Ever since Luke Skywalker first activated his father’s lightsaber in 1977’s A New Hope, Star Wars fans have been obsessed with the sci-fi laser swords wielded by Jedi and Sith alike. Of course, there are plenty of other reasons to love Star Wars — the characters, the different alien races, the space combat — but lightsaber duels have always been a staple of the franchise and often play an important role in the climax of each movie.
With eight (and counting) live-action films in the franchise now, the lightsaber battle has changed quite dramatically since its inception. This makes ranking them a somewhat difficult task, as some fans prefer the more technical style of the prequel trilogy clashes, while others enjoy the rough simplicity of the ones featured in the earlier films. I think it will become clear which style I prefer as you read through the list, but that doesn’t make my rankings “correct” by any means, as this is a completely subjective thing.
Here are all 17 lightsaber battles ranked from worst to best. Please feel free to sound off in the comments with your own personal favorites and which ones you could do without!
*Note: Even though it’s arguably the coolest scene to feature a lightsaber, I decided not to include the Darth Vader hallway scene from Rogue One, mostly because it’s more of a slaughter than an actual fight. Pour one out for those unfortunate Rebel soldiers who found themselves in the wrong corridor …
17. Finn vs. Stormtrooper (The Force Awakens)
Considering how brief this encounter is, not to mention the fact that one of the combatants doesn’t even have a lightsaber, it’s debatable whether the duel between Finn and Stormtrooper TR-8R even qualifies as a lightsaber battle. That being said, I’ve decided to include it because TR-8R’s weapon resembles a lightsaber just enough to fulfill the arbitrary parameters I’ve set out for this list. Overall, this battle isn’t anything special, as it’s over way too quickly and it’s not exactly exciting to watch Finn flounder around and get his butt handed to him by a Stormtrooper who’s not even using a lightsaber (although the fact that the First Order’s Z6 Riot Control Baton can block lightsaber attacks is admittedly pretty cool). Really, the highlight of this entire fight is seeing Finn activate his lightsaber, as it’s the first time we’ve seen Anakin’s lightsaber since it (and Luke’s hand) were lost during The Empire Strikes Back.