The Star Wars franchise is arguably one of the best film franchises in history and has become synonymous with space travel, laying the groundwork for other popular science fiction films. Created by the iconic director, George Lucas, the franchise, which is now over 40 years old, is estimated to be worth US$70 billion. Although it has spawned multiple TV series, books, films, and video games, in this article we will focus on the movies and rank them from worst to best.
11. Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (2019)
It’s no surprise that the latest film entry in the franchise is the worst. The sequel trilogy has been criticized constantly, and most of the blame validly lies with Disney. Everything about the franchise changed after George Lucas left the franchise in 2012 and then Disney subsequently bought Lucasfilm for $4 billion later that year. A series of poor directorial decisions destroyed everything the fans loved about the Star Wars movies, and The Rise of Skywalker marked the highest point of frustration for most of the loyal fans.
10. Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (2017)
The Last Jedi left a bad taste among fans due to how the movie deconstructed Luke Skywalker’s character. A deeply beloved character who made his debut in the original trilogy became an utterly insignificant character in The Last Jedi. A character who was long known for his drive, determination, and child-like optimism was turned into a pessimistic, ignorant, and grumpy old man, a fact that completely defied logic since it stood to reason that time and experience would have made him a wiser and more understanding man.
9. Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015)
The first film in the sequel trilogy was one of the most anticipated movies of the last decade, and unfortunately, despite having a decent cast and an accomplished director, it failed to live up to the fans’ expectations. The Force Awakens follows the story of Rey Skywalker, a desert scavenger who joins forces with Finn, a stormtrooper deserter, and Han Solo and Chewbacca, the Millenium Falcon smugglers, to search for Luke Skywalker, the legendary Jedi.
8. Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002)
Attack of the Clones is set ten years after the padawan, Anakin Skywalker, and Queen Padme Amidala meet on the desert planet of Tatooine. Now assigned to protect Amidala, who is a senator in the Galactic Republic, the two find themselves in a secret, forbidden relationship. Meanwhile, Obi-Wan Kenobi investigates an assassination attempt on Amidala but ends up discovering a secret clone army that threatens the entire galaxy.
7. Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999)
The Phantom Menace is the first movie in the prequel trilogy. It is famously known for introducing new characters in the Star Wars franchise, such as Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn, his apprentice and fan favorite, Obi-Wan Kenobi, the teenage Queen of Naboo, Padmé Amidala, the young pilot with a strong presence of the Force, Anakin Skywalker, and the clumsy Gungan, Jar Jar Binks.
6. Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)
The second anthology film in the franchise, Solo: A Star Wars Story explores the early adventures of the popular Millenium Falcon pilots, Han Solo and Chewbacca, and it’s set ten years before the events of Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope. It was well-received by critics and audiences despite being a box-office disaster that grossed $393.2 million worldwide against a budget of $275 million.
5. Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983)
Although Return of the Jedi is the final installment in the original trilogy, it is considered by many to be the weakest movie among the three. Set one year after The Empire Strikes Back, Luke Skywalker attempts to bring Darth Vader back to the light side of the Force after discovering that he is his father. Meanwhile, the Rebels undertake a daring mission to destroy the second Death Star.
4. Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005)
Revenge of the Sith is the final installment in the prequel trilogy and follows Luke Skywalker as he spies on Palpatine, the Supreme Chancellor of the Galactic Republic. Unbeknownst to him, Palpatine is a Sith Lord, and in a turn of events, Luke is seduced to join the dark side of the Force, becoming his apprentice and the infamous Darth Vader.
3. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)
As the first anthology Star Wars movie, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story raised the bar for subsequent anthology films in the franchise. Set a week before the events of A New Hope, Rogue One details the story of the brave band of rebels that gave their lives to steal and deliver the schematic plans of the Death Star to the alliance, which eventually handed them victory over the Galactic Empire.
2. Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977)
The original Star Wars and the movie that started it all, Episode IV – A New Hope introduces the two opposing forces of the franchise: the malevolent Galactic Empire and the heroic Rebel Alliance. As the latter scramble to mobilize a fleet to make a preemptive strike to destroy the Death Star, Luke Skywalker is mentored by Jedi master Obi-Wan Kenobi in the ways of the Force.
1. Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Often considered an example of a sequel superior to its predecessor, The Empire Strikes Back follows the events after the destruction of the Death Star and the consequent hunt for the Rebel Alliance by the Galactic Empire. With iconic moments such as Han being frozen in carbonite and the battle on the ice planet of Hoth, the best moment of the movie comes when Luke learns that Darth Vader is his father, a scene that has become immortalized in pop culture.