It's hard to pinpoint which aspect of the Star Wars films fans love the most, but the lightsaber duels are a safe bet. These battles are a massive part of why people return to the Star Wars franchise with unbridled fervor every time a new film or version of a film is released. At their best, lightsaber battles (as behind-the-scenes stories about the duels explore) express the themes of an entire movie (or trilogy), acting as both action sequences and the culmination of a hero's whole journey. Even at their worst, they're still just cool to watch. Crank up the John Williams and dig this list of every Star Wars lightsaber duel, ranked from best to worst.
There was only one lightsaber battle per film in the original trilogy. Yes, Luke wielded a lightsaber against a practice droid, and against himself in a dream, but those don't count as actual duels. By the time the prequels rolled around, George Lucas doubled down on lightsaber battles, maybe because when an actor like Samuel L. Jackson signs on to play a Jedi, he wants to throw down in at least one lightsaber fight. Compared to the original trilogy, the lightsaber battles in the prequels are faster and flashier. But does that make them better?
That's up to you to decide. Vote up the best lightsaber duels from the live action Star Wars movies and downvote the fights that don't live up to the potential of a laser sword battle. Take to the comments to discuss why your favorite duel is the best duel and if Mace Windu really bit the big one in Revenge of the Sith.
- 52497 VOTES
Luke Skywalker vs. Darth Vader - 'The Empire Strikes Back'
Modern audiences might find the tempo of Luke and Vader's first duel a little plodding, but the importance of this battle can't be emphasized enough. It shows that Luke has no trouble putting himself in danger for his friends, and also clues everybody in to the fact that at this point in the series, Vader could slice Luke into little Jedi pepperonis. Whether he doesn't do so because of his feelings for his son or because of Luke's burgeoning abilities is up for debate.
The Cloud City duel not only sets the stage for ROTJ (Luke's robo-hand, the green lightsaber, the knowledge that he's related to one of the most reviled men in the universe), but it also informs The Force Awakens, since Luke's lost lightsaber appears in the sequel.Is this the best duel?
- 62036 VOTES
Darth Vader vs. Rebel Scum - 'Rogue One'
This scene may not be integral to the plot of Rogue One, but it's really cool. After spending the prequels with a young Anakin Skywalker who alternates between being a total wiener and kind of a wuss it's nice to see Darth Vader show up and wreck shop. From the moment Vader's muffled breathing is heard the audience knows that everyone on screen is about to die and having the black clad baddie bathed only in the red glow of his light saber is an inspired choice.
There's hardly a duel to speak of in this scene, but watching Vader tear through every member of the Rebel Alliance as he tries to stop the plans from reaching Princess Leia is something that fans have dreamed about for decades.Is this the best duel?
- 72091 VOTES
Yoda vs. Count Dooku - 'Attack of the Clones'
If the original trilogy didn't make it clear, the second and third films of the prequel trilogy cement the fact that Yoda is the toughest character in the Star Wars universe. In this duel he almost singlehandedly defeats Count Dooku, and the only reason he has to stop is to save Obi-Wan and Anakin from falling debris.Is this the best duel?
- 82043 VOTES
Obi-Wan Kenobi vs. General Grievous - 'Revenge of the Sith'The lightsaber battle in this showdown between a middle-aged Jedi and a robot general is short, but the thing that makes it rad is General Grievous wielding four lightsabers at once.Is this the best duel?