From Worst to Best: Lightsabering

At this site, ( I discovered a posting of every Star Wars lightsaber duel. After watching through all of them, I decided to do the natural fan boy response and rank them- counting down from the worst to the best. Keep in mind this is only lightsaber to lightsaber fighting- no slashing down people with guns. This is just the list from the above website plus one.

11) Obi-Wan vs. General Grievous (Ep.III)

Not included on the posted videos, and probably for a good reason. This was by far the most disappointing duel in the series. Like me, I’m sure everyone else saw the previews and thought, “Holy fucking testicles! Not one, not two, but FOUR lightsabers!” Once the movie comes along, we first have to deal with the fact that Grievous’ most menacing trait is his crippling asthma. Then come duel time, all he can do is spin the damn things like helicopter blades for about 10 seconds before two of his arms are lopped off. Lame.

10) Yoda vs. Count Dooku (Ep. II)

Sure, when we first saw this, we were all pretty damn excited. We’d never seen the little green guy fight, and this was our big chance. In retrospect, though, this fight really has nothing going for it. It’s short and pointless. Yoda flips and jumps far more than he has any reason to, and Christopher Lee… well… no matter what, Christopher Lee is still in his eighties, and will still move like someone in his eighties.

9) Obi Wan and Anakin vs. Count Dooku, Round 2 (Ep. III)

I really wanted to rank this higher, especially considering Dooku’s brutal loss of first hands than head, but there are a handful of glaringly awkward moments that plague all of the prequels. Palpatine cheering on Obi-Wan as he tears up some droids, the very bizarre sight of a bridge crushing an unconscious Obi-Wan, and a handful of just silly lines like, “Master Chancellor, Sith Lords are our speciality”

8 ) Obi-Wan and Anakin vs. Count Dooku, Round 1 (Ep. II)

Not too much different from number 9. The one thing that shoves this up one notch higher is Anakin losing his hand. At this moment any good fan said “OMFG! A parallel!” and then shit his or her pants.

7) Mace Windu vs. Palpatine (Ep. III)

When Mace and a few red shirted Jedi friends come to arrest Palpatine for being a jerk, the soon-to-be Emperor slices up everyone who isn’t a badass motherfucker as easily as if they were stormtroopers. The ensuing Purple on Red battle is pretty amusing, but the coolest shot is by far right after the two opponents follow through on a swing against a window: the glass shatters while the two briefly hold their poses. Anakin pretty much ruins this scene at the end with a completely unconvincing transformation to evil, but the actual fighting is pretty awesome.

6) Yoda vs. Palpatine (Ep. III)

What a great fight scene, but goddamn is the dialogue hammy. (“Not if anything to say about it… I HAVE!”) I also have to note that while the dueling is enjoyable, the thing that really makes this fight is when the Emperor starts chucking the Senate seats at Yoda.

5) Obi-Wan vs. Darth Vader (Ep. IV)

This is probably the stiffest of the fights, and maybe as a fight it’s actually the least interesting to watch, especially considering how Obi-Wan is deliberately “struck down so [he] will become more powerful than you can imagine.” The reason this gets to hold the number five spot is for the great bits of dialogue and because it’s such an important moment in the world of Star Wars.

4) Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon vs. Darth Maul (Ep. I)

This is literally the only good thing about this movie. The double-sided lightsaber doesn’t only look awesome, it’s actually used to it’s full potential- less like a sword and more like a bowstaff. The stunt are very impressive. The CGI doesn’t call much attention to itself. And impressively this is the only lightsaber fight to end with not one, but two deaths of characters. Sure, in the grand scheme of things, did Qui-Gon and Darth Maul really add anything to the series? Not really. Other than this fight, and the always enjoyable presence of Liam Neeson.

3) Anakin vs. Obi-Wan (Ep. III)

A very intense battle fought on one of the galaxy’s crappier planets- this marks the only fight against two people with the same color lightsabers. Perhaps it’s just because this fight is between two young actors, but this is probably the fastest and the most vicious fight in the series. Despite Hayden Christensen’s best efforts, Ewan MacGregor gives the scene the necessary acting intensity. Example: Anakin: “Well from my perspective, the Jedi are evil.” (Delivered as if to say, “Well sir, while I don’t agree with what you say, I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.) This is followed with Obi-Wan yelling, desperately and heart-broken “THEN YOU ARE LOST!” I’m still scratching my head as to why Obi-Wan didn’t put Anakin out of his misery at the end. I always figured it would make more sense if . But oh well.

2) Luke vs. Darth Vader, round 2 (Ep. VI)

The great thing about the duels againt Vader (while in the suit, none of this Hayden Christensen nonsense) is his menacing presence. The Emperor has done his best to weaken Luke’s will, but once the lightsabers come out, Vader picks up the slack. His taunting of Luke in James Earl Jones’ voice is so effective, that by the time Luke springs out with a “NOOOO!!!” You hate him just as much as Luke does. Where this fight really succeeds is in Mark Hamill. He does slowly give into his hate, and switches from his zen-like state to fighting viciously and angry, to the point where Vader is on the ground and he’s just hacking at his arm mercilessly. A far more convincing transformation than Anakin’s.

1) Luke vs. Darth Vader, round 1 (Ep. V)

The best film also has the best fight. Everything is great about this scene. Setting the battle in the carbon freezing chamber makes for perfect atmospheric smoke and dramatic lighting. It also creates extra bits of collateral damage as the sabers slice through pipes and kick up sparks. And of course, it concludes with the most important moment in the series (as if I need to tell you, “I am your father”). Luke enters the battle so sure of himself, altogether too eager to crush evil with his newfound Jedi skills, and leaves with his world completely devastated. Great fight, great movie.


7 Comments on “From Worst to Best: Lightsabering”

  1. psycholarry says:

    Vader is essentially Father in German or Dutch, how did no one piece this together before the end of Empire?

  2. disagreement: Vader vs. Obi-Wan should be below Sidious vs. Mace and Yoda vs. Sidious on sheer visual flair. The episode IV fight is important in an plot/thematic way but it so BORING to watch.

  3. showmescifi says:

    the Anakin vs Obi Wan fight was by far the longest lightsaber duel ever. How you could rank it anywhere besides number 1 is beyond me.

  4. titocf says:

    Disagreements noted. But I stand behind my rankings.

  5. just because he fight is the longest doesn’t make it the best stage nor the most dramatic. that honor goes of course to the empire fight. i great enjoy the final confrontation in episode iii BUT find all of the lava jumping by the end to get a bit drawn out.

  6. psycholarry says:

    Plus the emotional force (haha) of the empire fight was much stronger than the somewhat ham-fisted turn of the episode III fight. That mostly has to do with poor acting though.

  7. thomas says:

    i gotta say your kinda correct in my opinion, but i think that greivous should be 10, with darthvader and obiwan,(4th movie) as 11, even though it has great lines, but the only thing they were doing was holding there swords on one side, (and greorge lucas said so himself, that it was a cyborg man and an old man, wich isnt mich of a battle at all)

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