Every Star Wars Movie And TV Show, Ranked By Metacritic
Every Major Star Wars Project Ranked, According To Metacritic
The Force will have been with us for 45 years come May 25, 2022. In that time we've had nine mainline films, two side stories, at least four animated projects, and three seasons of live-action series. That's a lot of Star Wars and, of course, a lot of Star Wars opinions. We've gathered all the major Star Wars projects--we're not counting Droids, for example--and looked at both how they rank on Metacritic according to critical response and how they rank with audiences. While many properties are ranked so close as to be identical, a few others vary wildly between critical and fan response. You can probably guess which ones. Here are all the major Star Wars properties, ranked according to Metacritic.
18. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999)
- Metacritic Rating: 51
- Metacritic Audience Rating (Rank): 6.2 (14)
When fans found out that a new Star Wars trilogy was on the way in the late 1990s, the pressure was immediately high. We had 20 years of new technology, Star Wars novels, and fan fervor. Oh, and the internet. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace's low ranking shows how the first of the prequels caved under that pressure. The gritty, cobbled-together look of the original trilogy was replaced with bright, clean lines to represent the pre-Imperial republic, and our lightsaber-wielding protagonist was replaced with a small child. Even as parts of the prequels have been rehabilitated by follow-up series, The Phantom Menace is still one of the least-liked films by critics and fans alike.
17. Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker (2019)
- Metacritic Rating: 53
- Metacritic Audience Rating (Rank): 4.6 (17)
Much like The Phantom Menace, 2019's Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker had a lot of pressure. It had to bring together the wildly disparate movies of The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi and bring the 9-film Skywalker saga to a satisfying end. It did neither of those things. We did, however, get Babu Frik.
16. Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002)
- Metacritic Rating: 54
- Metacritic Audience Rating (Rank): 6.1 (16)
How do you feel about sand? Anakin isn't keen on it. After seeing Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones in theaters with friends, one person I saw it with described it as "C-Span: Star Wars Edition." This movie puts much of the action the series is known for aside for political machinations as it tries to set up the events of Revenge of the Sith. It also features Yoda in a lightsaber battle, and we're still torn on whether or not that's the worst or best thing.
15. Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983)
- Metacritic Rating: 58
- Metacritic Audience Rating (Rank): 8.4 (6)
One of the more disparate titles on the list in terms of critical and audience response, Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi is beloved by fans but struggled with critics at release. Despite the introduction of the kid-friendly Ewoks, Jedi brought all the space wizards together in one room and pitted them against each other in an ultimate battle for Luke Skywalker and his fathers' souls, making for one of the most beloved redemption stories in pop culture.
14. The Book of Boba Fett (2021)
- Metacritic Rating: 59
- Metacritic Audience Rating (Rank): 8.4 (4)
Boba Fett is, quite possibly, the single coolest character design ever. He's so cool that a few minutes in an animated show 8 minutes and 2 seconds (according to the Boba Fett Fan Club) in the original trilogy--with almost no character development in either--were collectively enough to jam the character into Star Wars fans' collective memory, eventually birthing Mandalorians, who would figure heavily into Star Wars animated series in the early 2000s before getting three seasons of shows on Disney+. It wasn't until late 2021 that we got more Boba Fett in the form of The Book of Boba Fett, a limited series following the characters' escape from the Sarlacc Pit, capture by Tusken Raiders, and rise to the throne of crime lord in the Tatooine city of Mos Espa.
13. Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)
- Metacritic Rating: 62
- Metacritic Audience Rating (Rank): 6.1 (15)
Between the release of A New Hope in 1977 and Solo in 2018, Star Wars developed a ton of lore covering from the halcyon days of the Old Republic up through the rise of the First Order, giving writers an almost unlimited space to explore. While Solo has its defenders, to many fans and critics the film feels like an exploration of a character that didn't need the additional exploration, while being portrayed by someone who definitely isn't Harrison Ford.
12. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)
- Metacritic Rating: 65
- Metacritic Audience Rating (Rank): 7.6 (9)
Put your lightsabers down; it's time to go to war. Rogue One, like Solo, tries to fill in a pre-A New Hope blank spot--the mission to obtain the Death Star plans that Mon Mothma told soldiers killed so many Bothans. The film has a necessarily dark ending, but gave us characters like Jyn Erso and martial arts actor Donnie Yen's Chirrut Îmwe. The characters had charisma to spare, and Rogue One stands out as one of the more unique tales in the series long-running canon.
11. The Clone Wars (2008-2020)
- Metacritic Rating: 66
- Metacritic Audience Rating (Rank): 9.1 (2)
The Clone Wars was the beginning of two major seachanges in Star Wars: the rehabilitation of Anakin Skywalker and the rise of Dave Filoni. The Clone Wars gave us 133 episodes across seven seasons, with plenty of time devoted to justifying Anakin's turn to the Dark Side of the Force--something viewers felt was lacking in the prequel trilogy--as well as fleshing out Obi-Wan Kenobi, introducing characters like Ahsoka Tano, and deepening Mandalorian lore. The Clone Wars' high audience ranking shows just how much the series has done to bring the sketches seen in the prequels to life. The Clone Wars also marked one of the first projects heavily influenced by Dave Filoni, who would go on to become one of the major creative minds behind the continuing Star Wars universe.
*Metacritic does not feature individual season scores for Clone Wars.
10. The Bad Batch (2021)
- Metacritic Rating: 67
- Metacritic Audience Rating (Rank): 6.7 (13)
The Bad Batch follows Clone Force 99, a group of mutated--see also: defective--clone soldiers as they take on missions against the growing Imperial threat. The show is a spin-off of The Clone Wars and is, like The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels, a Dave Filoni joint.
9. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005)
- Metacritic Rating: 68
- Metacritic Audience Rating (Rank): 7.8 (8)
While Anakin would win their second major battle years later, Obi-Wan had the high ground in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. The bright, optimistic start in The Phantom Menace gave way to the initiation of Order 66, leaving the Jedi, including the many Younglings, slaughtered or going into hiding. It also pitted Obi-Wan and Anakin against each other for the first time--a relationship that would come to rival that of Luke and Darth Vader in the eyes of fans in the years to come.
8. The Mandalorian Season 1 (2019)
- Metacritic Rating: 71
- Metacritic Audience Rating (Rank): 8.4 (5)
The Star Wars galaxy is a huge place, and there are only a few Jedi. It serves to reason that most people would have never seen or even heard of one. The Mandalorian Season 1 was Disney's first attempt at a live-action Star Wars show. Alongside a banger of an opening theme, the Western-inspired show tried to bring wonder back to the Force by introducing the character we know colloquially as Baby Yoda, and put Pedro Pascal in the limelight as Din Djarin, the rarely-unmasked titular Mandalorian.
7. The Mandalorian Season 2 (2021)
- Metacritic Rating: 76
- Metacritic Audience Rating (Rank): 8.0 (7)
After a strong first season, the Mandalorian came back last year for its sophomore outing, fleshing out the backstory for Baby Yoda--Grogu--as well as beginning to bring in more of Dave Filoni's characters from The Clone Wars and other animated projects, as well as other well-known Star Wars characters.
6. Star Wars Rebels (2014 - 2018)
- Metacritic Rating: 78
- Metacritic Audience Rating (Rank): 7.4 (10)
Set 14 years after the fall of the Jedi, Star Wars Rebels follows a band of--you guessed it--rebels, including fan-favorite Jedi Ahsoka Tano as they fight a guerrilla war against the Galactic Empire. This show, created by Dave Filoni, explores one of the less-touched eras of the Star Wars canon and performed well with fans and critics alike.
5. Star Wars Visions (2021)
- Metacritic Rating: 79
- Metacritic Audience Rating (Rank): 6.7 (12)
Star Wars Visions isn't inside or outside the Star Wars canon the same way that other Star Wars projects are. This anime anthology features 9 short films, brought to life by different teams of studios and directors. The episodes feature everything from a Tatooine rock concert and a black-and-white samurai-inspired battle to a double Star Destroyer and a Sith that battles with not four but six lightsabers (take that, General Grievous!). It's a visually stunning tribute to all the ideas that Star Wars has inspired over the years, and its deep, language barrier-crossing lore.
4. Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (2015)
- Metacritic Rating: 80
- Metacritic Audience Rating (Rank): 6.7 (11)
While the prequels were tasked with fleshing out existing characters, the sequel trilogy that began with The Force Awakens had to introduce us to an all-new set of protagonists. Star Wars royalty cameo in the film, but this is primarily the story of Rey, Kylo Ren, Poe Dameron, and Finn. Despite a strong initial response from critics, the response to the new characters, especially Rey, has been mixed since release.
3. Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
- Metacritic Rating: 82
- Metacritic Audience Rating (Rank): 9.1 (1)
If you ask just about any Star Wars fan what their favorite Star Wars project is--especially older fans--they're almost invariably going to say The Empire Strikes Back; largely, critics agreed. While A New Hope was a jaunty space adventure, Empire blew the Star Wars galaxy wide open, taking us to Hoth, Dagobah, and the Cloud City on Bespin. Despite being a sequel, Empire arguably introduced more of Star Wars' core concepts than any other Star Wars project--along with one of the greatest twists in modern fiction: "No, I am your father."
2. Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (2017)
- Metacritic Rating: 84
- Metacritic Audience Rating (Rank): 4.1 (18)
The sequel trilogy of Star Wars Episodes 7-9 is a weird mix of ambitious ideas and a confusing lack of planning. After JJ Abrams brought Star Wars back to theaters with The Force Awakens, it was up to Rian Johnson to shepherd Episode VIII: The Last Jedi. Critics responded favorably to the film's shades-of-gray take on The Force and Jedi, new characters like Rose Tico, and the pair of flashy battles--Rey and Kylo battling First Order Praetorians, and Luke's battle against Kylo. However, many audience members were frustrated with the disillusioned Luke Skywalker, who acted more like a tall Yoda than an aged Luke, and what felt to them like a disregarding of years of ideas about the way the Force works.
1. Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977)
- Metacritic Rating: 90
- Metacritic Audience Rating (Rank): 8.8 (3)
It's appropriate, somewhat, that the movie that started it all lands at the top. While a high-level view of Star Wars will show that it's a pastiche of Western and Swashbuckling flicks with inspiration from Kurosawa films and airplane dogfighting movies, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope is the very definition of something being more than the sum of its parts. Few movies have impacted so many things--visual effects, movie marketing, fandom, toys, novel publishing--in the many ways that A New Hope has. While a few movies in the series have their defenders, A New Hope will always have a special place for fans and critics alike.