In the history of cinema, few franchises are as iconic or successful as the Star Wars saga. Star Wars: The Force Awakens was the first film in a decade for the fan-favorite franchise (2008 animated adventure Star Wars: The Clone Wars notwithstanding). The film also marked the end of an era, as it was the first film to be released following Disney’s 2012 acquisition of Lucasfilm and the first with zero involvement from series creator George Lucas. With both The Force Awakens and Rogue One now having released, let’s see where they rank within the greater saga.
8. Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999)
Largely considered the weakest film in the series, The Phantom Menace suffers partly from the 16-year gap between the previous Star Wars and its own release. Nevertheless, the film itself has tons of problems, from wooden acting to an overly convoluted plot centering on trade disputes. Jake Lloyd’s young Anakin and new character Jar Jar Binks, however, are the easiest targets, though its cartoony effects certainly don’t help matters. Serving as more of a prologue to the prequels’ main focus on the fall of the Old Republic, the film does have some highlights, such as one of the most exhilarating lightsaber battles of the saga and the return of original trilogy performers Ian McDiarmid and Frank Oz as Palpatine and Yoda, respectively.