What’s Your Favorite ‘Star Wars’ Trilogy?

Over the last four decades, we have been given three different Star Wars trilogies. Each trilogy has had its outstanding moments and decisions (or characters) that we’re not particularly fond of but no one can deny the beauty of this story that has inspired and brought together generations of fans.

So, for this week’s Who’s Your Favorite? I wanted this to be the topic. Enjoy!

The Prequel Trilogy

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Before Luke Skywalker, before the Empire and Darth Vader, the Cloud City and the magical world of the forest moon of Endor, there was the prequel trilogy; a story of Anakin Skywalker, the rise of Emperor Palpatine, and the horrifying fall of the Jedi.

There are love and darkness, politics and deception, epic lightsaber duels and Force battles, but most importantly, there’s a story that not many trilogies are able to tell; a hero’s descent into villainy.

The Original Trilogy

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If it wasn’t for these three movies I wouldn’t be sitting here today writing about Star Wars on a near-daily basis, that’s how good these movies were. This fantastical story, concocted by George Lucas, is the new age fairy tale and it is truly riveting stuff.

The Sequel Trilogy

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After Revenge of the Sith, the prospect of more Star Wars movies felt non-existent. And then Disney arrived to ensure such a welcome surprise. No, the Sequel Trilogy hasn’t been perfect, but it has carried the story forward in exciting ways, introduced us to some lovely characters, it is the most diverse of the trilogies which I love, and honestly, I can’t imagine this franchise without these movies to add to the overall drama of the story.

For me, it’s difficult to choose. I like the Prequel Trilogy for its concepts and tragic conclusion, I like the Original Trilogy for having the most concise and fulfilling story, and I like the Sequel Trilogy for having the best characters. But…if I had to pick only one…I guess I’d pick…ah, this is so hard.

I’d pick the Sequel Trilogy because I love The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi that much. Both movies are in my top five favorite Star Wars films of all time while the Prequel and Original trilogies only have a movie each (Revenge of the Sith and The Empire Strikes Back) to join this elite top-five club. (Rogue One still sits in the coveted #1 spot.)

I’m intrigued to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

I thank you for reading and I hope you have a lovely day.

17 thoughts on “What’s Your Favorite ‘Star Wars’ Trilogy?”

  1. While I like all three trilogies for different reasons, I’ve come to realize that the prequel trilogy is my favorite. I grew up on the Clone Wars, so the world/atmosphere/characters of the prequels are super close to my heart. And I like how the storytelling is more cohesive than the original trilogy, in some respects.

    After seeing Rise of Skywalker, the sequel trilogy might be my favorite though. (I haven’t seen it yet.)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a highly personal question that each Star Wars fan can only answer for themselves.

    In a lot of ways I view The Prequels and Originals as a complete whole. So I could answer the question with: both the Prequels and Originals.

    On a personal level the Prequels were super important to me as a teenager because I feel like they showed me how a person can ruin their life if they let themselves be controlled by fear. I feel like I needed to see that in order to fully understand how a person does the opposite. Anakin’s Journey really enriches Luke’s Journey in that sense. I feel like without the Prequels the story would be incomplete, like Dante going straight to heaven without going through hell first. So again…I could answer the question with: both the Prequels and the Originals, with a slight leaning towards the Prequels.

    However, as someone who has studied screenwriting, the elegance and simplicity of character and plot in A New Hope is an absolute master class. As for Empire Strikes Back it has this audacious pacing that just builds and builds and hooks you along until it reaches one of the greatest climaxes and turning points in movie history.

    The Prequels, while maybe not the best writing, have bold ideas and absolutely take the cake when it comes to world building (It really sounds like I’m leaning towards the Prequels).

    As for the Sequels, I view them as a fun, but unnecessary bonus. Rey and Kylo provide great variations of the archetypes you find in the previous films. The Sequels are also at a disadvantage because I haven’t had the same amount of time to digest and ruminate over them as the previous 6 films.

    Also…the Prequels have Padme and Jar Jar Binks. That REALLLLY sweetens the deal for me. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I will have to go with the Original Trilogy, but OMG, I loved The Force Awakens, which was my favorite Star Wars film since Empire, and Revenge of the Sith.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. For me, it’s the originals, prequels, and sequels, in that order. If I had to give a single-sentence reason, it’s this: the originals have Darth Vader, and the others do not. He is the no-arguments most iconic character in science fiction — in fact, if you were making a an accurate list of such characters based on their cultural and story impact, the top five would look something like this:

    1. Darth Vader
    2. (this space intentionally left blank)
    3. (this space intentionally left blank)
    4. (this space intentionally left blank)
    5. Someone else

    Everyone about Star Wars, at its best, is about the story of Darth Vader. The six Lucas entries are effectively the saga of his tragic tale, and after them, nothing else needed (or, IMO, deserved) a Roman numeral on it. It is completely fair to say that every single film in which Vader appears in the series is superior to every film in which he does not. This is not a coincidence. The best films in the series are, in some order, 5, 4, 3, 6, with Rogue One floating around somewhere. Everything else is fighting over where in the order behind these five they go. Kylo Ren’s quest to be another Vader is, in many ways, a very “meta” commentary on the sequels as a whole, because he’s such an inferior knock-off to the original that the movies around him suffer for the absence of the genuine article.

    There’s more to it than that. If you want to understand the Force, and what it means to be light and dark, by watching only one movie? You watch Empire Strikes Back. Yoda teaches you while he’s teaching Luke, and everything Yoda says is everything you need to know. If you want the most influential movie on the musical score (which is one of the other major cultural contributions of Star Wars), to a point that every other movie pays homage to it? You watch Empire: the Imperial March is the most influential score in the entire saga. Literally every Star Wars movie after 1980 contains a reference to that piece somewhere, and popular culture still considers that a universally recognized leitmotif for evil empires. If you want the biggest, most shocking reveal in sci-fi history? Like the list above on Vader himself, you write down “no… *I* am your father” at the top, skip a few spots, and then start writing down other lines. (The sequels’ multiple efforts to reproduce this moment, first with Kylo Ren’s relationship with Han Solo and then Rey’s to Palpatine are ham-handed and poorly executed by comparison, to say the least.)

    And it goes on. Character development at its most original peak within the saga? Empire. Best lightsaber fight, from a story perspective? Empire. Best land battle sequence? Empire. About the only other iconic moment in the saga that even comes close to the collective of Empire is the Death Star’s destruction of Alderaan and maybe the trench run.

    The lightsaber fights from a technical perspective in the originals don’t hold up as well. It’s about the only place where either of the other two trilogies can be argued to be better. The rematch between Vader and Obi-Wan in Ep4 seems almost quaint after you see their first battle (with Vader not yet masked) in Ep3. The serenity with which Vader approaches the chance to destroy the maker of his misery seems almost out of character after you see the way he looks at Obi-Wan as he’s catching fire on Mustafar. There are many areas where Lucas changed the originals over time that are worth criticizing (Exhibit A: Han fires first in the cantina, GDI), but that he didn’t find a way to reshoot the duel between Vader in Kenobi strikes me today as an oversight. At minimum, Vader really should be coming at Kenobi with a great deal more rage and open hatred, even if he’s perhaps more cautious for the fact that he’s lost before. And his line “when I left you, I was but the learner, now I am the master” almost seems like it’s been retconned in light of the fact that his crippling is now considered to have cut his Force potential by a factor of two or three and very probably having saved the galaxy as a result.

    The only other spot where the originals arguably have flaws is that Lucas clearly was changing many key premises in his head as he went. By most insider accounts, he clearly didn’t intend Vader to be Luke’s father when Ep4 was made, and almost certainly didn’t intend for Luke and Leia to be siblings when they dropped arguably the most intense kiss of the whole series on each others’ lips in Ep5. It’s not as jarring as the creative food fight going on between Abrams and Johnson in 7-8-9, and he sort of recovers from it in the long run, but it’s still a minor wart.

    By comparison… the prequels had probably the best coherent vision from start to finish of the three trilogies. Lucas clearly knew what he wanted to do this time, although to be fair, “turn Anakin into Vader” isn’t that hard to stick to the script. It simply wasn’t as well executed as the originals. You basically have to block out Jar Jar to enjoy Episode 1, and even if you do, there’s a little bit of just… slight lack of excitement in the film. In Episode 2, even rewatching it 20 years later I still kind of cringe at Anakin and Padme. That said… the guy who becomes Darth Vader and the woman who bears his children really shouldn’t be a particularly functional relationship, so I’m willing to forgive the awkwardness and toxicity as being partially intentional. Episode 3 did almost everything right. It’s really kind of hard to throw anything at it other than maybe that General Grievous was a little too comical of a foreshadowing of Vader.

    The sequels? Good lord. Episode 7 is uncontroversially the best of the three, but it’s painfully evident that it’s derivative of Episode 4. There are a few new concepts here. Finn as the insufficiently indoctrinated stormtrooper. Rey as the natural Force using prodigy that clearly has way too much affinity for the dark side — listen to Yoda’s admonitions in Empire (“anger, fear, aggression, the dark side of the Force are they, easily they flow, quick to join you in a fight!”) and then look at the way Rey tackles Kylo in Ep7 and it’s impossible not to think, “yeah, she’s doing this wrong.” Yoda’s philosophy that even starting down the dark path leads to it forever dominating your destiny and ultimately consuming you has obviously already been refuted by Vader coming back to the light, but Rey skates a little too easily, if anything.

    Episode 8 continues on the themes of Rey having too much affinity for the dark side, and that part is fine. Everything else about the movie is… less good. I still can’t forgive the “let’s have a chase scene that lasts the entire movie in dull, linear fashion, and it goes on so long that people can literally jump ship, have an entire side plot in a casino, and then come back and the chase is STILL going on” sequence.

    And then, of course, the “Holdo maneuver“ so utterly breaks the convention of Star Wars space combat that it begs the question of why hyper projectiles aren’t the primary weapon in the saga, and why they haven’t been from the beginning. The Death Star doesn’t need a thermal exhaust port when you can just centerpunch it with a large asteroid with a hyperdrive strapped to it. The very concept of all the behemoth megastructures throughout the series goes the way of the battleship in the age of the guided missile if this is a thing… but there’s no reason whatsoever why nobody would’ve thought about it until Ep8. The rebels could’ve just blown off Scarif and hyper-kamikaze’ed the Death Star with any one of their larger capital ships they threw away trying to get the plans. The visual was cool… the continuity implications are far reaching and border on ruining the entire rest of the saga. Even Abrams tried to walk it back clumsily in Ep9. But you can’t put that genie back in the bottle. It’s by far the worst creative decision of the entire series.

    …and then Ep9, Abrams went “hold my beer.” Sigh. C-3PO is programmed for translating Sith, but he’s not programmed to use it, and this is actually a plot point? You’ve got one planet’s resources able to produce the largest fleet in the saga, with a planet killing weapon on each, and neither the First Order nor the Galactic Empire could’ve topped those numbers? Oh, and they buried all 500 ships in the ground for no reason other than to have a semi-cool reveal? (Visualize for even half a second how many billions of tons of earth you’d need to move to do this, and the likely survivability of ships that can be blown up by casual star fighter fire to the wrong spot exposed in the open buried under millions of tons of rock each, and the absurdity of the fleet’s burial just can’t be unseen. It gets even worse when you remember that nobody can even find this planet to begin with, so there’s no added tactical advantage to burying them in the first place, only to reveal them when one particular dude flies in with his one man fighter.) And now Rey and Kylo’s link allows matter transferral? And of course, there’s the implications of Palpatine’s survival for the narrative of 6, 7, and 8 — the nullification of Vader’s sacrifice, and the reduction of Snoke to a sock puppet — that makes all three of those movies worse. I’ll just carefully dance around the way Abrams allowed the online trolls to win by reducing Rose’s screen time to roughly a minute, while I’m at it.

    …okay, I’m done writing the paper now. The originals are the best. The sequels had a lot of promise in any ways, but failed to deliver, and the failure renders the promise rather disappointing. Rey IS an interesting character, so is Finn… I could do without Poe or Kylo. Snoke got less cool as the series went on, he’s literally presented worse in each successive film than in the one before.

    So… yeah. Originals, prequels, sequels, in that order.

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  5. Addendum… there is a way in which the sequels (and Rogue One) are indisputably better than the others: inclusiveness/representation. At some point, the first six movies were made by a white male hippie from the 60s, and there were always going to be consequences of that in the form of blind spots. It’s difficult to find basically any alien in the Lucas-made films with a major role other than Chewbacca and Admiral Ackbar who couldn’t be credibly accused of representing a racial stereotype, and of course all the strongest characters are white men. Leia is a bit of an exception, but she’s still a strong damsel in distress more than an actual main character at some point.

    Contra to that, Rey and Jyn Erso are obviously the strongest women in the series. The only unambiguously heroic people of color are in those two movies. (Lando has some ambiguity in Empire before he comes around.)

    And then, of course, if you like a “bad boy” romantic lead from a villain protagonist, this is obviously a spot where Kylo is superior to Vader.

    So… it’s a thing. I hear ya. There’s things to like about the sequels, and some positive things that just aren’t there in the other six-plus films. My main objections are that the narrative as a whole was derivative or just not strong, and the few original sci fi concepts just don’t fit that well in the larger whole.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks. As a lifelong Star Wars geek who loves blathering about this stuff myself, I love your blog. I’d be delighted to connect over something with a messenger to jabber more about it.

        Last thought I’ll leave here: other than the Kylo-as-romantic-villain-protagonist side, I still think Vader is the superior character in every other way. I do think that if different creative choices had been made with Kylo, he could’ve been a worthy successor to Vader. Obviously they leaned into the idea of him being a dark, star-crossed lover type, but they did his character a great disservice with the mask, and his relationship to Han and Leia was awkwardly handled at best. If they’d even just given him a practical reason to wear the mask — combat? Hazmat? Zero atmosphere apparatus? He’s been injured by chemical weapons so his lungs are a little vulnerable but he’s otherwise okay, so he wears it part time in unfiltered air? — it would’ve helped his character a ton. As it is, like I said, it’s very meta in his overshadowing by Vader. In short, the creative choices that would’ve helped him take on the torch from Vader were not consistently made.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Let me tell you, I loved everything about Kylo in the first two movies.Wasn’t a fan in the last one. I really liked his complexity and the romantic stuff helped aggrandize his allure but due to the poor conclusion of his story I agree, Vader is a far superior character.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. No problem. I’ve been following it the hard way for a while (thelfoley = Eric Foley in case it wasn’t obvious), just finally signed up and made it official. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

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