Star Wars: A New Ranking!

Did you know that I really like Star Wars? Well, if you didn’t: I really like Star Wars! Even more like, I love Star Wars! There is so much to discover, learn and experience in the huge sandbox that has been built by George Lucas’s mind all those years ago. Due to my love for Star Wars, I like to consume a lot of media about it. This ranges from books and comics, to video-games! A while ago, on a Dutch website, I wrote an article ranking all the Star Wars movies. I thought it would fun to revisit that, make a new list (including the TV shows) and give some recommendations for more Star Wars media at the end. Punch it!

The Old List

Before we begin, I think a small disclaimer would be in place. Star Wars is one of the most important and beloved things in my life. Thus, while I can definitely see all the criticism, all the complaints people have about any of the movies and whatever, at the end of the day I will always be happy to watch whatever Star Wars I can. If you are looking for a more honest, less fanboy-y text, this might not be the best place to be. Now, let’s take a look at my old ranking.

This ranking was written in 2019, just 2 months before the release of The Rise of Skywalker, which obviously won’t be included in here. The ranking was as follows: (You can find the reasoning behind these in the following article, but do note it was written in Dutch: https://www.pu.nl/community/discussions/discussion/ranking-the-star-wars-films/)

11. The Last Jedi

10. The Phantom Menace

9. Solo: A Star Wars Story

8. Attack of the Clones

7. The Clone Wars (movie)

6. Rogue One

5. The Force Awakens

4. A New Hope

3. Revenge of the Sith

2. The Empire Strikes Back

1. The Return of the Jedi

It’s weird to read this back. Past me seems to have been jumping on the bandwagon of hating The Last Jedi, a movie I don’t hate nearly as much as the article suggested. Seeing how low Solo was also kind of shocked me. I cited as the reason for it: “It’s kind of unnecessary, right?” Something I would not really take into account if I would rank it now. Overall I don’t really agree with this anymore, but some parts will stay the same in the new ranking.

The Final Ranking:

Now, having looked back on what a 14 y/o Dunke thought, let’s see what I think now, right? Again, and I can’t stress this enough, even the lower picks on this list I absolutely adore and I would re-watch them in a heartbeat. I can just take a more objective stance in ranking them now, but it does not affect my enjoyment. Without further ado, let’s get started.

15. The Rise of Skywalker

Let’s just talk about this one first. Is it the worst movie ever made? No, not at all. But it’s definitely my least favourite movie in the saga, and that makes me sad because it didn’t have to. Overall I like to describe the sequels a group of missed opportunities, but that problem is the most prominent in the finale. It starts out incredibly strong, seeing Kylo Ren tearing it up on Mustafar. It’s probably one of my favourite opening sequences in a Star Wars movie so far. It’s mostly downhill from there though.

I’m not the biggest fan of Palpatine’s return. I don’t mind that it happened, but I feel like it would have been more impactful if it was teased earlier in the trilogy and was executed better. I don’t like how side-lined Rose Tico is, the fake-out deaths get very obnoxious after a while and the final battle tries but fails to harness the same energy Avengers Endgame had.

It has its moments, like the scene between Han Solo and Ben Solo and the flashback to Luke and Leia’s time training as Jedi. I wish Ben Solo would’ve stayed alive, and it would’ve been longer. This movie really needs time to breath. It’s not the finale I hoped for, but I can also accept it for what it is. I give it a 6/10.

14. The Phantom Menace

Yeah, it’s not that great. I still really like it, as I have a ton of nostalgia to the prequels but this movie is pretty much carried by the Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon versus Darth Maul fight. Something the prequels do incredibly well though, is world-building. We see new parts of the galaxy, and see what everything was like before the Empire rose to power and the Clone Wars threw everyone in despair. We can hate on Jar Jar Binks all day if we want, (I personally never minded him, although I can see why people take issue with him) but the biggest problem is the plot.

The plot is kind of split up for me. On one hand we have the start of Anakin’s journey to the dark side, which is quite interesting. The liberation of Naboo itself is really cool to me too, but the heavy emphasis on the in-universe politics is kind of boring. Still, I can admire Lucas putting it in there, as it does add to the world-building I mentioned earlier. It could’ve been tuned down a bit though. Fun movie, not the best so a 6.5/10.

13. Attack of the Clones

I don’t really have that much to say about this one, as I feel like much of what I said about The Phantom Menace can also be applied here. Biggest problem with this one however, is definitely the dialogue. We all know the infamous “I don’t like sand” part. I will praise this movie however, for properly setting up Anakin’s turn. All the seeds of that decision are planted in this movie, and in my opinion it was executed pretty neatly. The big battles on Geonosis are pretty cool and I really like the clones.

As stated, I don’t have a lot more to say. The action is solid, the set-up for Revenge of the Sith is good but it’s just the dialogue that leaves a sour taste. 6.5/10.

12. The Force Awakens

The kick-off to a new era of Star Wars! I still remember when the first trailer dropped. It was incredible for me. I’d actually get to go to the cinema and watch a Star Wars movie on the big screen! So that’s what I did. 7 times. I saw this movie in theatres 7 times.

Sure, it’s kind of a rip-off of A New Hope, but I don’t mind. It does enough stuff of it’s own to set-up a new story. I think Kylo Ren is a pretty cool villain and the character of Finn was really interesting. It’s been said a lot of times before, but actually seeing someone under the masks of the stormtrooper and having him be a central character is a really fun and exciting choice. It’s a shame this wasn’t utilised more in the rest of the trilogy. Another small problem I have is that it isn’t that good for multiple viewings due to a lot of the jokes that take you out of the experience the more you watch it.

For what it is, this movie is really solid. It’s a shame that some of the choices made in the rest of the trilogy reflect kind of negatively on this one. Still a strong 7/10 though.

11. The Clone Wars (Movie)

The foundation for what is one of my favourite pieces of Star Wars ever. It’s a fun experience, that quickly and effectively introduces you to the new characters of the show. Ahsoka, Rex, all of them. It really sets the stage. There’s not much more to say about it other than that when you re-watch it nowadays the animation might seem a bit outdated. Don’t expect something groundbreaking, they saved that for the show. 7/10.

10. The Last Jedi

Yeah, kind of a change. The Last Jedi is kind of where things went downhill. The whole community had an opinion, some people loved it to pieces, some hated it beyond anything. I’d personally say I’m somewhere in the middle. I don’t despise it, but I also don’t like it the most. There is some dumb stuff in here, most notably the entire sequence on Canto Bight. I get what they were going for, but it really just didn’t do anything for me. There are some other things, but those are a lot easier to look past.

I actually really like Luke Skywalker in this movie. We got the chance to get a completely new story about a character we are already very familiar with and in my opinion it was executed very well. The Yoda scene brought me to tears. It just fit so perfectly and brought me right back to Empire, with Yoda teaching Luke one more time. Kylo Ren was another highlight. I already really liked him in The Force Awakens and this movie only solidifies that. We get some backstory for him, and I really thought they’d go down the road of him being irredeemable, which in hindsight was a little naïve. The reveal of Rey’s parents being nobodies was also really cool to me. I loved that. In total I would say The Last Jedi also gets a 7/10.

9. Solo: A Star Wars Story

It’s such a shame this movie doesn’t get the love it deserves. It is impressive how Alden Ehrenreich put down such a good performance as a young Han Solo. All the other actors did a great job too. People said they didn’t really want to see how Han made the Kessel run, met Chewbacca or won the Falcon, but personally I loved seeing it all play out. The movie is really just a fun adventure where we can see the past of old characters and meet some new ones while we’re at it. It’s really nothing incredible, but if you are in for a fun action movie you can’t go wrong with this one. I give it a 7.5/10.

8. A New Hope

The start of the franchise we are so in love with. It’s funny to think about how little of George Lucas’s original vision was actually realised in the end, but I guess that’s how it goes. This movie drops you into an entire universe without feeling overwhelming. Everything you need to know is explained but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a history to anything. I can’t really put it into words, but it just feels good to watch this movie. I give it a 7.5/10.

7. Rebels

I really like Rebels. Yes, the first 2 seasons are pretty tame and there are some dumb episodes in there, but overall there is just too much to love! The artstyle is made so that its reminiscent of Ralph McQuarrie’s original art for the Original Trilogy, there’s an interesting cast of new characters to get to know and a ton of returning characters from the rest of the saga too.

What I like most about it though, is how it really goes deeper into the more mythological aspect of the Force and the galaxy itself. It’s something we haven’t really explored before in the current Canon, and this show does it very well. As said, not every episode is a winner, but there are some real treasures to find in here. I’d highly recommend you give it a shot! 7.5/10.

6. Rogue One

Without a doubt in my mind the best Star Wars movie from the Disney era. It’s entire atmosphere shows a grittier, more war-like vibe of the franchise while still maintaining the vibe of the Original Trilogy is incredible. The story of a group of rebels trying to steal the Death Star plans is actually really cool. Seeing Darth Vader going absolutely ballistic on rebel troops is something I loved seeing. I also really liked the actors here, as they do a really good job of bringing their characters to life, most notably K-2SO. This is an 8/10.

5. The Clone Wars (Show)

Okay, now we’re entering the big league. Starting of with Star Wars The Clone Wars. *Que intro theme*…..
This is the show that introduced me to the universe of Star Wars. Back then it was just a cool animation show with robots and cool guys with laser swords, but upon re-watching this show time and time again I can safely say it’s some of the best Star Wars content out there. It not only builds upon the foundation of the prequels, it also adds far more to it than it had to. The show doesn’t follow a strict order, but prefers to just present you an arc or episode and tells you: “have fun!”

And fun you shall have. While the first two seasons are kind of “meh” in comparison, the longer it goes on, the better it gets. You follow both clones and Jedi throughout the galaxy fighting the Seperatists and helping people throughout the duration of the show. It’s simply amazing. 8.5/10!

4. The Revenge of the Sith

Beyond the shadow of a doubt my favourite of the prequels. This is what the whole trilogy has been leading up to. Anakin’s turn to the Dark Side is just so unnerving to see, but it keeps intriguing me. There’s so many factors as to why he does it spread around over the last few movies that when it finally all comes together I can’t help but feel anxiously excited every time I watch it. It is entangling throughout, and in the end, even though you know it’s coming Anakin’s turn hits like a boulder launched from world’s biggest catapult. I love. 8.5/10!

3. The Mandalorian

There are just so many good things to say about the Mandalorian, I don’t even know where to start. It’s just so refreshing and original, showing an all new side of the Star Wars galaxy but still feeling very faithful to the movies. It’s very much doing its own thing without to many connections to the overall saga in the first season, but then just goes absolutely crazy in season 2, without losing the spirit and vibe of what it started out as. Following a lone gunslinger connecting with the cutest being in Star Wars ever is really entertaining and I just can’t help but feel some kind of happiness jump up whenever I watch it.

The show is made with such great care for Star Wars lore but also takes a bunch of steps to set up stuff for later. There’s so much stuff for hardcore fans to spot and theorize about, while more casual viewers won’t get the feeling they miss something. It’s really something anyone can just turn on and enjoy. 9.5/10.

2. The Return of the Jedi

To be honest, if I could I would put this and the number 1 in the same spot. They’re both my favourite pieces of Star Wars media ever. Return of the Jedi was the first Live-Action Star Wars movie I’ve ever seen. I still vividly remember telling my dad about the Clone Wars on Cartoon Network, “with the laser swords and soldiers in white armour”  and he told me there were “real” movies of that. Initially I was scared. I didn’t really want to watch it because in my mind a movie with “”real people” automatically meant scary. My dad showed me the scene with Luke and Vader on the bridge, just before he would be handed to the Emperor. I was immediately enthralled. I wanted to keep watching, but it was decided that was enough for that day.

Then later, watching it fully, I saw how much more there was to this movie. The whole sequence on Tatooine, the Ewoks, the return to Dagobah, the destruction of the second Death Star and the duel on the Death Star, I loved it all. It was such a new experience and I don’t know where I’d be today if I hadn’t seen this. 9.9/10!

  1. The Empire Strikes Back

Without a doubt my favourite movie ever. I could watch it over and over and over and over and just not get bored of it. There is just so much to love. My favourite scene has to be when Luke is entering the Cave on Dagobah. I’ve got a pretty solid interpretation of that scene, but every time I think of I see a new possibility. I also like how it feels much more mature than A New Hope but still manages to keep a light-hearted tone and make you feel like you’re on a fun adventure through the universe. There’s a reason people say it’s the best sequel ever made.

The Empire Strikes Back is much more intimate and small-scale than its predecessor, but that doesn’t mean it’s not incredibly important. Just the “I am your Father” reveal makes this a must-watch for anyone getting into Star Wars. Even though I knew it was coming (thanks for the spoilers, dad) I was shocked by how impactful it was. I’ve never felt this way at a movie before, and I strongly doubt I will ever do so again. This is the best. 10/10!!!

Darth Vader in the Empire Strikes Back

0. The Star Wars Holiday Special

It sucks.

Recommendations:

Phew, that took a while… but I’m not done yet! Because let’s say you’ve seen all of the above, but that Star Wars monster inside you still keeps begging for more? Worry not, for Star Wars is in no way reserved for just movies and TV Shows. Below I list a few of my personal recommendations, so you may feed your inner Rancor or Wampa until the next thing comes around!

Darth Vader: (comics)

“An entire comic series based on a character we’ve already spent 6 movies exploring the ins and outs of?” Well, yes of course! You’d be surprised how much there is to Vader’s psyche that is not explored in the movies and these comics do a great job at doing just that. It shows us more of Vader being a bad-ass, and helps us understand him a lot more.

Doctor Aphra: (comics)

Do you like Han Solo? Then chances are high you’ll like Rogue Archaeologist Doctor Chelli Aphra. Originally introduced in the previously mentioned Darth Vader comics she quickly became a fan-favourite and got her own comic run. We follow Aphra in her crazy rollercoaster of a life, scamming and shooting her way through all kinds of bizarre scenario’s. Because what if I told you in one of the stories she holds an auction selling a Jedi soul, housed in a crystal? Recipe of disaster if you ask me. That isn’t to say there isn’t room for other characters though, as she is always assisted by her (programmed to be) loyal companions 0-0-0 (triple zero) and BT-1, who are basically the evil versions of C-3PO and R2-D2. There is also a wide array of love interests in all genders, which causes the necessary drama. A great read if you ask me! Still waiting for that Disney+ show starring Chloe Bennett though.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order: (Videogame)

I reviewed this one in full already (https://dunke.nl/star-wars-jedi-fallen-order-revisited/), but for a tl;dr: Jedi Fallen Order sets you on an epic journey through the galaxy, building up your skills as a Jedi as you visit both old and new locations of the Star Wars universe. The games gameplay is engaging and varied enough to keep you entertained until the credits roll. The story is also really engaging, with some really cool twists later down the line.

A Short Review of Vader Immortal: Episode 1

I didn’t write this, as I don’t have a way to play Vader Immortal, but a wonderfull friend of mine did play it and wrote a little something about it :).

As most will know, VR games have become mainstream and are increasingly popular. One of those many games is Vader Immortal, a part of the juggernaut: Star Wars. As an addition to the many Star Wars properties, it provides a new angle of Darth Vader and further depth to his character. As soon as you start playing, you are thrust into the story and it feels extremely authentic. The graphics are some of the best VR graphics I have seen. The mechanics are easy to use and figure out, making it available for people of varying skill when it comes to gaming. Furthermore, the action is nuanced but not completely unusual as you learn how to wield a lightsaber. There are story points which surprised me but didn’t feel forced. However, the instalments are short and the price seems a bit much for what it is but it is still an enjoyable experience overall.

Thrawn Alliances: (books)

This is actually the second part in the Thrawn Trilogy, but it works pretty well on its own too. We follow Grand Admiral Thrawn in two time-periods. One during the Clone Wars and one in the Reign of the Empire, where he is a Grand Admiral. There are basically two plotlines in two different era’s but they also kind of overlap, which makes for a very interesting read. In the Clone Wars we follow Thrawn helping Anakin Skywalker find his wife Padmé Amidala on a planet in the Outer Rim, and when you jump to years later both him and Vader have a mission at that exact same location. Thrawn is a very interesting character, and I highly recommend you check out this book if you want to know more about him!

Thanks!

Well, that was that. Thanks so much for reading, I really appreciate it. Be sure to let me know if you agree or disagree in the comments, and you can share this article using the buttons below. You can now also subscribe to my newsletter so you get an e-mail every time I post something new!

Posted by Dunke

Has an addiction for anything geekie, with Star Wars and Marvel in particular. Likes to read books/comics, watch movies and play videogames. Favourite movie: The Empire Strikes Back Favourite games: Breath of the Wild, Persona 5 Royal, Undertale, Celeste and Uncharted 4.