed the loop on a few questions we had since A New Hope. However, it doesn’t completely deliver on all its promises either. Considering the series is extremely short (only six episodes), director Debra Chow and showrunner Joby Harold did waste some of the screentime on redundant rescue missions, unimpressive sights and the introduction of uninteresting characters…and yes, unfortunately, that’s the case for the Third Sister of the Inquisitorsitorius, Reva (Moses Ingram). However, there are two things that the show did incredibly well: Darth Vader and young Leia. Child actor Vivien Lyra Blair as Leia is a revelation, giving us the perfect amount of ‘sassiness’ and wits needed to flesh out the character. Hayden Christensen came back as both Anakin Skywalker (mostly in flashbacks) and Vader to the delight of the fans. He delivered superbly as a force of nature similar to a slasher like a Micheal Myers or a Jason Voorhees, showing us Vader as the terrifying villain we knew from The Empire Strikes Back. For an actor that was criticized for his acting skills 20 years before, his bits were the best, including an emotional confrontation with his former master in the final episode that let me to tears.
For this show to have a better shot, a second season should be in order, but unclear what will happen.
9) Return of the Jedi (1983)
I grew up with Return of the Jedi when the 1997 special edition arrived on VHS, but I was never really the biggest fan of it…at least not in its entirety. The first act of the movie when the lead characters are on a rescue mission at Jabba the Hutt’s palace on Tatooine is weirdly printed in our head as a bizarre puppet orgy, while the second act is slow and not as exhilarating as what came before in the saga. While Return of the Jedi has its fans and a fair share of good moments, director Richard Marquand weirdly paced this movie together, mixing both boring and exciting moments. The true joy of The Return of the Jedi lies in its final 30 to 40 minutes during the excellent finale of the original trilogy in the forest of Endor, in space near the second Death Star as well as in the Emperor’s throne room to make way for Darth Vader’s redemption. All in all, this movie is good, but could have been fantastic.
8) Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)
I recognize that many fans will see it as a travesty that I position Solo above Return of the Jedi, but I think that the standalone movie about the most famous scoundrel in the galaxy is more entertaining than the majority of The Return of the Jedi. Also, Han Solo is ‘my boy’, one of my all-time favourite characters (call me biased).
Stepping in the big shoes of Harrison Ford is Alden Ehrenreich, which did a pretty good job giving the idea of a younger Han Solo. This is the only movie that does not truly feel like a Star Wars movie, but basically a science-fiction space heist. No Jedi, no Sith (or almost…wink-wink), no Force and no major Rebels against the Empire; no, this is its own story. The narrative is simple and forgettable, but what mostly works is the characters and their chemistry together. Donald Glover as young Lando Calrissian is truly great, as it is for the romantic bond between Han Solo and Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke). As it was the case for Rogue One, this movie offers good action and fun, but delivers little shocking narrative details. This movie was also clouded by significant production setbacks, as multiple directors worked on it before Ron Howard finished the final cut on his own. The film also suffers from poor lighting choices and technical difficulties. It performed poorly at the box office, but Solo remains a personal favourite for me.
7) Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)
What is fascinating about Rogue One is that it actually became quite better once Andor was airing on Disney+, proving to us that the characters introduced, however little we knew about them then, were brilliantly written. As the first movie outside of the Skywalker saga, we really did enjoy Rogue One upon the first viewing. The action was great, offering us some of the best war-time thrills and space battles we’ve seen since the original trilogy, as well as fantastic cinematography. However, where this movie succeeds in entertainment and thrills, we discover that it somehow lacks in story and character development (well, until recently). Jyn Erso’s (Felicity Jones) arc isn’t that interesting, but the other characters on the ship are more so (especially Cassian, Chirut and Baze). However, the climax and the grand finale are absolutely incredible! Seeing Darth Vader again in prime condition in that hallway in the Rebel cruiser was jaw-dropping and one of the best recent scenes in geek culture.
6) The Mandalorian, Seasons 1-2 (2019-2020)
Until just recently, The Mandalorian ruled as the king of modern contemporary Star Wars. Showrunners and creators Jon Favreau and Dave Feloni had the awesome idea to introduce a whole new character, while only briefly referencing fan favourites from the movies (that is until the second half of season 2). Pedro Pascal as Mando is able to flesh out a talented fighter and an emotional man as a bounty hunter…while also always wearing his helmet for around 95% of the time, making Mando even more interesting as a protagonist. And of course…there’s the genius marketing idea of Grogu (unofficially ‘Baby Yoda’) and his cute connection with the Mandalorian that fascinates both adults and kids alike. The show may seem a little simplistic at times in terms of the plot, but it is able to reinject interest in the Star Wars universe beyond the scope of the Skywalker saga, which most believed to be impossible until then. Another show came by in 2022 that changed everything for fans and on how The Mandalorian ranks as we get ready for its third season in 2023.
5) Andor (2022)
What sets the most recent Star Wars TV production apart from what came before it is its very prestige script, screenplay and characters. Andor is by far the most ‘adult-like’ Star Wars production since the original trilogy, showing that there are still possibilities to play with this universe to compete with well-written dramas from other streamer giants. Writer and creator Tony Gilroy, who is surprisingly NOT a Star Wars fan, was able to make us believe that the reign of Empire in the Star Wars chronology is as horrible as a totalitarian military reign similar to the Nazi Third Reich in the 1930s and 40s. There are so many characters in Andor that have a true purpose that resonates with us, making the first signs of a Rebel Alliance that much more welcomed and understandable. Let’s not forget, this show is based on a character from Rogue One, Diego Luna as Cassian Andor, whom we knew almost nothing about and fans were not too crazy about. It made the invisible visible, diving deep down into the lives of everyday workers, in both the ranks of the Empire and the Rebellion. It stands today as the best and boldest of the Star Wars Disney+ shows and has already been green-lit for a second season.
4) Revenge of the Sith (2005)
Of all the entries in the saga, Revenge of the Sith is most definitely the underrated one and it’s gained a lot of praise from fans recently since the disappointing sequel trilogy wrapped. As the biggest and best of the prequel trilogy, Revenge of the Sith is now a fan classic for its depiction of the fall of Jedi and Anakin Skywalker’s decision to turn to the dark side before he became Darth Vader. The movie still slightly suffers from a few cringy line deliveries but offers maybe the best action of the whole saga (i.e Anakin and Obi-Wan’s duel on Mustafar remains the most memorable of all). The drama in Episode III brings us to tears as the Order 66 climax is heartbreaking, even for us today and John Williams’ score punctuates the moments with sorrow. We especially remember Ewan McGregor’s heartfelt performance as Obi-Wan and Ian McDiarmid’s eerie transformation into Emperor Palpatine, who has never been as good. As it was directed by George Lucas, this entry is filled with CGI, but we pardon him for giving us great storytelling and a somewhat accurate illustration of the last days of the Republic and the Clone Wars. It could be third on our list, but another successful episode stepped in.
3) The Force Awakens (2015)
This is controversial, I get that. I stand my ground: The Force Awakens is a great Star Wars adventure! We were on a franchise break for ten years when The Force Awakens hit theatres, and it brought back the saga we love so dearly in spectacular fashion. Yes, it does look very similar to A New Hope for its plot and setting, but The Force Awakens was great for introducing new exciting characters (Rey, Poe, Finn and Kylo Ren) and for closing the arcs of Han Solo and Leia Organa in an impactful way. We confirm, without a doubt, that Force Awakens is the best of the sequel trilogy considering how flawed the two following films are. Director J.J. Abram mostly used practical effects to recreate the look and feel of the original Star Wars trilogy, and it serves the movie beautifully. Also, it is important to consider that The Force Awakens‘ unveiling of an older Luke Skywalker is the second biggest cliffhanger of the whole saga after Darth Vader’s revelation in The Empire Strikes Back.
2) A New Hope (1977)
The movie that started it all in 1977 can surely be viewed by many as being the purest and even the best one. What came after was even better, but the first Star Wars film is iconic and memorable for presenting some of cinema’s best characters, awesome special effects at the time and the most memorable music of all time composed by Mr. John Williams. With a very minimal budget, this movie was expected to fail at the box office, but proved to be ahead of its time but forging a whole community of fans. This movie is slower than the others in action and excitement, but still delivers wonders on the desert sand of Tatooine, in the hallways of the Death Star and in the cockpit of Luke Skywalker’s X-Wing.
1) The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Of course, now for our grand winner. For pretty much every Star Wars fan on the planet, The Empire Strikes Back is a flawless space opera film, and for good reason! To this day, since 1980, this movie is unbeatable on every front. Excellent storytelling, special effects remastered that hold up nicely, amazing character arcs for everyone, the best soundtrack in the whole series…and the biggest cliffhanger in cinematic history. The Empire Strikes Back is the ultimate Star Wars movie, and always will be in my opinion. Pardon our French, but director Irvin Kerschner directed the SH*T out of this movie. After 45 years of Star Wars, this will always remain our favourite and the movie that made this saga so great and hip after so many years. Andor was able to reintroduce some of the magic that made this original masterpiece great in terms of writing, but Empire remains the one original Star Wars movie that the new generation of kids needs to discover.
And that sums it up for us! What would your favourite Star Wars be? Would you change anything on our list? Let us know in the comments or on social media!