Oh would you look at this, ANOTHER Star Wars article from Will. You’d almost be forgiven for thinking I was a fan or something?! Anywho, enough with the sarcasm, after seeing the teaser for the upcoming film Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker I’ve decided to take a look back at all the films that led us here in the main series and I’m now going to rank them worst to best. Get ready to be annoyed at my choices and opinions since this is Star Wars and of course if you’re a fan then you’re the ONLY fan and everyone else is wrong… By the gods we’re toxic!
What a story about epic wars in space needed was a romance subplot, and not content with the fun alternative chemistry of Han and Leia, George Lucas chose to subject us to the least meaningful or convincing relationship ever put to film. Anakin and Padme have all the chemistry of a camel and a flamingo being forced to mate for some billionaires’ amusement. The whole thing isn’t helped by Hayden Christensen being more wooden in the role of a pre lava wounds Vader than the cardboard cut out I used to have in my room… Sure we get a dope battle come the end of the film with the Clones arriving to save the Jedi and fight off the droid army, and yeah Jango Fett is pretty damn rad but that’s not enough to save this film from being remembered for THAT SAND CONVERSATION!
What do Star Wars fans hate? Well everything apparently if the blog posts are to be trusted, but more specifically they hate change. When The Last Jedi came along it did a lot to change up the formula and make things fresh. What director Rian Johnson didn’t seem to realise however is that Star Wars doesn’t really need updating. It’s got its own style and pace that didn’t need Space horse chases, Hyperdrive suicide runs or last-minute rescues by force holograms… Sure TLJ has a lot to enjoy and some quality scenes that will go down as classics like Poe Dameron’s attack run on a First Order Dreadnought or Rey and Kylo Ren fighting off all of Snoke’s Pretorian guards in an epic ‘saber battle. There’s a reason this film is probably the most divisive of the entire franchise, some would even argue it’s so far removed from the other films that it shouldn’t even be considered canon! I wouldn’t go that far but I would go so far as to not include it in the top end of this list…
Now see this is where the list gets tricky since we’re into some really high quality territory. Episode 1 dropped back in 1999 and has a massive impact on not just the series canon but pop culture in general, Like Vader before him Darth Maul has become a villain icon, and the Podracing scene is still one of my favourite moments in no just the franchise but all of sci-fi. Now I imagine you’ll want me to talk about hating on lanky frog-man Jar Jar Binks but I’m sorry… I loved Jar Jar. When I first watched the film as a kid he was hilarious and brought some levity to a series that needed a little more of that to entice younger fans, as I’ve grown up I’ve just grown to associate him with my childhood and I can’t hate him for that! The only reason this movie isn’t higher up the list is because of the trade negotiation scenes that bring the film to a crashing halt right in the middle! Lucky the film battles that come after just about pick things back up.
Ah the film that started it all. A New Hope introduced us to the galaxy far, far away and set everything in motion when two droids abandoned ship with some plans for a planet ending super weapon that didn’t even show the weapon dish in the right place (legitimate movie mistake, seriously go watch the film again and you’ll see what I mean). Some parts of the film might not have ages so well over the years and sure a few of the more recent “special editions” have caused more grief than fixes (see. HAN SHOT FIRST) but there’s no arguing that the film is and always will be iconic and a great springboard for the rest of the series. Besides the Death Star trench run is a moment of the franchise that’s hard to top! “Use the force Luke”…
Oh what you don’t like Ewoks? Fuck you Ewoks saved the rebellion! If it wasn’t for them then the Empire would have won! Sorry… Just had to get that out of my system. Basically Return is another one of those films in the franchise that is split down the middle of fans loving or hating it. I’m firmly on the loving side and no amount of spear wielding teddy bear hate can change that. With some amazing action set pieces and a thrilling conclusion to Anakin Skywalker’s story there’s not a lot to really dislike in this 1983 classic, well not a lot that I dislike anyway. I guess if I had to really pick holes then I’ll winge about the unceremonious end of Boba Fett after having his jetpack struck by a FUCKING BLIND Han Solo. It’s an almost slap stick death that has no right being there and just gets Boba out of the movie as fast as he arrives! That being said though Battle. Of. Endor.
“STAR WARS IS BACK” was the yell my neighbours had to put up with back in 2015. Back after 10 years The Force Awakens picked up the story after the events of Return which meant for the first time ever I had NO idea what was going to happen! With the original trilogy I had obviously heard about most of what happened before I watched them and with the prequels you just had a good idea of how the events would play out anyway. Episode 7 is chock full of homages to the first film in an attempt to connect the trilogies with a core DNA (Something Rian Johnson forgot to do). Even with these similar scenes and ideas we were still introduced to some new heroes and villains very different to anything we had seen before. Let’s focus on the biggest one though, Kylo Ren. With his mask on Kylo acts the part of a Dark Lord, intimidating his subordinates and ruthlessly carrying out his mission to find the missing Luke Skywalker. The second that mask comes off though he reverts to a scared young man desperate to be acknowledged for his power. Before had all Star Wars villains had been pretty one-dimensional cackling bad guys but Kylo breaks the mode pretty damn thoroughly and the new trilogy is more interesting than the others because of it. I can’t wait to see how his story plays out come Episode 9
Ooooooh you thought this was going to be number 1 didn’t you?! Of course it’s undeniable that ESB is perhaps the single most solid Star Wars film with the best character development and some of the more iconic moments of the franchise. Empire’s opening with the incredible Battle of Hoth will always be my favourite. The stop motion AT-ATs bearing down on the desperate remnants of the Rebel Alliance was amazing for its time and nearly 40 years on is still looking great. I remember as a kid I used to watch that scene holding my toy Snowspeeder and “flying” it around my parent’s coffee table pretending it was an (admittedly more wooden) AT-AT that I need to take down. Couple that opening with a deep exploration of the Jedi and their training and of course The Millennium Falcon’s desperate escape through the asteroid field and you can see why this film still holds up today. Hell, it’s perhaps the least touched up when it comes to the special editions released years later which should be a testament to how well the film has managed to stay ahead of its time both artistically and visually!
Maybe a controversial choice here but god damn there’s not a single film in this franchise that I have given quite as much time to as Revenge of the Sith. With another huge opening battle to drag you in, the action hits hard from the get go and never lets up which, coming from the prequel trilogy which up till this point has been an exercise in galactic politics, is a welcome break. Concluding the Clone Wars started in Episode 2 we get to see a war-weary Jedi order being manipulated by the overwhelming evil Supreme Chancellor Palpatine as he plots to destroy them all and rule the Galaxy as Emperor. Worst of all however, is watching as Anakin finally falls to the dark side and ends up battling his mentor and overall top bloke Obi-Wan Kenobi leading to a visually stunning Lightsaber battle on the volcanic world Mustafar. I loved it back in 2005 and I still love it now. There’s one scene in particular though that will always be the stand out, Order 66. Watching the Emperor finally get his titular revenge is agonising as the previously loyal clone troopers turn on their Jedi generals across the galaxy and we’re left watching as Master Yoda feels all their deaths and nearly collapses in anguish. It’s a moment that sticks with you forever and just makes this one movie all the harder to top but that’s not saying I don’t want to see Episode 9 try!