From “A New Hope” to “The Rise of Skywalker” : A journey through the Skywalker Saga


            The Stars Wars / Skywalker Saga , spanning over four decades, has captivated audiences worldwide with its iconic characters, thrilling space battles, and epic storytelling. From its humble beginnings with the original trilogy to the prequels and the recent sequels, the franchise has left an indelible mark on popular culture. In this critique, I explore the strengths and weaknesses of the entire Skywalker saga, drawing on evidence from the films themselves and the impact they have had on cinema and society.  A ranking system will also be shown.


             Original Trilogy (Episode IV-VI):  Consisting of “A New Hope” (1977), “The Empire Strikes Back” (1980), and “Return of the Jedi” (1983), set the foundation for the Star Wars universe and laid the groundwork for its success. These films introduced iconic characters like Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and Darth Vader, and revolutionized visual effects and storytelling techniques.


          Episode IV: A New Hope:Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope now available On Demand!

   “A New Hope” is the iconic and classic film that started it all. It introduced us to the expansive and vibrant Star Wars universe, complete with memorable characters and a gripping story. The film’s timeless themes of hope, heroism, and the battle of good versus evil are still relevant today. The special effects may feel dated by today’s standards, but the film’s charm and heart make it a must-see. ( 9.5 / 10 ).

       Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back:    Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) - IMDb

    For good reason, “The Empire Strikes Back” is widely regarded as the best Star Wars film. It elevated the characters and universe established in the first film to new heights. The darker tone, unexpected plot twists, and character development, particularly for Luke Skywalker, gave the story depth and complexity. This film is a masterpiece because of the iconic battle on Hoth, Yoda’s introduction, and the unforgettable revelation about Darth Vader’s identity.  As my teacher always says, ”  You never get bored when watching it” – Mr. Talucci  ( 10/10 ) 



       Episode VI: Return of the Jedi:  Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983) - IMDb

       “Return of the Jedi” concludes the original trilogy. While it does not reach the same heights as its predecessor, it still provides thrilling action sequences, emotional moments, and a final showdown between good and evil. While the Ewoks are controversial among fans, they add a sense of whimsy and contribute to the film’s overall charm. The conclusion of Luke’s journey and Darth Vader’s redemption provide a satisfying and impactful conclusion.  ( 8 / 10 )



    1. A) Strong Character Arcs: The original trilogy excelled at crafting compelling character arcs, particularly Luke Skywalker’s journey from a farm boy to a Jedi Knight. And the evolution of Han Solo from a self-centered scoundrel to a selfless hero.
    2. B) Memorable Moments: The trilogy provided numerous memorable moments, including the opening crawl, the Death Star trench run, the revelation of Darth Vader as Luke’s father, and the redemption of Anakin Skywalker. These moments have become ingrained in popular culture.
    3. C) Timeless Themes: The trilogy explored timeless themes of heroism, hope, redemption, and the struggle between good and evil, resonating with audiences across generations.


  1. A) Lack of Diversity: The original trilogy lacked diversity in its main cast, with a predominantly white male ensemble. This issue has been addressed and improved upon in subsequent films.
  2. B) Simplistic Plot: While the simplicity of the original trilogy’s plot worked to its advantage, some critics argue that it lacked the complexity and depth seen in the later entries.


           2.  Prequel Trilogy (Episode I-III): Including “The Phantom Menace” (1999), “Attack of the Clones” (2002), and “Revenge of the Sith” (2005), delved into the backstory of the original trilogy and explored the rise of Darth Vader. These films garnered mixed reactions upon release but have gained a renewed appreciation over time.


              Episode I: The Phantom Menace:      Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999) - IMDb

            “The Phantom Menace” is frequently criticized for its pacing and Jar Jar Binks, but it is not without merit. Standout moments include the podrace sequence and the lightsaber duel between Qui-Gon Jinn, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Darth Maul. The introduction of key characters such as Qui-Gon Jinn, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Anakin Skywalker sets the stage for the prequel trilogy. While it does not live up to the original trilogy in terms of world-building, it does add to the Star Wars story. ( 6.5 / 10 )

            Episode II: Attack of the Clones:  Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002) - IMDb

           “Attack of the Clones” suffers from a weak script and some questionable dialogue. However, it does have its redeeming qualities. The film explores the complexities of Anakin Skywalker’s character and the beginnings of his descent to the dark side. The ” Across the Stars” Scene with Anakin and Padme does the film some justice as well.  The action sequences, particularly the climactic battle on Geonosis, are visually impressive. Despite its flaws, it serves as an important building block in the overall saga. ( 3 / 10 )

             Episode III: Revenge of the Sith:  Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005) - IMDb

           “Revenge of the Sith” is widely regarded as the best of the prequel trilogy. It delves deep into Anakin Skywalker’s fall from grace and transformation into Darth Vader, showcasing the tragedy of his character arc. The film delivers intense action, emotional moments, and a sense of darkness that connects well with the original trilogy. The climactic lightsaber duel between Obi-Wan and Anakin remains one of the most memorable moments in the entire saga. ( 8  / 10 )



  1. A) Expanded Universe: The prequel trilogy expanded the Star Wars universe, introducing new planets, cultures, and characters. It provided a deeper understanding of the Jedi, Sith, and the Force.
  2. B) Visual Spectacle: The prequels pushed the boundaries of visual effects, showcasing breathtaking worlds, massive battles, and imaginative creatures. They demonstrated the advancement of technology in filmmaking.
  3. C) Complex Narrative: While criticized for their convoluted politics, the prequels tackled complex themes like corruption, political manipulation, and the seduction of power. They explored the tragic fall of Anakin Skywalker, offering a nuanced portrayal of his transformation into Darth Vader.


  1. A) Weak Dialogue and Acting: The prequel trilogy suffered from stilted dialogue and uneven performances, which detracted from the emotional impact of crucial moments.
  2. Jar Jar Binks…..
  3. B) Over Reliance on CGI: Some argue that the prequels relied too heavily on computer-generated imagery, sometimes at the expense of practical effects and realism.  Bigger is not always better.  


       3.   Sequel Trilogy (Episode VII-IX):   Consisting of “The Force Awakens” (2015), “The Last Jedi” (2017), and “The Rise of Skywalker” (2019), aimed to continue the saga by introducing new characters and expanding the story’s universe. This trilogy generated polarized opinions among fans and critics alike.


         Episode VII: The Force Awakens:  Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens (2015) - IMDb

        After a long hiatus, “The Force Awakens” resurrected the Star Wars franchise. While introducing a new generation of characters, it successfully captured the spirit and nostalgia of the original trilogy. The film establishes intriguing plot threads and mysteries, leaving audiences wanting more. While it has been criticized for playing it safe and following predictable plot lines, it is an enjoyable and promising start to the sequel trilogy.  ( 9 / 10 )

          Episode VIII: The Last Jedi:  Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi (2017) - IMDb

       “The Last Jedi” is a controversial installment in the Star Wars saga. Some enjoy its subversion of expectations and willingness to take risks, while others believe it deviated too far from established stories.  The film dives into themes such as failure, redemption, and the balance of the Force’s light and dark sides. Highlights include the visual spectacle, character arcs, and the complex relationship between Rey and Kylo Ren. Regardless of opinion, it sparked heated debate among fans and pushed the franchise’s boundaries.  ( 8.5 / 10 )


        Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker: Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker (2019) - IMDb

     “The Rise of Skywalker” attempts to wrap up the sequel trilogy as well as the entire Skywalker saga, but it falls short in some ways. The plot is rushed and overloaded, sacrificing character development and emotional resonance. Nonetheless, it provides thrilling action sequences and visually stunning moments. The reappearance of familiar faces and the final confrontation with Emperor Palpatine provide some satisfying closure, if not the most cohesive conclusion. ( 7 / 10 ) 


  1. A) Reintroduction of Classic Elements: The sequel trilogy successfully brought back beloved characters like Han Solo, Leia Organa, and Luke Skywalker, evoking a sense of nostalgia and providing closure to their arcs.
  2. B) Strong Performances: The performances of Daisy Ridley as Rey, Adam Driver as Kylo Ren, and Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron were widely praised, bringing depth and complexity to their respective roles.
  3. C) Visual Craftsmanship: The trilogy showcased stunning visuals, intricate set designs, and impressive action sequences, combining practical effects with CGI to create visually striking moments.


  1. A) Lack of Cohesion: The sequel trilogy suffered from a lack of cohesive storytelling, with each film seemingly pushing the narrative in different directions. This disjointed approach led to unresolved plot threads and left some fans unsatisfied.
  2. B) Missed Opportunities: Certain storylines and characters introduced in “The Force Awakens” were underutilized or discarded in later films, leaving audiences with unfulfilled expectations.
  3. C) Controversial Story Choices: “The Last Jedi” in particular , divided the fanbase due to its subversion of expectations and departure from established lore. Some felt it undermined the legacy of the original characters.


The Skywalker saga, spanning over nine epic films, has captivated audiences for decades and left an indelible mark on popular culture. From Luke Skywalker’s journey from farm boy to Jedi Knight, to the rise and fall of Anakin Skywalker and his transformation into Darth Vader, and concluding with Rey and the fall of the Sith, the saga has provided us with unforgettable moments and profound storytelling. It remains a significant cultural phenomenon, weaving a captivating and imaginative tale of heroes, villains, and the eternal struggle between light and dark. Its impact on the world of cinema, storytelling, and fandom is immeasurable, inspiring countless individuals to dream, imagine, and believe in the power of the Force. As we bid farewell to the Skywalker saga, its legacy remains comfortable in our hearts and minds, reminding us of the enduring power of myth and the possibility of heroism in the face of adversity. Truly, the Skywalker saga has left an unquestionable mark on us all, shaping our imagination and our understanding of what it means to be a hero. Its influence will continue to flood our culture, forever reminding us that even in the darkest of times, there is always HOPE.  

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker' misses the point of the binary sunset |  Hypable