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The Student News Site of Fluvanna County High School

The Fluco Beat

The Student News Site of Fluvanna County High School

The Fluco Beat

Kessler Potter
Image created using Google Drawings. Image courtesy of Kessler Potter.

Top 10 Best “Star Wars” Lightsaber Duels

Last year, I ranked and reviewed all theatrical “Star Wars” films to celebrate May 4 (famous as the day when we celebrate “May the Fourth Be With You”). Since it’s that time of the year again, I’m joining with fellow Fluco Beat reviewer Mia to celebrate “the Force” once again by rating the 10 best “Star Wars” lightsaber duels. We begin with our picks on the 10th best and work our way to our number one pick.

10. Anakin and Obi-Wan v. Count Dooku from “Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith”

Matt: For “Revenge of the Sith,” the three-person duel between Anakin and Obi-Wan v. Count Dooku is impressive. When the duel shifts to Anakin v. Dooku after Obi-Wan is knocked out is when the greatness of the duel becomes apparent. Seeing Anakin channel his anger and flirt with giving into the Dark Side makes it so much better. I loved seeing Anakin go from being toyed with (like he was in “Attack of the Clones”) to toying with Dooku, and eventually overpowering him, is a treat.

Mia: This battle is probably one of the best choreographed, though just a bit anticlimactic. I think I just expected more since these two have fought Dooku a few times before and this being the last time they fight him, I just wanted a tad bit more. Anakin definitely tapping into the Dark Side in this scene makes up for it. Using his anger in the past for the Sith Lord cutting off his hand is just a great move.

9. Darth Vader v. Reva from “Obi-Wan Kenobi Series”

Matt: I like that we are seeing Vader in his prime, seeing him toy around with Reva and use the Force to stop her attacks. With this duel also happening right after Vader uses the Force to bring a ship down and tear it apart, he is beyond angry, and we see him channel this anger in the fight. This duel becomes Reva against herself as Vader uses Reva’s efforts against her. I just wish that there wasn’t such a shaky camera. I also would have liked to see Vader use more than just a lightsaber just to show his true powers. Overall though, it is a good duel, if a missed opportunity for more.

Mia: This is a so-sochoreographed fight that could have been better if Vader wasn’t so obviously the stronger oppornent. He really out does Reva just effortlessly, stopping her lightsaber from striking him with just a single flick of the wrist. Reva gets a bit too cocky thinking she can take down Vader by trying to sneak up on him. It’s a bit ridiculous. Vader is angry, really angry, about letting the ship carrying Obi-Wan get out of his grasp and uses this to shut down Reva with little no effort. Good fight, but I wanted a little more from it.

8. Yoda v. Darth Sidious “Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith”

Matt: I don’t really have much to say about this fight. I could go into the themes of this fight, where it’s good v. evil, but evil has already won. However, for the sake of time I’ll just note that I love seeing Yoda duel for the first time, as well as Sidious. Two characters who both seem either too old or frail to fight actually put up memorable one.

Mia: This fight is fun to watch just simply because it’s a little silly. Yoda is tiny compared to Sidious, so it’s hilarious to see him get the upper hand on the larger man so easily. But in all seriousness, this fight is impressive. It’s the first time we get to see Yoda actually fight, and the scene becomes intense when Sideous and Yoda go on to fight in the Senate room. They’re jumping and fighting on the hovering Senate seats, trying desperately to get a hit without falling to their deaths. Overall, it’s an entertaining duel.

7. Obi-Wan v. Darth Vader First Duel “Obi-Wan Kenobi Series”

Matt: If “Star Wars” was a horror franchise, this duel would fit in with no changes. They don’t even treat Vader as a person for Kenobi to fight. Instead, Vader is a threat so big that all Obi-Wan can do is run. This is what I love about Vader. He is what all Jedi fear. He’s a hunter, and he will stop at nothing to make sure that the Jedi are eliminated. What really shows this is when Vader ignites his saber, and we see Obi-Wan grip his.

You may think that this is where the fight begins, but no. Instead, Obi-Wan runs. Throughout the series of Obi-Wan running away, we hear Vader’s voice echo throughout the set piece. Like I said, this is almost a horror scene in “Star Wars,” as Vader has a scene that almost is like a jumpscare. Seeing Vader toy with Obi-Wan, and leaving him for dead in a fire similar to how Obi-Wan left Vader on Mustafar, it’s a great duel. However, much like the rest of the show, I wish that there was less of a shaky camera.

Mia: This fight I’d have to say was the most ruthless compared to others in the “Star Wars” universe. In “Revenge of the Sith,” Obi-Wan basically leaves Anakin to die on Mustafar after cutting off his limbs. Ten years later, Vader is getting his revenge by throwing Obi-Wan on a floor of fire on Barren Moon. This battle is just ruthless and had me on the edge of my seat and ignoring my dinner. For a split second, I thought Obi-Wan was a goner, until I remembered that this was his show and that he’s alive in the OG films. Vader in this scene sort of reminds me of Michael Myers because he just comes out of nowhere and is slamming Obi-Wan into fire. Vader is just downright unstoppable and out for blood, specifically Obi-Wan’s.

6. Finn v. Kylo Ren “Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens”

Matt: Oh man, this scene gave me hope for the sequel trilogy. Seeing Finn–who had been set up as the next Jedi yet up to this point has never been seen with a lightsaber–in a duel is pretty amazing. The fight choreographers take his storyline and run with it. He is on both offense and defense at the same time, and duels like he has been dueling for years and years. Fun

Mia: One of the greatest battles of the sequels. The fight between rogue Stormtrooper Finn, formerly FN8-217, and Kylo is memorable. For a man who’s never fought with a lightsaber in his life, Finn fought with it like it was nothing. He has Kylo completely off guard and his strokes and hits are calculated and on point. He and Kylo fight with determination to take the other down. While in the end Finn gets knocked out of the ring, he puts up one heck of a fight.

5. Darth Vader v. Obi-Wan Finale Fight “Obi-Wan Kenobi Series”

Matt: What really makes this duel one of the best in the “Star Wa universe is the final part. When Obi-Wan cracks Vader’s mask, he talks to Anakin and apologizes for everything he’s done. I think that is one of the best scenes in “Star Wars” ever. I just wish that the shaky camera, which plagued the series, was steadier. The unstable footage really dropped this fight down the list. Other than that emotional scene, I think the duel in general was great. Seeing Obi-Wan get back his connection to the Force, and using it against Vader. I feel like that just made the duel so much better. I feel like this duel was a satisfying way to end the conflict between Kenobi and Vader in the series.

Mia: This duel is just beautiful in so many ways. It’s bittersweet, heartbreaking, and well thought out. I watched this episode with my sister and it not only had us on the edge of our seats, but also in tears. Anakin and Obi-Wan have been a tear-jerking duo for so long and this fight was like the “goodbye” to these two. In the beginning, they both use their years of training and Force to go at each other, striking each other any chance they get.

It isn’t until Obi-Wan strikes Vader so hard it cracks his mask that the fight slows down, since seeing Anakin’s face underneath makes Obi-Wan a bit emotional. For just a moment, Anakin comes back through to tell Obi-Wan that what Anakin has become is not Obi-Wan’s fault in the slightest and that Anakin was the one to end himself and become Vader. The emotions culminate in the tear-inducing line of “I am not your failure, Obi-Wan,” which gives Obi-Wan the closure he’s been wanting for ten years.

4. Rey and Kylo Ren v. Praetorian Guards “Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi”

Matt: With Binary Sunset, also known as the theme of the Force, playing in the background as Rey catches the Skywalker saber, the greatest duel in the sequel trilogy begins. Seeing the main protagonist and the main antagonist fighting on the same side is something you don’t see often in “Star Wars,” or in most forms of media as a whole. This is how you do those duels right, with excellent choreography. Seeing Rey and Kylo juggle fighting off multiple guards at the same time while working in tandem makes this duel easily the best one in the sequel trilogy.

Mia: I agree. Everything about this well-choreographed duel is so calculated and thought out. Seeing Rey and Kylo, two people with widely different beliefs, fight together just gives me goosebumps. I also really enjoyed being able to read Kylo’s true intentions of killing Snoke and helping Rey take down the Praetorian Guards. He joins her to fight them off, only at the end of the battle to ask Rey to join him on the Dark Side. You can see in his eyes that this is what he was thinking the entire time: He just wanted the power.

3. Anakin v. Obi-Wan “Obi-Wan Kenobi Series”

Matt: Seeing Hayden Christensen back as Anakin Skywalker in a time period when we didn’t see much of Anakin (when he was a padawan learning to be a Jedi) makes this duel particularly fun. Also seeing how Obi-Wan uses Anakin’s moves and mindset against him throughout the episode adds an extra layer that I love. It’s a must-see encounter.

Mia: This is one of my favorite flashback scenes in a show. Seeing Obi-Wan teaching a young, headstrong, and stubborn Anakin what it means to be a Jedi is really moving. I feel like this scene just shows you how paternal Obi-Wan feels towards Anakin, even though deep feelings are forbidden in the Jedi code. This small duel is just a cute, sentimental scene, but a gem.

2. Anakin/Darth Vader v. Ahsoka “Ahsoka Series”

Matt: The fact that this amazing duel is buried in such a mediocre show is a crime. Seeing Ahsoka getting one last duel with her master, Anakin, only for things to go sideways makes me love this duel. This duel is almost perfect. The shot of Anakin walking towards Ahsoka, and having the lightning flash and showing him as Vader? Perfect. However, I think that it could be a little bit better. I feel like the choreography could have been a little bit better, and I wish we saw more of Anakin dueling young Ahsoka. Still, overall, I believe that this was a pretty adequate duel.

Mia: I think this is one of the best duels in “Star Wars” history other than Anakin v. Obi-Wan in “Revenge of the Sith.” The entire flashback sequence to the Clone Wars is genius, and then Anakin turning on Ahsoka when she gives him the wrong answer to his question is just gorgeous. The lighting flash showing him going between Vader and Anakin is a chef’s kiss as you see the raw fear in Ahsoka’s eyes as she’s forced to fight her master and dear friend once more in her life. This entire scene is just raw and full of many emotions and it couldn’t be more perfect.

1. Anakin v. Obi-Wan “Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith”

Matt: This is the greatest piece of “Star Wars” ever. The duel between Anakin and Obi-Wan has always been my favorite duel in this franchise. The cinematography is fantastic. The choreography looks so clean. The special effects look great, even after 20 years. The emotional aspect of Obi-Wan dueling Anakin, who were basically brothers, is so satisfying to me. This is easily the best part of “Revenge of the Sith” easily.

Mia: Hands down the best duel ever in “Star Wars.” Many people might disagree, but I leave no room for exceptions or arguments. This is an amazing duel. Seeing the two men who’ve considered each other as brothers since the beginning of the series in a knock-down-drag-out fight not only tugs on my heartstrings but it leaves me jaw-dropped each time. Watching each of them strike each other, only to easily block because they know each other’s fighting style, is just pure perfection. This will forever be my favorite duel and movie.

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