Timeline Breakdown - The Top Ten Star Wars Lightsaber Duels

Jobi-Wan

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Hey there, Rebelscum fans! This week we’ve been talking about the lava rock of Mustafar, which is inspiring our countdown today of the best lightsaber duels in the franchise. Check out our “Expand Your Mind” article from earlier in the week to read more about the Mustafar sequence in particular. Throughout the week we’ll be dropping more articles, insights, videos, and information on the best merchandising content that you’ll want to look out for.

Anakin and Obi-Wan's lightsaber duel is certainly an epic sequence, and many fans may cite it as the greatest lightsaber duel in the franchise’s history. It’s certainly tough to narrow it all down! The Expanded Universe and Legends timelines have only expanded the great options, but today we’re focusing on the twelve theatrically released films. The shows, games, books, and comics will have to wait until another article!

We want to share our top picks, but more importantly, we want to hear from you! Which duel is your favorite? Here are ours, ranked:

Honorable mentions:
  • Obi-Wan Kenobi vs. General Grievous (Revenge of the Sith)
  • Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi vs. Count Dooku (Revenge of the Sith)
  • Anakin Skywalker vs. Count Dooku (Star Wars: The Clone Wars)
  • Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi vs. Count Dooku (Attack of the Clones)
  • Rey vs. Kylo Ren (The Rise of Skywalker)

10. Yoda vs. Count Dooku (Attack of the Clones)
Yoda reveals his lightsaber skills for the first time to duel Dooku, who's just been revealed as his fallen former padawan.


9. Obi-Wan Kenobi vs. Darth Vader (A New Hope)
While it's not quite as fast paced as the later highs the franchise would soar to, but Obi-Wan’s first duel with Vader is pivotal in showing what lightsaber content looks like for the first time.


8. Yoda vs. Darth Sidious (Revenge of the Sith)
Yoda’s second duel sees him finally facing off against the Emperor. We rank this one *slightly* lower, simply because the majority of the battle is using the Force.


7. Rey and Finn vs. Kylo Ren (The Force Awakens)
After Kylo Ren brutalizes Finn, Rey finally unleashes her Force abilities when she takes hold of the Skywalker family’s heirloom weapon.


6. Anakin Skywalker vs. Obi-Wan Kenobi (Revenge of the Sith)
The most ambitious and most violent battle between master and apprentice is an emotionally devastating experience.


5. Rey and Kylo Ren vs. the Praetorian Guards (The Last Jedi)
Perhaps every fan wouldn’t count this one as an official “lightsaber duel,” but the aftermath of one of the saga’s greatest twists features stunning choreography as the new allies Rey and Kylo Ren work together to defeat Snoke’s guards.


4. Luke Skywalker vs. Kylo Ren (The Last Jedi)
Luke bests his nephew without violence and manages to give the Resistance a chance to escape. A true tribute to the lessons he learned from Yoda on Dagobah decades earlier.


3. Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn vs. Darth Maul (The Phantom Menace)
The most elaborate stunt work in the entire franchise is on display during this relentless fight, which for a while seemed like it was the end of Darth Maul.


2. Luke Skywalker vs. Darth Vader (Return of the Jedi)
This was actually the first lightsaber duel to use music; John Williams’s score echoes as Luke battles his father, the Emperor, and his own Dark side.


1. Luke Skywalker vs. Darth Vader (The Empire Strikes Back)
It’s the pinnacle moment of the entire franchise and the greatest twist in film history. Luke’s eagerness to rush into battle gets him in over his head as he hears the truth.

What do you think, Rebelscum fans? What is your favorite lightsaber duel? How does the Mustafar battle rank for you? Let us know below, and as always, may the Force be with you!

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Totally missing one of the finest: Qui-Gon vs. Maul on Tatooine. It's top 5 for me and anything is better than the garbage choreography and physical farces that the ST put to film. The fact that there is no setup time, just the breadcrumbs of Maul's seeker drones trying to find the Jedi and it jumps right into the action immediately. No dumb dialogue (looking at YOU, Anakin!), no crappy CGI (it's actually very good CGI once the ship takes off), no posturing, just straight in without getting a chance to breathe. I think this is actually the most underrated lightsaber duel of the entire series - no one ever talks about it. The green and red blades clashing in the swirling sands is such a fantastic visual, it kind of looks like poetry (see George, it DOES rhyme!).

When Qui-Gon finally deactivates his lightsaber you can tell he was pushed and Maul only had one blade extended the entire fight, not even showing his full potential. I also love the visual of Obi-Wan looking on from the Queen's ship from a more bird's eye view through the cockpit glass (though the urgency doesn't feel real - you can tell they were looking at green screen and it shows there). That takes the whole scene down a notch comparatively against masterpieces like Luke vs. Vader (both times). It's probably my third favorite behind the originals, then Obi-Wan vs. Vader. It's capped off so nicely by the ship getting away, but Maul still remains standing and the shot from behind as he deactivates his saber is the perfect end cap to the fight.
 
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