The Star Wars Saga

 

Reviewed and Ranked


The Star Wars Saga - Reviewed and Ranked
Part 1 | Part 2

The Star Wars Saga: Reviewed and Ranked

Which Star Wars Films Deserve to be Ranked the Highest?

The release of the 7th Star Wars franchise film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), has been monumental, since it has been 10 years since the last installment-episode of the wildly-successful, fan-favorite series. It was the first of the Star Wars films without series creator George Lucas' involvement, and the first film to be released following Disney's 2012 acquisition of LucasFilm. Many box-office records were broken almost immediately. The newest addition was the first in a new trilogy, teaming up the older generation of Rebel heroes with a new generation of freedom-fighting Resistance heroes - to continue their fight against oppressive, militaristic, and tyrannical forces of the First Order.

Major Characters of All Seven Star Wars Films:

Jedi Knights and Rebel, Freedom-Fighting Heroes of the Resistance

Master Qui-Gon Jinn
(Liam Neeson)

Queen Amidala
(Natalie Portman)

Senator Padmé Amidala
(Natalie Portman)

Jedi Master Yoda
(Frank Oz)

Jedi Mace Windu
(Samuel L. Jackson)

Obi-Wan Kenobi
(Ewan McGregor)

Ben "Obi-Wan" Kenobi
(Alec Guinness)

Princess Leia Organa
(Carrie Fisher)

Luke Skywalker
(Mark Hamill)

Han Solo
(Harrison Ford)

Lando Calrissian
(Billy Dee Williams)

Poe Dameron
(Oscar Isaac)

FN-2187/Finn
(John Boyega)

Rey
(Daisy Ridley)

Han Solo
(Harrison Ford)


General Leia Organa
(Carrie Fisher)

Maz Kanata
(Lupita Nyong'o)
Transformed Characters

Anakin Skywalker
(Jake Lloyd)

Anakin Skywalker
(Hayden Christensen)

Anakin/Darth Vader
(Hayden Christensen)

Darth Vader
(voice of James Earl Jones)

Sith Dark Lord Darth Sidious
(Ian McDiarmid)

Senator Palpatine
(Ian McDiarmid)

Supreme Chancellor Palpatine
(Ian McDiarmid)

The Emperor
(Ian McDiarmid/
voice of Clive Revill)
Droids and Other Creatures

R2-D2/Artoo-Detoo
(Kenny Baker)

C-3PO (See-Threepio)
(voice of Anthony Daniels)

Chewbacca
(Peter Mayhew)

Jar Jar Binks
(Ahmed Best)

Ewok - Wicket
(Warwick Davis)

Jabba the Hutt

Greedo
(Paul Blake)

Astromech Droid
BB-8
Separatists, Empire, and First Order Villains

Sith Darth Maul
(Ray Park)

Jango Fett
(Temeura Morrison)

Count Dooku/
Sith Lord Darth Tyranus
(Christopher Lee)

General Grievous
(Matthew Wood)

Boba Fett
(Jeremy Bulloch)

Grand Moff Tarkin
(Peter Cushing)

Emperor Palpatine
(Ian McDiarmid)

Sith Darth Vader
(David Prowse, voice of
James Earl Jones)

Kylo Ren
(Adam Driver)

General Hux
(Domhnall Gleeson)

Captain Phasma
(Gwendoline Christie)

Now is the time to review or rewatch the entire series of six films (the original trilogy and the prequels!), and read Filmsite's summary review (and ranking) of the episodes. How should the films be ranked in terms of quality, plot, impact, performances, etc.?

See Greatest Film Franchises: Box-Office for other box-office statistics.

The Star Wars Saga:
Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999)
| Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002)
Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005) | Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)
Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) | Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

Review and Ranking - Part 1

Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999)

Chronological Story Order: 1
Release Order
: 4
Series Rank: 7

Notable: The first of a three-part prequel in the series, the first film chronologically, and the fourth film in the entire series. The film was released almost 16 years following the last film of the original trilogy. The pod-race scene paid homage to (or ripped-off?) the chariot race sequence in the Circus Maximus in the Best Picture-winning Ben-Hur (1959), one of the most thrilling and famous in film history.
Tagline:
"Every generation has a legend. Every journey has a first step. Every saga has a beginning."
Director: George Lucas
Plot:
As the film opened in the last days of the Galactic Republic, the scheming Trade Federation had blockaded the small planet of Naboo (with capital city Theed), to coerce it into signing a treaty. Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn and his Jedi apprentice (padawan) Obi-Wan Kenobi were sent to find a peaceful solution as ambassadors. On board the Trade Federation's command vessel, they were attacked by a battle fleet of droid soldiers commanded by Viceroy Nute Gunray, who was following orders of mastermind Lord Darth Sidious, a disciple of the evil cult called the Sith. They escaped and landed on Naboo where they rescued young Queen Amidala, the pacifist, newly-elected ruler of Naboo, who had refused to sign the treaty and found her palace besieged by the droid army. During their flight with the Queen and astromech droid R2-D2, the Queen's damaged ship was forced to make an emergency landing, stranding them on the remote desert planet of Tatooine. There, the two Jedi knights discovered young 9 year-old Anakin Skywalker, a young slave who had the power of the Force (and might be "the Chosen One"), and was remarkably proficient with machines (he manufactured his own protocol droid - the unfinished C-3PO). The boy participated in an exciting Podrace with a jet-powered speeder, won the race and prize money - and his freedom, and was now able to leave Tatooine to be trained as a Jedi. As they were preparing to leave, the group was attacked by Sidious's apprentice, Sith Darth Maul with a double-ended light-saber, who had been dispatched to kill Queen Amidala, but they were able to defend themselves and escape. The Queen was escorted to the planet Coruscant, the capital of the Republic, where emboldened Senator Palpatine (potentially the next Chancellor) informed her that the Senate was deadlocked and Naboo was about to be attacked. Returning to Naboo, Anakin and the Queen faced massive invasion forces from the Federation due to the reappearance of the evil Sith, with an emerging plot of revenge against the Jedi. The Jedi Council, led by Masters Yoda and Mace Windu, were informed that the untrained boy Anakin was "The Chosen One." During the struggle to protect the palace and the Queen from attack, the two Jedi knights had to contend with deadly Sith Darth Maul in a furious lightsaber duel, leaving Qui-Gon Jinn mortally wounded, although Obi-Wan vanquished Darth Maul and triumphed as a newly-appointed Jedi knight. (Anakin was now Obi-Wan's new Padawan.) Naboo scored the victory and became free, after the invading droid army was defeated and the Trade Federation surrendered. This struggle was proof that more Dark Side force invasions would occur, to threaten the Republic's safety.

Set-pieces: The Boonta Eve Podrace through the rough Tatooine desert terrain, the battle between the forces of the Federation and the Gungans on the plains of Naboo, and the climactic epic lightsaber (laser sword) duel in the Naboo palace between the two Jedi Knights (Master Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) and Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor)) and Sith Darth Maul (Ray Park).
Academy Awards:
Nominated for three Academy Awards (with no wins): Best Visual Effects, Best Sound, and Best Sound Effects Editing. It lost all three nominations to Oscar-winning The Matrix (1999).
Razzie Awards:
Seven Razzie nominations, including: Worst Director (George Lucas), Worst Picture, Worst Screen Couple (Jake Lloyd and Natalie Portman), Worst Screenplay (George Lucas), Worst Supporting Actor (Jake Lloyd as Anakin), and Worst Supporting Actress (Sofia Coppola as Sache), and it won one Razzie Award: Worst Supporting Actor (Jar Jar Binks).
Production Budget:
$115 million
Box-Office:
$431 million (domestic), $474 million (lifetime domestic gross) and $1,027 million (worldwide). It was the highest-grossing (domestic) film of 1999, besting second-place The Sixth Sense (1999) at $293.5 million.
Run-Time:
133 minutes


Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002)

Chronological Story Order: 2
Release Order
: 5
Series Rank: 6

Notable: The fifth film in the entire saga - and the second prequel in the series in terms of chronology. The first motion picture to be shot completely on a high-definition (HD) digital 24-frame system.
Tagline:
"A Jedi Shall Not Know Anger. Nor Hatred. Nor Love."
Director: George Lucas
Plot:
Ten years after the invasion of the small planet of Naboo from the previous film, the galaxy was on the brink of civil war, and peace was again threatened. Under the leadership of mysterious renegade ex-Jedi Count Dooku, thousands of solar systems threatened to secede and break away from the Galactic Republic. When Senator Padmé Amidala (the ex-Naboo Queen) arrived in Coruscant to attend the Galactic Senate and express her pacifist views, an assassination attempt was made on her life as her ship landed. Supreme Chancellor Palpatine suggested that 19 year-old arrogant, impatient and headstrong Padawan apprentice Anakin Skywalker be assigned to protect the Senator. A second assassination attempt (with poisonous centipede-like creatures) also failed, when Obi-Wan and Anakin protectively came to her rescue. They chased assassin Zam Wesell to a Galactic City nightclub, but the bounty hunter (Jango Fett) who hired her killed her with a poison dart and then escaped. Anakin was assigned to personally protect Senator Amidala - and escort her back to her home planet of Naboo. They arrived in Naboo at the port city of Theed, where they were transported to the palace. Senator Padmé Amidala told Queen Jamillia in the Naboo palace throne room that she would go to the isolated and remote Lake Country for safety. In the course of his mission to protect her, Anakin discovered his love for Padmé as well as his own darker side. Meanwhile, the bounty hunter's poison dart was traced to a distant planet named Kamino, hidden outside the Republic. Obi-Wan traveled to Kamino (on Yoda's request), during a time of unrest when many star systems were joining Count Dooku and the Separatists (headquartered on the planet Geonosis) and the coming of civil war threatened. On Kamino in his quest to find Jango Fett, Obi-Wan discovered that a secret "clone army" was allegedly being produced and created there for the Republic (and the Jedi). The model for the clones was, suspiciously in fact, bounty hunter Jango Fett! Obi-Wan continued to track Jango Fett to Geonosis, where he found more 'battle droids' for a giant army being manufactured, now by the militaristic Separatists. In a side plot, Padme/the Senator and Anakin journeyed to Tatooine so that Anakin could investigate a vision of his mother Shmi's suffering (after being kidnapped by Sandpeople). When Shmi died in Anakin's arms, he brutally slaughtered the Sandpeople, to Padme's dismay. Anakin would be forced to choose between his Jedi duty and forbidden love to Padmé Amidala. On Geonosis, Count Dooku failed in his efforts to convince Obi-Wan to join him, and the Jedi was imprisoned. At the same time, the Supreme Chancellor Palpatine had gained 'emergency powers' and was adamant about destroying the Separatists. The attempt to rescue Obi-Wan on Geonosis by Padme and Anakin failed, and the three were sentenced to be executed in an arena. Mace Windu and other Jedi fighters freed the captives, and Jango Fett was killed, but Count Dooku's wave of 'Droid' soldiers overwhelmed them. Suddenly, Yoda appeared, leading the "Clone Army" in an assault on Dooku's Separatists to defeat them, although Dooku saved himself. One by one,
Dooku first took on Obi-Wan and then Anakin, severing Anakin’s arm in the process. Yoda vanquished Dooku in a head-to-head lightsaber duel, culminating with Dooku's successful flight to Coruscant and the revelation of his alliance (as Darth Tyranus) with Sith Dark Lord Darth Sidious. It was feared that they could soon assume control of the Galactic Senate, with a sinister plot. Although the Republic had prevailed this time, the Clone Wars would continue. Padme and Anakin, who was fitted with a cybernetic arm, were secretly wed.
Criticism: The title Attack of the Clones was a misnomer - the Clone Army came to the counter-attack defense of the Jedi (and the Republic), while an offensive Battle droid army was on the side of Count Dooku and the militaristic Separatists.
Set-pieces: Anakin Skywalker's (Hayden Christensen) and Obi-Wan Kenobi's (Ewan McGregor)
speeder chase after assassin Zam Wesell (Leeanna Walsman) in Galactic City, the scene of hand-to-hand combat between Obi-Wan and Jango Fett (Temeura Morrison) on Kamino's landing platform, the breathtaking aerial chase through the asteroid field of Geonosis, Anakin's and Senator Padmé Amidala's (Natalie Portman) dangerous traversing of Geonosis' mechanical-robotic assembly line (manufacturing a Droid army), the battle of the captives (Anakin, Padmé, and Obi-Wan) against three monsters in the Execution Arena and between Mace Windu's (Samuel L. Jackson) Jedi fighters and Count Dooku's (Christopher Lee) droids, and the concluding light-saber duel between the Yoda and Count Dooku.
Academy Awards:
Nominated for one Academy Award (with no wins): Best Visual Effects.
Razzie Awards:
Seven Razzie nominations, including: Worst Director (George Lucas), Worst Picture, Worst Remake or Sequel, Worst Screen Couple (Hayden Christensen and Natalie Portman), and Worst Supporting Actress (Natalie Portman), and won two Razzie Awards for Worst Screenplay (George Lucas and Jonathan Hales) and Worst Supporting Actor (Hayden Christensen).
Negatives:
Character development, acting and dialogue, especially between Anakin and Padme during their love scenes, were criticized.
Production Budget: $115 million.
Box-Office:
$302.2 million (domestic), $310.7 million (lifetime domestic gross), and $649.4 million (worldwide). It was not the # 1 film of 2002, facing stiff competition against the # 1 highest-grossing (domestic) film Spider-Man (2002) at $403.7 million, and the # 2 film, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) at $340 million.
Run-Time:
142 minutes


Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005)

Chronological Story Order: 3
Release Order
: 6
Series Rank: 5

Notable: The sixth and final film in the entire saga - and the third prequel in the series in terms of chronology. The first of the films to receive a PG-13 rating. It was generally considered the strongest of the three prequel films. It was released on the 28th anniversary of the release of Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope (1977).
Tagline:
"The Saga is Complete."
Director: George Lucas
Plot:
The time period was three years following the events of the previous film, at the onset of the galaxy-wide Clone Wars after the Clone Army of the Republic (led by noble Jedi Knights) had successfully counter-attacked the Separatist Droid Army of Sith Lord Count Dooku. Two Jedi Knights, Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi, led a desperate mission to rescue the kidnapped Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, leader of the Galactic Senate. Anakin, becoming more brooding and connected to his "dark side," successfully killed Dooku in a duel, and rescued the Chancellor. After being granted "emergency powers," the dictatorial Palpatine could now control the Jedi High Council - which he distrusted. He asked Jedi hero Anakin to be his personal representative (or spy) on the Jedi Council. Skywalker was also given a conflicting assignment - to secretly spy on reigning Chancellor Palpatine and report back to the Council. It was later revealed that Palpatine was the treacherous Dark Lord Darth Sidious with a 1,000 year-old plot to rule the galaxy (as the Empire). Sidious appointed Anakin as his new apprentice -- who was then renamed Darth Vader. (Faced with haunting premonitions that his secret wife, Padmé Amidala, was going to die, Anakin Skywalker was completely seduced by the Dark Side.) Darth Sidious was fomenting a major Galactic Civil War within the Empire. There was a major uprising against the Jedi Knights and many were decimated. Obi-Wan Kenobi and Jedi Master Yoda were forced into hiding. Darth Vader fulfilled his mission to slaughter members of the Separatist Council and their Battle droids. There was a climactic light-saber duel between Obi-Wan and his former apprentice Anakin/Darth Vader - the latter was left disarmed, seemingly-lethally wounded, and crippled, but was resuscitated and brought back to life (and forced to wear a black armored life-support suit and helmet (or face mask)). Amidala died giving birth to Anakin's/Darth Vader's own offspring - twins (a boy named Luke and a girl named Leia). Was there hope for the galaxy?

Set-pieces: The opening space battle between General Grievous and the Federation against the Republic's Jedi during the rescue of Coruscant's kidnapped Supreme Chancellor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), Obi-Wan Kenobi's (Ewan McGregor) one-on-one combat against General Grievous (Matthew Wood) on Utapau, the duel to the death between Chancellor Palpatine (Darth Sidious) and Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson), and the simultaneous, climactic lightsaber duels: on Mustafar between Obi-Wan and his former apprentice Anakin/Darth Vader, and in the Senate chambers between Yoda and Darth Sidious (Ian McDiarmid).
Academy Awards:
With only one Academy Award nomination (with no wins): Best Makeup.
Razzie Awards:
The film won its sole Razzie nomination - Worst Supporting Actor (Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker).
Production Budget:
$113 million.
Box-Office:
$380.3 million (domestic) and almost $849 million (worldwide). It was the # 1 highest-grossing (domestic) film of 2005, besting second-place The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe (2005) at $291.7 million. It was the # 2 highest-grossing (worldwide) film of 2005, just behind Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005) at almost $897 million.
Run-Time:
140 minutes



Greatest Film Series Franchises - Star Wars Sections
Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999) | Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002)
Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005)
| Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)
Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) | Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983)


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