The Star Wars franchise has been with sci-fi buffs, movie-buffs, and its devoted fans for over four decades. That’s a whole lot of generations that its gathered in its following.
It has introduced the world to a Galaxy far, far away. With it, George Lucas created planets, starships, countless species, introduced the world to a beloved princess, a renegade pilot, a Wookie, life-saving droids, Storm Troopers, iconic villains, and notably, the Jedi knights who maintain the balance of the Force.
One of the most exciting parts of watching a Star Wars movie is hearing the sound of a lightsaber turning on by a Jedi Knight or a Sith, as this means an epic battle is about to begin.
However, not all battles are created equal, as recent Star Wars installments have proven. While some have a strong opening, dynamic interactions between their fighters, and are fully-rounded in context, others are just for show and don't serve any real purpose.
From gratuitous swishing of lightsabers to unnecessary comedic implements, some of these fights come across as poorly written skits oppose to battles one would expect in a grandiose space opera.
With that said, here are The 10 Best Star Wars Lightsaber Fights Ever (And The 10 Absolute Worst).
20 Best: Qui-Gon And Obi-Wan VS. Darth Maul - The Phantom Menace
From the amazing choreography and John William's Duel of Fates score to lightsaber blow-by-lightsaber blow, this fight is one of the most emotionally charged in the Star Wars Universe.
The thirst to destroy his opponents is opulent in Darth Maul's face, but so is his joy in toying with them. Qui-Gon manages to maintain his "Jedi Master" etiquette even when he's aware that Darth Maul holds the upper-hand through his dual-sided saber.
However, the real shine-through is Obi-Wan Kenobi, who emits an array of emotions in the fight contrasting to his by-the-book personality throughout most of the movie.
Then there's the ending-- what better way for Obi-Wan to serve justice than by taking Maul down with Qui-Gon's lightsaber
This fight doesn't just start strong, it also ends strong.
19 Worst: Finn VS. Kylo Ren - The Force Awakens
This fight, though filler, really is out of its league within the Star Wars realm of lightsaber fights.
Finn is never shown to be force sensitive prior to it (which is a key trait needed to handle a lightsaber,) but he wields Luke's lightsaber at the level of a Jedi apprentice, to say the least.
Before breaking apart from the First Order, Finn is simply a Storm Trooper and his weapon of choice is a blaster. The fact that he manages to hold his own against Kylo Ren, a seasoned lightsaber handler, for more than a few seconds is completely incoherent.
Then there's Kylo's dramatic hitting of his injured chest-- the audience understands Kylo is trying to rid himself of his remaining light side of the Force, so this moves seems pretty irreverent.
18 Best: Luke VS. Darth Vader -The Empire Strikes Back
This fight has been acclaimed by fans due to its emotional depth, choreography, and is perhaps one of the greatest cinematic reveals in history.
When taking the whole original trilogy into account, this fight nicely sets-up the second battle between Vader and Luke in ROTJ and shows the maturity of Luke.
While he's still filled with the juvenile angst of ANH, he matured enough to see past Vader's offer of ultimate power.
This battle also really humanizes Luke.
Unlike the prequels, where the Jedi almost seem immune to the laws of gravity or physical injury through inanimate objects, this fight proves the opposite-- half of Luke's injuries are sustained through objects that Vader launches at him.
By the end of it, he's mostly bloodied by the brute combat instead of by Vader's lightsaber. This fight truly grasps the essence of combat between two mortal enemies.
17 Worst: Anakin and Papaltine VS. Mace Windu - Revenge Of The Sith
This fight mainly suffers due to its character contradictions. When Windu faces Palpatine and manages to disarm him, Anakin arrives and implores that they follow Jedi code by turning him over to the Senate.
Windu then declares that Palpatine is too strong to be kept alive. While this response makes sense coming from anyone else, in Windu's case, it's complete hypocrisy.
Just earlier that day Windu tells Anakin that he can't assist in detaining Papaltine due to his clouded judgment, and yet it's Windu who is willing to ignore the ways of the light side just to stop Papaltine.
Since Mace Windu is among the wisest Jedis on the council and closest to Yoda, this response is completely out of character.
To add insult to injury, Anakin cuts off Windu's hand and Palpatine force lighting strikes him to his end, which is an undeserved ending to one of the prequels most iconic Jedi.
16 Best: Obi-Wan VS. General Grievous - Revenge Of The Sith
This fight is Obi-Wan’s delayed moment in the spotlight after TPM. First off, Obi-Wan battles General Grievous with one lightsaber vs. four, which is commendable in itself.
However, this scene is epic from beginning to end-- it’s not just a lightsaber fight, but a fight to the finish.
Obi-Wan and Grievous pull out everything they have from lightsabers, punches, shoves, and the Force. They also use each other's weapons against the other.
When Obi-Wan hits Grievous with his final blow, there’s no holding back.
Star Wars is loaded with symbolism, so Obi-Wan oozes literalism when he sets Grievous’s heart on fire.
Notably, Obi-Wan also avenges the Jedi Order, as each of Grievous’s lightsabers previously belonged to a fallen Jedi opponent. Justice is served.
15 Worst: Luke VS. Kylo Ren - The Last Jedi
It's hard to even consider this one a lightsaber fight due to its saturation of slow-motion moves, as well as Kylo's sustained angry facial gestures, which had become redundant by this point in the movie.
There's also the complete dismissal of the previous lightsaber fight's outcome-- Rey and Kylo Ren get into a Force-pull battle for possession of Anakin's lightsaber, which splits in two and ends the battle in a stalemate. Yet, Luke happens to use the exact same lightsaber during his fight with Kylo Ren.
Then there's that shoulder rub-off at the beginning of it after Kylo's men have fired at Luke collectively, which is arrogant and extremely uncharacteristic of Luke.
This fight simply serves as a mockery of the Luke who audiences have known since the original trilogy.
14 Best: Yoda VS. Count Dooku - Attack Of The Clones
This fight works with the element of surprise and that alone makes it awesome. Ever since Yoda is first introduced in ESB, the big question is: how was this little green creature ever the Master of all the Jedis?
By ROTJ, Yoda’s wisdom makes him a fan-favorite character and it’s credible that he was once an all-powerful Jedi Master. Still, fans irked for a demonstration of Yoda’s lightsaber skills.
Alas, their pleas are answered when Yoda enters Dooku’s lair moments before he finishes off Anakin and Obi-Wan in AOTC.
It's so unexpected and so well done. Yoda quickly overpowers his former apprentice, who up to that point in the movie seemed like an undefeatable Sith, and he does it with absolute swiftness.
This fight is Yoda’s much-awaited homage.
13 Worst: Anakin And Obi-Wan VS. Count Dooku - Attack Of The Clones
This fight is choreographed well and the musical score is flawless, but without these two elements, it's rather weak.
One of its biggest flaws is Obi-Wan Kenobi, who is underplayed. While AOTC establishes Anakin as an impulsive character who will engage in a lightsaber battle without second-thought, Obi-Wan is given no real depth or motivation.
At the beginning of the movie, Obi-Wan has a hard time apprehending Zam Wesell, a mere bounty hunter, and in Kamino, Jango Fett makes a quick escape after a few lightsaber/blaster exchanges between the two.
In this battle, Dooku takes him down in less than a minute.
This fight could have been the necessary highlight that fans needed to prove that Obi-Wan was a skilled Jedi Master.
Instead, it serves as another throw-away for an already weakly developed character.
12 Best: Anakin VS. Count Dooku - Revenge Of The Sith
This fight is one of the best demonstrations of Anakin's internal conflict between the Light and Dark side of the Force.
Despite Obi-Wan being down for the count, Anakin’s years of training after first battling Dooku give him the quick upper hand. However, even when Dooku’s down on his knees before him, Anakin is torn between following the Jedi Code or simply destroying him.
Papaltine, as part of his master plan to make Anakin his new apprentice, tries to persuade him to make the latter move.
Anakin ends the fight by striking down Dooku, but the feelings of right and wrong are still transparent through his face and his response to Papaltine: “It’s not the Jedi way.”
For all of the backlash that Anakin’s character gets from fans, this is one of his more compelling moments.
11 Worst: Qui-Gon VS. Darth Maul - The Phantom Menace
Though it doesn't last long, this fight is riddled with one major plot hole. For the majority of TPM, the Trade Federalists have tried persuading Queen Amidala to sign a treaty that legalizes the invasion of Naboo, with Darth Sidious/Senator Papaltine behind the operation.
Sidious sends his apprentice, Darth Maul, to capture Queen Amidala after her escape from Naboo.
While it's understandable that Darth Maul lurked in the shadows on Tatooine, waiting for Qui-Gon to reveal the Queen’s ship location, it makes minimal sense to have him battle Qui-Gon instead of pursuing the ship.
This doesn't make any sense, particularly because the Queen is within arms reach at the time.
However, in terms of choreography, the battle is excellent, but the logic of an otherwise astute Sith ruins the fight's credibility.
10 Best: Anakin VS. Obi-Wan - Revenge Of The Sith
This fight’s build-up starts long before Obi-Wan’s arrival on Mustafar, and its outcome is the most emotionally charged moment in the entire movie.
While Anakin is an emotional hurricane since ATOC, which is only heightened in ROTS, Obi-Wan deals with the greatest internal conflict here.
Not too long before the fight, Yoda and Obi-Wan arrive at the Jedi Temple and watch a hologram of Anakin destroying the Jedi. Distraught, Obi-Wan tells Yoda that he refuses to take down Anakin, well-aware that he’s the only Jedi left to face him.
When Obi-Wan manages to gain the high ground and defeats Anakin, his pain and disappointment are obvious.
While showing this much emotion is against the Jedi code, it also humanizes Obi-Wan like never before.
9 Worst: Anakin and Obi-Wan VS. General Grievous - The Revenge Of The Sith
This fight seems like it's right out of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and even with that, at least The Clone Wars has a degree of seriousness-- this fight is just campy bordering on cartoony.
The dialogue is cheesy throughout, the CGI seems like it's taken from a Star Wars video game, and Obi-Wan's cringe-worthy one-liners are at their worst.
Even R2-D2 is made a spectacle when it enters the scene as a dazed mess, bumping into walls, unlike its usual, intelligent self.
And then there's Obi-Wan's heed to Grievous before the battle starts, "And this time you won't escape," only for him to escape two minutes later. Considering the thrilling rematch between Obi-Wan and Grievous later in the film, this fight could have been written-out altogether.
8 Best: Yoda VS. Emperor Palpatine - Revenge Of The Sith
Yoda's first entrance, his assessment that Palpatine is a Sith Lord, and their shared dialogue creates a lot of build up for this battle.
Both Yoda and Palpatine deliver blow after blow not only through their lightsabers, but through their special abilities, which they use throughout the fight. They attack each other with force lightning, force gravitational pulls, and every force technique in the book.
They seem equally matched until Yoda delivers one final, overpowering exertion through a force lightning attack that ends the fight in a stalemate.
There is no better way to end the prequels than to play Duel of Fates in during this penultimate battle. This fight has everything from its build up to its climax, and is therefore one of the best.
7 Worst: Anakin and Obi-Wan VS. Count Dooku - The Revenge Of The Sith
This scene suffers from the same detriments as their first fight-- Obi-Wan is, once again, underplayed. It also seems like the cheesiness of AOTC made its way into the fight, as Obi-Wan's first words to Count Dooku-- "You won't get away this time, Dooku"-- strip the fight of its intended seriousness.
Then, less than a minute into it, Obi-Wan is on the floor. While it's obvious that the fight is written this way to allow for Anakin to defeat Dooku and show his progression to the dark side, it's also another jab at Obi-Wan's credibility as a Jedi Master.
Up to this point in the prequels, the only opponent who Obi-Wan had successfully fought against and defeated was Darth Maul.
Obi-Wan's inclusion in this fight is unnecessary and irreverent to his character.
6 Best: Mace Windu VS. Jango Fett - Attack Of The Clones
This fight's best aspect is being the backdrop to the iconic villain Boba Fett's rise.
In ESB, little is known about Boba Fett except that he is a bounty hunter hired by Jabba the Hutt to capture Han Solo. In ROTJ, Boba reappears as one of of Jabba's mercenaries in his palace on Tatooine.
He passes away shortly after when Han accidentally knocks him into the Sarlacc Pit, which abruptly annihilates an otherwise formidable adversary.
Since then, audiences have begged to see a resurfacing of Boba Fett, which is what they get with AOTC.
Sure, it's just a young version of Boba, but his backstory, family lineage, and the catalyst to his switch to complete outlaw are finally explored. After all, who wouldn't turn to a life of crime after seeing their father taken down by their galaxy's law-enforcers.
For this reason, the fight between Mace Windu and Jango Fett has become iconic for developing Boba Fett.
5 Worst: The Battle of Geonosis - Attack Of The Clones
Bad CGI, cheesy dialogue, and overall bad writing makes this is one of the worst fights in the Star Wars Universe.
It's extremely difficult to focus on the fight's action when the creatures in it are made up of awful CGI.
The writing is also exaggeratedly campy. From the confession of love between Anakin and Padme and the sarcasm of Obi-Wan to just about every other pun that Obi-Wan exchanges with Anakin, the bad writing is cringe-worthy from start to finish.
Its only saving grace is Mace Windu disposing of Jango Fett and the arrival of the Clone Army, which establishes how the future Storm Trooper army came to be. Besides this, though, this battle lacks any real depth.
4 Best: Darth Vader VS. Luke Skywalker - The Return Of The Jedi
From its dialogue and its continued use of irony to the beautiful score playing through it, this fight is the most emotional battle in the original trilogy.
Unlike the fight in ESB, where Luke fights at full-force, here he mostly deflects Vader's blows and never strikes first.
Luke has finished his Jedi training-- he finally understands the light side of the Force and can hold his own against Vader. However, Luke's goal isn't to destroy Vader, it's to save him by having him embrace his light side.
Luke only strikes back in desperation when Vader threatens him with his only other remaining family member, Leia.
Luke ultimately succeeds, as Vader destroys Emperor Papaltine and restores balance to the Force.
3 Worst: Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan VS. The Trade Federation - The Phantom Menace
This fight isn't bad, but it is misplaced. Had it happened in the middle of the movie or was even its second fight, it'd be considered mediocre at best.
Its biggest setback is being the first presentation that viewers get to the Jedi aside from Luke Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Yoda. For years, the legacy of the Jedi Knights was simply stories related to Luke by Obi-Wan and Yoda-- it was left to audiences to imagine what the Jedi were like.
Then finally, Lucas announces that he’s producing three prequels to the original trilogy. One would think that the first fight would be somewhat more... epic.
Instead, TPM gives viewers their first taste of the Jedi through a fight with battle droids and droid destroyers, which is an absolute disappointment.
2 Best: Rey and Kylo Ren VS. The Praetorian Guards - The Last Jedi
While Rey never completes her training with Luke, she stays on Ahch-To long enough to acquire the necessary skills that she needs to face-off against a recovered Kylo Ren (TFA already shows her as his fighting equal).
The fighting itself unfolds organically, with Snoke taunting Rey until he commands Kylo to destroy her. However, Kylo changes sides and chooses to fight against the Praetorian Guards with Rey.
Kylo's cold reveal that Rey is nothing more than a scavenger's daughter is enough to make any Jedi pull out their lightsaber.
Even with that, though, this fight uses raw force as opposed to brute swinging, as the two warriors show off their skills. This scene is the emotional core that TLJ lacks otherwise.
1 Worst: Rey VS. Kylo Ren - The Force Awakens
Though the acting is solid from both actors, this fight is pretty awful. Rey is the main character in the new Stars Wars trilogy, and by this point in TFA, audiences understand that. However, this isn't a justifiable reason to throw logic out the window.
Just like Finn, Rey has no previous training with a lightsaber, yet she still manages to wipe the floor with Kylo Ren in the blink of an eye.
Sure, she struggles at first, but then she suddenly taps into the Force and becomes Jedi Master extraordinaire.
It's just too much of a stretch even for someone who has survived as a scavenger on her home planet and has never seen a lightsaber before. Even with his injuries, Kylo Ren's training in both the light and dark side of the Force should have given him the upper hand.
What do you think? What battle is your favorite Star Wars lightsaber fight? Let us know in the comments!