Written by Howi Bakunawa
With Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker scheduled for a limited early release in selected cinemas this December 20-22 and a nationwide release on January 8, 2020, the Skywalker Saga will soon be reaching its grand, much-anticipated conclusion along with the end of the decade. To commemorate, I thought it’d be a good idea to share my own personal ranking of the Star Wars movies.
Everything on this list is based on my opinion and there will be some spoilers, so if you haven’t watched a certain film yet, consider yourselves fairly warned. With that out of the way, let’s get started —
10. Episode I: The Phantom Menace
Don’t get me wrong — I understand why most people don’t like the prequels but personally, I enjoy them. I love how they tried to breathe new life into the series, the political intrigue, and most of all, how funny and memeable they would become. The only reason why The Phantom Menace is this low on the list is because I think the other two prequels did a better job at conveying everything that I love about this trilogy.
9. Solo: A Star Wars Story
I appreciate how this movie tried to take things in a different direction, but it felt way too much like Blade Runner for me. Maybe the whole thing was meant as an homage to Harrison Ford? Still, I’d be willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and say: “It’s a big galaxy, I’m sure that there’d be a Blade Runner-like civilization somewhere,” but that doesn’t do anything to resolve my issues with the film.
But hey, maybe you like the film and that’s okay. Maybe you like the aesthetic or Donald Glover’s Lando Calrissian. That’s the beauty of Star Wars — they have a little bit of something for everybody.
8. Episode VII: The Force Awakens
I’ll be honest and say that the first time I saw The Force Awakens, it felt like a rehash of A New Hope. Over time, I was pleased with how the later films would subvert my expectations and I have grown to love The Force Awakens even more as a result. I love the basis of Finn’s whole character as a stormtrooper who defected, seeing Princess Leia as General Leia, plus I’m a huge fan of Kylo Ren.
7. Episode II: Attack of the Clones
I can summarize everything I love about this film in 3 words: Battle of Geonosis. It really felt like I was seeing the Jedi order at its strongest. This film also occupies a special place in my headcanon as to the reason why Darth Vader didn’t join the fight on the beaches of Scarif during the events of Rogue One. He “doesn’t like sand. It’s coarse, rough, and irritating; and it gets everywhere.“
I’m telling you, man. Political intrigue and memes. That’s what makes the prequels so great.
6. Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
Truth be told, this and the next entry on the list are interchangeable. Revenge of the Sith is only here because of how it appeared before the next entry on the list in terms of episode-order.
This film executes its political intrigue better than any other film in the prequels, especially that scene at the Galactic Senate: “So this is how liberty dies… with thunderous applause.” Literal chills. And who could forget how intense it was seeing Order 66?
I’m also convinced that this is the film where George Lucas went full-on anime (Star Wars was based off the Seven Samurai, after all). The lightsaber duels in this film are flashy and over-the-top but do little in the way of advancing the main story (something that can be said about the prequels as a whole). But I swear, every single time I hear Palpatine say “So it’s treason then” and spin towards Mace Windu LIKE A ROTISSERIE CHICKEN, I just can’t keep from laughing.
5. Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
Not a lot can be said about The Return of the Jedi because not a lot is meant to be said. The reason why I love this movie is that out of all the films in the franchise so far, this one gave me an absolutely satisfying and perfect conclusion.
4. Episode VIII: The Last Jedi
I really like this film. There were so many memorable scenes — scenes I believe will only age better with time. There was Rey’s and Kylo Ren’s fight scene at Snoke’s throne room against the Praetorian guards, Luke’s fight against Kylo Ren on Crait, and that absolutely moving scene where Luke [spoiler] becomes one with the Force under the twin suns of Ahch-To.
While I do love this film, I do have to acknowledge that it is the most divisive one in the series. At its worst, it can feel like the slowest, most anti-climactic car chase ever. Though I personally don’t mind because of how we got to see Canto Bight and as a result, an ending scene that was almost as good as Return of the Jedi, in my opinion.
3. Episode IV: A New Hope
While all the Star Wars movies have their own personal charms, I consider the top three in my list to stand above them as masterpieces.
A New Hope stands out as the movie that started it all. How could you not love it? Just like Han Solo at the cantina, it was literally the movie that was shot first. It is a timeless story that all the other films in the saga have tried (and still continue to try) to emulate.
2. Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
The words “I am your father” would never be the same after this film. Everything about it, from its characterization, its pacing, and overall storytelling, is cinematic perfection. Search your feelings, you know it to be true!
1. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
This is the grittiest, darkest film in the entire series — that’s why I love it so much. We got to see a side of the Rebel Alliance that we had previously never been able to see. Each of the characters had to make immeasurable sacrifices for the sake of the rebellion and, in that sense, I find them each of them to be intensely compelling.
And even then, being gritty and dark doesn’t stop this film from delivering the best humor out of any of the other Star Wars films courtesy of the dry wit of the funniest droid, K-2SO. While we’re naming things that we love about the film, let’s not forget the Darth Vader hallway scene — which is in my opinion, the most universally-loved scene in all of the franchise.
I give it a rating of 501/10. An absolutely breathtaking film. Even until now, those words still find a way to touch my heart: “Rebellions are built on hope.“
What do you guys think? Would you have ranked anything on the list differently? How do you think “The Rise of Skywalker” will stack up to all other films? Let us know!