Ranking the Star Wars films

Disney + just released the first four episodes of their new series titled, ‘The Acolyte.’  According to the description found on starwars.com, the action/adventure series takes place hundreds of year prior to the Phantom Menace and the timeline that is familiar to the larger Star Wars audience. In celebration of this new series, members of The Yellow Jacket staff have compiled their rankings of the Star Wars films, specifically The Clone Wars animated film, Solo: A Star Wars Story, Rogue One and the nine Skywalker Saga films. These are the parameters of this ranking.

  • The point system is between 1-12. A film ranked as the best by one of the writers will be given 12 points, a last place film will be given one point, and same for every film in between.
  • The brief descriptions on each film is by the writer(‘s) who had the film ranked highest on their individual rankings.
  • These opinions are shared by solely the writers mentioned in this opinion editorial, and are not attempting to speak for any larger Star Wars audience. 

12. The Clone Wars Animated Film (9 Points)

* Tyler: The Clone Wars goes through the prequel era very well as the show ran from 2008-2020. The storytelling and character developments are spot on; I think this was well-needed for the saga. Although this was an animated TV series, I do think that the movie hits differently.  

11. Solo: A Star Wars Story (17 Points)

* Seth: A film with little stakes in regard to the consequences of the universe around it, yet one that has divided fans on how they portrayed one of Star Wars’ most iconic characters. Although that is an argument that is subjective to each person, what is not is how this film is to be approached. If fans see this film as nothing more than an adventure story that takes place in the Star Wars universe rather than comparing it to the larger stake Skywalker Saga films, it will be seen in a far greater light.

10. Attack of the Clones (19 Points)

* Ethan: The main reason episode two is held at the five spot is the growth of Anikan Skywalker and his relationships with both Obi Wan Kenobi and Padme are developing really well in this movie. We see the type of Jedi Anakin is becoming, but also the foreshadowing of how Anakin will accept the dark side is starting to linger.

9. The Rise of Skywalker (22 Points)

* Tyler: Although this movie is in the number seven spot, this movie isn’t much better than The Last Jedi. I feel like they rushed the plot and didn’t have a complete conclusion for the Skywalker Saga but rather gave nostalgic factors to the fans. The only thing that puts this movie higher than The Last Jedi for me is the CGI and special effects.  

8. The Phantom Menace (23 Points)

* Seth: Excluding the obvious detractors the film has such as Jar Jar being heavily included and vital to the plot for the Naboo portion of the film, TPM gives the audience so much to sink its teeth into, such as arguably the greatest lightsaber dual in the saga, the pod racing portion of the film and on an underrated note, the approach of how the Jedi view the Sith, and the dogmatic view many had that lead to their eventual downfall. To add to this, The Clone Wars and Tales of the Jedi have done much to add tension and emotion when viewing this film in a modern-day context.

7. The Last Jedi (25 Points) 

* Ethan: This is the first of the not original six listed. Seeing everything unfold with Rey and Ben Solo, whether it is dealing with the first order or what appears maybe a love connection between them is displayed and executed really well. Also having Luke Skywalker return to help train Rey then make a shocking appearance with master Yoda then to the rebel fleet to help his sister Leia and face Ben Solo was top notch. The last 20 minutes of this movie are a top moment in the Star Wars saga no question.

6. Rogue One (36 Points)

* Seth: There are some glaring criticisms of the film that have persisted to this day. The protagonists are not the easiest to invest in, the first two acts are not considered to be on the same caliber as the final third and for some, the story is one that was not needed. However, as a fan who is enamored by the world building of Star Wars, this film introduced the larger audience to Saw Gerrara, Cassius Andor and Orsen Krenik, all of whom appear in other Star Wars media, with Andor notably getting his own show! For the third act and the world building alone does this film get ranked in the upper half.

* Tyler: Rogue One gives a somewhat unique storyline of the Rebel Alliance’s quest to see and take the plans of the Death Star. This movie is different from all the other movies, but it is a new look to the saga which I like. They went bold with this movie and they for sure nailed it. 

* Joseph: Getting to the films I enjoy watching all the time. Telling a refreshing story about a mission that we all have heard about but nothing was ever seen was something I was very excited about. This was also my first time experiencing a full theater reacting to something now one has ever seen before, which holds a special place in my heart. And this should go without saying but, Darth Vader hallway scene.

5. The Force Awakens (37 Points)

* Tyler: This movie is special to me because I remember going to see this movie in theaters with my family and that is why this is ranked high on my list. It also introduces brand-new characters and gives great callbacks to the original trilogy. It is something new to the saga and I like everything about it.  

4. A New Hope (47 Points)

* Tyler: One of my favorite films of the saga because of how the story is told. From going through Luke Skywalker’s life as a kid to planet Tatooine to a hero and the new at the time special effects and iconic characters make this a must-see thriller in the saga. I 100% recommend watching this film if you are getting into Star Wars! 

* Joseph: George Lucas being a misunderstood film maker out of UCLA according to achievement.com,  having a concept of space battles amongst a teen, hermit, smuggler, a walking dog that was seven feet tall, a princess with buns as hair and an evil cyborg that need a mask to breath was shut down by every movie corporation, until 20th Century gave it a shot, making $775 million in its box office appearance according to statistica.com, which proved to all the doubters that Lucas had something. Being an avid fan of the universe, all this knowledge I know by heart as it inspires me to continue to advance myself in life, so that is why I have the beginning of amazement at number two.

3. Revenge of the Sith (49 Points)

* Seth: A film that does not lack a pace that will keep any fan captivated, and even for those who saw the original trilogy first, they are still captivated by the stakes at hand. Between how Palpatine/Sidious goes on to betray Dooku, how the Clone Wars comes to an end, how the Jedi are wiped out and how Darth Vader became to be. With the media that has come since, notably in season seven of The Clone Wars show, it only amplifies the emotions felt throughout this modern day epic.

* Brett: In my opinion, this movie has it all. We see how the Jedi fell, how Anakin turned dark, and how Luke and Leia are born. This movie also sees the two most powerful characters of all time, Emperor Palpatine and Yoda, duke it out in the most underrated lightsaber battle in Star Wars history. Of course, there is also the iconic Obi-Wan vs Anakin fight where having the higher ground was advantageous.

* Ethan: While it was the last movie to be made of the original six, episode three sits at the number one spot due to its execution of the plot. Viewers see Anikin Skywalker start to truly descend to the dark side and watch his and the Jedi’s downfall all around. According to boxofficemojo.com, the movie made over $380 million dollars in theaters. This is also the most of any original six Star Wars movies.

2. Return of the Jedi (50 Points)

* Ethan: This movie in the timeline of the star wars universe caps off a fantastic storyline where Luke Skywalker is able to with the help of Darth Vader kill Lord Sidious and essentially save his father from the dark side, one that he was convinced would save himself and his wife Padme.

1. The Empire Strikes Back (56 Points)

* Tyler: If you all think Episode IV: A New Hope is good, wait until you get to this one. Everything about this film is remarkable and keeps you on the edge of your seat for the entire movie! The character developments and one of the greatest plot twists in cinema history puts this at the top of my list. 

* Joseph: And when you strike gold, might as well keep going and find more gold along with diamonds and all the best things ever because this sequel, in my opinion, is the best sequel to a movie ever. Hands down, the love story between Leia and Han, the struggle of Luke in finding himself and having to face the continued evil of Vader is spectacular. And the twist at the end, “I am your father” is one of the biggest twists ever and I wish I was in the theaters in 1980 with a packed audience witnessing this for the first time. That would be incredible.