The Light And Dark Sides Of The Star Wars Saga

An illustration of Yoda, a main character in the series.

Illustration by Mackenzie Smith

An illustration of Yoda, a main character in the series.

Samantha Grunden, Opinions Editor

         Since 1977, The Star Wars movies have been classics for families and friends across the nation. The franchise has since made video games, plush toys, posters, books and even a gigantic theme park section at Disney World, all dedicated to the intergalactic series. The Skywalker saga has been one of the most

An illustration of “Kylo Ren” or Ben Solo another main character in Star Wars.

famously known set of movies alongside classics like The Hunger Games and Harry Potter. The Star Wars films have made a total of $10,239,557,657 worldwide. There are nine overall movies that are in the Skywalker saga, these movies all follow the story of the Jedi religion and the Sith religion and their battle against a reformed government. These nine movies do not count stand alone movies or TV series that can add to the plotline of the films. The movies are split into three episode trilogies that come out in spurts. In this list there are spoilers to all of the movies, so read at your own risk. As an avid fan of Star Wars, I have binge watched all of the movies in order of plot line in order to bring to you this ranking.  Here is Star Wars: best to worst.

  1. Revenge of the Sith– In this movie we see our beloved Jedi, Anakin Skywalker, kicking off this entire nine part series by his manifestation of hate and passion. This film is number one on the list because of the continuous plot twists and turns. Anakin was continuously battling between the light and dark side of the force. This movie was best at keeping it’s audience on its toes. Anakin’s forbidden passion for Padme, the pregnancy, the betrayal of a father- son like relationship and the fall of the Jedi temple are all iconic moments that pulled at the heartstrings of all Star Wars fanatics. In a sense it kicks off the true beginning of Star Wars with the birth of Darth Vadar and the death of all light in the galaxy. For a 2005 film, animation and special effects in the film are ahead of their time and quite realistic. 
  2. Return of the Jedi- This movie truly hit a soft spot for me. The moon the Ewok species live on is the perfect setting for the movie and the new adventure. The Ewok species kidnapping the team suspecting them to be harmful and the adorable comedy involved with the Ewoks, adds a light hearted break to the anxiety of the dark side taking over. My favorite part of the movie which makes it earn it’s number two spot on the list is the ending scene after Vadar passes away in Luke’s arms, he reappears as the actor from the next three movies (release date wise) in the series as Vadar at a young age. This was an emotional scene knowing he found his true peace after the constant inner conflict he faced. Yoda and Obi-Wan stand next to him approving of his final decision. Although when this movie was released many did not know who this deceased Jedi was, looking back at this moment hits close to home and has a huge meaningful message that is too long to go into detail here in this list.
  3. The Rise of Skywalker- This movie is the last episode of the newest trilogy adding onto the Skywalker series. Ending the trilogy there was an amazing involvement of plot and inclusiveness to the 1977 movies. The directors and writers were kind in their sense of tenderness to Princess Leia’s death as well as the actress, Carrie Fisher, passing away. The Romeo and Juliet allusion with Ray and Ben Solo causes the audience to exhale from their anxiety of the fight against the Sith, just as Ben takes his last breath. The incredible amount of special effects, animation, and editing added to a brilliant showcase of the characters.
  4. A New Hope- Without having the Anakin series before them to base their ideas upon the directors still somehow made the audience fall in love with Star Wars and it’s plot.  However, some of the acting is cheesy and Obi-Wan’s personality is far from his younger age. A New Hope was the first Star Wars movie made and deserves some credit for kicking off such an amazing franchise. The animation, special effects makeup, and costume design takes a keen eye to detail. Before advancement in technology like we have today, there were hundreds of people behind the scenes that can make many truly appreciate the effort put into this movie to help create a huge non-fiction society. 
  5. The Force Awakens– The first episode in the latest trilogy had a lot of expectations to be met. An introduction to the new characters in the resistance was a very natural transition with cameos from our beloved droids. One thing that is admirable about this movie is having another strong female lead, a lot of Rey’s actions was an ode to Padme and Leia in past movies. We as an audience get to truly see how the storm troopers are created and the emotion and rebellion for some of those troops. I think the defining moment for Finn was being able to admit he was a stormtrooper and be himself to Rey. The graphics and special effects in this movie are unlike the ones before it. New technology has made this movie visually breathtaking.
  6. The Empire Strikes Back– This movie is hard to place on my list because I love it just as much as The Force Awakens, so in a sense, perhaps these two are tied. I loved the scenery of the resistance base on planet Hoth, Han Solo and Luke Skywalker’s brother bond that goes unbroken and the entire plot line on Cloud City. The visuals are stunning, and the scenery is incredibly detailed for the movie being released in 1980. I was extremely pleased with this movies details and graphics for such an older film. However it is not closer to the top due to it’s drawn on time period on planet Hoth in the beginning of the movie and then quickly rushed time period on Cloud City. They could have been more equally split, although the Darth Vadar vs Luke skywalker fight and freezing of Han Solo makes up for it. 
  7. The Last Jedi– Many critiques feel this movie to be not as good as the other Star Wars movies. However, being able to see Luke Skywalker after all those years and the stunning secluded island he resided on for all this time was a true warm feeling. Rey and Kylo communicating through the force was very, plainly put, interesting. It reminded me and maybe many others of when Luke communicated with Leia when he was in need of help on Cloud City in the first trilogy. The detail and pure raw emotions whenever they would communicate was incredible, the audience could feel the tension between them on the screen. I felt very anxious awaiting the resistance trying to escape the tight grasp of the First Order. My favorite part of this movie by far was when Rey and Kylo teamed up against Snoke, this intense bond we have felt all along was used in favor of the greater good which hit close to home for me.
  8. The Phantom Menace– This movie introduced Jar Jar binks which was a big highlight, we all enjoyed the comedic relief and introduction of the underwater world he was a descendant from. We also meet Anakin Skywalker and somehow gain feelings of empathy for this young version of Darth Vadar. Anakin wins a place in all of our hearts. However, the drawn on events leading up to the Jedi fight with Darth Maul (a very dry, undetailed character) was too yawn inducing for me. The death of Qui Gon was not as honorable as one would imagine, making Darth Maul that much more intolerable.
  9.  Attack of the Clones– In this movie, the “Jango” and “Bubba Fett” actors were very tacky and the lack of backstory made the characters feel a bit forced into the Skywalker story. Although Bubba Fett later turns into a bounty hunter in search of Han Solo, his character is not deep. Although I love the Anakin trilogy as a trilogy, the individual movies ranked are not that interesting. I believe the bigger picture of knowing Anakin’s life is important however the movies in that trilogy have more of an appeal to younger kids because the movies feel quite cartoony.