Star Wars: Every Movie Title In The Skywalker Saga, Ranked

The first Star Wars movie was just called Star Wars. But when the franchise branched off into sequels and prequels, George Lucas started giving each movie its own episode number and identifying subtitle. To distinguish the original film from the fictional universe it spawned, he retroactively turned Star Wars into Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope.

Some Star Wars movie titles promise excitement and spectacle, like The Empire Strikes Back and The Phantom Menace, while others are more generic and uninspiring, like Attack of the Clones and Return of the Jedi.


9 The Rise Of Skywalker

The weakest title in the Skywalker saga is the final chapter, The Rise of Skywalker. With the word “Rise” signaling a dawn or some kind of emergence, The Rise of Skywalker sounds more like the beginning of a story than the end of one.

Rather than referring to anyone who hails from the eponymous bloodline, The Rise of Skywalker refers to the controversial decision to have Rey co-opt the name Skywalker.

8 Attack Of The Clones

Not only is Attack of the Clones the most generic title in the saga; it doesn’t even make sense in the context of the film’s plot. The clones don’t attack anyone at any point in the movie. Yoda brings the cavalry to defend the Jedi in the Battle of Geonosis.

Rise of the Clones would’ve been more fitting (and it would’ve prevented the title The Rise of Skywalker from happening two decades later), or one of the rumored titles like A Shadow Falls and Fall of the Republic.

7 A New Hope

The title A New Hope was retroactively added years later to fit the franchise formula of episode numbers and unique subtitles. The movie was originally just known as Star Wars, which was perfectly fitting before it became the banner headline of its extended universe.

A New Hope has the feel of an afterthought. It points to Luke’s role as the “new hope” that will secure the Rebellion its greatest victory yet, but it fails to convey the thrilling adventure that the audience is in for.

6 Return Of The Jedi

The grand finale of the original trilogy has the innocuous title Return of the Jedi. “Return of the…” is a pretty standard title formula for big franchises (Return of the King, Return of the Living Dead, Return of the Pink Panther, etc.).

This title teases the newfound Jedi powers that Luke will flex throughout the movie, not to mention his father Anakin’s “return” to the light side of the Force. But it doesn’t quite sell the exhilaration of space battles and lightsaber clashes in the same way that titles like The Empire Strikes Back and Revenge of the Sith do.

5 The Last Jedi

Rian Johnson’s middle chapter of the sequel trilogy, The Last Jedi, is one of the most polarizing blockbusters ever made. Star Wars fans either love the movie or hate it, but everyone can agree that The Last Jedi is an awesome title.

The name The Last Jedi calls back to the straightforward titling of the samurai movies that inspired Lucas’ creation of the Jedi and the Sith.

4 Revenge Of The Sith

The title of the final chapter in the prequel trilogy, Revenge of the Sith, is openly derivative of Return of the Jedi. But it’s arguably a better title because “Revenge” is a much more dramatic word than “Return.”

Like all the best parts of the prequel trilogy, the title Revenge of the Sith plays on the inevitability of fate and the audience’s familiarity with where the story is going. It promises Anakin’s long-awaited transformation into the notorious Sith Lord Darth Vader.

3 The Force Awakens

The first Star Wars title not conceived by George Lucas himself, The Force Awakens, suggests an air of mystery and intrigue. It promised that the battle between the light and dark sides of the Force would make a comeback in a big way following the peace at the end of Return of the Jedi.

The mysterious nature of the title is appropriate for director J.J. Abrams, whose notorious “mystery box” storytelling style littered the movie with setups that had no clear payoff in sight.

2 The Phantom Menace

The DVD special features revealed that Lucas originally called the first prequel movie Star Wars: Episode I – The Beginning. But he wisely changed his mind and gave it the much more exciting title The Phantom Menace late into post-production.

The title The Beginning would’ve bluntly explained its placement on the Skywalker saga’s timeline, but The Phantom Menace is a lot more compelling. It refers to Darth Sidious secretly plotting the return of the Sith and the rise of the Empire from behind the curtain of a peaceful and prosperous intergalactic democracy.

1 The Empire Strikes Back

The second chapter of the original trilogy, The Empire Strikes Back, is widely praised as the best Star Wars movie ever made. It also has the most eye-catching title of the saga by far. It promises action and spectacle as Darth Vader’s Imperial forces seek retribution for the destruction of the Death Star.

The snappy moniker of The Empire Strikes Back evokes the pulpy titles of the science fantasy serials that inspired Star Wars in the first place. It could easily be the subtitle of a Flash Gordon or Buck Rogers adventure.

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