If there’s one thing the Star Wars franchise is known for, it’s the lightsabers. Lightsabers are laser swords powered by kyber crystals that are typically wielded by Jedi Knights and Sith Lords. They are constructed by Jedi / Sith and come in a variety of colors, most often blue, green, and red. These sabers are used to ward off shots from blasters, but are better seen when clashing against one another, creating flashes of light and sounds that only lightsabers make.
Throughout the movie franchise, there have been plenty of lightsaber duels between good and evil and even between evil and evil, as seen in The Clone Wars when Dooku betrays Asajj Ventress. That said, not every lightsaber fight scene is memorable, as seen in the Star Wars sequel trilogy’s battle between Rey and Kylo Ren, which had no emotional weight to it – which is arguably the key to any great battle. Nonetheless, the lightsaber fight scene has become a visual and narrative staple in the Star Wars franchise. As such, here are the best lightsaber fight scenes from the movies, ranked.
8 Obi-Wan vs Darth Vader in A New Hope
The first lightsaber battle ever to be seen in the Star Wars franchise is the one between Obi-Wan and Darth Vader in A New Hope. This battle was highly anticipated by the audience as Obi-Wan spoke about his personal history with Vader. Obviously, this was a decent battle with Obi-Wan being defeated and his body disappearing, leaving nothing but his robes behind. While this iconic battle is memorable, the only real issue is its brevity. The battle ends far too quickly for us to see the skill that both Vader and Obi-Wan have. That said, its swift end also reminds us of Obi-Wan’s age, and how it has affected his lightsaber skills.
7 Yoda vs Darth Sidious in Revenge of the Sith
Yet another highly anticipated battle in the Star Wars franchise is the battle between Yoda and Emperor Palpatine / Darth Sidious in Revenge of the Sith. When it’s discovered that Supreme Chancellor Palpatine is, in fact, a Sith Lord, the Jedi Temple is stormed upon and Order 66 is executed as Darth Sidious hopes to eradicate all the Jedi. When Yoda returns to Coruscant, he confronts Sidious and the two have a battle for the ages. The two use both their lightsabers and force lightning as the battle treks forward, moving from the chancellor’s office into the senate hall, where they use the moving platforms to their advantage. In the end, Yoda barely escapes with his life and admits defeat, sending himself into exile for failing to rid the world of Darth Sidious.
6 Count Dooku vs Anakin and Obi-Wan in Attack of the Clones
Attack of the Clones is jam-packed with action sequences, most of which build-up to the final battle between Count Dooku and Anakin and Obi-Wan. The first time we see Anakin fight a Sith Lord, though he is not alone, we get a taste of Dooku’s true power as he easily overtakes both Jedi, showing how strong and well-trained he is. In this battle, Obi-Wan is put out of commission early on, leaving Anakin to fight Dooku mostly alone. While it’s a joy to such a well-choreographed duel, Anakin gets cocky and winds up losing his arm.
5 Luke Skywalker vs Darth Vader in Empire Strikes Back
Considered the best movie in the Star Wars saga, Empire Strikes Back brings out the brutality of the Empire when Vader catches the group at Cloud City. Not only does Han get frozen in carbonite, but Luke finally faces off with Darth Vader after such a long time training and hoping that he would have the chance to take the Sith Lord down. This duel is driven by emotion as Luke struggles to control his anger towards Vader for killing Obi-Wan. Despite his efforts and training from Yoda, Luke is no match for Darth Vader and Luke ends up losing his hand and discovers that Darth Vader is his father, Anakin Skywalker.
4 Yoda vs Count Dooku in Attack of the Clones
In Attack of the Clones, we see Yoda in action for the first time. After Dooku defeats Obi-Wan and Anakin, Yoda arrives to challenge Dooku and not let him escape. This battle is not only our first time seeing Yoda with a lightsaber, but it’s the first battle between Master and Apprentice as Dooku was once Yoda’s Padawan. While some have claimed that George Lucas went overboard with the CGI in this scene, we see how the very-old Yoda harnesses his power with the force to charge himself up, so he may fight to the best of his ability. While this battle ends in Dooku pulling down rocks and machinery over Anakin and Obi-Wan, Yoda saves them from being crushed while Dooku escapes.
3 Luke Skywalker vs Darth Vader & Darth Sidious in Return of the Jedi
This battle in Return of the Jedi differs greatly from the Vader vs Skywalker duel in Empire Strikes Back. Not only has Luke managed to become a well-trained Jedi with more control over his emotions, but he has also honed his lightsaber skills and managed to defeat Darth Vader, taking Vader’s hand in the process. After this, Luke faces the Emperor and insists that Luke will never join him on the Dark Side. The Emperor proceeds to use Force lightning on Luke, and as Luke calls out for his father’s help, Vader grabs the Emperor and tosses him off the balcony, sacrificing himself for his only son.
2 Darth Maul vs Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan in The Phantom Menace
One of the greatest lightsaber duels in the franchise is the iconic duel between Qui-Gon Jinn, his young Padawan Obi-Wan, and the Sith Lord Darth Maul in The Phantom Menace, which also brought about the introduction of the dual-ended lightsaber. Thanks to the martial arts talents of Ray Park, who played the role of Darth Maul, this scene was not only well-choreographed, but it was a joy to watch as Darth Maul took on two Jedi with ease. Sadly, this is the battle in which Qui-Gon loses his life, but this gets Obi-Wan to hone his power and defeat Darth Maul, which would later come back to haunt him.
1 Anakin vs Obi-Wan in Revenge of the Sith
Topping our list is the highly emotional battle between Anakin and his former Master Obi-Wan Kenobi in Revenge of the Sith. Set on the fiery lava planet of Mustafar, Obi-Wan arrives with Padme and challenges Anakin. Driven deep into the dark side, Anakin chokes Padme when he believes she betrayed him. Witnessing Anakin’s behavior, Obi-Wan realizes that he is no longer the Padawan he trained, but is a monster seduced by the Dark Side. The two go head-to-head in the greatest battle in the history of Star Wars. Between the intense music in the background to the dangerous constantly changing environment, Anakin and Obi-Wan fight until Obi-Wan maims Anakin, cutting off his remaining limbs and leaving him on the shores of Mustafar where he catches fire and is burned beyond recognition. This battle is what put Vader in his life-support suit and what kick-started the reign of the Empire.
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