All 12 Star Wars motion pictures, ranked from worst to greatest

The last word area fantasy movie franchise is on one among its longer breaks. Whereas the Disney+ slate of Star Wars reveals retains on rising (The Mandalorian, The E-book of Boba Fett, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Ahsoka, Andor), we cannot see any extra Star Wars motion pictures till Patty Jenkins’ Rogue Squadron hits theaters in December 2023.

Which makes this the proper second to cease and put all twelve motion pictures up to now into some type of order. Wait, twelve? Yep, that is proper. The 9 Skywalker saga episodes and two “anthology” spin-off movies (Rogue One, Solo) weren’t the one ones to get official releases in theaters. There’s one cinematic stepchild that Lucasfilm would quite neglect.

In reverse order of greatness, beginning with that undesirable stepchild:

12. The Clone Wars (2008)

This film started life because the opening batch of episodes for the Cartoon Community collection Clone Wars. Then George Lucas made a baffling last-minute determination to launch this barely-hung-together content material as a film.

Lucasfilm’s key merchandising licensees weren’t notified upfront, so it is potential Lucas himself wasn’t precisely happy with the hassle. No marvel. Although Clone Wars the present would develop over the course of seven seasons right into a wealthy narrative with animation worthy of a Star Wars film, it was nowhere close to there in 2008.

However hey, at the very least Lucas might now say his prequel motion pictures had been definitively not the worst.

Learn how to watch: Star Wars: The Clone Wars(opens in a brand new tab) is now on Disney+. (opens in a brand new tab)

11. Assault of the Clones (2002)

Because the darker center chapter of the prequel trilogy, Assault of the Clones ought to have been its greatest. It had a wonderful twist in retailer that modified the whole lot you ever thought the Clone Wars had been, and a few meaty political machinations that mirrored the Warfare on Terror age wherein it arrived.

What went incorrect? Begin with Lucas’ script, which he wrote quicker than ever and gave to the crew on the final minute. Which isn’t an excellent concept should you’re attempting one thing you have by no means accomplished earlier than, i.e., write a romance.

The chemistry-free pairing of Hayden Christensen and Natalie Portman did not assist, however their dialogue (“I hate sand,” he stated, contrasting it together with her easy again) was by no means remotely romantic to start with.

Lucas, who was barely there as a director of actors at one of the best of instances (“quicker and extra intense” had been his most important notes for the unique film), did not appear to care. He spent most of his Clones time fascinated with a brand new digital digital camera and numerous all-digital scenes, oblivious to the unfolding catastrophe.

Learn how to watch: Star Wars: Episode II — Assault of the Clones(opens in a brand new tab) is now on Disney+. (opens in a brand new tab)

10. The Phantom Menace (1999)

It isn’t as unhealthy as you would possibly keep in mind. There’s the kinetic Darth Maul lightsaber duel, extra ballet than battle, and Yoda’s iconic clarification of how the Darkish Facet progresses from concern.

And at the very least Lucas was going for one thing in his script, getting all that Flash Gordon fan fiction he’d supposed for the unique Star Wars out of his system. (Midi-chlorians, although they need to have by no means been talked about on display screen, at the very least date again to his 1977 notes.)


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Ah, if solely Lucas had caught to his authentic draft — wherein Jar Jar Binks was a clever sage and Anakin Skywalker a younger Buddha. If solely he’d listened to screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan and plenty of others who suggested him to bump up Anakin’s age so he was not hanging the entire film on the efficiency of a kid actor.

If solely…

Learn how to watch: Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (opens in a brand new tab)is now on Disney+. (opens in a brand new tab)


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9. The Rise of Skywalker (2019)

Visually talking, The Rise of Skywalker ranks among the many greatest Star Wars motion pictures. It is full of arresting set items; who might neglect Rey’s backflip atop Kylo Ren’s ship that kicked off the primary trailer? As we identified in our evaluate on the time, Skywalker is a film greatest skilled with the eyes, with out overthinking.

However in fact, plot issues too. And what we bought there was a narrative that launched so many new characters on this final chapter that it barely had any time for previous mates (hello, Lando!). Apparently terrified by the response of a loud minority to Final Jedi, director-writer J.J. Abrams tried to please everybody and ended up pleasing just about nobody.

Particularly irksome: the about-face on Rey’s lineage, the sudden resurrection of the Emperor, the transient and doubtful rehabilitation of the galaxy’s most exhausting man, the sidelining of Rose Tico, and the failure to care about Finn. As an alternative of tying up a nine-movie collection with a bow, Abrams did it so sloppily he might have tarnished the complete saga’s repute — and definitely that of the sequel trilogy.

Learn how to watch: Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (opens in a brand new tab)(opens in a brand new tab)is now on Disney+. (opens in a brand new tab)

8. Revenge of the Sith (2005)

The undisputed darkest and better of the prequels, Revenge of the Sith has the essence of an excellent story. If we had been speaking film novelizations, Sith would rank #1; the Matthew Stover e-book(opens in a brand new tab) is spellbindingly written with loads of additional particulars.

Sadly, Lucas stored futzing together with his personal model of the story on the final minute. He modified Anakin’s motivation for turning to the Darkish Facet in post-production. This left the important pivot level of the complete prequels to come back off as a complicated mess, and the Jedi got here off trying like even better fools than supposed.

In case you assume this film deserves a better rating, you are most likely remembering that epic Anakin-Obi-Wan lava duel finale, quite than these interminable Coruscant hall conversations. However the latter make up far more of the film’s runtime.

Learn how to watch: Star Wars:(opens in a brand new tab) (opens in a brand new tab)Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (opens in a brand new tab)is now on Disney+. (opens in a brand new tab)

7. Solo (2018)

Do not be fooled by the middling rating: Solo is a strong story, a neat little heist flick (the highest heist film of all time on the field workplace, the truth is) and an pleasant origin story that earns its proper to be advised.

Particularly should you think about it as an ensemble movie. Alden Ehrenreich was a stronger Han for taking part in towards Woody Harrelson as Han’s mentor Beckett. Donald Glover turned in a really fantastic efficiency as Younger Lando, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge made us assume deeply about droid rights.

Certain, we bought clunky moments we did not want — the origin of Han Solo’s final identify, an excessive amount of CGI sound and fury within the Kessel Run. And the cinematography appeared too darkish in lots of theaters. However the script by Lawrence Kasdan (author of Empire Strikes Again) and son Jon zips well together with sufficient laughs to maintain you chuckling.

The rationale it is not ranked larger is that it is up towards some stiff competitors — however as a palate cleanser between mythology-heavy epics, Solo pulled off its caper just about completely.

Learn how to Watch: Solo: A Star Wars Story (opens in a brand new tab)is now on Disney+. (opens in a brand new tab)


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6. The Pressure Awakens (2015)

The primary hour of The Pressure Awakens is without doubt one of the greatest hours of Star Wars ever made. Rey was launched with unbelievable economic system; these silent, spare scenes of Jakku junkyard life had been a revelation.

In the meantime, the parallel story of defecting stormtrooper Finn, unprecedented within the Star Wars canon, gave the mislead lazy takes that TFA was a “beat for beat” remake.

However then got here the second hour, from the introduction of Starkiller base onwards, and the entire thing began to really feel like a Star Wars best hits reel.

It nonetheless hangs collectively very properly as a narrative, particularly with the burden that Han’s loss of life brings to the entire thing. It is simply that we might have been fantastic with one fewer X-wing squadron assault on a large spherical object, thanks.

Learn how to Watch: Star Wars:(opens in a brand new tab) (opens in a brand new tab)Episode VII – The Pressure Awakens (opens in a brand new tab)is now on Disney+. (opens in a brand new tab)

5. Return of the Jedi (1983)

The epic conclusion to the unique trilogy suffers slightly from George Lucas’ sudden want to ice his franchise and tie the whole lot up with a neat bow. The choice to show Leia into Luke’s long-lost sister was a cleaning soap opera step too far for a lot of viewers, in addition to Mark Hamill himself.

And but it pulls off an extremely troublesome job, bringing the most important film trilogy in historical past in for a satisfying touchdown. Vader’s determination to avoid wasting his son from the Emperor would resound all through Star Wars lore, turning Anakin into the tragic hero of the entire first six-movie arc.

Oh, and get out of right here together with your Ewok complaints. The entire authentic level of Star Wars was to indicate how a mighty technological empire might be introduced down by a primitive race — one which actually eats Stormtroopers for breakfast.

Decide them by their cuteness, do you?

Learn how to Watch: Star Wars:(opens in a brand new tab) (opens in a brand new tab)Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (opens in a brand new tab)is now on Disney+. (opens in a brand new tab)

4. Rogue One (2016)

The primary Star Wars spin-off story fell sufferer to an extended summer season of overly-panicked re-editing. The upshot might properly have improved the ultimate battle, and likewise launched the long-lasting Darth Vader lightsaber scene.

However we had been barely launched to the hero, Jyn Erso, who all of a sudden had nothing to say in her uneven opening scenes. Nonetheless, the story itself was profoundly compelling, maybe much more so than the saga movies. Right here finally was the true form of the “warfare” in Star Wars, down at floor stage. The choice to kill off all of the film’s heroes appears to be like extra courageous with each rewatch.

The names of these spies who stole the Demise Star plans might have been forgotten within the galaxy far, distant. However we’ll always remember.

Learn how to Watch: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (opens in a brand new tab)is now on Disney+. (opens in a brand new tab)

3. The Final Jedi (2017)

Luke Skywalker as a reluctant hermit on a distant planet, approached by a younger feminine disciple: This was the primary concept George Lucas had when he sketched out the sequel trilogy. Director Rian Johnson took that idea, ran with it, and created what Star Wars within the twenty first century desperately wanted: one thing dangerous and new.

Drained previous tropes (corresponding to that Emperor clone often called Snoke) had been actually torn aside by a brand new era. Of their place, Rey and Kylo Ren got here into their very own as advanced characters, each stuffed with darkness and light-weight. The peril was better than ever, however so was the heroism.

Canto Bight and Crait might have triggered controversy, as did the Holdo maneuver and Leia’s outer area revival. However all of those threads had been constructing as much as one unifying theme. When the mud settled, the entire galaxy understood what “hero” meant. The individuals have the ability; the Pressure just isn’t restricted to some households or historic orders of hypocritical monks. The flexibility to wield it will probably crop up in anybody, anyplace.

Give it a number of many years — when, maybe, we’ll lastly have made peace with its hearbreakingly ironic ending — and we’ll come to treat Jedi as a stone-cold traditional that helped reinvigorate the franchise for many years to come back.

Learn how to Watch: Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Final Jedi (opens in a brand new tab)(opens in a brand new tab)is now on Disney+. (opens in a brand new tab)

2. Star Wars (1977)

In any other case often called the movie so large, its savvy creator stole the identify for a complete franchise — and retroactively, in 1981, dubbed the 1977 film A New Hope.

The unique continues to be very, very near being one of the best. If this rating had been involved with behind-the-scenes achievement, nothing might ever evaluate with the truth that Lucas kickstarted a worldwide phenomenon on a pathetically small (even then, by Hollywood requirements) $11 million funds.

However this rating is all about what we see on display screen right now. And Lucasfilm’s ongoing insistence that the wince-worthy Particular Version Jabba the Hutt scene is formally part of this film is sufficient to dock it a degree.

Learn how to Watch: Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (opens in a brand new tab)(opens in a brand new tab)is now on Disney+. (opens in a brand new tab)

1. The Empire Strikes Again (1980)

You adore it. We all know.

It has develop into a cliche, but it surely’s true nonetheless: Empire is a rattling close to good film in each sight and sound. The colour palettes of its most important areas (Hoth, Dagobah, Cloud Metropolis) hang-out our goals. As does the music — particularly, the new-for-this-film Imperial March.

Darth Vader, who was on display screen for all of 10 minutes within the authentic film, comes into his terrifying personal for the primary time. Yoda’s mini-lectures on the Pressure got here near beginning a real-life faith. And the story — for which Lucas does not get sufficient credit score — is a grasp class in learn how to take a sequel and make it higher than the unique.

To not point out learn how to make a darkish children’ film the place the unhealthy guys win. Sorry, Infinity Warfare, however Empire bought there first.

With out this film, made with defiant independence on a ballooning funds as Lucasfilm skated dangerously near chapter, we merely would not have the Star Wars franchise as we all know it right now. And even with the Skywalker Saga at an finish, that deal retains getting higher on a regular basis.

Learn how to Watch: Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Again (opens in a brand new tab)(opens in a brand new tab)is now on Disney+. (opens in a brand new tab)

UPDATE: Could. 4, 2023, 10:38 a.m. EDT This submit initially revealed in Could of 2018. It has been up to date to mirror the rising Star Wars tv spinoffs.

Originally posted 2023-05-04 08:00:00.