Julien Neaves, Sci Fi Head Writer
We’re more than a month since the end of the latest Star Wars series, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Disney+ recently dropped the Star Wars: Clone Wars micro series (not to be confused with Star Wars: The Clone Wars) on their streaming service. So as we await more new Disney+ shows from a galaxy far, far away I think it’s an apt time to do a ranking of all the franchise shows, from the classic to the newest.
A quick caveat—there will be no online-only series so don’t expect to find Forces of Destiny here. With that out of the way and a Death Star-sized SPOILER ALERT let’s get to ranking:
#11 Ewoks (Two Seasons, 1985-1986)
Unless you’re jonesing for nostalgia or are a diehard completionist I can’t think of any other reason to watch this classic animated series centered on the titular violent teddy bear-like creatures from Return of the Jedi. It’s cutesy, VERY 80s and the least Star Wars of any show on this list, hence it’s placement at the bottom. Maybe your kids will like it.
#10 Droids: The Adventures of R2-D2 and C3PO (One Season, 1985)
Ewoks’ sister show Droids is at least better in that it feels more like Star Wars. We have everyone’s favourite droid duo as the main protagonists and we do see a couple of familiar faces in Boba Fett and IG-88. And there is some okay animated action to be had in their misadventures with various masters. But the slapstick comedy and stilted animation makes it feel super dated. It’s definitely a show of its time and adds little to the franchise lore. So if you miss it you aren’t missing much.
Related Content: Revisiting 1985 Star Wars: Droids in 3 Blasts
#9 Visions (One Season, 2021-?)
As we enter the modern era we reach the anime anthology Visions. Now combining Star Wars with anime was an inspired idea and I was looking forward to this show. But overall I found it lacking. There was an over reliance on Jedi stories and some episodes were dull or underwhelming. Still, there were a few bangers like The Ninth Jedi, The Elder and Lop and Ochō. Let’s hope the overall quality improves with a possible second season.
Related Content: Visions Review in 3 Slices
#8 Resistance (Two Seasons, 2018-2020)
This is the only series set in the timeline of the sequel trilogy and received generally positive reviews from critics and won a Saturn Award for Best Animated Series on Television in 2019. Well either someone was sniffing death sticks or 2019 was a very poor year for animated content because Resistance Season 1 is rough! For most of the first season we are focused on boring ship racing around the aircraft refueling station the Colossus with our annoying lead Kaz, his more annoying alien friend Neeku and mostly uninteresting characters. Thankfully the monotony was broken up by spy missions with Poe Dameron (voiced by Oscar Isaac) and we do get a lot of the adorable BB-8 so that’s something.
Only in the latter episodes when the First Order take over the station do things actually get interesting. And the second season where the Colossus is on the run from the First Order is much, much better. We do also get appearances by Captain Phasma, General Hux, Leia, C-3PO and even Kylo Ren, and I appreciated that. But I could not blame fans for switching off in the drudgery of the early first season arc. The series does a good job of expanding on the sequel trilogy era, though unfortunately that is the least interesting of the three eras. I would still recommend it checking it out.
Related Content: Reviewing the Star Wars Series No One Talks About—Resistance
#7 The Bad Batch (One Season, 2021-)
If there is one word I could use to describe this CGI animated series is “okay”. Spun off from the vastly superior The Clone Wars, The Bad Batch follows the titular group of clone troopers with genetic mutations working as mercenaries and on the run from the brand new Empire. The most interesting aspect is the era and I enjoyed seeing the early days of Imperial rule. But with stock characters and bland storytelling the show just never impressed. Heck, the best episode is Bounty Lost, which focuses not on the clones but bounty hunters Cad Bane and Fennec Shand. And that’s not a good thing. Still, it was interesting seeing the destruction of Tipoca City on Camino and learning how the Empire transitioned from clone troopers to stormtroopers. Like Visions, The Bad Batch has the opportunity to up its game with a second season, set to premiere September 28, 2022.
Related Content: The Bad Batch S1 Finale Arc is a Passable End to a Passable Season
#6 The Book of Boba Fett (One Season, 2021-)
What do you do when you have a super popular show about a bounty hunter and you want to make another one about your franchise’s most famous bounty hunter? Well, you make him not a bounty hunter but a crime lord, only a very decent crime lord who actually doesn’t do much in the way of crime. Yeah, Boba Fett was just flawed from the concept. If Disney had really gone dark it could have been enjoyable but they played it too safe. What we were left with is a practically unrecognisable character in a show that seems struggling to find itself. And to add insult to injury its already short season run takes a break for two episodes to showcase the Mandalorian and push Boba to the side. That’s not good.
But Temuera Morrison and Ming-Na Wen deliver strong performances, there are other interesting characters like Twi’lek cantina owner Garsa Fwip and Wookie bounty hunter Krrsantan rolling about (not those Mod racers though, ugh!) and the finale delivers some wonderfully excessive action. Let’s just hope the show finds itself in its next season.
Related Content: The Book of Boba Fett S1: Decent ‘Read’ in 4 Blasts
#5 Clone Wars (Two Volumes, 2003)
From the brilliant mind of Genndy Tartakovsky, the man behind Dexter’s Laboratory, Samurai Jack, Sym-Bionic Titan and new HBO Max series Primal, we got this fantastic, multiple award-winning 2D micro-series (not to be confused with the CGI animated The Clone Wars). Set in the prequel trilogy between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, in the first volume we get to see Mace Windu being a droid-destroying hurricane, Kit Fisto in underwater action on Mon Calamari, Obi Wan combatting the monstrous bounty hunter Durge, Anakin battling Asajj Ventress on Yavin 4 and the first appearance General Grievous, who we see snuffing out Jedi like a horror movie villain.
The second volume was stronger on story and showed pivotal moments like Anakin becoming a Jedi and the siege of Coruscant and the capture of Chancellor Palpatine, leading directly into the start of ROTS. The second storyline also highlighted Togruta Jedi Master Shaak Ti, which I enjoyed. There was also a side story of Anakin going on a quest to rescue some tribal aliens who were being turned into cyborg weapons by the Separatists, but that is decidedly less interesting. But that is a minor quibble for a thoroughly enjoyable series.
#4 Obi-Wan Kenobi (One Season, 2022-?)
The best movie to compare the Obi-Wan Kenobi series to is Solo: A Star Wars Story. The Han Solo-focused film spent its entire runtime trying to justify its existence by cramming in as much character lore as possible. And it was an epic failure. But Obi-Wan Kenobi began with a simple concept: Obi-Wan overcoming the trauma of killing his friend and brother (as he thought) and later the realisation of his turn to the Dark Side. Ewan McGregor is simply brilliant and elevates the material. And we also had Hayden Christensen and James Earl Jones back as Darth Vader, Ian McDiarmid back as Emperor Palpatine, Jimmy Smits back as Bail Organa, and Joel Edgerton and Bonnie Piesse back as Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru respectively. In terms of new folks we saw Vivien Lyra Blair doing solid work as young Leia Organa, Moses Ingram’s breakout performance as Reva Sevander/Third Sister and the first live action appearance of the Grand Inquisitor.
Sure, we had to do a bit of retcon gymnastics of Obi-Wan and Leia now having met much earlier than previously thought and Obi-Wan and Vader battling multiple times before their reunion in A New Hope. But Anakin and Count Dooku’s reunion in Revenge of the Sith got a retcon with their multiple battles in The Clone Wars, so it’s not the first time this was done. And I think it was worth it to finally get to see Alderaan in all its glory and Leia’s early life, meeting young Luke, and the epic encounters between Obi-Wan and Vader. “You didn’t kill Anakin Skywalker…I did.” Way more emotionally satisfying than their encounter in ANH #justsaying. That final battle was 13 flavours of awesome sauce! The series is not perfect but is very good, and more than justifies its own existence.
#3 Rebels (Four Seasons, 2014-2018)
Rebels, which is set a decade after Revenge of the Sith, started off as an okay show with some interesting characters. But when this motley crew joins up with Ahsoka and the Rebellion it elevates into one of the best Star Wars series ever. Over the four seasons I grew to love all these characters. My jaw dropped when Ahsoka battled Darth Vader, I smiled over the machinations of Grand Admiral Thrawn, and my heart broke when Kanan sacrificed himself to save his beloved Hera and the crew. The series fully deserved its multiple awards and nominations, especially for its third and fourth seasons.
Related Content: Top 5 Reasons the Force is Strong With Star Wars: Rebels
#2 The Mandalorian (Two Seasons, 2019-)
If you’re a Star Wars fan you’ve already seen the Jon Favreau’s space western The Mandalorian (or should have. What ARE you doing with your life?!) and have fallen in love with bounty hunter Din Djarin and Grogu. So what else can I tell you. The show is awesome. Pedro Pascal is pitch perfect, infusing so much life and character in a character wearing a helmet 99 per cent of the time. Grogu is totes adorbes and easily one of the most lovable aliens in the franchise. We also have a slew of stellar supporting characters including Greef Karga, Mr “I have spoken” Kuiil, IG-11 (pour some oil out for my boy), the Amorer and Cobb Vanth just to name a few. And Giancarlo Esposito delivers another terrific villain performance as Moff Gideon.
While some episodes have been better than others I am yet to see a bad episode in its first two seasons. And the series showed how much story there was to be explored outside of the main cast of characters, and the fans adored it. The only reason it does not make the top of this list is because its position as a side story renders its importance in the general lore somewhat diminished. But that doesn’t make it any less of a fantastic watch, whether you come into it warm or cold.
Related Content: Top 16 Mandalorian Moments (So Far)
#1 The Clone Wars (Seven Seasons, 2008-2014 & 2020)
While the prequel trilogy is seeing something of a fan resurgence in recent years, and especially in reaction to the haphazard sequel trilogy, I still consider The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones two of the weakest films in the franchise. Revenge of the Sith, though, is one of the best films of the franchise and remains underrated. And Dave Filoni’s award winning masterpiece The Clone Wars expands on ROTS and the world of Star Wars like no other series before or since.
Over seven seasons we saw Ahsoka grow from a bratty Padawan to Jedi Knight to a Force User outside the Order, and also one of the most important characters in the franchise. We got so much more story and development on Anakin, Obi-Wan, and so many other Jedi that we just glimpsed in the films. The clone troopers were fleshed out and humanised. And we had awesome villains like Asajj Ventress and Cad Bane. There was so much grand action that stretched across the galaxy.
The show was so beloved they had to bring back in 2020 for a final season. And that season’s final arc is inarguably one of the best things with the name Star Wars. The Clone Wars is not only required viewing for Star Wars fans but for any space opera fans.
So that’s my list. What is your favourite Star Wars series? Feel free to share and check out more great articles from a galaxy far, far away in the related content above.
Julien “Editor Jules” Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. I love promoting Caribbean film (Cariwood), creating board games and I am an aspiring author. I say things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”. Read more.