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Home » Star Wars » Star Wars: Literature & Expanded Universe » Ranking the Lightsaber Duels

Ranking the Lightsaber Duels
Started by: SunRazer

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Back From The Dead

Registered: Apr 2015
Location: The distant past


Ranking the Lightsaber Duels

Probably gonna be controversial again, but here's my list.

1. Luke vs Vader (RotJ) The last segment in particular is by far the best sequence of any lightsaber duel. Some choppy fighting but it's better than in ESB and this is the one fight where OT fans can truly claim that the sheer emotion behind it all makes up for the deficiencies in choreography. Stakes were clear, plenty of emotion, and the atmosphere is the best of any fight.

2. Obi-Wan vs Anakin (RotS) Definitely could've been the greatest fight ever but it's let down by some bad dialogue and being overextended. Otherwise, the stakes were clear, the atmosphere was strong, and the fighting itself was impressive. The emotional atmosphere is slightly let down by the general deficiencies of the PT.

3. Luke vs Vader (ESB) Basically the RotJ one with lesser everything, bar choreography. A couple of nice scenes like Vader implementing TK, and I liked the progression from Vader toying with Luke to beginning to fight him like a true opponent. The setting and atmosphere in those early scenes is very good.

4. Sidious vs Yoda (RotS) Very good atmosphere and setting, with very real stakes. The music complemented the fight very well but the fight never relied too much on it. The part with Palpatine and Yoda battling as the Chancellor's podium rises through all the floors, and the part with the Emperor hurling all of the pods are exceptionally good. Start of the fight was a bit lackluster, though.

5. Rey vs Kylo Ren (TFA) Bit like TPM where the stakes didn't feel as high as the top three, but it was definitely a more emotional encounter with a good atmosphere. The choreography was a bit lackluster but they're moving away from the overchoreographed PT fights.

6. Maul vs Qui-Gon & Obi-Wan (TPM) Overrated, IMO. Relied hugely on the music, had zero emotion until Qui-Gon's death, and the stakes didn't feel remotely as high as the final fights in other movies. Obviously it looked very good but there were also issues with the choreography at points, so it wasn't perfect there either.

7. Dooku vs Anakin & Obi-Wan (RotS) The first part of the fight is pretty lackluster with some noticeable choreography issues. However, once they get up the stairs, it picks up dramatically, and everything from Obi-Wan getting choked onwards is very good IMO. Good atmosphere, some actual emotion, and some very impressive swordfighting between Anakin and Dooku at the end. For an opening duel that seemed more like an afterthought, this was very good. Not sure how to interpret Palpatine's facial expressions here since they're funny but kind of detract from the intensity of the fight.

8. Dooku vs Yoda (AotC) Actually played some music that was sorely missing from Dooku's fight with Anakin and Obi-Wan. Far more impressive swordfighting here from Dooku than against those two. There's an atmosphere of awe more than anything else, but at least there is an atmosphere (again, improvement over the preceding fight). Somewhat lackluster ending, though.

9. Palpatine vs Jedi Masters (RotS) Probably a case of "it's so bad it's good". Even at its best, the choreography is average, and most of the fighting looks pitiful. I know why they wanted more close-ups but it's more like a silly face contest than anything else here. It didn't feel like the Dark Lord of the Sith was fighting some of the greatest Jedi. For one, the deaths of the first three Masters were pretty unconvincing, but the fight between Sidious and Mace wasn't much better. Not sure why they had to feature Palpatine flipping up and down or make him look like he was struggling so much. The faces he kept pulling were highly entertaining though. The fight was also actually very well set-up, which is pretty much the only real compliment I can give here.

10. Maul vs Qui-Gon on Tatooine (TPM) Very short fight, but it was actually executed well. The music worked harmoniously with the fighting, the choreography was a bit obscured but seemed pretty good (definitely not overchoreographed like the final fight) and it was shot well. For such a sudden fight that seemed to be an afterthought in the film, the stakes felt very real. It's too bad we lost so much time cutting to Anakin running and to the ship, which was a massive detractor.

11. Obi-Wan Kenobi vs Darth Vader (ANH) By far the most lackluster swordfighting and choreography in the saga. There is some emotion and atmosphere, but not quite as much as some OT fans make it out to be. The dialogue is entertaining for me, though, and the stakes were very real, so I guess I'll put it right above Finn vs Kylo Ren.

12. Finn vs Kylo Ren (TFA) Just so-so. Not outright bad, but I just didn't feel much during it. Nothing in particular stood out for better or worse.

13. Dooku vs Obi-Wan and Anakin (AotC) No idea what the **** this was. I know they were trying to capture Dooku and end the war but it just felt like there was nothing at stake. Choreography was lackluster and the cut to Anakin and Dooku's faces during the fight was a big failure. It feels like there should be a noteworthy atmosphere here but there really isn't. A slight sense of emotion in Dooku vs Obi-Wan due to their connection with Qui-Gon, but it never really manifested in the movie. No emotion at all in Dooku vs Anakin, and the part where Dooku severs Anakin's arm looks unconvincing as ****. It's technically two separate fights but I'm grouping them together because they were both sh!t.

14. Obi-Wan vs General Grievous (RotS) Bad. The stakes were set up relatively well but the fighting itself couldn't be less impressive. There's parts where it looks like Grievous is just flailing like some toddler. No emotion and the atmosphere was pretty lackluster. The one good scene is when Obi-Wan and Grievous lock eyes and then Obi-Wan Pushes him away, but that's not really part of the lightsaber fight.

Post your rankings on the all the film saber duels.

Last edited by SunRazer on Apr 24th, 2017 at 02:03 AM

Old Post Apr 24th, 2017 02:00 AM
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Registered: Mar 2014


Maul losing to Kanan, getting Cut in half by Padawan Kenobi, and getting stomped by Ben Kenobi are all great feats as well

"Happiness is a lie. Life is horror. The light is always dying all across the universe. The last star will flicker out someday, when it does, all that remains is shadow. And I will be its king!"'-Amahl Farouk

Old Post Apr 24th, 2017 02:06 AM
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Registered: Oct 2016
Location: True Happiness


Let's not forget the prop fvck-ups in RotS.

The movie was still great, but the novel was better.

Rebel by doing what gives you peace.

Fvck Islam. 4srs.
Fvck Oded Yinon, too.

Old Post Apr 24th, 2017 02:10 AM
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Registered: Jan 2013
Location: USA



Luke vs Vader in Jedi is excellent in that the music is very powerful, and in that the emotional stakes are high. That said, the choreography itself is far less visually impressive to me than the duel in Empire.

Revenge of the Sith's duel suffers from it's length, with it's best scenes (like the grappling clip and the lava clash) being overshadowed by the sheer magnitude of mundane shots. That said, like the duel in Jedi, the emotional stakes and excellent music largely make up for that.

Rey vs Kylo Ren would have been great if it weren't for, well, Rey. Her lame fighting style and PIS haxxx unfortunately take away from Kylo's awesome fighting style.


Old Post Apr 24th, 2017 02:34 AM
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Back From The Dead

Registered: Apr 2015
Location: The distant past


@NewGuy -

1. I agree the choreography in that last part with the music is lackluster, but then again, it's mostly fitting since Luke is in a state of rage and swinging about wildly. I'd argue the only jarring part is the way Vader collapses. The part prior to this seems to have better choreography than anything in ESB, IMO.

2. Agreed on RotS.

3. But what about her Sidious-stabs that provide clear evidence of her being a Palpatine?

Old Post Apr 24th, 2017 03:58 AM
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Dark Overlord of KMC

Registered: Aug 2014
Location: Your Moms house


I base these on choreography, power involved and overall excitement:

1. Anakin vs Obi Wan

2. Maul vs Obi Wan and Qui Gon

3. Luke vs Vader II

4. Dooku vs Obi Wan/Anakin/Yoda

5. Dooku vs Anakin/Obi Wan

6. Sidious vs Mace

7. Luke vs Vader I

8. Yoda vs Sidious

9. Rey/Finn vs Kylo

10. Obi Wan vs Greivous

11. Vader vs Ben

Last edited by relentless1 on Apr 24th, 2017 at 05:39 AM

Old Post Apr 24th, 2017 05:36 AM
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Azronger Reborn

Registered: Jun 2016
Location: The Throne of the Sheevites


1. Luke vs Vader in RotJ
2. Luke vs Vader in ESB
3.Yoda vs Sidious
4. Dooku vs Anakin and Obi-Wan in RotS
5. Vader vs Obi-Wan in RotS
6. Duel of the Fates
7.. Sidious vs Mace and B-Team
8. Vader vs Obi-Wan in ANH
9. Yoda vs Dooku
10. Dooku vs Anakin and Obi-Wan in AotC
11. Obi-Wan vs General Grievous
12. Maul vs Qui-Gon
13. The TFA duel.


Old Post Apr 24th, 2017 09:11 AM
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The N-Factor

Registered: Oct 2016
Location: California


1. Anakin vs Obi-Wan
2. Darth Maul vs Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan (though I do agree that the stakes feel lacking, something I actually didn't notice until you mentioned it)
3. Anakin and Obi-Wan vs Dooku (ROTS)
4. Luke vs Vader ROTJ
5. Yoda vs Sidious
6. Obi-Wan vs Grievous (I actually liked this fight...)
7. Yoda vs Dooku
8. Sidious vs Mace & B-Team
9. Rey vs Kylo
10. Maul vs Qui-Gon (Tatooine)
11. Luke vs Vader (ESB)
12. Finn vs Kylo
13. Dooku vs Anakin and Obi-Wan (AOTC)
14. Vader vs Kenobi (ANH)

Old Post Apr 24th, 2017 05:35 PM
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|King Joker|
Your Excellency

Registered: Nov 2014
Location: Transcendent


So true that Rey's shit fighting style really hampered how Kylo looked.


Old Post Apr 24th, 2017 05:40 PM
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