When you think of Star Wars, you might think of several things. Maybe you think of director George Lucas, legendary characters such as Anakin Skywalker, Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, and Kylo Ren. And you might also think about stunning worlds such as Bespin, Tatooine, and Coruscant. But, above all, you’re most likely to think about lightsabers, the weapon synonymous with a Jedi Knight.
In every Star Wars movie, the iconic weapon has popped up in the same way. We now take a look at the biggest moment from every movie where they’ve been used, starting with 1977’s A New Hope.
10 A New Hope: Luke Skywalker Meets Obi-Wan Kenobi
There’s a memorable lightsaber sequence in A New Hope where Darth Vader and Obi-Wan Kenobi lock horns in a duel to the death. But while that scene stands out as one of the blockbuster’s most-memorable moments we’re choosing to go with the moment we first saw the weapon on the big screen instead.
Kenobi meets a young Luke Skywalker, saving him from bloodthirsty Tusken Raiders on Tatooine, and gives him the lightsaber shortly afterward. Cinema-goers will never forget the first time they saw it used, with Luke igniting the blue blade and giving it a wield with the same look of awe as audiences etched onto his face.
9 The Empire Strikes Back: Luke Fights Vader
Throughout The Empire Strikes Back, Luke Skywalker learns the ways of the force from Yoda in preparation of going head to head with Darth Vader. He isn’t ready to take on the Sith Lord just yet but that doesn’t stop him from racing into battle once he learns that friends Han Solo, Leia Organa, and Chewbacca are all in trouble on Cloud City.
Luke engages Vader in lightsaber combat but is defeated, with the villain cutting his hand off. He then reveals himself to be the former Tatooine farmboy’s father which, to this day, still ranks as one of the most shocking revelations in Hollywood history.
8 Return Of The Jedi: Throwing The Lightsaber Away
In Return of the Jedi, it looks as though Luke Skywalker is about to fall for Emperor Palpatine’s bait by turning to the dark side. The evil villain had goaded Luke into trying to strike him down, only for Mark Hamill’s character to find Darth Vader in his way with the Sith Lord hellbent on protecting his master and persuading his son into switching sides at the same time.
This time around Luke gets the better of his father, allowing his rage and anger to flow through him giving him dizzying powers in the process. But just as we’re expecting to see Skywalker land the fatal blow, he backs down and throws his lightsaber to the ground. It’s this which made Luke the poster boy of goodness... and made his decision to try and murder Kylo Ren in The Last Jedi all the more baffling.
7 The Phantom Menace: Duel Of The Fates
Lightsaber fights in Star Wars had already quickened in pace and tempo prior to the release of the first prequel movie, The Phantom Menace, back in 1999. But for the latest chapter in the saga, George Lucas wanted to go bigger and bolder, consequently choosing to have the showdowns involving the weapon take place at blistering speed.
The fight involving Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi pitted against Darth Maul flies by, with the ‘Duel of the Fates’ soundtrack another iconic cinematic moment. That showdown would also pave the way for more fights of such magnitude to come...
6 Attack Of The Clones: Yoda vs Count Dooku
The villainous Count Dooku appears set to escape in Attack Of The Clones after besting both Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi on the planet of Geonosis. However, before he can board his escape ship, the Sith Lord turns round to find Yoda standing in his way.
We’d seen Yoda as a crazy and odd creature in The Empire Strikes Back many years before. But now we get to see why he was held in such high regard as a Jedi Knight with Frank Oz’s character fighting Dooku at breathtaking speed, bouncing off the walls and even managing to block his opponent’s lightning attacks. His attempts to stop Dooku proved to be in vain, however, with Yoda unable to bring him in.
5 Revenge Of The Sith: Anakin vs Obi-Wan Kenobi
Say what you want about Revenge of the Sith, it certainly doesn’t stinge when it comes to lightsaber battles. We see Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi take on Count Dooku at the beginning of the movie before getting treated to various other fights, such as Mace Windu vs Palpatine, Yoda vs Palpatine and General Grievous vs Kenobi.
But the one that stands out as arguably the best lightsaber sequence EVER is the showdown between Anakin and Obi-Wan. The two friends-turned-enemies don’t hold back with actors Hayden Christensen and Ewan McGregor having to undergo hours and hours of training to prepare for the sequence. Thankfully, the end product means it was all worth it.
4 The Force Awakens: Rey vs Kylo Ren
The Force Awakens is the first movie of the sequel trilogy and introduces us to the characters of Rey and Kylo Ren for the very first time. For the most part, the movie suggests that it will be Finn taking on Kylo at the conclusion of the blockbuster, particularly after he wields the lightsabers against First Order stormtroopers during a confrontation on Takodana.
But it’s Rey who ultimately ends up having the best fight with the villain. In an aesthetically-pleasing scene, she locks horns with her opponent while the white snow of Starkiller Base glistens in the background and the colors of red and blue collide. It’s an eyesore - but a good one.
3 Rogue One: Darth Vader At His Ruthless Best
Rogue One was the first Star Wars spinoff movie ever released, and it’s arguably one of the best blockbusters of the entire franchise. That’s despite it having very little lightsaber action, with the story instead focusing on how the likes of Jyn Erso and Cassian Endor are able to acquire the Death Star plans and pave the way for the Rebel Alliance’s eventual victory.
But the one scene a lightsaber pops up is memorable... and exhilarating. We are, of course, talking about when Darth Vader takes on many Rebel Alliance troopers using his iconic red lightsaber. The soldiers stand no chance, being cut down, throttled and sliced in half as Vader’s murderous side is seen in brutal detail.
2 The Last Jedi: Teaming Up
Prior to the release of The Last Jedi, we’d never seen two opposing sides join forces. But that happens during a scene in Supreme Leader Snoke’s throne room, where Kylo Ren chooses to save Rey from a grim fate and opts to murder his master before taking on Snoke’s Praetorian Guards in an adrenaline-fuelled showdown.
It’s quite something to see Kylo and Rey using not just their lightsabers but each other to fight their way through their enemies one by one. Yet just as it looks as if they’re about to join forces for good, things change, with Kylo unwilling to give up the dark side and Rey snubbing his offer of ruling the galaxy together.
1 Solo: Darth Maul Is Back
Solo, like Rogue One, barely has any lightsaber scenes. This was always going to be the case given how Han Solo and Lando Calrissian, two characters famed for using blasters rather than "laser swords," are at the heart of the blockbuster. But, like the other Star Wars spin-off movie, it still manages to include the weapon in one small scene.
Right at the very end, Darth Maul pops up and it’s revealed the Sith Lord, who movie-goers had last seen getting cut in half during The Phantom Menace nearly 20 years previously, is head of the criminal organization Crimson Dawn. He then ignites his double-bladed lightsaber in ominous fashion, leaving fans pining for more as a result.