Ranked: Star Wars Films (Updated 2020)

It’s May, which means May the 4th is upon us. Star Wars Day is one of those things that celebrates one of the biggest franchises in pop culture history. So in order to celebrate Star Wars Day, it’s time to do something that will get people angry and debating: A Top Star Wars Movie list that only a single person on a website has created without consulting anyone else on the staff. So grab your Lightsaber and get ready to face off against me young Jedi, as I present my personal listing of Star Wars movies in the order of worst to best.

Note: Much unlike the Top 10 list I did back in 2017, this list will include the main 9 films as well as some of the side stories that have been added over time.

15. Star Wars: Holiday Special

I think this one is a bit of a given. Universally panned as the WORST bit of Star Wars media in existence.

The story about Chewbacca trying to make his way back home in order to celebrate "Life Day" is filled with some of the weirdest segments ever created for Star Wars ever, including Bea Arthur as a cantina owner is the best live action segment in the series, but secondary to the introduction of Boba Fett in an animated segment from this special. The ending is the worst thing ever, with Wookies trying to sing being something that should only be heard when torture is involved. I'm not too sure what to say about this special since just about everything has been said about it that can be said, both positive and negative.

But yes, this is the worst Star Wars movie, special or whatever you want to call it in Star Wars history and will forever remain so.

14. Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure

These next two can be considered interchangeable since they are both equally bad.

Set between the events of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, Caravan of Courage tells the story about a family who crash lands on Endor, with the parents being captured by an evil monster called Gorax and the children being saved by the Ewoks, befriending them and saving their parents. Caravan of Courage is one of those made for TV films, a low budget movie designed to give the kids something cute to love. It's so low of a series that it's rare to find a copy on DVD or even VHS unless they are home made versions from a taped showing of them from a TV station.

I put this low since it's rare to see, and when you do see it, you wish you never did. A movie series about Ewoks, sounds like something Disney would make for a morning kids show... Oh wait, that was tried too and it sucked; same with the Droids series, both of which will never even make a list.

13. Ewoks: The Battle for Endor

Ewoks: The Battle for Endor continues from the events of Caravan of Courage with the main plot revolving around the rebuilding of the family spaceship and something involving a shape shifting witch who might be the kids's Mom or something and an old man who is the only human on Endor or something. Honestly these movies are both so boring and uninteresting that even wikipedia doesn't have much on the plot. Frankly, you might as well combine these two and the holiday special into the last spot, or change them around at will since none of these are actually worth anything, not even the time it takes to watch them.

12. Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones

Attack of the Clones, the political love story in the middle of two much better movies. Considered the worst of the prequel trilogy, Attack of the Clones is what happens when you have a predetermined story that you are leading up to and don't know what to put in the middle of something without ruining what is to come next. Attack of the Clones is one of those films that doesn't really know what it wants to do with itself, but at the same time knows it has very specific series beats it needs to make in order to get to the next series of films. While The Phantom Menace had a bit of room to play around with things, only needing to really introduce Anakin Skywalker, Attack of the Clones knows it needs to hit two things: The romance that leads the to creation of Luke & Leia, and the beginning of The Clone Wars. While it does those things really well, Attack of the Clones seems to falter in trying to balance the two stories while keeping the story to itself too. A lot of time is spent on Anakin, his relationship with Pademe, the beginning of his hatrid for the turn, building the Clone Wars with the army and keeping the robot army from the Trade Federation involved too. What we ended up with is a bad mash up of stories with both too much time and no time given to each individual story. It's just a very bad middle to a trilogy.

11. Solo: A Star Wars Story

What happens when to take everything already established about one of the most charismatic characters of the original Star Wars trilogy, throw it all in the bin, add everything third wave feminists hate about men into a single group? You end up with Solo: A Star Wars Story. Now the origins about Han Solo, how he became the smuggler he is, where he got his skills from, how he met Chewbacca, and how he got the most famous spaceship in the franchise should make one hell of a story, but for some reason what we got was complete trash. All the story beats I mentioned just now are there, but for some reason they made every male character into a sexist, misogynistic, egotistical idiot and made the robot the most interesting thing to watch; but it also hated everyone else, especially males. If you through Episodes VII through IX were a feminist paradise, then you didn't see the shit show that was Solo.

10. Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker

Oh this film. Yeah it's breaking as the bubble into the Top 10, but if it wasn't for the trash from the early days and the complete misfire that was Solo, then this one wouldn't have even made it into the top 10. The Rise of Skywalker was a complete mess from beginning to end. I recently posted about why I think this movie, along with the two before it, ruined Star Wars Day for me and you're free to read it if you want the full story. However to keep things brief, The Rise of Skywalker was nothing short of a kick in the balls of every fan from both sides of the divide that was created by the Disney era. Bringing back Palpatine, making Rey act like a Sith instead of a Jedi, redeeming Kylo Ren because fangirls needed it, and then having the balls to have Rey take the name Skywalker for no more of a reason than to piss people off and make a fan theory true makes this the worst of the new generation. The fault isn't with the fans who hated The Last Jedi, it's with management, Kathleen Kennedy and the mess she made of the series as a whole. Fuck this movie and fuck Disney.

09. Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

Burn it down, eradicate the past. This was the mantra that was used going into creation of The Last Jedi. Backstage bullshit made a film that on one hand was such a departure from everything that came before it that it could have been a great side story film or something other than a mainline film. The Last Jedi worked as a single movie, locked forever in it's own world and adventures, a truly unique experience in both casting, characters and story. But on the other hand, The Last Jedi tried to do things so differently and bring in so many new characters out of nowhere with no build or development that it is so jarring that it almost killed the franchise in one single blow. Outside of the movie itself, having the divide between old fans and new fans grew ever greater as the media and studios doubled down on pushing older fans who didn't like The Last Jedi as basement dwelling male nerds who never grew up or moved out of their parents home ever, an insult that still permeates to this day in every bit of pop culture where "modern progressive thinking and ideology" doesn't dominate. It's from here that movies like Solo, which were terrible from production to release, are scapegoated with this excuse that you'll still see it in other articles to this day.

08. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

Yeah, yeah, we all hate Jar Jar Binks. But outside of one character, The Phantom Menace is actually a pretty good story that kicks off the high action that Star Wars is known for. Sure there is a bit of political bullshit involved too, but it's nothing like Attack of the Clones. But how else do you create enough discourse in a time of peace to create one of the biggest wars in the galaxy? Using Political framework to incite the events that lead into the Clone Wars is actually pretty good when you look at the overall picture. Plus the only thing The Phantom Menace had to do was introduce Anakin Skywalker into the series and that was it. What we got was the beginnings of a much larger and longer story, and the creation of one of the fan favorite Sith ever made: Darth Maul. The Phantom Menace is a highly underrated part of the larger Star Wars franchise than it is given credit for, and upon many viewings, I've come to appreciate it for what it means instead of one character we all hated.

07. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Rogue One is a weird little duck. It comes in the days when Star Wars was heading down the female centrist path with the ultimate Mary-Sue Rey getting a lot of screen time and press as The Force Awakens got a lot of praise from both fans and media alike. So Disney pretty much repeated the same formula with it's first in a series of side stories in Rogue One. What made this different was the writing itself had characters with flaws, development for everyone and the story itself, it was set in a time where both old and new fans could appreciate, and was all around a good enjoyable film complete with the best ending for a Star Wars movie ever. Rouge One is one of those films that gets lost in all the mess and arguments of the main line films that it never gets a chance to stand on its own. If you have never seen Rogue One and can get past some really bad facial CGI de-aging ever put to film, you'll find a movie that is very enjoyable and full of character that it should be higher on all Star Wars movie lists but rarely is remembered enough to make a mention.

06. Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

I know it seems weird that I have such a disdain for the Disney trilogy yet so many of the movies from that era make their way into the top 10. But objectively I can understand what the movie wanted to be aside from all the political backstage bullshit that went on with these films. The Force Awakens was a nice cross over point for what Star Wars was and what Star Wars could be. Sure, the introduction of the ultimate Mary-Sue in Rey rubbed a lot of long time fans the wrong way, the rest of the roster was a bunch of interesting characters with a lot of potential. Finn and Poe are great additions to the universe and should have had a lot more time dedicated to their development, but since this was the beginning of the Rey era, they get brushed off so she could do nothing and get all the praise and marketing. Kylo-Ren was a decent enough bad guy who could have had a lot of mystery if they didn't spoil it in the first film, and instead of making it a story of his redemption and Rey falling to the dark side (A twist that would have made a much more interesting and unique story arc), we got the usual "forbidden love conquers all" crap. The Force Awakens also worked because it was the last time that all the previous characters were treated with reverence and respect, something the later films forgot completely.

05. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Revenge of the Sith is not a perfect film by any means, but it was the best one in the prequel trilogy. Seeing everything that was slowly building up in the first two films comes to a great conclusion here. The Clone Wars are about to begin with the issuing of Order 66, Anakin gets right into the dark side and completes his fall, the senate is completely dissolved bringing about the rise of the Empire, the rebellion begins to form; and of course the birth of Luke and Leia. There is a lot of pay off in Revenge of the Sith and watching it all play out really feels like the end of a good meal. By the time Revenge of the Sith is over, you are more than ready to jump into either The Clone Wars movie and TV show, Rogue One or Episode IV: A New Hope. This film closed one trilogy nicely and set the scene for the next one nicely, not jarring things to a stop unlike other trilogies that have been done.

04. Star Wars: The Clone Wars

If there was anything on this list that should be called a "sleeper hit", it's The Clone Wars. The movie version was a good film in itself, introducing more new characters who would go on to become fan favorites, but more-so the movie itself was a starting point for a much larger story. The Clone Wars goes from this movie to a TV series which has just wrapped after 7 seasons. No other part of the Star Wars movie series has had that type of impact. That point alone rockets this movie into a high spot. Sure, you could say since the story is pretty basic as it is the beginning of the Clone Wars themselves and the movie serves to introduce Ahsoka into the story, making Anakin the master at this point, making his eventual fall to the dark side all the more interesting and personal. The Clone Wars is a forgotten part of the Star Wars movie series that is basically brushed aside since it's animation instead of live action; but it's true impact is more than anything else that was released at that point.

03. Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

The Empire Strikes Back is much like Attack of the Clones in a lot of ways. It was the middle part of the trilogy where a lot of story needs to be delivered but at the same time it couldn't get too big that it overshadowed what was to come with Return of the Jedi. The Empire Strikes Back needed to develop characters, especially Luke, as his fate was tied into the main story as a whole. Outside of that we got a developing romance between Han and Leia that was also a part of Han going from devil may care rogue to dedicated rebellion fighter, all because of Leia's strong character and their love for each other. We also got to see things like Cloud City, which introduced Lando and fleshed out a little bit of Han's past, making Han more relatable to the audience. Then there was the twist at the end that set up the conflict of Return of the Jedi, a master stroke of story telling at the time. While there was a lot of good in The Empire Strikes Back, you could see that it was trapped in going too big or too far.

02. Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

The one that started it all comes in second? Well yeah, it does. A New Hope was the beginning of my love for the Star Wars franchise, but to be honest it hasn't aged well. For an introduction at the time it did everything it needed to do, but since then it has become a smaller part of a larger whole and just doesn't hold up to other movies in the same era, let alone the whole. But I have to give credit where credit is due; Luke, Ben, Han, Chewie, C3-PO, R2-D2, Leia and Darth Vader are all iconic characters who were introduced here, developed enough for one movie while leaving more to come in future movies. A New Hope established what we needed to know and provided the characters that we would love for decades to come. A respect to the original force users and their stories.

Special Commendation: Star Wars: The Mandalorian

I would loved to have included this one in the list properly, but since it's primarily a TV series I cannot do that in a list about movies. However I will not deny The Mandalorian and what it has done to resurrect excitement and celebration in Star Wars at a time where there is a huge divide created by the new Disney era movies. A lot of the credit has to go to the character of "The Child" (aka Baby Yoda) and his appeal, but at the same time a lot more credit needs to go to Jon Favreau and his ability to tell some amazing stories. The Mandalorian brings things back to the time of the original trilogy (though post Return of the Jedi) and tells a great side story of The Mandalorian, his people, and what happens when a bounty is just morally wrong. Outside of the main two characters, The Mandalorian introduces other characters into the show that stand out on their own and could make good future side series of their own. That's how good Jon Favreau's story telling is and his ability to create and market for the future is something that no other creator can do these days.

Now if this was the Boba Fett movie that was being planned when Solo flopped at the box office then we might have had something a lot shorter. I guess the cancellation was a good thing in the end.

01. Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

Return of the Jedi was the original end of the Star Wars saga of movies before Disney decided to mess it up and make more movies, and it wrapped everything up really well. The conflict between Luke and Vader was settled, Vader himself was redeemed, the Empire falls, Han & Leia get together officially, and the galaxy is at peace. There wasn't too much in the way of character development in Return of the Jedi since all that was taken care of in The Empire Strikes Back, leaving Return of the Jedi to be a more action movie with multiple battles taking place in it and keeping the pace going as fast as possible for a majority of the screen time. Honestly you can see this as the end of the saga because it was like reading the last chapters of a book, everything goes to a fever pitch, story lines are wrapped up and the ending leaves you happy as you enjoyed the journey for all the characters involved.