Star Wars is the biggest movie saga in the history of movies, period. No other trilogy of movies stands even close to it, whether it be the Harry Potter Movies, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, or even the Marvel Cinematic Universe: they all fall short of what Star Wars has become. The Star Wars movies have great story arcs, are action-packed, and never fail to entertain as the universe is being expanded every moment with its new movies, TV shows, comics, and video games, all connected in the same universe.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is the upcoming Star Wars film. It is the first spin-off movie and the 8th addition to the Star Wars saga. Fans are very excited to see the upcoming film, but it may be lacking something every Star Wars film has: a lightsaber battle. As it has not been confirmed that there will be no lightsaber duel in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the producers of the film have repeated that they are staying away from Jedi as they want to show the audience that they are all gone.
As fans, we know there are definitely Jedi around whether it be Yoda or Obi-Wan Kenobi or any of the Jedi we have seen in Star Wars: Rebels such as Kanan, Ezra, and Ahsoka. I mean, how could they NOT include a lightsaber duel in a Star Wars movie? It's like having a Marvel movie without a post-credits scene.
Lightsaber battles are some of the best moments from each and every Star Wars movie. Some of them have lightsabers during the movie, but all 7 have (at least) one battle as the epic finale. As all of these lightsaber duels are epic, some are better than others. That's why I'm here: to rank all 12 lightsaber duels.
NOTICE: This is a list of my PERSONAL opinion. Chances are it's not exactly like yours, so please don't complain. I will give my reasons for why I ranked the lightsaber duels of the Star Wars movies the way I did. So, let's get started!
11. Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi vs. Darth Vader (A New Hope)
The first ever lightsaber duel in the Star Wars saga pinned Ben Kenobi against his old apprentice turned Sith Lord, Darth Vader. You felt the emotion (to an extent) between Obi-Wan and Vader. You had heard Ben talking about Vader falling to the dark side and after seeing the prequels, it makes the fight even more emotional. However, as nostalgic as this scene is, it does have some very bland dialogue and a very slow pace as it is not very action packed or visually stunning. However, this fight does see Darth Vader kill Obi-Wan once and for all and that is one of the biggest moments in the whole saga, but we are talking the actual duels here, which is why it sits at the lowest spot on the list.
11. Qui-Gon Jinn vs. Darth Maul (The Phantom Menace)
Let me start off by saying that this fight isn't bad at all, it is just short and simple. The actual lightsaber fight itself only lasts a good minute as we see Qui-Gon and Darth Maul's first encounter. This was the first duel of the prequel trilogy and it showed that CGI and technology had advanced since 1983. The fight is entertaining, exciting, and well choreographed. However, you do not feel a conflict between the two characters. The fight also lacks a nostalgic factor that other duels have, as this fight is a very generic lightsaber duel which serves its purpose as it hints to what is about to come.
10. Obi-Wan, Anakin, and Yoda vs. Count Dooku (Attack of the Clones)
This duel definitely has its ups and downs. The CGI really doesn't hold up throughout the battle. They tried to be creative and throw stuff at each other with the force like Luke vs. Vader in The Empire Strikes Back, but it doesn't have the same effect. The first part of the fight featuring Anakin and Obi-Wan is just an average prequel duel and didn't do much. It was when we got to see Yoda pick up a lightsaber and kick some ass that made this go from #12 to #10. We always knew Yoda was powerful before the prequels and seeing him in a duel was awesome! However, this was not Yoda's best fight from the prequels as he had an even better one.
9. Anakin and Obi-Wan vs. Count Dooku (Revenge of the Sith)
This one is also a pretty average lightsaber duel. This is the second time (on the big screen) that we see Anakin and Obi-Wan verse Count Dooku and it shows that Anakin Skywalker has grown stronger as a Jedi. You see the anger and fear while he battles Dooku to the death. When Palpatine tells him to kill Dooku and he obliges, we see his path to the dark side begin The fight is better choreographed than their last battle as the effects and CGI have also really improved. Though this is an awesome battle, it doesn't stand a chance against its other contenders.
8. Obi-Wan vs. General Grievous (Revenge of the Sith)
The fight between Obi-Wan and General Grievous showed us what the Clone Wars is really like on the big screen. General Grievous is a unique villain as is the whole duel itself. The battle is fast-paced, action-packed, and all around entertaining. Though Grievous lacks the force, he has some awesome fighting skills with his 4 lightsabers and spinning arms. This scene is just an overall awesome Star Wars duel.
7. Mace Windu vs. Palpatine (Revenge of the Sith)
This lightsaber battle does so much good. No matter what you think of the prequels, Revenge of the Sith has some great action scenes and ends the prequels on a high note. We get to see Palpatine thrash out and kill some Jedi and go bat sh*t crazy. The part where Palpatine is shooting lightning in Windu's face is pretty awesome as it shows how Palpatine's face got so f**ked up. It's a fairly unique duel that ends up with Anakin finally turning over to the dark side and becoming Darth Vader.
6. Rey and Finn vs. Kylo Ren (The Force Awakens)
Star Wars: The Force Awakens blew away fans and so did this short but epic battle. This point on the list is where the lightsaber duels are the best of the best. This fight was visually stunning and the emotion was strong, but was intentionally not trying to be the best lightsaber duel. It is only giving us a hint of what we will see in the later installments in the saga. Finn has no training and Rey had never picked up a lightsaber before, so they were supposed to be rusty and not know how to really fight. Let's not forget that Kylo Ren was injured from when he was shot by Chewbacca's crossbow after he killed Han Solo. Also, he is not finished with his training, but is definitely more experienced than Finn and Rey, even when he is injured. The visual effects were amazing and the action was pretty awesome. We will have to wait until Episode VIII for a real lightsaber duel.
5. Yoda vs. Palpatine (Revenge of the Sith)
These are two characters from the classic trilogy that we know are very strong in the force, but we never got to see a fight. Now, we got to see them fight each other! This fight placed the strongest force wielders against each other and it was an awesome fight. It was very fast-paced and the Senate Chamber has a purpose other than boring audiences to death. The fact that it’s Yoda and Palpatine hacking at each other with Force powers half the time only makes it better.
4. Anakin vs. Obi-Wan (Revenge of the Sith)
This is the moment everyone was waiting for and the wait was worth it. Lucasfilm knew they had to make this an epic finale and they did. Placing it on Mustafar, a lava-filled planet, just made it ten times cooler. It was the emotion and conflict you got through Anakin and Obi-Wan that kept you on the edge of your seat. This fight has the most impressive fight choreography of any lightsaber duel in the Star Wars saga. If you ignore the bad dialogue, this fight is an awesome action scene.
3. Luke vs. Vader (The Empire Strikes Back)
It was very difficult for me to rank these top 3. It's a drawn out fight between father and son and the biggest reveal in cinematic history. The reason I chose not to put this at number 1 or even number 2 is because it is more iconic than it is the best lightsaber duel of all time, but it does stand close. Just like the Anakin and Obi-Wan vs. Dooku, the second duel is better as they have improved their skills. This fight pushes Luke to the test with his skills and his morality. What lacks in flip-happy choreography, it makes up for in emotional moments. The duel goes through multiple evolution's and that is what makes it a great fight even though the choreography isn't the best of the saga's duels. It starts off with Vader taking Luke as an easy opponent to Luke putting him on the defensive. Vader then goes into angry bad-ass mode, until a desperate and cocky Luke pushes him beyond control. It is then when the power of the dark side takes over. The whole duel is awesome overall and puts a big cherry on top of The Empire Strikes Back, the best Star Wars film to date (in mine and many other fan's opinions).
2. Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan vs. Darth Maul (The Phantom Menace)
This lightsaber duel is so epic that I have a Christmas ornament of it. Many fans can argue that this is the single best moment from the entire prequel trilogy, and you can definitely understand why. This shows some pretty awesome things like Maul igniting his double-bladed lightsaber. We had only seen a regular lightsaber before that and we didn't know it was double-bladed until this duel. His double-bladed lightsaber led to other custom lightsabers such as Count Dooku's and Kylo Ren's. Also, the whole notion of one Sith fighting two Jedi was new at the time. Also, the calm determination makes Qui-Gon such a bad-ass. The epic duel has a gorgeous choreography and awesome visuals, especially for the CGI-filled prequel trilogy. Many Star Wars fanatics say this is the best lightsaber duel, but just like Maul fell down a pit, it falls short of one epic duel.
1. Luke vs. Vader (Return of the Jedi)
This is the best lightsaber duel of all time. It is more intense than the other Luke vs. Vader fight and Luke is a much better opponent so the fight ends up being equal. This fight has so much character development, emotion, and arm-slicing. We get to see Darth Vader fulfill the prophecy and defeat the Emperor. This lightsaber fight is the most brilliant as it wraps everything up very nicely and is a great finale. Like the other Luke vs. Vader duel, it has some great development. Vader is locked in and is forced to fight his son and Luke sees the depravity in him when he throws his lightsaber at him. Luke’s transition from angry Jedi to a peaceful Jedi shows the presentation of the two roads in front of him at the end of the duel and his strong choice down the path his father should have taken. This duel is a summary of the entire original trilogy in one brilliant, monumental scene, full of emotion and action.
What is your favorite lightsaber duel?
Last but not least, go check out my new YouTube channel, Movie Hutt, dedicated to the world of film. Above, you can see one of my latest videos that is a part of a segment called The Weekly Hutt. Every week we discuss all the big movie news. We talk about the big changes being taken by the DC Cinematic Universe, the box office, set photos from Doctor Strange and much more! We missed the Rogue One trailer this week, but we will have it on The Weekly Hutt this week, along with the Doctor Strange and Suicide Squad trailer thoughts. Please tune in and leave your comments on the video — and also SUBSCRIBE!