If there’s one thing all Star Wars fans can agree on, it’s that the lightsaber fights are epic. Whether the battle is based on emotion, a battle between good and evil, or just an attempt to gain authority, you can’t look away—nor resist pining for a lightsaber of your own.
Here are the best lightsaber fights in the Star Wars franchise. Warning: this list contains spoilers.
Obi-Wan/Ben Kenobi vs Darth Vader
“You’re only a master of evil, Darth.”
While it’s not the most action-packed fight—far from it in fact—it’s an extremely emotional one. This battle is a reunion between two people who fought alongside each other during the Clone Wars: a reunion of a Jedi Master in hiding, and an apprentice turned to the dark side.
Darth Vader believes he has become all-powerful, but what he doesn’t understand is Obi-Wan’s discovery of immortality. When Obi-Wan tells Vader, “Strike me down and I shall become more powerful than you can imagine,” it angers Vader.
Obi-Wan’s sacrifice also acts as a distraction, allowing Luke and the others to escape, which heightens the scene’s emotion.
Kanan Jarrus & Ezra Bridger vs The Grand Inquisitor
“Now I have nothing left to fear.”
It was this battle that truly kicked off the show, Star Wars: Rebels. With a rather slow build-up, the show managed to find its footing after this final battle.
The action sequence is fun and exciting, but when Kanan believes his new padawan, Ezra Bridger, may be dead, that’s when the fight gets an emotional charge.
Suddenly, he’s fighting better than ever, driven by pure anger. He’s even tempted to cross to the dark side.
However, he finally accepts that, to fully become a Jedi, he must trust in the force once again.
Anakin & Obi-Wan vs Count Dooku
“Twice the pride, double the fall.”
What separates this fight from the one in Attack of the Clones is its subtlety. Obi-Wan, now a Jedi Master, and Anakin, now a Jedi Knight, have learned to work together while also gaining a strong bond—not just as master and apprentice, but as brothers. They now face Count Dooku, the fallen Jedi Master and expert duelist.
As the fight commences, we see how much Anakin has grown; he was even able to defeat Dooku by himself. Dooku, having defeated the two Jedi before, is overconfident and toys with them during the fight, even going to such lengths as to tempt Anakin to use his hate and anger.
However, Anakin is able to disarm him, without giving in to his temptation to the dark side. Only through the manipulation of Chancellor Palpatine does Anakin decide to kill Count Dooku.
Darth Maul vs Pre Vizsla
“Only the strongest shall rule Mandalore.”
At the beginning of Star Wars, Boba Fett was a nobody. However, that didn’t last: he quickly became a fan favorite.
Later, the prequels introduced Jango Fett, who started the clone army. Thus, the Mandalorian race was created.
Mandalorians are prideful warriors who live by traditions of honor. There are separate factions within them, one of which is called Death Watch: outcasts from the city of Mandalore.
That is, until they conquer Mandalore with the help of Maul and his brother, Savage Opress.
However, when Death Watch leader Pre Vizsla betrays Maul and Savage, Maul decides to take it a step further. Maul and Savage break out of prison, and Maul challenges him to a duel to rule Mandalore.
The two are aggressive warriors, and Pre Vizsla’s style of fighting is notorious for taking down Jedi. The action is intense, and for a moment, you’re not entirely sure who will win. You also aren’t quite sure who to root for, being as they are both villains in the story.
Maul manages to defeat and humiliate Pre Vizsla; he cowers away, with his brother watching. Maul takes up the darksaber, Pre Vizla’s very own weapon, and decapitates the Mandalorian in front of his subordinates.
Maul wins the fight, becoming the ruler of Mandalore and, in doing so, starting a civil war that plunges Mandalore into utter chaos.
This is truly an exciting yet horrifying moment in Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
Darth Sidious vs Darth Maul & Savage Oppress
“You have become a rival!”
In most Star Wars films, you don’t get to see the master of deception, Darth Sidious, in action very much, nor the surely incredible sight of two Sith fighting. But great news—Star Wars: The Clone Wars solves both these injustices.
After Maul finally builds himself an army, Sidious is able to sense his former apprentice…and he knows he’s a threat. This fight is thrilling to watch, particularly because Maul is a fan favorite. Audiences finally get to see the notorious dark lord of the Sith in action as he attacks Maul and Savage with swift and powerful strikes.
Sidious toys with them: he kills Savage, laughing all the while. Maul then holds Savage in his arms as he dies. In his anger, he attacks Sidious again, but to no avail: Sidious takes him down and captures him quickly.
Ahsoka Tano vs Darth Vader
“I won’t leave you, not this time!”
This fight makes the top 5 of any Star Wars fan’s favorite lightsaber fights, no questions asked. It’s also one of the most emotional fight sequences in the entire franchise.
Ahsoka reunites with the man who was once her master and a brother. Ahsoka feels partially responsible for Anakin’s turn to the dark side: if she didn’t leave the Jedi Order, she could have possibly stopped him from turning. So, while Ahsoka is fighting to help Ezra and Kanan escape, the fight’s more about trying to save her former master one last time.
At one point during the fight, Ahsoka cuts off a piece of Vader’s helmet, partially revealing Anakin’s face and voice in the process. She pauses for a moment, getting a glimmer of hope that she is close to saving him.
For a moment you can see a glimpse of Anakin in his eyes, but the moment is short-lived: his eyes change from a bright yellow to a dark orange, and he is once again consumed by Darth Vader.
Luke Skywalker vs Darth Vader
“I am a Jedi, like my father before me.”
Both of Luke and Vader’s lightsaber fights from Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi are excellent, and way too good to pit against each other.
In Empire, their showdown truly personifies the battle between good and evil. In Return of the Jedi, their fight is complex and emotional, more a son trying to save his father.
Did Darth Vader block Luke’s attack to save the Emperor…or to save Luke? It can be interpreted either way. When Luke turns the tide and cuts off Vader’s hands, he sees it is also cybernetic just like his.
Luke, previously blind to his father’s humanity, sees his arm and is reminded that Vader went through the same struggles and temptations as he did…they just ended up on different sides.
The action in both lightsaber fights still holds up to this day, and is always exciting to watch, even when you know how it all ends.
Obi-Wan Kenobi & Qui Gon Jinn vs Darth Maul
“We’ll handle this.”
When The Phantom Menace was released in 1999, fans lined up out the doors to watch it, having waiting years for another movie. However, to say they were disappointed would be a huge understatement.
Nonetheless, the saving grace for the movie is the introduction of, and fight sequence with, Darth Maul.
Not only is the fight crazy and intense, but it also introduces a now instantly recognizable score, “Duel of the Fates.” The name in itself perfectly encapsulates this lightsaber battle.
In The Phantom Menace, audiences meet ten-year-old Anakin Skywalker, who is strong in the force and the prophesized chosen one who will bring balance to the Force. Therefore, the duel of the fates is a literal battle for the fate of the chosen one.
At this time, Obi-Wan Kenobi is still just a padawan, so he gets outsmarted in the fight and leaves his master, Qui Gon Jinn, to fight on his own.
This situation results in the untimely demise of Qui Gon by the hands of Darth Maul. Once Obi-Wan rejoins the fight for the final time, Maul begins to toy with him, thinking little of the inexperienced padawan.
At last, Obi-Wan manages to get a leg up on the fight and take down Maul. Qui Gon, in his dying breath, makes Obi-Wan promise that he will train Anakin—a promise that he keeps, thus launching the Skywalker Saga.
Ahsoka Tano vs Darth Maul
“You’re lucky Anakin didn’t show up. You wouldn’t have lasted long with him.”
The announcement of Star Wars: The Clone Wars releasing a final season somehow left fans feeling cautious and excited at the same time. Thankfully, Dave Filoni did not disappoint.
For the first time, audiences are given an animated fight made with motion capture. The animation is beautiful; the fight itself, incredible, as it was performed and choreographed by professional fighters.
Two fan-favorite Clone Wars characters face off in battle for the last time. What makes the moment more exciting is it takes place at the same time as Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, just moments before the infamous Order 66.
So, as fun as this fight is, you can’t help but feel a sense of dread in the back of your mind that no matter who wins this fight, they will still be in danger of what’s to come.
Obi-Wan Kenobi vs Anakin Skywalker
“You were my brother, Anakin. I loved you.”
This battle tops all lightsaber fights in the franchise, hands down. In it, audiences witness the fall of a brotherhood, and the fabled rise of Darth Vader.
This extremely emotional fight is one of the most tragic moments in all of Star Wars. Obi-Wan and Anakin fought alongside each other through many hardships; Obi-Wan even raised Anakin as one of his own.
Unfortunately, the love these two had for each other could not stop what was about to come.
Their battle is inevitable, but that makes it all the more heartbreaking.
It’s also especially thrilling: two expert fighters, so well-trained—but, more importantly, so familiar with each other, once upon a time—that they can perfectly predict each other’s attacks, rendering each other unable to strike for much of the battle.
Ultimately, Anakin’s arrogance is his downfall. He gets cut in half and burned alive; Obi-Wan walks away, leaving his brother for dead, and goes into exile to watch over Anakin’s newborn son in pyrrhic victory.
Of all the Star Wars elements that have pervaded mainstream culture, none are as prominent as the lightsaber fights. In fact, it’s now an actual sport, with charters spread all over the world.