September 4, 2014 – The StarWars.com editorial staff recently posted its Top Ten list of “Best Fights” of the six Star Wars movies. I’m not sure if the editors were slightly inebriated or not paying attention, but inexplicably, they rated The Phantom Menace (1999) at No. 1 for “best fight scene” pitting Darth Maul against the Jedi team of Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi.
The narrator comments that the staff considered “inventiveness, choreography and emotional impact” when ranking the fight sequences. The Phantom duel was selected as “the best fight ever” because, among other things, “it packs an emotional punch….” Really?!? Darth Maul was a short-lived character, not fully developed or explored, in an over-choreographed lightsaber fight in perhaps the most tepid of the six Star Wars films. Does it belong in the Top Ten? Sure. But Number One? Nope.
Here are the editorial staff’s subjective rankings:
No. 10) General Grievous vs. Obi-Wan Kenobi on Utapau (Episode III)
No. 9) Mace Windu vs. Darth Sidious on Coruscant (Ep. III)
No. 8) Yoda vs. Count Dooku on Geonosis (Ep. II)
No. 7) Obi-Wan Kenobi vs. Darth Vader on the Death Star (Ep. IV)
No. 6) Obi-Wan Kenobi vs. Jango Fett on Kamino (Ep. II)
No. 5) Luke Skywalker vs. Darth Vader on the Death Star II (Ep. VI)
No. 4) Yoda vs. Darth Sidious on Coruscant (Ep. III)
No. 3) Obi-Wan Kenobi vs. Anakin Skywalker on Mustafar (Ep. III)
No. 2) Luke Skywalker vs. Darth Vader in Cloud City on Bespin (Ep. V)
No. 1) Darth Maul vs. Obi-Wan Kenobi vs. Qui-Gon Jinn on Naboo (Ep. I)
I would rank the Luke-versus-Vader confrontation in Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (“I am your father”) as, far and away, the Number One fight scene. Above all others, this sequence will continue to stand out in cinematic history. How could it be otherwise?