Written By Austin Hall (@ADWAustin)
As we’ve delved into the lore and glory that is Star Wars and our many lists, the series would not be complete without talking about the actual wars in the stars. Though there were, in reality, three actual wars (the Clone Wars, the Galactic Civil War, the Resistance vs. the First Order), many battles were fought between all three, and with that, I give you the nine best Star Wars battles.
9. Starkiller Base — Episode VII — The Force Awakens
The Force Awakens had an almost impossible task: make the first movie in the sequel trilogy universally beloved. This was especially daunting after the prequel trilogy garnered such hate from die-hard fans. In this movie, Starkiller Base, an homage to Luke Skywalker’s original name, was another Death Star, something so unoriginal that even Han Solo scoffed at it. Still, it showed us an up-close look at how destruction wreaks havoc on a planet, and it included an intense lightsaber battle, so it gets points for that.
8. Battle of Naboo — Episode I — The Phantom Menace
Though heavily CGI’ed to the point of almost cringe, the battle between the Gungans and the Trade Federation battle droids gave us our first large-scale battle in the prequel trilogy. It amounted, for better or worse, as another example of Jar-Jar Binks failing upwards as he miraculously stayed alive even though he seemed to try really hard not to. Even so, it served a much bigger purpose than Starkiller Base, because this was the first time we see the beginning of the end of the Jedi Order.
7. Order 66 — Episode III — Revenge of the Sith
Not much of a battle but the beginning of the end of one, the Clone Wars. After Order 66 was ordered by Darth Sidious (aka Sheev Palpatine), Clone troopers turned their backs on the Jedi without a second thought. It’s the fall of the Jedi and the rise of Darth Vader, along with the killing of Jedi younglings, that was easily one of the hardest scenes to watch in the saga, and made everyone from the Separatists to the Galactic Republic mere pawns in Palpatine’s game.
6. Crait — Episode IX — The Last Jedi
It’s been fairly clear, either through our podcast or in this blog series, that I am a huge fan of The Last Jedi, so I don’t think it should be surprising to see this battle rated so highly. The red and white salt earth of the planet, along with huge First Order machines blasting quite clunky Resistance ones was quite a scene, and the Resistance just barely escaped with their lives. Luckily, all of our main characters continued to live on as the Millenium Falcon flew away from Kylo Ren and his new First Order minions.
5. The Battle of Endor — Episode VI — The Return of the Jedi
Ewoks are cute teddy bears, and many fans did not like them ( As our own Brandon Kesselly notes, the reason for this was that they were supposed to be Wookies. Fans had HUGE issues with the idea of having a Chewbacca army replaced by teddy bears). Still, you must find some humor in these small creatures taking down Imperial stormtroopers with ease thanks to their contraptions. It included a scene where Han was saved by Princess Leia; Chewbacca, the OG wookie, driving a AT-ST to the amusement of a bunch of Ewoks; and a forest moon that was the setting of a galactic party.
4. Battle of Geonosis — Episode II — Attack of the Clones
The beginning of the Clone Wars saw the Republic use Clone troopers that were created under mysterious reasons to fight the Separatist’s army. But, it isn’t just the show and stand-alone movie that made it so important. For the first time, in Attack of the Clones, Anakin Skywalker faces a better opponent with no more than an extra lightsaber after Obi-Wan Kenobi goes down. This battle also includes Jedi Master Mace Windu entering the coliseum to save Obi-Wan and Anakin (Padmé Amidala was just fine), the army of Jedi versus the droids, and Yoda storming the battle with the Clones themselves. It would have been nice to see more of this battle on the big screen, but it still finds its way onto the upper echelons of great battles.
3. Death Star Part Two — Episode VI — Return of the Jedi
I think what makes this battle (which is also a part of the Battle of Endor) so great for me is the fact that we see not just an onslaught of starships crashing into each other, but we also see the Millennium Falcon nearly escape the neon blue light of an exploding Death Star from the inside out. It also doesn’t hurt that we see Palpatine go down in the same neon light. And to think we all thought this was his end.
2. Hoth — Episode V — The Empire Strikes Back
The icy planet of Hoth served as the backdrop for a Rebel Alliance that had to continue to jump to hyperspace from planet to planet, and here, amongst the unforgiving snow, they just got away from the clutches of the Galactic Empire.
1. Battle of Yavin — Episode IV — A New Hope
The final battle of the first movie ever to hit theaters, it ended, quite literally, with a bang. The new hero, Luke, used the Force to blast two torpedoes right into an external exhaust port, causing a chain reaction and destroying the planet-erasing battleship. It was the culmination of what Star Wars would become.
How do you feel about our list? What does yours look like? Which is your favorite scene? Star Wars: Episode IX — The Rise of Skywalker arrives in theaters December 20, 2019. Hopefully, this will bring a new contender for future lists!