Princess Leia or Queen Amidala? Jar Jar Binks or Chewbacca? Han Solo or Qui-Gon Jinn? These are some of the serious questions many of us “Star Wars” nerds ponder when asked to rank the seven films in the “Star Wars” series. And an eighth film in the expanding universe, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” opens on December 16, so where that ranks among the “Star Wars” canon remains to be seen. Scroll through our gallery above, and vote in our poll below to let us know if you agree with our rankings.
Are you an old-school traditionalist that grew up with the original trilogy? Or are you an unabashed George Lucas loyalist who appreciates the often maligned prequels? Or was your faith in the Force restored in all of its giddy glory when J.J. Abrams’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” reboot introduced a whole new generation to Jedi, wookiees and the dark side?
“Star Wars” has been a remarkably consistent presence in popular culture ever since the then-simply titled “Star Wars” (now known as “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope”) premiered in theaters in 1977. The saga has enthralled generations of devoted audiences like no other film franchise arguably ever has (or ever will).
For many fans and critics, the first sequel, “Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back” (1980), is considered the best in the series. “Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi” (1983) also has its legion of fans, and even Lucas’s prequels (“Episode I – The Phantom Menace” from 1999, “Episode II – Attack of the Clones” from 2002 and “Episode III – Revenge of the Sith” from 2005) have some enthusiasts, despite general consensus that they were disappointing.
And last year, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” garnered surprisingly exultant reviews from usually jaded critics, many of whom applauded not only the film’s technical and creative excellence, but also its return to the pure joy and wonder that the original trilogy inspired.
As fans across the globe deliriously anticipate the release of “Rogue One,” a new standalone “Star Wars” about Rebel spies who try to steal the Empire’s Death Star plans, let’s look back over the last seven films in the “Star Wars” saga and rank them from worst to best. Which film is number-one?