The Star Wars universe is replete with compelling storylines, dramatic scenes, and intense combat scenarios. There are themes like love, family, valor, honor, and friendship tied into every vein of the exciting franchise.
But if there is one aspect that has made these movies stand out throughout the years, it is this: the lightsaber battles.
Star Wars’ lightsaber battles are classic. They make watchers catch their breath and sit on the edge of their seats. They flicker with lights, power, action, and thrill.
But they are not only intense battles between warriors from different sides. Lightsaber battles are mainly showcases of the conflict between light and darkness.
Those who have followed Star Wars throughout the years know that these brilliant battles are fought between members of the Light Side and the Dark Side of the Force. As it were, they are struggles between the commendable Jedi qualities (compassion, selflessness, and sacrifice), and the less honorable Sith emotions (hatred, anger, and jealousy).
Surprisingly, the battles between light and darkness don’t only go on in the physical realm. Although the physical fights make the lightsaber battles spectacular, it is also important to note the fight between light and darkness within each combatant.
Here, then, are the top 10 lightsaber battles and how they showcase conflicts both inside and outside the warriors.
- 1. Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Yoda vs. Count Dooku (Attack of the Clones)
- 2. Anakin and Obi-Wan vs. Count Dooku (Attack of the Clones)
- 3. Mace Windu vs. Darth Sidious (Attack of the Clones)
- 4. Obi-Wan vs. Anakin (Revenge of the Sith)
- 5. Obi-Wan vs. Darth Vader (A New Hope)
- 6. Luke vs. Darth Vader (Dagobah Cave, The Empire Strikes Back)
- 7. Luke vs. Darth Vader (Cloud City, The Empire Strikes Back)
- 8. Luke vs. Darth Vader (The Return of the Jedi)
- 9. Rey vs. Kylo Ren (The Force Awakens)
- 10. Rey vs. Kylo Ren (The Last Jedi)
1. Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Yoda vs. Count Dooku (Attack of the Clones)
From the prequel trilogy’s Attack of the Clones comes one of the franchise’s most beloved lightsaber battles. It is a contest of wits, knowledge of the Force, and of course, stunning saber skills.
At the beginning of the scene, Obi-Wan and Anakin enter Count Dooku’s hangar, accusing him of killing members of the Jedi Order. Dooku’s response is cold and haughty as he turns slowly and regards his adversaries.
One thing to be noted here is Anakin’s small steps towards the Dark Side of the force. He disregards Obi-Wan’s planned strategy and rushes ferociously at Dooku, wanting to take him on right away. This show of anger and lack of discipline doesn’t only put him at the mercy of Dooku as he is flung against the wall; they also foreshadow his sliding into the Dark Side through the use of anger and revenge as motives in a fight.
Aside from this conflict of emotions, the fight is vicious and surreal. It showcases brilliant red, blue, and green sabers. Sparks fly up from electrical wires that have been cut in the fray. As Obi-Wan falls, Anakin leaps into the air and confronts Dooku with both green and blue sabers in a dual-handed fight.
But the best part is yet to come when Yoda’s shadow appears in the doorway after both Anakin and Obi-Wan have been defeated and are lying hurt on the ground.
Yoda clears his throat thoughtfully, the calm precursor to an all-out battle. Since it is the first time fans witness Yoda’s swordsmanship, it is stunning to see the small green master flying in the air. He outmatches his adversary, who has to flee and escape the scene.
2. Anakin and Obi-Wan vs. Count Dooku (Attack of the Clones)
The next time Anakin and Obi-Wan encounter Count Dooku, Anakin is ready to control his emotions and fight side-by-side with his master.
The fight ensues; two blue sabers against one red. All three fighters show stunning skills against the backdrop of tall glass walls and flashing lights. In the corner, Palpatine watches carefully.
But although Anakin manages to cut off Dooku’s hands, the win ultimately goes to the Dark Side in this battle. As Dooku mentions, he senses hate and anger inside Anakin as they battle.
When Palpatine orders Anakin to kill Dooku, the already-confused Jedi cuts off his head with both the red and blue sabers. Palpatine is pleased that Anakin does something out of motives of revenge, as he already plans to make this skilled and powerful swordsman his future apprentice.
3. Mace Windu vs. Darth Sidious (Attack of the Clones)
Having unearthed the secret that Palpatine is Dark Sidious, Mace Windu takes along three Jedi to arrest him. But Darth Sidious has amassed powerful saber skills, and kills the three Jedi in record time.
The fight between Windu and Darth Sidious is brief but beautiful to watch. Both combatants have mastered graceful saber skills and their footwork makes them look like they are part of a brilliant dance. Towards the end of the fight, the glass window crashes and the scene is suddenly alive with the city’s lights and flashing nightlife.
Darth Sidious is no match for Windu, and he is soon cornered. He is sitting on the ground with his back against the wall when Anakin arrives on the scene.
What happens next is surprising but inevitable. Anakin defends Darth Sidious from Windu’s blade. He needs Sidious in order to save Padme’s life.
The end of this classic and confusing battle sees Windu dying at the hand of Darth Sidious’ Force Lightning. The Dark Lord then rises and comes face-to-face with his new apprentice. Anakin falls on his knees and pledges himself to the Dark Side.
4. Obi-Wan vs. Anakin (Revenge of the Sith)
The lightsaber battle on Mustafar is one of the most thrilling in Star Wars’ history. It is also the longest fight to date.
There is nothing that is not exciting about this battle. Obi-Wan and Anakin take flying leaps and attack each other against a backdrop of boiling lava. The scene moves quickly and freely, full of flowing fire, black rocks, and dizzying motion.
But the fight within is also something to be observed. Anakin is full of hate and anger, but Obi-Wan also has to face his own confusing emotions. These emotions are disappointment, sadness, and even anger at someone he used to call his brother.
In the end, Obi-Wan cuts off Anakin’s arm and leaves him lying next to the river of lava. He is oblivious to Anakin’s cries and walks away, neither finishing him off nor saving him. Fans are divided on whether Obi-Wan chooses Light Side or Dark Side emotions in turning away from mercy at this moment.
5. Obi-Wan vs. Darth Vader (A New Hope)
It is decades before Obi-Wan faces Anakin (now Darth Vader) again. This final battle between former apprentice and master is played out on the first Death Star in A New Hope.
The fight is not a very long one. It is slower than most battles, but one thing to note is how Obi-Wan sacrifices himself and lets Vader kill him.
Obi-Wan does this for a number of reasons. He does it to distract Vader so Luke and his company can escape. He also does it because he knows that his halcyon days have passed, and he wants to become part of the Force to make it stronger.
In this final show of sacrifice, Obi-Wan redeems himself from his darker emotions of the past and shows that he is now wholly part of the Light Side of the Force.
6. Luke vs. Darth Vader (Dagobah Cave, The Empire Strikes Back)
Luke against his father in the cave of Dagobah is a short scene. In seconds, Luke beheads Vader and the mask explodes. But although it doesn’t last, this is still a beloved and interesting battle.
The setting of the scene is eerie and haunting. It is dark inside the cave and large roots penetrate the deep bedrock. From the shadows, the familiar silhouette of Darth Vader steps out and confronts Luke.
Another interesting thing to note is how Luke sees himself in Vader’s mask. Once the mask falls out and explodes, Luke sees his own face looking back at him from within.
Earlier, Yoda mentioned that Luke would bring nothing into the cave but what he had inside of himself. So this indicates that deep within Luke’s heart is a call to the Dark Side and the fear of turning towards it.
7. Luke vs. Darth Vader (Cloud City, The Empire Strikes Back)
This battle is one of the most beloved by fans. It is also a turning point that reveals a stunning twist: Darth Vader tells Luke that he is his father.
The battle is exciting and vicious. Red and blue smoke rises from air vents as the two combatants twist and turn in the haze. All throughout the battle, Vader encourages his son to use the Dark Side of the Force to defeat him.
Then comes to twist and the reveal. “I am your father,” Vader says, words that will resound for decades to come and become part of classic cinematic history.
But instead of letting his anger turn him over to the Dark Side, Luke releases his grip and falls into a dizzying abyss. He lands safely, although beaten up both physically and emotionally by his father.
8. Luke vs. Darth Vader (The Return of the Jedi)
In The Return of the Jedi, Luke encounters his father again. This time, they are in the presence of Emperor Palpatine. Just like he did with young Anakin, the Emperor encourages Luke on his path towards the Dark Side by utilizing his feelings for his friends.
The fight that ensues between Luke and Vader is thrilling to watch, both for its physical and emotional sides. Although Luke is constantly on the defense, unwilling to fight his father, Vader continually taunts him and seeks to anger him to fight.
It is the thought of Leia turning to the Dark Side that enrages Luke and brings him out of the shadows. He hacks continually at Vader until Vader falls and he is able to cut off his arm.
But Palpatine’s laughter stops Luke and brings him back to himself. The Emperor takes this advantage to stun Luke with Force Lightning.
This is when things take their final turn, and Anakin is finally redeemed from the Dark Side. Seeing his son dying on the ground, he lifts the Emperor into the air and throws him out the window.
“There is good in him. Still.” Padme whispers sorrowfully in an earlier scene. Although his love for her turned Anakin to the Dark Side, it is his love for their son that turns him back towards the Light.
9. Rey vs. Kylo Ren (The Force Awakens)
From the classic Star Wars battles, we move towards more modern scenes. Rey and Kylo Ren appear decades after the last scene of Return of the Jedi.
Rey and Kylo Ren have their own fierce battle in a snow-drenched forest. Ren uses his handmade saber that burns with crude energy. In Rey’s hand is Luke’s ancient blue saber.
The battle scene is stunning with flying moves, cold white snow, and massive trees. It is not surprising that Ren tries to seduce Rey towards the Dark Side of the Force.
Rey’s use of the Force, however, is too much for Kylo Ren. Rey manages to force Ren’s saber into the ground, and from there she knocks him completely off his feet.
10. Rey vs. Kylo Ren (The Last Jedi)
The next time Rey and Kylo Ren fight, it is together. Ren helps Rey escape Snoke’s hold and together they battle the throne room guards.
The fight is epic. Rey and Ren work together seamlessly, dispelling all the guards with their timely moves.
But this doesn’t mean that Kylo Ren has turned over to the Light Side of the Force. In the end, he encourages Rey to join him in ruling the galaxy as one. She refuses, which leads to Luke’s saber breaking in two and the fight coming to a stalemate.
These epic lightsaber battles are something for every fan to enjoy and treasure. They showcase stunning moves and physical conflict that is often only the outcome of the conflict that lies within.