On this Star Wars Day, we’re looking back at the “Star Wars” movies and series and ranking the Top 15 of them. For this ranking, I won’t be including the LEGO Star Wars material or anything listed as a special or short on Disney+. It should also be noted that “Solo: A Star Wars Story” is available in some regions and “The Rise of Skywalker” will be added later this year. Without further adieu, I give you my Top 15 “Star Wars” movies and series.
15. Attack of the Clones
Without a doubt, my least favorite “Star Wars” entry. It was inevitable when telling the story of Anakin Skywalker, there would be a love story, but I didn’t think there would be one this bad. There is no chemistry between Natalie Portman and Hayden Christiansen. The dialogue is atrocious. (Remember the I hate sand speech?) The CGI on Naboo is horrible. You can practically see the green screen. The only redeeming factors are Obi-Wan’s wit and the Yoda lightsaber fight scene.
14. The Last Jedi
Rian Johnson took all the questions asked in “The Force Awakens” and said they don’t need answers let’s do something different. The casino scenes have no point and Captain Phasma is a waste of a talented actress and an interesting villain. It might be an okay science fiction movie, but it’s a bad “Star Wars” movie.
My least favorite of the series. Something about this just felt off. The animation style is vastly different “Clone Wars” or “Rebels.” And, I just couldn’t get behind the main character. I like the concept but didn’t care for the execution.
12. The Phantom Menace
This should’ve been great, but it wasn’t. Two words. Jar Jar. The second most annoying character in cinematic history ruins every scene he’s in. The talents of Liam Neeson, Ewan MacGregor, and Ian McDiarmid are wasted because of the presence of Jar Jar. Darth Maul is the most compelling villain in the series despite only having two lines of dialogue, but he’s wasted with a quick kill rather than letting him stick around for subsequent films.
11. The Rise of Skywalker
J.J. Abrams did a commendable job fixing Rian Johnson’s butchering of the saga, but he had so much to fix, it was always going to be slightly disappointing. Abrams may say he wasn’t trying to erase “The Last Jedi” with this film, but I would be perfectly fine if that were this film’s purpose. It’s an ok ending, but given its immediate predecessor, that’s the best it could do.
10. Solo: A Star Wars Story
Despite the problems that plagued this film behind the scenes, this movie was enjoyable. It wasn’t great, but I believe Ron Howard did an admirable job stepping in as a replacement director and making a watchable movie. It was a box office disappointment, but I believe that was a mixture of “Star Wars” fatigue, fan backlash following “The Last Jedi” and bad behind the scenes press. I would rather Disney make more of these side stories than stuck with the main storyline.
(Note this title isn’t available in the US/Canada)
9. The Clone Wars
This is the TV show that reminded us that “Star Wars” can be good in the midst of the disappointing prequels. It fills in the gaps between “Attack of the Clones” and “Revenge of the Sith” perfectly and tells a great story of how Anakin Skywalker served as a master. The only problem with it is that it was cut short, but we’re now getting those lost episodes on Disney+.
8. The Force Awakens
Disney brought “Star Wars” back with a bang by essentially remaking what worked before. “The Force Awakens” is just “A New Hope” and “Return of the Jedi” over again, but it was still a fun ride. It asked some questions about the new characters that unfortunately were either never answered or answered unsatisfactorily throughout the rest of the sequel trilogy.
7. Revenge of the Sith
This is what everyone expected “The Phantom Menace” to be. While Natalie Portman and Hayden Christiansen still have no romantic chemistry, but thankfully, they have far fewer scenes together in this film. You can fell the betrayal in Obi-Wan when he learns Anakin has turned to the dark side. It’s the strongest of the prequels by far.
One of the best things this series did was to break away from the Skywalker lineage. While we still see familiar characters, we get to see how others in the galaxy handled the Empire and fended for themselves. All of the main characters have an interesting backstory that gets fleshed out over the shows four seasons. My only issue is that it only got four seasons. It deserved more.
5. Return of the Jedi
This film nicely wrapped up the greatest trilogy in cinematic history. It feels complete with a set beginning, middle, and end. The completion of Luke’s journey from farm boy to Jedi Knight is one of the greatest story arcs of all time and is masterfully done. The small problem with this film is the Ewoks. It was George Lucas’ first foray into characters that are meant to be cute but are just annoying. I’ll still take a moon full of Ewoks over one Jar Jar Binks though.
4. The Mandalorian
It only has 8 episodes and is already my favorite “Star Wars” TV series. Much like “Rebels,” its strength is found in moving away from the Skywalker line. Following a bounty hunter gives a new perspective on the galaxy and I’m anxious to see how this series will continue to grow. Also, “Star Wars” finally got the cute character right with Baby Yoda.
3. A New Hope
The one that started it all. Every “Star Wars” fan has this movie to thank for their joy. The movie is silly and the actors know it. That allows them to have fun with the script and turn it into something awesome without actually being campy. It made Harrison Ford a bona fide star and brought international attention to Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill. To not have this in the Top 3 would just feel wrong.
2. Rogue One
This is easily the best effort Disney has given us on the movie front and probably the best they’ll ever do. If Disney wants to fill in the gaps, one of the best places to do so is how the rebel alliance was able to get the Death Star plans initially. The ending is perfect as it teaches you about the sacrifice needed to overthrow a corrupt empire.
1. The Empire Strikes Back
Was there ever any doubt? The film that most consider the best in the franchise’s history also tops my rankings. The best plot development in the entire franchise can be found in this movie. It introduces some of the best-supporting characters including Lando Calrissian, Yoda, and Boba Fett. Plus, we get to see just how menacing Darth Vader can be, all while delivering arguably the most shocking line in cinematic history.
That’s my ranking. We’re not all going to agree and that’s okay. What are your favorite “Star Wars” movies and series? And May the Fourth be with you.