The Best ‘Star Wars’ Duels Ranked, From the Prequels Through the Animated Series, Because They Really Deliver Some of the Greatest Fights
When Star Wars began in 1977, it wasn’t necessarily about the duels or fights. The visual effects were important and definitely groundbreaking, but when it came to one-on-one fighting, they weren’t the main draw for people. Now, don’t get it twisted; George Lucas gave us some really great fights in the original trilogy, with Luke Skywalker coming to mind several times.
However, nothing can compare to what the prequels and the animated series gave Star Wars fans in regards to duels. Lightsaber fights, tension, and emotional baggage were all laid out in this era of the franchise and can still give fans chills to this day. Here are just some of the best from the prequels and animated series. [Spoiler alert: Spoilers ahead for Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 7].
9. Obi-Wan vs. Jango Fett
Starting out the list is Obi-Wan Kenobi and Jango Fett’s tussle on Kamino. Jango is the model for all of the clones and just doesn’t feel right to Kenobi, which is valid considering he’s working with Count Dooku. And as we all know, the Clone troopers are planted with inhibitor chips that will make them kill all the Jedi during Order 66.
But, for this scene, Obi-Wan just wants to capture Jango Fett and bring him in for questioning with the Jedi Council. Between the rain and the audience’s first real fight with a “Mandalorian” since Boba Fett in the originals, it’s exciting.
8. Ahsoka vs. Pre Vizsla and the Mandalorians
Speaking of Mandalorians, Ahsoka faces off with actually Mandalorian warriors in Season 4 of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Death Watch is a terrorist group of Mandalorians, dead set on their violent ways. She’s captured thanks to Lux Bonteri’s bad plan, and R2-D2 steps in to help her escape.
Whereas the Sith are Obi-Wan and Anakin’s “specialty,” Mandalorians are Ahsoka’s, it seems. Because here, she decapitates four at once, and then takes on Pre Vizsla and definitely holds her own. Not to mention, she does this again in the Siege of Mandalore during Season 7. With the snow and Pre-Vizsla’s Darksaber, it’s a great fight.
7. Anakin Skywalker vs. Barriss Offee
When Ahsoka is accused of bombing the Jedi Temple in Season 5, Anakin rightfully doesn’t believe it. So, while the Jedi Council bans her from the order and she’s forced to go through a military trial in front of Palpatine (which could have lead to the death penalty), Anakin is looking for clues for the real bomber.
He ends his fight with Assajj Ventress when she tells him that Ahsoka contacted Barriss Offee, and that’s the only lead he has. It ends up being the key to the case because she did indeed frame Ahsoka for the crime. Barriss is no match for the Chosen One but she still puts up a really good fight against Anakin with Ventress’ red lightsabers.
6. Yoda vs. Count Dooku
Master Yoda is a bit cooky in the original trilogy, but it’s sort of on purpose. When fans meet him in the prequels, he’s much more refined and very much a wise old teacher. And up until Attack of the Clones, fans hadn’t seen Yoda in a duel.
So when he pulled out his green lightsaber to fight Count Dooku, fans went nuts for it. And even though he’s hundreds of years old, he can bounce off the walls like no other. As we see again in Revenge of the Sith, Yoda is certainly a force to be reckoned with.
5. (Dark) Ahsoka vs. Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker
The Mortis Arc in The Clone Wars is one of the most important and unique in the whole series. It solidifies that Anakin is the Chosen One — if there was any doubt — and it also pushes Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Ahsoka to their limits with the Force and Light vs. Dark Side.
One of the supernatural beings on the planet is the Son, who turns Ahsoka crazy and Dark Sided while under his trance. She forces Anakin and Obi-Wan to fight her and it’s a great duel. It also leads to her death, which shakes Anakin. Of course, it’s not for long but still. A truly epic moment in this arc.
4. Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi vs. Darth Maul
If there’s one reason not to trash The Phantom Menace, it’s the final duel between Darth Maul and Qui-Gon Jinn, which is then finished by his Padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi. It really raised the bar for lightsaber duels in the franchise and was filmed in real-time.
Between “Duel of the Fates” playing in the background to the raw emotion coursing through these characters, this fight will always be one of the best in the whole franchise. Also, even though it was unknown at the time, it set up one of the best aspects of The Clone Wars: Maul’s survival and his vengeance against Obi-Wan. This comes to a head at the end of Season 5, and so worth the burn.
3. Ahsoka vs. Maul
The most recent duel to come from Star Wars was in the final arc of the final season of The Clone Wars. And it’s already one of the best in all of Star Wars. The lead-up to Ahsoka’s duel with Maul is so tension-filled. And both are two of the most complex and developed characters in all of the franchise; their face-off is like lighting dynamite.
Both are also very dynamic fighters, with very unique lightsabers to anything we’ve seen before. Having them go against each other wasn’t just rife with drama, but also so aesthetically amazing.
2. Ahsoka vs. Darth Vader
Just like how Ahsoka vs. Maul was filled with tension, so is her duel with Darth Vader in Star Wars Rebels. This whole time, for 15 years, Ahsoka believed (or made herself believe) that her former master was dead. However, she’s hit with the cold hard truth when she finally meets Vader on Malachor in Season 2.
She is then faced with a massive decision: Does she leave to safety or continue fighting her former master, with her heart ripped open by the truth? The dialogue in this scene also makes it what it is: one of the best.
1. Anakin Skywalker vs. Obi-Wan Kenobi
Just like The Phantom Menace had “Duel of the Fates,” “Battle of the Heroes” truly makes this duel so recognizable and evokes a lot of emotion. Not only that, but it’s Anakin’s last battle before he fully submits to the Dark Side. The tragedy, hurt, and anger is so palpable from Anakin, and Obi-Wan has to hopelessly fight someone who was like a brother.
Obi-Wan is a model Jedi. He is very good at abiding by the Code and not allowing attachment nor letting his feelings guide his actions. But when he’s fighting Anakin, you really see him falter. He’s heartbroken. That, mixed with Anakin’s agony (before and after he catches on fire) just adds to the stellar choreography (which was done a lot by the actual actors) and stakes.