We’re still buzzing from the release of 2015’s Star Wars trilogy movie, The Force Awakens, and we imagine you are too. It featured just about everything fans could have hoped for: New characters joining Han, Leia, and Chewbacca, the Millenium Falcon dodging TIE Fighters, and not one, but two, memorable lightsaber duels in the closing minutes. Each of the Star Wars trilogy movies contains at least one climactic lightsaber showdown, so it’s worth looking back on the history of the franchise’s best duels in a definitive ranking.
Before moving forward though, it’s worth acknowledging the also-rans (mostly from Revenge of the Sith): Mace Windu vs. Darth Sidious, Yoda vs. Darth Sidious, and Obi-Wan/Anakin tag-teaming against Count Dooku. That leaves us with the 10 remaining showdowns that in a lot of ways, have come to define the Star Wars universe.
10. Darth Maul vs. Pre Vizsla, Star Wars: Clone Wars
Many would expect Darth Maul’s battle with Qui Gon Jinn and Obi Wan Kenobi to make this list, but in fact the most entertaining Maul-related lightsaber showdown took place during the Clone Wars cartoon series. To understand why, we need only observe the stakes here: Pre Vizsla, a native Mandilorian having just seized control of his planet’s throne, finds himself challenged to single combat by the recently resurrected Darth Maul (an infinitely more interesting version than the one who appeared in Episode I). The stakes here were clear: If Maul wins, an entire planet is subjected to his tyrannical rule.
For the Phantom Menace fight between the Sith Lord and Jedi, it’s a 5-minute hyper-choreographed snoozefest, where victory for either side really changes nothing in the wider scheme of the film. We have no real idea of who Darth Maul is, or even why he needs to be stopped, and the end result is an underwhelming climax to an already weak movie.