Hey everyone! This is an article I posted on moviepilot. Due to the release of the highly successful Star Wars: The Force Awakens my mind has been on Star Wars lately. I have had a chance to re-watch the original trilogy (albeit the Special Editions, don’t get me started on those Special Editions), and I have had a chance to watch all the lightsaber duels shown in the film franchise up to this point. There have been a dozen or more lightsaber duels shown on screen up to this point, but I’ve compiled a list of My Top 5 Lightsaber Duels…
*WARNING MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD*
Master and Apprentice vs. a Sith apprentice
5. Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui Gon Jinn vs. Darth Maul (1999, Episode I: A Phantom Menace)
Now yes the prequels were a disappointment, but they still had some bright spots. The lightsaber duels were no exception, and the one in 1999’s Episode I: The Phantom Menace did not disappoint. In the context of the story the Sith are believed to be extinct so it’s quite a shock when Qui Gon Jinn and young Padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi must fight a Sith apprentice! This fight was so incredible helped considerably by the accompanying score “Duel of The Fates,” composed by the great John Williams. This fight was so intense and the music was epic! Up to this point we had never seen a 2 on 1 fight, so that was an interesting part of the fight. There were so many great things about this lightsaber duel, but the main reason for me was seeing Obi-Wan fight. We saw in A New Hope that he was gifted in the force and a skilled fighter so it was great to see him in his younger days! As I am writing this I have “Duel of The Fates” playing in my head!
Former Pupil vs. Former Master
4. Obi-Wan vs. Darth Vader (1977, Episode IV: A New Hope)
When we are first introduced to Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi we know that he lived at a time when the Jedi were numerous and that the Republic was flourishing. So when we see him fight Darth Vader (his former pupil), it’s so interesting realizing these two men are the last remnants of the former Jedi Order and seeing them fight each other is just the icing on the cake! At this point the Jedi and the Force are just superstitions and legend, so imagine what’s going through people’s heads when they see Darth Vader and Obi-Wan dueling each other with lightsabers! This is like watching Merlin fight Gandalf, it’s just so surreal! There is a bit of backstory behind the fight. Obi-Wan and Vader clearly have a past, but what that past is we do not know at this point in the story. This air of mystery makes the lightsaber duel all that more exciting because we want to know more!
3. Anakin vs Obi-Wan Kenobi (2005, Episode III: Revenge of The Sith)
This fight is the one we heard about and was hinted at in A New Hope and Return of The Jedi, so it was finally great to see the fight play out on screen! This lightsaber duel is very emotional! Two former friends fighting each other, a former Master fighting his former apprentice! So many dynamics happening at once! Anakin feels betrayed by Obi-Wan and the Jedi Order so he lashes out at Obi-Wan, and Obi-Wan realizes he is too far gone and must be stopped. The whole fight is happening on a lava planet, yes you read that right a LAVA planet! Despite the poor acting by Hayden Christensen, this whole fight and exchange still tugs at the heartstrings because you could tell that Obi-Wan cared for Anakin, evidenced by this line “You were my brother, Anakin. I loved you.” The emotion and backstory behind these two characters is what makes it such an awesome lightsaber duel, not to leave out the fact that these are two of the most powerful Jedi to have ever lived. As always the lightsaber duel is that much more epic due to the accompanying score “Battle of the Heroes” by John Williams, he truly is an amazing composer. This fight still holds up even ten years later.
Father vs. Son
2. Luke Skywalker vs. Darth Vader (1983, Episode VI: Return of The Jedi)
This has to be one of my favorite lightsaber duels from the whole franchise. At this point Luke Skywalker (a full fledged Jedi Knight and one with the force) learns the truth that Darth Vader is his father Anakin Skywalker and is trying to get him to turn back to the light. Darth Vader wants his son Luke to join him and together they will overthrow The Emperor and rule the galaxy as Father and Son. Luke tries to kill The Emperor but Darth Vader defends him leading to the lightsaber duel! Much like the fight between Anakin and Obi-Wan this fight is very emotional! Luke is fighting his father turned evil and deep down we want to believe that Darth Vader would never kill his son, but he definitely doesn’t hold back during the fight! This fight is great because of one of the most iconic scenes in film where The Emperor is electrocuting Luke with Force Lightning and Darth Vader is there looking back and forth between The Emperor (his Master, and father figure) and Luke (his flesh and blood and the son he never got a chance to know and love) torn between stopping his Master or letting his son die! Darth Vader makes the right choice and saves his son throwing The Emperor into a pit, redeeming himself and bringing balance to the force. It’s a very great scene adding to the emotion of the overall lightsaber duel.
There were a lot of lightsaber duels that I loved, but much like The Highlander there can only be one…
New Jedi vs. Sith
1. Luke Skywalker vs. Darth Vader (1980, Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back)
This is my favorite lightsaber duel without a doubt because of the fact we finally get to see Luke Skywalker (the galaxy’s new hope) fight the evil Darth Vader. At the start of the fight you know that Luke is outmatched in the fight because Darth Vader is just so much more powerful and experienced than Luke. Despite all that Luke holds his own and actually shows his potential and even impresses Vader with his ability. There is so much emotion behind this fight, Luke believes his friends are in trouble and you can tell he has hatred for Vader for killing Obi-Wan. Luke wants to destroy Vader, but he is still untrained as a Jedi and still has a lot to learn about the force. I just re-watched this lightsaber duel recently and it’s clear that Vader is toying with Luke, he could kill him easily, but he just throws objects at him breaking him and trying to get him to concede the fight. Luke will not give up even though he has just lost his hand and is about to fall to his death, leading to one of the biggest reveals in film! Darth Vader speaks of Obi-Wan and tells Luke that Vader did not kill Luke’s father, but that in fact HE Darth Vader IS Luke’s father! What a twist! This lightsaber duel will always be my favorite!
What say you? Do you agree with my list? What is your favorite lightsaber duel? Whatever your thoughts let me know!