All-Time Favorite Lightsaber Battles (#1-#2)

All-Time Favorite Lightsaber Battles (#1-#2)

Welcome to my first blog where I rank my all-time favorite lightsaber battles in Episodes I-VII of Star Wars! For the purposes of these rankings, a lightsaber battle is defined as at least two individuals fighting against each other with lightsabers. All individuals involved must be wielding lightsabers in their fight. So fighting or killing with lightsabers against individuals who don’t have lightsabers doesn’t count. By this definition, there are 13 lightsaber battles in Episodes I-VII of Star Wars. I have ranked them from favorite to least favorite, explaining why each battle is where it stands on this list. Of course this list is highly subjective and I’d love to hear any opinions whether they be similar, different, or anywhere in between. Enjoy!

  1. Luke Skywalker vs. Darth Vader (The Empire Strikes Back)
  • It is the first in-person showdown between the main protagonist and antagonist of Star Wars up to this point in the original film trilogy: Luke Skywalker vs. Darth Vader. And yet, the two opponents are not well-matched, unequal in their abilities. Vader is far superior to Luke in his powers and spends most of the fight toying with him, testing Luke to understand the extent of his son’s abilities and current power. What then places this lightsaber battle among the best? It’s arguably the most suspenseful lightsaber battle and one of the most thrilling. The moments where Luke and Vader get separated and Luke searches for him are crucial to creating that suspense, and each time Vader seems more fearsome when he appears. He may be toying with Luke and testing his abilities and trying to capture him for the Emperor, but Vader still exemplifies in every moment he’s onscreen why he’s one of the most powerful and formidable figures in all Star Wars through a combination of his extensive power, his ferocity and manipulation. His attempts to manipulate Luke are masterfully executed, complimenting him and even complimenting Obi-Wan and his training while also telling Luke that by joining him he can become even more powerful. And he uses his dark powers against Luke to make him understand this. Luke gets his ass kicked in this fight but his determination to continue fighting despite how outmatched he is serves as another key element of this battle. It’s impressive to see how far Luke has come since we first met him in A New Hope and since he started his training with Obi-Wan, but we also see here that he still has so much to learn. The reality is harsh, but it’s central to shaping Luke and Vader, their relationship, and the galaxy-altering decisions they make going forward. Moreover, the battle acts as a perfect setup for arguably the most important revelation and important scene in any Star Wars film.
  1. Luke Skywalker vs. Darth Vader (Return of the Jedi)
  • This is the most epic lightsaber battle of all time. Luke and Vader’s stories parallel each other so closely, and not just because they are father and son. These are two of the most fascinating characters with one of the most complex relationships in the Star Wars They engage in this lightsaber battle teeming with such a rich range of emotions, all the while demonstrating their incredible powers and abilities. It’s clear in this battle perhaps more than any other moment why Luke is considered the “only hope” to bring balance to the Force and save the galaxy. He’s become a master Jedi in his abilities with the Force and a lightsaber. But he also has unquenchable hope and compassion for the man he’s fighting against, his father, the one who cut off his hand and killed Obi-Wan and has caused so much suffering. It takes a true Jedi Knight to maintain and communicate those feelings in light of everything.
  • This fight between two genuine masters of the Force is brutal, but it’s also filled with hope, love, regret, desperation, frustration and anger, all of which are furthermore expressed through the brilliantly written dialogue and the music of John Williams. The Emperor manipulates this battle to occur to actualize his evil scheme of turning Luke to the Dark Side. Luke Skywalker is one of the greatest heroes in Star Wars, but in this fight we see him briefly unable to resist the pull of the Dark Side. It’s both thrilling and terrifying to see Luke’s anger and fear unchecked. But for Luke to defy the Emperor and the Dark Side, he needs to experience and briefly embrace the darkness to understand its cost. Let’s also remember that Darth Vader wants to help his son. He wants to help him turn to the Dark Side because he thinks it’s the only way his son can survive, and the only way they can be together. So he’s also filled with hope, trying to keep his desperation and frustration at bay, feeling like he’s doing all he can to save his son. When he says “You underestimate the power of the Dark Side. If you will not fight, then you will meet your destiny” and throws his lightsaber at Luke, it doesn’t seem just like he’s trying to manipulate and tempt his son. It seems like a desperate plea, like he’s saying “You can’t run from this. It will destroy everyone you love and everything you care about. You can either embrace it or let it kill you. Those are your only options. Believe me, I know.” That idea is further solidified as Vader is so unemotional about realizing that Leia is his daughter and Luke’s sister. It’s a surprise to him, but in that moment only serves as manipulating Luke to embrace the Dark Side, while also making it known that Luke is expendable, and if he refuses to give in, he will die. Luke and Vader are engaging in this epic duel but there’s so much more at play and at stake than the literal lightsabers clashing.
  • Yet another fascinating element of this duel is that it teaches Luke the power of not fighting, of putting down the lightsaber in order to defy the Dark Side through compassion and love. What I ultimately believe to be one of the most impressive combined displays of both the Force and fighting with a lightsaber, wrought with so many emotions leading into and during the fight, plays an integral role in shaping what I believe to be the most powerful and important scenes in all of Star Wars with Luke, Darth Vader and the Emperor . . .

 

Image taken from http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/news/star-wars-the-force-awakens-jj-abrams-promises-lightsaber-duels-will-be-primitive-and-rougher-and-a6754296.html

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All-Time Favorite Lightsaber Battles (#3-#4)

All-Time Favorite Lightsaber Battles (#3-#4)

Welcome to my first blog where I rank my all-time favorite lightsaber battles in Episodes I-VII of Star Wars! For the purposes of these rankings, a lightsaber battle is defined as at least two individuals fighting against each other with lightsabers. All individuals involved must be wielding lightsabers in their fight. So fighting or killing with lightsabers against individuals who don’t have lightsabers doesn’t count. By this definition, there are 13 lightsaber battles in Episodes I-VII of Star Wars. I have ranked them from favorite to least favorite, explaining why each battle is where it stands on this list. Of course this list is highly subjective and I’d love to hear any opinions whether they be similar, different, or anywhere in between. Enjoy!

  1. Darth Vader vs. Obi-Wan Kenobi (A New Hope)
  • This lightsaber duel is old school. It’s not high energy and adrenaline-fueled. It’s not chaotic. What makes this fight so great is that it’s character-driven. The setting—a hallway in the Death Star—is stark and simple. It allows us to hone in on the characters and their relationship and their engaging lightsaber battle. Every movement is precise and direct. It’s well-staged and well-focused, not caught up in showcasing the setting. The dialogue in the battle is also really powerful, all of it carrying a tremendous amount of weight concerning who Obi-Wan and Darth Vader are, how their relationship evolved, and about the Force and the Dark Side. The end of the fight is one of the most powerful and chilling moments in the entire Star Wars saga. It may be the least flashy lightsaber battle, but it’s classic in its nature. From the lightsaber action and visual and sound effects, John Williams’ score, the character-driven nature of the conflict, the powerful dialogue and culmination of the fight, it features so many of the elements that would continue to create and define amazing lightsaber battles in all Star Wars films.

 

  1. Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi vs. Darth Maul (The Phantom Menace)
  • While The Phantom Menace is my least favorite of the seven Star Wars movies, it does feature one of the best lightsaber battles. Much of what the Jedi and Sith are capable of is hidden or withheld during this movie. But during this fight there are no holds barred. It’s breathtaking and inspiring to watch Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan work together so seamlessly. Most lightsaber battles are one-on-one or even if they feature two individuals fighting together those individuals don’t work well together (I’m looking at you Anakin when you fought Count Dooku in Attack of the Clones, obviously Obi-Wan is not the problem). It’s cool to see this here not only visually but more so because it demonstrates the trust and cohesion and skill built between Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon over their years together, exemplifying a powerful bond between master and apprentice. And it’s even more powerful to see this against a truly formidable foe like Darth Maul wielding his double-sided lightsaber. “Duel of the Fates” by John Williams helps further convey the epic quality of the duel: the overwhelming skill and power of the Sith Lord and two Jedi, the dangerous setting, the chaos exploding, and the anarchy that will follow if Darth Maul succeeds. The choreography in this scene is arguably the best of any lightsaber battle in the entire Star Wars saga. The pacing of the duel is also perfect and complemented so well by the music. Qui-Gon’s tragic death adds further intensity as it comes down to Obi-Wan and Darth Maul. It all culminates in Obi-Wan proving to be creative and resourceful, qualities which have kept him alive time and time again. Let’s also not forget Qui-Gon’s dying wish for Obi-Wan to train Anakin, a key decision that has major ramifications for all of Star Wars.
  • Purely as a lightsaber battle, this may be the greatest of all time. What sets it behind Luke vs. Vader in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi (which one will end up being number 1?) is that the relationship between the individuals are definitely not as rich, and the battle does not lead to a major revelation. The Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan relationship is special, but it’s not as complex and multi-layered like Luke and Vader’s relationship. The lightsaber battle also doesn’t change the dynamics or feelings in the relationship as happens between Luke and Vader during both their duels. Furthermore, Obi-Wan agreeing to train Anakin is a huge plot development, and not for the audience but for the characters it’s a twist for Obi-Wan to end up training him instead of Qui-Gon. However this moment is  not a revelation. But the duel is still incredibly awesome, easily the best part of The Phantom Menace, and my favorite lightsaber battle in the prequel films.

***Start the second video at 0:51 to see the last words spoken between Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon.

 

Image taken from http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/news/star-wars-the-force-awakens-jj-abrams-promises-lightsaber-duels-will-be-primitive-and-rougher-and-a6754296.html

 

All-Time Favorite Lightsaber Battles (#5-#6)

All-Time Favorite Lightsaber Battles (#5-#6)

Welcome to my first blog where I rank my all-time favorite lightsaber battles in Episodes I-VII of Star Wars! For the purposes of these rankings, a lightsaber battle is defined as at least two individuals fighting against each other with lightsabers. All individuals involved must be wielding lightsabers in their fight. So fighting or killing with lightsabers against individuals who don’t have lightsabers doesn’t count. By this definition, there are 13 lightsaber battles in Episodes I-VII of Star Wars. I have ranked them from favorite to least favorite, explaining why each battle is where it stands on this list. Of course this list is highly subjective and I’d love to hear any opinions whether they be similar, different, or anywhere in between. Enjoy!

6. Emperor Palpatine/Darth Sidious vs. Yoda (Revenge of the Sith)

  • THE Jedi Master against THE Sith Lord. It’s the ultimate good vs. evil matchup we’ve all been waiting for. What we see in this battle doesn’t disappoint. Yoda and Palpatine are unparalleled in their powers. Their lightsaber combat is impressive. They both have their own unique style of fighting. Yoda relies on his speed and agile nature while the Emperor relies on a domineering ferocity to overpower his opponents. The depth of their powers is particularly exemplified in their use of the Force. The ability to create Force lightning and allow it to consume opponents, the ability to repel and push back Force lightning, the ability to direct and fling seats of the Senate at each other: these are among some of the most formidable abilities seen in Star Wars. The setting of the Senate helps to showcase these abilities. Yoda and Palpatine fighting in the Senate is a perfect metaphor for the tenuous state of the galaxy following the execution of Order 66, the dismantling of the Republic, and the formation of the Galactic Empire. The galaxy has essentially already fallen into a dark chasm. Now it is on the brink of either sinking to unrepairable depths or being given a glimmer of light or hope from which climbing out of the chasm may be possible. The setting of the Senate and the physical dismantling of the space symbolizes the galaxy being torn apart, and the multitudes that will either suffer or be saved depending on the outcome of the duel between Yoda and Palpatine. The image of Yoda and Palpatine dueling on the ascending Chancellor’s seat, surrounded by the vast expanse of empty Senate seats is one of the most powerful cinematic moments in all of Star Wars.
  • All these factors place this lightsaber battle among the best. What puts it behind five others is that its ending comes too soon. There’s so many enthralling pieces to this fight and it’s disappointing that it doesn’t last longer, and that the latter half contains little lightsaber action and focuses more so on dueling through the Force. Using the Force to fight is thrilling to watch, but when ranking lightsaber battles, you do need a little more lightsaber action. I know part of this is that Revenge of the Sith chooses to focus more on the lightsaber duel between Obi-Wan and Vader/Anakin. The evolution of their relationship and further depicting how they become the characters we meet in A New Hope through their duel on Mustafar is of vital importance. I recognize this and I wouldn’t want what goes down between Obi-Wan and Vader/Anakin to get shortchanged. But I wish it hadn’t been at the cost of ending the fight between Yoda and Palpatine when it definitely could’ve gone on longer.

5. Obi-Wan Kenobi vs. Darth Vader/Anakin Skywalker (Revenge of the Sith)

  • Clarification: I consider Anakin to mostly be Darth Vader by this point because he has fully embraced the Dark Side and pledged himself to Emperor Palpatine (“Henceforth you shall be known as Darth Vader). Furthermore, at this point Anakin has forsaken his Jedi identity, been at the forefront of destroying the Jedi Order, and even turned against the love of his life: Padme. He does not have the iconic breathing and Vader suit and the voice of James Earl Jones, all of which largely define the classic character. But this fight is what causes him to need the suit, and for the aforementioned reasons, I think it’s fair to think of him as both Vader and Anakin here.
  • Keeping his identity in mind, it’s tragic to see the depths to which Anakin has fallen. We remember the boy who once dreamed of becoming a Jedi Knight that would free his mother and all the slaves on Tatooine. We saw the courage and love he’s displayed in order to save or protect his mother, Obi-Wan and Padme. Seeing him at this point, having choked Padme to the point of unconsciousness and called her a liar, now dueling Obi-Wan and ready to kill him . . . this is devastating and adds such deep emotional gravity to this lightsaber battle. Anakin is fighting the man who has been more of a father, brother, friend and mentor to him than anyone else. As torturous as it is for Obi-Wan, he fights against his old apprentice. All the while he is unable to forgive himself for the role he feels he played in letting the Dark Side consume Anakin, but feels he has no choice but to fight Anakin and stop him from spreading more evil across the galaxy. One of the deepest, genuinely positive and longstanding relationships in the Star Wars saga has evolved into an agonizing fight that transcends the literal lightsaber battle. In terms of emotional gravity and complex character relationships, this battle has it all. In terms of the level of skills and power at work, this battle is also at a high level. It’s scary how powerful and evenly matched these two individuals are when thinking back to The Phantom Menace where Anakin was just a boy beginning to understand his abilities, and Obi-Wan not yet a Jedi Master, still learning from his Master Qui-Gon Jinn. That makes the fighting all the more impressive and complex. These two know each other so well, having taught and learned from each other, knowing on an intimate level their strengths and weaknesses and tendencies. The fact that Anakin is still using his Jedi lightsaber and not a Sith lightsaber acts to further emphasize this, how closely linked he and Obi-Wan still are, how their relationship has changed so much so quickly. It also helps to emphasize how so much of what Anakin has become comes from his time training and working with Obi-Wan and the Jedi Order. While no one is to blame as much as Emperor Palpatine and Anakin himself, Obi-Wan and the Jedi also played a role in Anakin choosing the path of the Dark Side. With influences from the Jedi and the Sith, Anakin accomplishes feats in this battle that other Force-users can only dream of, but never achieve. Obi-Wan does as well, but through the ways of the Jedi and his more extensive experience and wisdom.
  • All these elements make the battle remarkable. However, at certain points Mustafar and its many lava blasts becomes too much of the focus instead of Obi-Wan and Anakin. There’s too much of their fighting dismantling Mustafar’s infrastructure. The setting should enhance and not detract from the conflict. Mustafar enhances the conflict by serving as a metaphor for the overwhelming emotional charge at play and to raise the stakes of the battle. The battle is already intense and dangerous enough, but becomes even more so among the lava and crumbling infrastructure. At the same time, the setting becomes a bit too much of a distraction. What also detracts from this incredible fight is some of Anakin’s stilted dialogue. Powerful dialogue definitely adds a lot to many of these battles. Much of Obi-Wan’s dialogue here, particularly what he says after he defeats Anakin, is extremely powerful and heartbreaking and flows very naturally. Anakin’s stilted dialogue takes away from the believability of the scene, particularly the line “From my point of view the Jedi are evil.” With so many other strong elements, though, this lightsaber battle ends up at a pretty good spot in these rankings.

 

Image taken from http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/news/star-wars-the-force-awakens-jj-abrams-promises-lightsaber-duels-will-be-primitive-and-rougher-and-a6754296.html

All-Time Favorite Lightsaber Battles (#7-#8)

All-Time Favorite Lightsaber Battles (#7-#8)

Welcome to my first blog where I rank my all-time favorite lightsaber battles in Episodes I-VII of Star Wars! For the purposes of these rankings, a lightsaber battle is defined as at least two individuals fighting against each other with lightsabers. All individuals involved must be wielding lightsabers in their fight. So fighting or killing with lightsabers against individuals who don’t have lightsabers doesn’t count. By this definition, there are 13 lightsaber battles in Episodes I-VII of Star Wars. I have ranked them from favorite to least favorite, explaining why each battle is where it stands on this list. Of course this list is highly subjective and I’d love to hear any opinions whether they be similar, different, or anywhere in between. Enjoy!

  1. Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi vs. Count Dooku (Revenge of the Sith)
  • It’s awesome to see Obi-Wan and Anakin committed to working together against Count Dooku, a great example of what this duo is capable of when they’re on the same page. I wish Obi-Wan wasn’t removed from the battle so quickly for this reason, but I understand why that decision was made as the primary purpose of this battle is to push Anakin toward the Dark Side. Speaking of the Dark Side, it’s fascinating to watch a current Sith Lord (Dooku) battling a future Sith Lord (Anakin). Fans often debate about which Jedi or Sith are superior or inferior to each other. Here we see for ourselves whether Dooku or Anakin are ultimately more powerful. The battle is also a clear and efficient way of portraying how much Anakin has grown in his abilities and power during the Clone Wars, which is necessary in his journey to becoming Darth Vader. It’s fitting that this fight which is so integral to Anakin turning to the Dark Side sidelines Obi-Wan while Palpatine watches on and encourages Anakin to kill a defenseless Dooku.
  • Obi-Wan and his training have been crucial to keeping Anakin in a good place, but in this situation Palpatine takes the reins and guides Anakin toward the Dark Side, culminating in the highly symbolic act of murdering Dooku with both Jedi and Sith lightsabers. This fight definitely helps create the transition of Palpatine becoming Anakin’s master instead of Obi-Wan. Palpatine’s manipulation of both Dooku and Anakin runs deep in this scene. Christopher Lee’s acting is phenomenal and despite all the horrible things Dooku has done, you can’t help but feel a little sorry for him as he realizes Palpatine manipulated and betrayed him, always intending for Anakin to be his apprentice and right hand. The battle is intensely personal and intense, though the Anakin-Dooku relationship is definitely not quite as rich as relationships of other opponents on this list. In many ways it mirrors the battle between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader in Return of the Jedi, having the new apprentice defeat the old apprentice through fear, hate and anger, though not quite as epic.
  1. Rey and Finn vs. Kylo Ren/Ben Solo (The Force Awakens)
  • Every lightsaber battle contains emotional charge which heightens the conflict. But there’s an emotional charge in this particular lightsaber battle unlike any other as it almost immediately follows the death of Han Solo, arguably the most beloved character in all of Star Wars. And the individuals in this battle are all deeply tied to Han: two individuals who Han became a father figure and mentor to (Rey and Finn) and Han’s son who ruthlessly killed him (Kylo Ren/Ben Solo). These circumstances create an emotional charge for both the characters and the audience unlike any we’ve ever encountered in a lightsaber battle. That’s an astounding feat considering the significant emotional charge within every battle on this list. There’s such amplified anguish and anger in this fight for these individuals, none of whom are masters of the Force and of a lightsaber. Kylo Ren is trained in the ways of the Jedi and the Dark Side, but hasn’t completed training for either. Prior to the fight Finn only wielded a lightsaber once and there’s no concrete evidence he is Force-sensitive (though there are some that will argue this point). Rey is beginning to discover and tap into her Force-sensitive abilities, but has never wielded a lightsaber before. The fighting is more “raw” than any other lightsaber battle, but that’s partly what makes it so impressive and thrilling to see what these three young individuals are willing and capable of doing considering their lack of experience and knowledge.
  • It’s an adrenaline-fueled battle following Han’s tragic death. In the wake of such heartbreak, we need hope restored, we need to see that good can still triumph despite insurmountable odds. Rey and Finn do this by taking on the powerful Kylo Ren. The moment where Anakin and Luke’s lightsaber goes to Rey instead of Kylo Ren, Rey using her instincts and innate abilities to tap into the Force and her potential to defeat Kylo Ren . . . these are moments that give the audience what we need. The only reasons this battle is ranked seventh is because the quality of the fighting is lower than most of the others, but this makes sense as these individuals have received incomplete or no formal training. And while a beautiful friendship has blossomed between Rey and Finn, and an intriguing rivalry is beginning to form between Rey and Kylo Ren, the character relationships in this battle aren’t as rich as some others on this list. The relationships between these new characters are really well-developed in The Force Awakens, but many of the other relationships in battles on this list are the products of several movies and many years, whereas the relationships in this battle are fairly new. In time, these relationships will be just as developed and just as rich as many others on this list. And for Rey and Kylo Ren (maybe for Finn too, depends on whether or not he’ll be revealed to be Force-sensitive or not) their abilities and powers will definitely continue to grow as well. Lightsaber battles featuring Rey and Kylo Ren in Episode VIII and Episode IX will likely rank high on a future version of this list.

 

Image taken from http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/news/star-wars-the-force-awakens-jj-abrams-promises-lightsaber-duels-will-be-primitive-and-rougher-and-a6754296.html

 

 

All-Time Favorite Lightsaber Battles (#9-#11)

All-Time Favorite Lightsaber Battles (#9-#11)

Welcome to my first blog where I rank my all-time favorite lightsaber battles in Episodes I-VII of Star Wars! For the purposes of these rankings, a lightsaber battle is defined as at least two individuals fighting against each other with lightsabers. All individuals involved must be wielding lightsabers in their fight. So fighting or killing with lightsabers against individuals who don’t have lightsabers doesn’t count. By this definition, there are 13 lightsaber battles in Episodes I-VII of Star Wars. I have ranked them from favorite to least favorite, explaining why each battle is where it stands on this list. Of course this list is highly subjective and I’d love to hear any opinions whether they be similar, different, or anywhere in between. Enjoy!

  1. Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi vs. Count Dooku (Attack of the Clones)
  • Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker is one of the best duos in Star Wars. They have such a deep, complicated relationship. At this point in the story, despite their disagreements on many matters, they do respect each other and work well together. Therefore, it’s pretty disappointing to see Anakin squander the opportunity to work with Obi-Wan to battle Count Dooku, instead letting his anger get the best of him and dooming any chance he and his Master have of defeating Dooku together. Most battles on this list start off in epic fashion and are able to maintain if not heighten the epic nature as the conflict unfolds. However, Anakin’s foolish move immediately makes this fight less epic as Obi-Wan and Anakin at full strength is way better than just one of them against Dooku. What saves this battle is that we get to see how powerful and dangerous Dooku is, since prior to this point his character has been so heavily shrouded in mystery. He’s the only character other than the Emperor to have Force lightning. What also saves this battle is that individually, both Obi-Wan and Anakin are able to hold their own against Dooku. But both of their defeats are kind of disappointing as they might’ve been able to take him down if they’d worked together. This battle can also be appreciated for the role it plays in pushing Anakin toward becoming Darth Vader. But it lacks the epic nature of most of these other battles from making it less exciting from the very beginning.
  1. Emperor Palpatine/Darth Sidious vs. Mace Windu (Revenge of the Sith)
  • I didn’t include the three other Jedi masters who show up with Mace Windu because they don’t do much fighting. Almost immediately after Palpatine takes out his lightsaber and flies through the air, he dispatches all of them. That being said, the fight solely between Palpatine and Mace Windu is fascinating to watch. It’s the first time we see Palpatine use a lightsaber and the first time we see Mace Windu fight a Sith Lord. These are two of the all-time best when it comes to fighting with a lightsaber and it’s awesome to see that. The quality of the lightsaber duel is superb. This is fitting as the future of the galaxy is heavily influenced by the outcome of the duel. Why this battle ranks lower is that it doesn’t quite contain the emotional gravity and complex relationships seen in so many of the other lightsaber battles. Other than their professional dealings as Chancellor and a Jedi Master on the Jedi council, Palpatine and Mace Windu have no relationship in the movies. Furthermore, while Mace Windu is a cool badass who brings a unique perspective to the Jedi Order, I don’t care about him about as a person like I do so many of the others on this list. He’s not as developed and we don’t get to know and get attached to him as we do with many other characters on this list, and that makes me less emotionally invested in this battle. In a lot of ways this battle is less about Mace Windu and more about Palpatine becoming the Emperor of the Galactic Empire and manipulating Anakin into becoming Darth Vader. This also makes me question if Palpatine and Mace Windu are as evenly matched as they appear, and if Palpatine lets Mace Windu disarm and defeat him in order to manipulate Anakin. Even Mace Windu’s death seems to be less about him and more representative of the Jedi Order’s impending demise, and the demise of Anakin’s remaining Jedi-like qualities (until they resurface in Return of the Jedi).
  1. Yoda vs. Count Dooku (Attack of the Clones)
  • This had the potential to be among the very best lightsaber battles. The two battles between Obi-Wan and Darth Vader/Anakin rank pretty high on this list, largely because of the richness of their long-term relationship. There’s such tragedy in seeing how the master and apprentice who once had such a good relationship are now pitted against each other, with the apprentice consumed by the Dark Side. The master is devastated by what the apprentice has become, wondering what they could’ve done differently or better to prevent it from happening, remembering the apprentice younger and filled with so much hope and positive potential. There could’ve been a lot more focus on the relationship between Yoda and Count Dooku and the emotional dynamics. Yoda was Dooku’s master, but Dooku turned to the Dark Side and became a Sith Lord under the tutelage of Darth Sidious/Emperor Palpatine. This so closely mirrors the Obi-Wan and Anakin story. If the story had taken more advantage of that, developed and focused on the relationship between Yoda and Dooku more before and during the battle, this could’ve been a lot stronger.
  • Seeing Yoda using a lightsaber and fighting a Sith Lord for the first time is awesome and something long-awaited for by many Star Wars But it didn’t end up being as awesome as it could’ve been because there’s too much of a comedic tone in the way Yoda fights, particularly with the exaggerated sound effects he makes while dueling Dooku. Watching Yoda duel the Emperor without making those comedic sound effects is way more satisfying and allows the audience to focus much more on the conflict at hand. But seeing more of Yoda’s abilities with the Force and for the first time ever with a lightsaber make this a great fight, as does seeing that Dooku is so powerful that while not as powerful as Yoda, he can still hold his own against his former master.
  • I have mixed feelings about the fight’s ending. Dooku was clever to exploit Yoda’s compassion and how much he cares about his fellow Jedi, but it also feels a bit like a copout resolution. It makes sense considering Dooku’s reliance on the Dark Side and that he can’t best Yoda, so he manipulates his understanding of his old master. This is the best instance of using Yoda and Dooku’s relationship to enhance the depth of the conflict. There are a lot of great things going for this battle, but it ends up ranking lower on the list because it’s not as emotionally powerful, and things get a little too comedic with Yoda’s fighting.

Image taken from http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/news/star-wars-the-force-awakens-jj-abrams-promises-lightsaber-duels-will-be-primitive-and-rougher-and-a6754296.html

All-Time Favorite Lightsaber Battles (#12-#13)

All-Time Favorite Lightsaber Battles (#12-#13)

Welcome to my first blog where I rank my all-time favorite lightsaber battles in Episodes I-VII of Star Wars! For the purposes of these rankings, a lightsaber battle is defined as at least two individuals fighting against each other with lightsabers. All individuals involved must be wielding lightsabers in their fight. So fighting or killing with lightsabers against individuals who don’t have lightsabers doesn’t count. By this definition, there are 13 lightsaber battles in Episodes I-VII of Star Wars. I have ranked them from favorite to least favorite, explaining why each battle is where it stands on this list. I will be counting down on my list, each post covering 2-3 lightsaber battles. Of course this list is highly subjective and I’d love to hear any opinions whether they be similar, different, or anywhere in between. Enjoy!

13. Obi-Wan Kenobi vs. General Grievous (Revenge of the Sith)

While the fight between Obi-Wan and General Grievous is cool, it’s ranked last for the simple reason that neither character is able to hold onto their lightsaber very long. We know how formidable Obi-Wan can be with a lightsaber and how wise he can be with the Force—he defeated two Sith lords (Darth Maul on Naboo and Anakin/Vader on Mustafar) and he was integral in training Luke Skywalker to become the man and Jedi he became. So we know Obi-Wan is awesome. Then Grievous whips out four lightsabers and says he’s been trained by Count Dooku—a master of the Force and the lightsaber through many years as both a Jedi and Sith Lord. Thus, the showdown between Obi-Wan and Grievous seems like it’ll be amazing, an all-time great lightsaber battle in the making. But it takes Obi-Wan little time to disarm Grievous from his lightsabers. Their fight transitions into a chase scene (during which Obi-Wan loses his lightsaber) and highly physical combat on a Utapau platform before Obi-Wan ends it with a gun he summons with the Force. The fight is cool as Obi-Wan demonstrates how creative and resourceful he can be, while we also get to see Grievous—a truly unique character and unique villain in combat. In addition, Obi-Wan killing Grievous is a huge moment as the death of Grievous signifies the end of the Clone Wars and soon after, the Emperor initiates Order 66. But as a lightsaber battle it’s the weakest in the movies.

 

12. Qui-Gon Jinn vs. Darth Maul (The Phantom Menace)

  • The lightsaber action between Qui-Gon Jinn and Darth Maul on Tatooine is thrilling, intense and masterful. It’s an adrenaline-fueled, spur of the moment fight, especially for Qui-Gon. The Sith Lord and Jedi Master are well-matched in a fight that exposes the unexpected return of the Sith. This fight also makes viewers realize what a badass Darth Maul is, and that Qui-Gon is an even more powerful Jedi Knight and even more of a badass than we realized. It’s also fascinating to see Darth Maul coming so close to killing the boy who will one day become Darth Vader. The only reasons this duel ranks so low is because of how short it is, and Qui-Gon and Maul have no relationship before this battle. The relationships between combatants in the other battles often add rich layers of complexity. A longer duel between Darth Maul and Qui-Gon Jinn that takes place after this first encounter would therefore be fascinating and rank higher on this list. . .

 

Image taken from http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/news/star-wars-the-force-awakens-jj-abrams-promises-lightsaber-duels-will-be-primitive-and-rougher-and-a6754296.html