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5 Worst Lightsaber Duels in Star Wars (Films Only)

5 Worst Lightsaber Duels in Star Wars (Films Only)

When you think of Star Wars, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?

Maybe the usual, “May the Force be with you,” or high-flying dogfights in outer space.

But, more than likely, you thought of a lightsaber duel—after all, Star Wars is famous for its awe-inspiring and beautiful scenes of combat, and lightsaber dueling itself has even inspired a real-life sport!

Despite this, some duels in the series, well…

They don’t live up to expectations.

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So in this list, we’ll count down the top five worst lightsaber duels in the main Star Wars series.

For this list, a fight scene only counts as a lightsaber duel if at least two fighters are dueling with any lightsaber-equivalent, and one of them has to be using an actual lightsaber.

So the vibro-weapons of the Praetorian guard count, but one lightsaber-wielder versus a horde of blasters doesn’t.

We also won’t be including anything from outside the nine main films (excluding Rogue One and Solo, as neither have lightsaber duels to begin with).

This is because, if we included fights from within The Clone Wars or Rebels, let’s be honest, the entire list would be filled with them. And we don’t want to leave out the less-than-great duels from the main films!

So sit back, and prepare for some controversial picks.

5. Obi-Wan versus Darth Vader (Episode IV: A New Hope)

Starting off this list with one that’s sure to get some people riled up, we have the climactic duel between Darth Vader and old Ben Kenobi in the Death Star.

Now, don’t get us wrong, this duel has a lot going for it—in fact, we’d even call it great.

However, compared to the later duels in the original trilogy, many achieved the same level of tension and drama as this slow-burn duel, but with much more impressive choreography and moves.

For example, compare this to the fight between Darth Vader and Luke on Bespin, in Episode V.

Darth Vader versus Luke demonstrates a lot of impressive moves, from using the Force to hurl barrels at people, kicking people down stairs, front-flips, and all the works.

And yet, it still manages to weave in the conflict between Vader and Luke, culminating in the dramatic reveal of Vader’s paternity test, and Luke leaping from off a floating pod and into the pit below.

Vader versus Kenobi, on the other hand, definitely presents the dueling spirits of Obi-Wan and Vader well, however the lightsaber choreography itself is less than impressive.

Obi - Wan Kenobi Vs Darth Vader HD

Two grandmasters of the Force, with decades of practice and skill, end up swatting blades every few seconds and walking around in circles.

No flips, no kicks, no Force even. Just some swordplay.

Then, Kenobi sacrifices himself to Vader in a pretty anti-climactic way. He just stands still and lets Vader cut him down, disappearing into the Force.

A great duel? Definitely.

One of the best in the series? Definitely not.

4. Rey & Kylo Ren versus the Praetorian Guards (Episode VIII: The Last Jedi)

Rey & Kylo Ren vs Praetorian Guards (2/2) [4k UltraHD] - Star Wars: The Last Jedi Fight Scene

Next up on our list is the pivotal fight between Snoke’s Praetorian Guards and our two main heroes (if you want to count Kylo as one of those), after the untimely removal of Snoke’s upper body by Kylo.

This scene has its fair share of critics and praises, from loving the choreography, to hating the choreography, to loving the set design, to hating the set design.

People really can’t agree on anything about The Last Jedi, huh?

To mediate between the two extremes, we think that, while this duel has its positives, it’s certainly not one of the better duels of the series.

The set design is unique, and definitely recognizable, but it can get a bit overbearing in the actual duel itself (as, since most of the set is red, and the Praetorian Guards themselves are red, it gets tiring to look at).

The choreography itself has good moments. However, it gets overshadowed by the goofier scenes, such as the point where a Praetorian Guard is flung into the shredder à la Palpatine.

It doesn’t help that there’s little-to-no climax of the duel.

It just ends once the Praetorian Guards are wiped out, with Rey and Kylo immediately resuming their bickering (and breaking Luke’s lightsaber).

All in all, while this fight has its decent aspects, the flaws put it snugly at number 4 in this list.

3. Yoda versus Count Dooku (Episode II: Attack of the Clones)

Let’s face it. Attack of the Clones has many, many low points.

This duel is one of them.

Count Dooku is famed across the Galaxy as one of the best duelists of his generation, with a Makashi fighting style that easily wiped out Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker simultaneously.

Grand Master Yoda is easily one of the greatest Jedi of all time, renowned for his Force ability, wisdom, and unusual speaking patterns.

Putting these two together seems as though it would lead to a breath-taking, magnificent duel of epic proportions, with great choreography, a hefty climax, and memorable moments of shock and surprise.

Instead, we got a duel hardly a few minutes long of Yoda flipping around like Sonic the Hedgehog and Count Dooku galloping away to his spaceship and flying away.

Two of the most impressive Force-users of the Galaxy’s history, and we get this.

Star Wars Episode II - Attack of the Clones - Yoda VS Count Dooku - 4K ULTRA HD.

This duel could make it on the list solely for its disappointment factor alone, however, it’s made even worse by the lack of legitimate choreography, no resolution, and awkward fleeing.

What a bummer.

2. Luke Skywalker versus Kylo Ren (Episode VIII: The Last Jedi)

Luke Skywalker vs Kylo Ren scene

“Two duels from the same episode? Aren’t you a bit harsh on The Last Jedi?”

Not at all.

No matter your take on the overall quality of The Last Jedi, it’s commonly understood that the duels aren’t breathtaking in the slightest (which is a trend across the Disney trilogy).

And this duel has a bunch of factors that go into its low ranking.

Firstly, it’s incredibly short, to the point that it could hardly be considered a “duel.” Luke and Kylo ignite their lightsabers, standoff for a minute or so, then Kylo rushes at Luke and starts swinging.

But lo and behold, Kylo’s lightsaber goes straight through Luke! And he doesn’t fall apart!

That’s easily the biggest let-down of the duel.

For all the build-up and tension boiling up over Luke finally meeting Kylo after years apart, and coming to a head in one last duel, we find out that he’s just Force-ghosting Kylo from Ahch-To.

Then, he dies of Force exhaustion.

Luke being there at the duel would have made this scene infinitely better, even if he still sacrificed himself à la Obi-Wan.

All this, just because Luke wanted to distract Kylo so the Resistance survivors could flee the base on Crait.

We lose Luke Skywalker, the greatest Jedi of his generation, if not of all time, as a distraction.

And it’s all brushed off like Luke swatting his shoulder. How disappointing.

1. Obi-Wan versus General Grievous (Episode III: Revenge of the Sith)

This is what the list has been building up to, and it’s sure to rustle some feathers out there.

Obi-Wan versus General Grievous is usually considered one of the better duels of the franchise, for the impressive choreography and wow-factor of Grievous’ four-arm fighting style.

However, we would argue that there are many more flaws just beneath the surface that are worth a spot at number one in this list.

Firstly, as is the case with the previous two duels, the buildup of Obi-Wan Kenobi, master Soresu duelist and famed Master Jedi, going against the one and only General Grievous, was immense.

In the early promotional series, Star Wars: Clone Wars, General Grievous is depicted as nothing less than a Jedi-killing machine, shown obliterating four Jedi at once after taunting and stalking them across an abandoned shipwreck.

Even in a deleted scene of Revenge of the Sith, we see Grievous having captured Shaak-Ti, an acclaimed Jedi Master, and decapitating her in front of Anakin and Obi-Wan.

Such a reputation would lead to a well-deserved fear of Grievous, and clear build-up for his first true duel in the film series.

However, when we see him, he near-instantly loses not one, but two of his hands, bumbles around aimlessly, and at one point has his chest cavity ripped open by Obi-Wan.

Obi-Wan vs General Grievous - "Hello There" | Star Wars Revenge of the Sith 2005 Movie Clip HD 4K

Not the duel we were anticipating.

Obi-Wan himself doesn’t look too great either, at one point making the incredible decision to try and kick Grievous’ shin—which is made out of pure metal, by the way.

And in the end, it’s finished with, of all things, a blaster. Obi-Wan shoots Grievous through the chest and blows him up from the inside.

This alone makes this scene one of the most uncivilized in the series.

For all this, it’s a rather long duel, no less, involving the two combatants leaping around a warehouse, running away on a vehicle chase (or, vehicle and giant lizard), and hopping from platform to platform.

We, for one, would prefer a short and boring duel, due to a long, and at many points, incredibly goofy fight scene.

When all of these points are considered, it’s easy to see why we picked Obi-Wan versus General Grievous as the worst lightsaber duel in Star Wars (the main films, at least).


So, did we miss anything? Did we include your favorite duel in here?

Everyone has different opinions on what the best and worst duels are, so let us know in the comments below what you think, and share with your friends if you think our list looks right (or wrong).

With that, we hope you enjoyed the list, and as always, may the Force be with you!

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