I love Star Wars for so many reasons and one of those reasons is the lightsaber duels. When I was a little girl I remember watching Revenge of the Sith and The Phantom Menace and then taking my Star Wars toys and remaking those lightsaber battles in my own little way. It was so much fun to not only watch but to also reenact. And then I got a little older and I finally saw the original trilogy and those lightsaber battles were less flashy but all the more incredible. That’s why when Rogue One was coming out I was a little worried, I’m not gonna lie.
There had never been, up to that point, a Star Wars movie that didn’t have at least one Jedi or Sith and at least one lightsaber duel. Now, of course, Darth Vader did cause some serious carnage at the end of the film with a lightsaber but that doesn’t count. His victims were helpless, they had absolutely no way to defend themselves. This post is about actual duels between two individuals with lightsabers. I’ll also only be ranking the duels in the movies. So on that note, let me start.
11. The Attack of the Clones: Escaping Geonosis
This is hands down the worst lightsaber duel out of all of the Star Wars films. The duel between Obi-Wan and Count Dooku is okay. It’s when Anakin joins the party that it starts becoming ridiculous. Who decided let’s let Anakin cut the lights off and have a slow motion fiasco of a red and blue lightsaber flashing by while all you can see is the two duelers’ faces in the shadows? And then after that terrible duel comes super CGI Yoda ready to tangle with a former Jedi. It’s laughable watching them hurl fake rocks at each other, throw lightning, and then finally start fighting with their lightsabers. I don’t know how many times Yoda flips in that one sequence. It’s very, very annoying to watch. In fact, the last time I watched it it was so bad that I vowed never to watch The Attack of the Clones again. That’s how terrible it was.
10. A New Hope: On the Death Star
There’s nothing particularly wrong with this duel, it’s just ancient. The lightsabers look fake, the movements are slow, and it’s just boring. There’s nothing more I can say.
9. Revenge of the Sith: Rescuing Palpatine
This duel is very bland. There’s nothing very special about it, only this time Anakin isn’t acting as rashly and Count Dooku comes to a rather dismal end.
8. Revenge of the Sith: Mace Windu Vs. Palpatine
This lightsaber duel is okay. There’s nothing overly incredible about it. Palpatine flipping like Yoda takes some point off of its epicness. And it ends very, very terribly. The only thing that makes this duel is exciting is watching Mace Windu handle Palpatine with ease. If not Anakin things could’ve been a whole lot different. It’s a shame.
7. Revenge of the Sith: Obi-Wan Vs. General Grievous
I actually like this duel despite its briefness. I mainly enjoy the beginning when General Grievous begins by spinning his four lightsabers. Have you ever watched that part in the dark? If you haven’t all I can say is it’s amazing seeing the blue and green colors flashing rapidly. It’s pretty awesome.
6. Return of the Jedi: Luke vs. Darth Vader
I love this lightsaber duel. Return of the Jedi isn’t one of my favorite Star Wars movies but every time I do watch it I urge myself to get through the Ewoks just so I can get to the good stuff at the end of the film. And this duel is worth the wait. I love watching Luke fighting Darth Vader with all that rage (ha, I sound like Palpatine). He had already lost the only family he knew back on Tatooine and then to find out Darth Vader was his father. That was the worst thing he could’ve found out. And then he found out that Leia was his sister. She was as precious to him as anything and the last thing he wanted was for her to become as evil as his father. That’s why he went plum off.
Another reason I love this duel is the music. It’s so dark and heroic all at once. It’s really John Williams at his best.
5. Revenge of the Sith: Yoda Vs. Darth Sidious
This is definitely one of my favorite duels out of all of the Star Wars films. Not only is the setting epic but the music gives me chills every time. And I absolutely love when Palpatine is force throwing all of those seats at Yoda. That’s definitely one of my favorite parts of the movie.
4. Revenge of the Sith: Anakin Vs. Obi-Wan
Wow, I didn’t even realize how many lightsaber duels there were in the Revenge of the Sith. This is I think the fourth one. That’s astonishing. Well anyway, back to the ranking. Revenge of the Sith isn’t the best Star Wars movie ever made but this climactic duel is worth the wait. I love this lightsaber fight. I love Mustafar, I love the fanciness of the choreography, I love the music, I mean it’s pretty much perfect. If Anakin wasn’t so annoying then it might be my second favorite duel.
3. The Phantom Menace: A Duel To Remember
This is such an amazing duel. I have to admit, George Lucas was going on the right track when he made The Phantom Menace, excluding Jar Jar Binks. Darth Maul was such a menacing, convincing villain and this lightsaber duel was perfect in every way. The martial arts style of Darth Maul versus the calmer more controlled style of the two Jedi is so much fun to observe. I really wish Darth Maul could’ve lasted for at least one more movie because he just was that cool.
2. The Empire Strikes Back: Duel on Cloud City
This is the classic trilogy at its best. Not only does this duel between Luke and Darth Vader lead to one of the biggest reveals in cinema history but it’s simply a visually appealing duel. From the fight in the carbonite chamber to when they’re on the bridge in the inner area of Cloud City, it’s beautiful. And the choreography is simple but very fluid and realistic. There aren’t any unnecessary moments that diminish the duel whatsoever. My words to describe this duel is, “Impressive, most impressive.”
1. The Force Awakens: The Battle on StarKiller Base
It was very difficult figuring out where I was going to rank these final four lightsaber duels because I love them all but when I really thought about it I realized this duel has become my favorite out of all of the others and this is why.
First of all, I love the setting. The darkness of nighttime, the snow, the trees, it’s pretty epic. Secondly, the significance of the two duels between Finn and Kylo Ren and Kylo Ren and Rey have left such impacts leading forward into The Last Jedi. And third, I absolutely love the choreography.
When The Force Awakens was coming out I remember wondering how fancy the lightsaber duel was going to be because it seemed like modern lightsaber duels were made to be quick and pretty to look at. This duel was everything but pretty, which made sense.
Finn barely knew how to use a lightsaber so the choreography can’t be too fancy. And Rey knows quite a bit about using a close-combat weapon but her skills with a lightsaber are limited too. Kylo Ren was the only individual who had trained to use the ancient weapon, so of course, his fighting style was the prettiest of them all.
The duels were was so grounded and realistic that I came away from that movie theater wanting to see it again and again and again.
Now The Last Jedi is coming up and all I can wonder is what new lightsaber duels will there be and will the duels be a little fancier this time? I can’t wait to see.
So, that’s my ranking. I thank you for reading this post that I’ve had such a blast writing. I hope you have a wonderful day and May the Force Be With You.