The Imperial Order

The Imperial Order: Ranking the Star Wars Films | Green Card Back

Ranking the Star Wars films is something that we’ve all done, right? Basing our choices on a mixture of personal preference and societal approval and altering the list as each new instalment settles in.

It’s not something that I’d considered for a long time as since 2005 I had come to consider the saga as a whole, and then The Force Awakens was such a confusing addition to the story that I didn’t give much thought to how it aligned with the other films (instead mulling over whether I should even accept it at all).

Rogue One brought the fun of Star Wars back for real, and with it the realisation that my appreciation for each episode had shifted. Not only was it time to make a new ranking – there was a revised viewing order to be had as well…

Without further ado, this is the Star Wars saga in a GCB-approved order of preference:

1. The Empire Strikes Back

2. Rogue One

3. Return of the Jedi

4. Revenge of the Sith

5. A New Hope

6. The Phantom Menace

7. The Force Awakens

8. Attack of the Clones

It took some time to evaluate each film, and even then I’m not 100% on the placings of Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. For the record, I believe that Revenge of the Sith is a better film than Return of the Jedi, but the Ewoks and the final duel give Episode VI a lift. Inversely, The Force Awakens is a better made film than Attack of the Clones, but the trashing of the OT characters still makes me angry every time I watch it. This makes the final two spots more or less interchangeable.

The Phantom Menace has held its own. I was young enough to enjoy it in 1999 and now see it as a classical adventure tale. It’s a flawed but thoroughly expansive addition to the mythos; something I hope the new films learn from.

Classic concept art from The Empire Strikes Back | Green Card Back

This ranking has also given me a new viewing order. With the top five featuring the core of the series, I can now start with Revenge of the Sith and work through the next four films in chronological order, right up to the end of Return of the Jedi. I’m calling this The Imperial Order.

Of course, Han Solo and the rumoured Kenobi film will play into this timescale, and in that case I’ll consider each film on its own merits. For now though, Revenge of the Sith to Return of the Jedi tells a complete tale of oppression and rebellion.

As the series grows it will get harder to watch them all in a marathon. The Lucas trilogies will always be the main story for me, but finding other ways to watch the films and include the Disney canon will continue to keep things interesting.

Yoda on Dagobah | Green Card Back


Got a ranking or viewing order you want to share? Comment below!

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