Last week, the trailer for Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens shattered records, achieving over 34 million views in the first 24 hours online, and over 88 million views in the first week. With all that hype surrounding the next motion picture in the Star Wars franchise, we take a look back a long long time ago and definitively rank the previous six entries to the Star Wars saga from worst to best. Be warned, this list contains numerous spoilers.


6. Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones

We hear brief mention of The Clone Wars in “A New Hope,” but this is our first real glimpse of it — an underwhelming, overhyped glimpse. The middle child of the prequel trilogy, there really isn’t much to praise about “Attack of the Clones.” Although the cast has proved solid in other films, the performances here becomes hindered by a terrible script and inauthentic green screen set design. Filled with overblown CGI set pieces, constant attempts to tie back to the original films, and a god awful love story, Episode II is an exercise in style over substance; Hayden Christiansen’s angsty Anakin Skywalker actually detracts from the cool factor of Darth Vader.


5. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

Audiences waited 16 years to see the Star Wars universe brought back to life on the big screen. They wanted grandiose sci-fi action, interesting characters, and a profound battle between good and evil; what they got was a boring exercise in intergalactic politics. Despite some solid action sequences — the perfectly choreographed lightsaber duel with Darth Maul, and the exciting but ultimately unnecessary pod race — the film spends an absurd amount of time dealing in politics and trade agreements. In short, it’s boring; don’t even get us started on Jar Jar Binks.


4. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

While not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, Lucasfilm managed to end the prequel trilogy on a high note in 2005 with “Revenge of the Sith”. Spending less time on boring politics, the film gives us the uneven transformation of Anakin Skywalker into Darth Vader. As usual, the love story and CGI prove detrimental, and the detours into the conflict with General Grievous become tedious; however unlike the previous installments, this film does a far better job of keeping the action personal and providing a decent catharsis for the Anakin/ Obi-Wan relationship.


3. Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

This could prove a divisive choice; Return of the Jedi is a classic in it’s own right, but it simply is not as good as the other two installments of the original trilogy. The film peaks in it’s first act: the rescue of Han-Solo from Jabba the Hutt. It does so many things right, but once the Ewoks are introduced on Endor, and Luke goes to the Death Star, the film cannot decide if it wants to be dark or family friendly. The three-front climax is handled extremely well in terms of pacing, but ultimately the film suffers from serious tonal inconsistency.


2. Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

The one that started it all; “A New Hope” took the world by storm in 1977, setting the stage for everything that would come after. A quintessential hero’s journey, the film relies on smaller scale set pieces than later “Star Wars” films, but works so well because of the perfect ensemble of characters. Here, we see Luke at his most naive, Han at his most ruthless, and Vader at his most mysterious.


1. Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

Could it have been anything else? The Empire Strikes Back has arguably the greatest twist in cinematic history: “I am your father”. After the success of A New Hope, the filmmakers took things to a bigger, more intense, and much darker place. Looking back it’s amazing how well the practical effects of the film hold up — the entire opening stretch on Hoth maintains a constant feeling of tension and suspense.



Do you agree with this list? What is your favorite “Star Wars” film? Comment below or tweet @connerws to nerd out with us!