A Controversial Ranking of the Skywalker Saga


If you asked me just a few years ago what my opinion of the Star Wars franchise as a whole was, I would have told you that I consider it a lazy, boring series of movies that don’t appeal to me whatsoever. 

Yes, I grew up watching and loving the Star Wars: The Clone Wars series like every other child my age. 

And yes, I did stand in line for what felt like hours on end to watch Star Wars; The Force Awakens opening night like everyone else did. 

But besides those two examples, I never liked anything Star Wars related whatsoever. Everytime I attempted to sit through the original and prequel trilogy, it felt like at best a chore and at worst a punishment. Even the other two movies in the sequel trilogy felt like a pain to get through. 

At this point in time, I considered Star Wars absolute trash. This series is perhaps the only commercially successful franchise that has more bad movies than it has good. But then it clicked for me.

I realized that the second I put away the bizarre idea that Star Wars is the pinnacle of cinema and the greatest thing to ever be created, and watch those films as they are. Campy, fun movies. 

They are the perfect examples of something being so bad it’s good. 

I have decided to finally rank all nine movies of the Skywalker Saga from worst to best and defend my reasoning. And I already know this will be a controversial ranking. You will see in my ranking, that the more the Star Wars franchise leans into the ridiculous and campy qualities I appreciate it, and I would even go as far as to say I love it, way more. 

So, let’s get started. 

Star Wars: A New Hope – Ironically, at last place is the first installment of the Skywalker Saga and the start of the now multi billion dollar franchise. But I’m convinced that if it was made today, not a single soul would blink an eye at it. A New Hope is seen as a great classic but if I’m being honest I don’t see why it’s so beloved, other than being blinded by nostalgia. It’s a slow, lifeless, messy, and horribly paced film that goes literally nowhere. You know it’s a bad script when for the first 30 minutes we follow two characters who aren’t even the main protagonist. And I’m aware that I’m being harsh and unfair to a movie that was made decades before I was even conceived. It’s a movie that’s not made for me. And I understand that. I’m sure that if I watched it for the first time in the 1970s, I would have loved it. But we’re not in the 1970s. We must look at it with modern eyes and admit to ourselves that it’s a piece of art that is severely outdated and messy. And for that reason alone, A New Hope comes in at number nine. 


Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – Next on my list is perhaps the most hated and divisive film of the entire Skywalker Saga and for good reason. The Rise of Skywalker is the most basic, uninspired summer blockbuster hollywood movie I have ever been forced to see. Nothing about this feels like it was made with passion and creativity. Thankfully I watched this on Disney Plus, but if I watched this when it first released I would have personally sued Disney for my ticket money back. Not even the actors on this project want to remember this film.  The Rise of Skywalker is the result of my biggest critique of the saga, nothing ever changes. There will always be this unoriginal cycle each installment follows and that formula is what is holding back Disney from creating an actually decent Star Wars film. And the only good concept of the movie, Rey being revealed as a Palpatine and becoming empress of the galaxy, is a storyline that is very quickly dropped and forgotten about. If it wasn’t for the incredible duel between Rey and Kylo Ren, The Rise of Skywalker would be lower on this list.

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back – To some, The Empire Strikes Back is the most perfect Star Wars film on this list, but to me this movie is nothing special. Half the movie revolves around the bland protagonist Luke training and the half is spent dragging on in a romantic subplot that was never properly set up. Han and Leia are flat one dimensional characters and sacrificing half the movie’s runtime to explore their “enemies to lovers” relationship seems like something that should have been cut from the script. Or at least severely edited down. And Luke’s entire time training with Yoda makes it even more obvious that he’s the most “Mary Sue” character I’ve ever seen. If it wasn’t for the brief appearances of Darth Vader, this movie would have been a waste of time. 


Star Wars: The Last Jedi – One of my main problems with The Last Jedi is that it hints at changing the status quo of the Skywalker Saga with hints to both Rey and Kylo abandoning both the light and dark side to join forces together. But all that set up and character motivation is completely wasted in the third act. And for one clear reason. Disney is afraid of the fans. And they clearly have a good reason why. Online Star Wars fans have without a doubt overreacted at even the hint of change or progressing the story. They’re toxic desire to just continue with the bland Star Wars formula of the original trilogy has forced Disney to give up any hopes of wanting to do something new with a different creative vision. Somewhere, there is a masterpiece hidden underneath the trash that is this screenplay. But because of the fans, The Last Jedi is only a tragic missed opportunity for something that could have been incredible. 

Star Wars: The Force Awakens – The Force Awakens unapologetically replays the same plot beat for beat of A New Hope but for what it’s worth, The Force Awakens seems like a much more improved and heartfelt movie than its source of inspiration. Everything from the action, story, characters, and cimeomotagoy is vastly superior this time around. And this installment gave us one of the greatest lightsaber duels of the entire saga between Rey, Finn, and Kylo Ren in the woods. For that scene alone, The Force Awakens deserves this spot. 





Star Wars: Return of the Jedi – Return of the Jedi is the only decent film in the original trilogy. Luke is finally given a true personality and allowed to have actual agency within the story. His mission to save his father from the darkside and in the end finally succeeding is the only bit of emotional nuance found in this trilogy. And the final fight between Luke and Vader is for the first time well choreographed and paced. The only critique I have of this one is the runtime is 30 minutes too long. Most of the scenes go on for way too long and comedic relief characters like C-3PO and R2-D2 felt more annoying than usual. Regardless, I must admit that Return of the Jedi is actually an enjoyable movie worth a rewatch or two. 



 Star Wars: The Phantom Menace – Here we are. My top three favorite films in the Skywalker Saga. And here is where I finally must embrace the fact that I am a die hard prequel trilogy fan. Objectively, these are bad films. But they are also a fun ride that allows me to turn off my brain and watch as poorly made chaos unravels in front of me. The Phantom Menace holds a special place in my heart for the simple fact that this movie refuses to take itself seriously. It lets go of the notion that the Skywalker Saga is some Shakespearean work of art and embraces the silliness and campiness that makes it unique to the modern science fiction genre. I unironically love each of the characters in this movie and every action scene is a thrill to witness. And even the political themes that some criticize the movie for are interesting concepts in my opinion, and I only wish George Lucas and the creative team delved into these themes more. 

Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith –  Revenge of the Sith stands out as probably the most loved and appreciated installment of the prequel trilogy. And for good reason. This film finally gives us the tragic fall of Anakin Skywalker and the birth of Lord Vader. Everything about this forces me to the edge of my seat. The overly dramatic acting, the bad yet humorous special effects, the bizarre camera work. Everything that some would consider a negative I see as a positive. Putting all that aside, what makes Revenge of the Sith my second favorite film out of the final act. Seeing the satisfying destruction of the Jedi Order and how heartbroken Obi-Wan is at the fact that a man who he once considered his brother has betrayed everything he used to fight for is something that will always touch my soul. Revenge of the Sith deserves number one, but unfortunately a far more entertaining film has taken its place. 

Star Wars: Attack of the Clones – Yes, you read that correctly. I unironically love Attack of the Clones with all of my heart. Yes, the plot is stupid and makes no sense. And yes, the special effects and acting are terrible. But there is something so idiotic about this film that I cannot help but not love. Even this movie’s romantic subplot is far better than the attempts at romance in both the original and sequel trilogy. I genuinely have no clue why critics say Anakin and Padme’s forbidden love story is the worst aspect of Attack of the Clones. The tension and chemistry between the two leaps off the screen. The best scenes of the movie are the slow and quiet scenes shared between these characters. And let’s not forget about that third act. In filmmaking, the most important aspect of crafting a plot is making sure the third act sticks the landing. A movie could have an amazing introduction and setup, but without a strong ending it would all be pointless. George Lucas understood this lesson of screenwriting and unmercilessly threw everything he had onto the page. The final battle is still to date the largest lightsaber battle ever done in the Skywalker Saga. That makes Attack of the Clones a standout film. Obviously it is filled with flaws and mistakes, but it does everything the every other film didn’t even bother to attempt.