This weapon is your life!
What could be more challenging than ranking the 7 Star Wars films? I’m so glad you asked – ranking the Star Wars Lightsaber Duels, of course!
**Star Wars Episodes I-VII Spoilers**
11. Obi-Wan Kenobi vs. General Grievous –
Revenge of the Sith
“Hello There!” Let me be clear – I think all of the Lightsaber Duels featured in the Star Wars films are quality material, so being on this list is still awesome. In Episode III, Grievous’ fight versus Obi-Wan Kenobi is unique in that Grievous is the only character to ever fight with 4 Lightsabers at once. Not being Force-sensitive (though trained by Count Dooku), Grievous can’t hold his own against Kenobi and the fight doesn’t last very long. Well, at least the the Lightsaber portion doesn’t.
10. Obi-Wan Kenobi vs. Darth Vader, The Rematch – A New Hope
Taking place on the first Death Star, Obi-Wan vs. Darth Vader is the first Lightsaber fight to ever take place on screen, being legendary in its own right. Not the most acrobatic fight nor the most exciting, this duel might hold the most weight thanks to the gravity of its deeper meaning. This is the rematch between the master and the apprentice, taking place 20 years after the first. Not only that, but Obi-Wan’s sacrifice allowed young Luke Skywalker & Leia Organa to escape the Death Star and to pursue the greater good of the galaxy.
9. Mace Windu vs. Palpatine – Revenge of the Sith
This fight was exciting because we finally got to see the baddest person in the galaxy wield a Lightsaber in combat. Oh, and Palpatine too. Palpatine’s red-bladed Sith Lightsaber features a beautifully designed hilt, much like Windu’s gorgeous and uniquely purple Lightsaber. The combat left some to be desired with some awkward CGI mixed in, but it was still exciting to knock out two birds with one stone mere minutes before Anakin Skywalker ultimately succumbed to the Dark Side of the Force.
8. Yoda vs. Palpatine – Revenge of the Sith
The newly declared “Emperor Palpatine” didn’t get much rest before he had to utilize his Lightsaber again. This fight was just plain epic, as we were able to see two of the historically most powerful beings for light and dark square off in a one-on-one duel. Yoda’s usage of the Force in making two Imperial Guards practically wet themselves was a sight to see, not to mention the sequence in the Senate chambers. Seeing the real reason that Yoda ends up in exile on Dagobah was heart wrenching too.
7. Anakin Skywalker & Obi-Wan Kenobi vs.
Count Dooku, Part II – Revenge of the Sith
Revenge of the Sith featured its fair share of Lightsaber combat. Right within the first 20 minutes, we see Anakin and Obi-Wan square off in a rematch against Count Dooku, with Chancellor (soon-to-be-Emperor) Palpatine as the audience. This battle is symbolic of what is to come later in the saga, as Palpatine tries to woo Luke Skywalker in a similar manner, pitting him vs. Darth Vader. Though the fight is again marred by sub-par CGI, the relevance is deep as this is one of the final steps that Anakin takes in his descent to the Dark Side.
6. Luke Skywalker vs. Darth Vader, Part II –
Return of the Jedi
Setting up a thrilling ending to the Star Wars saga (at that time, at least), now-Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker embraces his fate in a rematch against his father, Darth Vader, for the greater good of the galaxy and the survival of the Rebel Alliance. Luke ultimately defeats Vader and the Dark Side of the Force, restoring balance in helping to redeem Anakin Skywalker and ending the reign of the Sith and the evil Galactic Empire.
5. Finn, Rey vs Kylo Ren – The Force Awakens
This duel from Star Wars Episode VII feels different from any of the others in that its Lightsaber wielders are inexperienced in Lightsaber-to-Lightsaber combat. The raw emotion felt in this fight could contend with any of the duels named on this list. Witnessing Rey call the Lightsaber to her was absolutely bone-chilling. Seeing Kylo Ren fight through the brutal wound he suffered at the hands of Chewbacca’s Bowcaster was powerful. Finn, Rey, and Kylo all swing the Lightsaber like they weigh 100 pounds. The symbolism of this fight was incredibly well done. The ramifications of light vs dark and also very likely family-on-family combat (we’ll know soon enough) make this one for the ages. It was extremely hard not to place this higher on the list.
4. Luke Skywalker vs. Darth Vader , Part I –
The Empire Strikes Back
Young Luke Skywalker abandons his training with Jedi Master Yoda to prematurely attempt to deal with Darth Vader in Cloud City on Bespin. The setting of this fight is one of the most memorable in the saga, taking place in 3 different stages that includes the carbon freezing chamber where Han Solo was encased in carbonite. Though Luke holds his own, Vader is clearly in control the entire time. The intensity and feeling of darkness and doom that is evident during this fight is second only to the duel listed number one on our list. Also, there’s some small reveal about some dude and his Father and ruling the galaxy together. Wait, did I say “small?” I meant “biggest reveal in cinema history.”
3. Qui-Gon Jinn & Obi-Wan Kenobi vs. Darth Maul – The Phantom Menace
If there’s one thing the prequels particularly got right, it was definitely their Lightsaber duels, mostly thanks to stuntman Nic Gillard (look for his cameo in Episode III as Jedi Master Cin Drallig, fighting Anakin on the security cams of the Jedi Temple). Darth Maul is one of the coolest characters in Star Wars history, and he shows why the Sith’s plan a millenia in the making was worth the wait. The only double-bladed Lightsaber featured in the films, Maul wields the staff with deadly precision unlike any other Jedi or Sith and is arguably the most skilled warrior in the entire saga. John Williams’ “Duel of the Fates” completes the total epicness of the battle. This was the first Lightsaber fight that fans witnessed in 16 years and the first to feature such intense action and speed.
2. Anakin Skywalker & Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda vs. Count Dooku – Attack of the Clones
I’ll never forget witnessing this one in theaters during the original release of Episode II in 2002. Finally seeing a young Anakin Skywalker battle a legendary swordsman in Count Dooku, alongside (not against) Obi-Wan Kenobi was exciting and intense, knowing what ultimately awaited in Episode III. Anakin becomes the first Jedi to fight with two Lightsabers at the same time on-screen, grabbing Obi-Wan’s blade after his injury. Just when we thought the fight couldn’t get any more epic, enter Yoda. The applause that ensued in the theater is something that is engraved deep in my memory. This could have been majorly screwed up, but Lucas did a good job in ensuring that Yoda’s fight with his former apprentice looked every bit as epic as he had imagined it.
1. Anakin Skywalker vs. Obi-Wan Kenobi –
Revenge of the Sith
Though this is technically Darth Vader vs. Obi-Wan, we’ll always remember it as Anakin Skywalker’s last moments of humanity before taking on the machine-like persona that was the menacing, heavy-breathing Vader. We knew this match was coming for decades thanks to Lucas’ lore and the legends told in Star Wars’ former canon and now legend. For 3 movies in the prequel era, we knew we would soon see Anakin and Obi-Wan duel each other. This approximately 13 minute duel is nothing short of legendary, emitting every emotion feasible. This isn’t just two guys fighting each other, this is brothers. Best friends. It hurts to watch. It’s clear that both Anakin and Obi-Wan don’t want to do this, but must. A Lightsaber fight decades in the making was worth the wait and lays claim to the number one spot on our list.
How does this compare to your list? Are you excited for the next evolution of the Lightsaber Duel in Star Wars Episode VIII? We want to know! Let’s discuss in the comments below.
Josiah LeRoy is the Host of The Geekiverse Show. Is it wrong that he’s already counting down to Rogue One?