An Authoritative Ranking of All Star Wars Films
Please don’t @ me (but actually, please do: @ericjamesseitz)
Written by Eric Seitz
Every giga-franchise has debate among fans about the quality of their various subsidiary parts. Old Pixar ride-or-dies praise the Toy Story pantheon (except Forky — he can get wrecked), while fans of the newer content exalt “Coco” or “Inside Out.” MCU fans debate ranking the franchise’s upper echelons, while I’ve literally never met a real human being who said they liked “Thor: The Dark World.” But perhaps no franchise has as much debate, disagreement, and parking lot fist-fights about film ranking, than Star Wars. Worry not though, because I hold — in the Holy Grail of a brain inside my head — a conclusive ranking of every Star Wars film. Everyone else can go home after this because my opinion is right, and no other suggestions will be accepted at this time.
#11: The Phantom Menace
I did not bother to rewatch this for my ranking, on the grounds that I do not enjoy being tortured. I do recall a speeder race that lasted approximately 50% of the runtime and featured a young boy with an Amishcore aesthetic. Also, Darth Maul was introduced and promptly chopped in half, but as I remember, his upper half returned and had a better storyline in “The Clone Wars” TV show on Cartoon Network.
#10 Return of the Jedi
“Return of the Jedi” was the confirmation that the creative team had absolutely no idea what they were doing for the entirety of the first trilogy. They jammed plotlines in like when you’re so sure that puzzle piece goes there and so you lodge it in place like the barbarian that you are and you convince yourself that it really is in the correct spot, but deep down, you know that you’re wrong. And now you’re going to have to write an entire trilogy of prequels just to rectify your mistake.
#9: Attack of the Clones
Minus the bisection of one Darth Maul, “The Phantom Menace” could in theory be framed as a children’s film, with baby Anakin and the spawn of Satan, Jar Jar Binks. But Attack of the Clones is purely moving pieces into place as set-up for Episode IV with no regard for entertainment value. I once watched a silent three-hour YouTube video of a 215-round marble race, and it was about equally as interesting as this film.
#8 Revenge of the Sith
Cursed special effects and hammy acting joined forces and agreed to make the most obscene monstrosity out of an otherwise decent film. “Revenge of the Sith” has a plot that could make Christopher Nolan warm and fuzzy inside, but that scene of Mace Windu fighting Palpatine has been burned into the backs of both my eyelids, haunting me until the day I become one with the Force.
#7: A New Hope
You know when you have a line of dominoes and knocking one down will knock them all down? “A New Hope” was the first domino to fall, and maybe if it didn’t exist, we’d have a whole line of ten perfectly erect dominoes, untouched by the sins of their ancestor. Also, Han literally refers to Jabba “Slime Slug” the Hutt as a “human being.” Was this improvised? Was it in the script? Automatic -1000 points from “A New Hope.”
#6: The Rise of Skywalker
I’m tempted to say I put this as high as I did just to rile up the haters, but I genuinely love this movie (which probably gets the haters more mad, so mission accomplished?). In the first eight films of the Skywalker Saga, C-3PO was fluent in over 6 million forms of being a pain in the ass to watch. But in this, he had me simping. Episodes 1-8 C-3PO walked so Episode 9 C-3PO could run. A force for light among the darkness of the First Order (as well as the writers’ crimes against humanity in resurrecting Palpatine).
I half-expected a musical going into this movie. Granted, I never watched a trailer, and “The Force Awakens” was the only other Star War I’d seen (sue me), but a film titled “Solo” should have at least one musical number. Maybe the titular solo was all of Chewbacca’s wailing (which I’ve always found unnerving — Is he in distress? It sounds like it). My new headcanon that I came up with just now is that Chewbacca serenades Han every time he wails, and that’s why they became BFFs.
#4: The Force Awakens
The writing team really just said “What if ‘A New Hope,’ but we plan ahead?” Our noble liege C-3PO also inexplicably has a red arm, and you only get the answer to why if you read a comic that came out with the film. (As if! Miss me with that reading shit.)
#3 Empire Strikes Back
I watched this for the first time two weeks ago (and now hold the authoritative opinion on Star Wars — crazy how things work out like that), and I really didn’t expect much from a film that had to compete with the release of ABBA’s “Super Trouper” album (also released in 1980). But I was genuinely surprised at its setpieces (space worms! cities in the sky!) and boldly bleak ending.
#2: Rogue One
If you want to see me screaming, crying and throwing up, all you need to do is make a group of people come together for the greater good, and then YEET them into oblivion. Not really — I didn’t actually scream, cry, or throw up at the theater, but I do recall spilling the entirety of my popcorn onto a stranger’s lap, and the Lord really tested me with the temptation to just sweep the popcorn pieces off the guy’s lap and back into my bowl so I could resume eating them.
#1: The Last Jedi
Have you ever had a new boss at a job, and you hate that it seems like they’re changing everything, but then some of the stuff they change is actually good, and you hate yourself for it? People who hate “The Last Jedi” don’t hate “The Last Jedi” — they hate themselves for not thinking of “The Last Jedi” first. Please project the Battle of Crait on my tombstone.