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It is an elegant weapon for a more civilized age. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for top 10 Star Wars lightsaber battles.
For this list, we’re looking at the most memorable and awesome battles featuring lightsabers in Star Wars franchise history. We’ll be looking at live-action and animation, as well as movies and TV. Battles from the novels and comic books are not up for consideration. Also, there may be a few spoilers ahead, so SPOILER ALERT.
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#10: Anakin Skywalker vs. Asajj Ventress “Star Wars: Clone Wars” (2003-05)
Asajj Ventress was initially designed by the art department for Episode 2 but she didn’t actually make her debut until the first animated Clone Wars series. After she receives instructions from Darth Sidious to attack and kill Anakin, it is revealed that he believes he has sent her to die as a test of Anakin’s skills. With sequences where the two combatants fight mid-air during a series of leaps, as well as more deliberate face-to-face moments, this altercation has seems to have it all—including a dramatic ending.
#9: Darth Maul & Savage Opress vs. Obi-Wan Kenobi & Adi Gallia “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” (2008-14)
What do you get when you add two Sith lords and two Jedi masters? One dead Jedi, apparently. When this bout begins, things seem relatively evenly matched. But before long, it becomes clear that that is not at all the case. When Maul’s older brother and Adi Gallia separate and face off, it’s one of the quickest and most one-sided affairs in lightsaber history. Managing to hold her own with him for mere moments after an ineffective kick, she meets her end when she is literally stabbed in the back.
#8: Obi-Wan Kenobi vs. General Grievous “Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith” (2005)
We know what you’re thinking: how could a duel featuring a four-armed creature with a lightsaber in each hand be so low on the list? That just goes to show how many kickass saber contests there’ve been. Each weapon the general possesses signifies a Jedi he defeated, so the deck is definitely stacked against our hero Obi-Wan—especially with Grievous’ propeller-like blade action keeping him at bay. But, once he begins to “disarm” the general of his weapons—and, well, literally—things even out and everything ends quickly.
#7: Darth Sidious vs. Savage Opress & Darth Maul “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” (2008-14)
Of any clash on this list, this one reveals the most about how the Sith lords work. These two brothers yet again make our list, this time going up against Darth Sidious, the once and future Emperor who happens to be Maul’s master. Despite their superiority in number, the two men never appear to pose a true threat to the much older Sidious, who ultimately kills his former apprentice’s brother—and then laughs.
#6: Yoda vs. Count Dooku “Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones” (2002)
For years, fans had salivated at the idea of finally seeing the great Jedi master Yoda in battle, but we didn’t think we’d ever get to see it until this epic matchup. Few fans predicted the awesome acrobatics Master Yoda would employ to gain an advantage over his much larger opponent. Struggling in with a walking stick and looking small and weak, he instead shows great strength and his adversary ultimately flees once realizes he is outmatched.
#5: Luke Skywalker vs. Darth Vader “Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi” (1983)
The fastest paced exchange from the original trilogy, this fight was punctuated by the calm conversation that takes place between the combatants and their lone spectator. However, this scene was never about the action—though there are some great examples of that. No, what we love most about this battle is the palpable tension and emotion that’s been building over the course of three movies finally coming to an end. The reveal that Vader’s hand is also cybernetic is perhaps the simplest yet most compelling and symbolic part of the entire sequence.
#4: Yoda vs. Darth Sidious “Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith” (2005)
When the Empire struck back in 1980 and we met Yoda for the first time, it became clear to fans everywhere that the leaders of the two sides of the force were the little green guy and the Emperor. However, the idea of seeing the two come to blows never seemed possible. But then episode three came out 25 years later, we finally got the fight we never knew we wanted. And it was awesome.
#3: Luke Skywalker vs. Darth Vader “Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back” (1980)
For many people all over the world, Vader was the personification of evil and Luke was the hero we all loved when this film came out. The visual of the two shrouded in darkness, surrounded by smoke and shadow, with the glow of their lightsabers swinging back and forth was exhilarating and frightening all at once. Slow paced and methodical, with Vader seemingly toying with his much younger and less trained foe, this fight did not end quickly. But, we wouldn’t change a single thing about this scene—and nobody else should either.
#2: Qui-Gon Jinn & Obi-Wan Kenobi vs. Darth Maul “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace” (1999)
When episode one was released, there was a great deal of disappointment and dissatisfaction among the Star Wars fan base. But there was one new addition that most loved: Darth Maul. Athletic, cool-looking and agile, Maul was a Sith lord unlike any we had ever seen before—and we haven’t even gotten to his double-bladed saber yet. When we finally get the chance to see him in battle, it’s awesome. Taking on two Jedi knights simultaneously, the action moves faster than Star Wars had ever moved before—and we love it.
Before we unsheathe our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- Mace Windu vs. Darth Sidious, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005)
- Obi-Wan Kenobi vs. Darth Vader, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977)
- Anakin Skywalker vs. Count Dooku, Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002)
- Obi-Wan Kenobi & Asajj Ventress vs. Darth Maul & Savage Opress, Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008-14)
- Obi-Wan Kenobi & Anakin Skywalker vs. Count Dooku, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005)
#1: Obi-Wan Kenobi vs. Anakin Skywalker “Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith” (2005)
It doesn’t get better than this. Lengthy and expansive, this contest between a teacher and his pupil is by far the largest in scope of the entire series. The two former friends attack each other viciously, while Obi-Wan pleads for Anakin to see the error of his ways—despite his knowledge that it is far too late for that. In the end, it’s Anakin’s hubris that is his ultimate undoing, when he can’t overcome Kenobi and ultimately has his legs severed and his body badly burned as a result. The making of an epic villain.
Do you agree with our list? Which is your favorite lightsaber battle? For more sci-fi top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.