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Ranking The Best Lightsaber Battles From ‘The Clone Wars’

by Culture Slate 4 months ago in star wars

Which Is Your Favorite?

Since 1977, lightsaber battles are a staple of Star Wars and the "Battle of the Heroes” between Obi-Wan and Anakin in Episode III will probably forever be the gold-standard for lightsaber duels. The Clone Wars TV-series had quite a number of occasions where these legendary weapons clashed. Wookieepedia lists 35 episodes, plus the 2008 theatrical movie, that featured at least one lightsaber duel. It would not be possible to rank them all, but today we are going to look at the 10 best of them.

Such a ranking is always subjective of course, but here are the criteria that were used to judge them:

Participants: Most of the lightsaber battles in The Clone Wars were fought by Anakin and/or Obi-Wan and/or Ahsoka on the light side and Dooku and/or Asajj Ventress on the dark side, but there are also some that had other, or at least additional participants.

Fighting style: Since Luke’s battle with Vader on Bespin it is common for a lightsaber duel to include more than just clashing the blades. Throwing things at an opponent with the Force or adding other force powers in the mix surely enhances the enjoyment (and the drama) when watching such a battle.

Fighting choreography: using animation gave the creators of The Clone Wars additional freedom to let the opponents do things that would be hard or even impossible to do in live-action, so the way the opponents moved or even used their respective environment for their advantage also comes into play.

Length: finally, lightsaber duels that were short and included only a few slashes before being over were not regarded.

So now, without further ado, here is the list of the top ten lightsaber duels from all seven seasons of The Clone Wars:

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10. Anakin and Obi-Wan vs. Ahsoka – Altar of Mortis (Season 3 Episode 16)

The second episode of the Mortis trilogy had Anakin forced to fight against Ahsoka, whose mind had been twisted to the dark side by the evil Son of the Overlord. The padawan used both her lightsabers in this battle and was standing her ground against her master quite well. Even after Obi-Wan joined the fight, the young Togruta was not easily overpowered. What put this duel on this list, beside from its setting, was that it included only good guys. During the battle, Ahsoka urged Anakin not to call her Snips again, as she hated that name, something that most watchers of the series can probably relate to.

9. Anakin and Obi-Wan vs. Dooku – The Lost One (Season 6 Episode 10)

This episode had Plo-Koon discover the lightsaber of Sifo Dyas, leading to an examination of what actually lay behind the creation of the clone army. So Sidious had to send out Dooku to clean up any loose ends, culminating in a battle against Obi-Wan and Anakin on the Pyke’s moon of Oba Diah. What put this duel on this list is that it shows once again the elegance and the ease with which Dooku fought against two Jedi, with one arm behind his back most of the time, only to use it to send out massive Force pushes. Finally, this was also the moment where the Jedi learned that Dooku and Darth Tyranus were one and the same person.

8. Adi Gallia and Obi-Wan vs. Darth Maul and Savage Opress - Revival (Season 5 Episode 1)

The resurrected Darth Maul and his Nightbrother, Savage Opress, forcefully recruited a band of pirates (including Hondo Ohnaka) to spread chaos throughout the Outer Rim. This caused Obi-Wan and fellow Jedi, Adi Gallia, to go against the two Zabraks. While Obi-Wan was able to stand his ground, Gallia was killed by Opress. The battle later continued inside old tunnels where Obi-Wan cut off one of Opress’ arms and finally made the two brothers to retreat. What put this duel on this list, beside the involvement of Gallia, was Obi-Wan’s ability to successfully fight against two bigger and stronger opponents simultaneously.

7. Luminara Unduli and Ahsoka vs. Asajj Ventress – Cloak of Darkness (Season 1 Episode 9)

The only entry from Season One of the series had Jedi Master Luminara Unduli fight against Ventress, who was still Dooku’s assassin at this point, on board a failing Republic Star Destroyer. While Unduli initially underestimated Ventress and her fighting skills, she quickly had to learn otherwise, when Ventress temporarily blinded and nearly killed her, but fortunately Ahsoka came to the rescue at the last minute. What put this duel on this list is its fast-paced choreography in an environment with small bridges and narrow walkways.

6. Anakin and Yoda vs. Sidious – Sacrifice (Season 6 Episode 13)

This is the only lightsaber duel that didn’t happen in reality. In the conclusion of the Yoda-arc, the Jedi Grand Master has a vision of Anakin beheading Dooku and of himself fighting the Sith Lord in order to find out his identity. Anakin later joins the battle, but is knocked unconscious, which has Yoda taking care that his body doesn’t fall from the upper levels of Coruscant, while at the same time trying to defeat Sidious, who uses extensive Force lightning against the Jedi. What puts this duel on this list, beside its participants and Yoda’s “multitasking” abilities, is the unusual location in on old industrial environment with bottomless pits and crashing walkways.

5. Obi-Wan and Asajj Ventress vs. Darth Maul and Savage Opress – Revenge (Season 4 Episode 22)

After Maul was resurrected by the Nightsisters, he and Opress started to raise havoc, in order to lure out Kenobi, so that Maul could take revenge for what had happened on Naboo. The two brothers were actually able to beat the Jedi and took him to their stolen freighter. Just when the ship took off, Ventress was able to jump aboard. She lent Kenobi one of her lightsabers, making this the first and only time that the Jedi used a red-bladed saber. What put this duel on this list is the unusual pairing of the “good guys” and again the excellent choreography within the condensed space of the freighter.

4. Maul vs. Pre Vizsla – Shades of Reason (Season 5 Episode 15)

This is one of two entries in this list that doesn’t include a hero fighting against a villain, but rather a duel of bad guys. Maul challenged Pre Vizsla to a duel that would decide the leadership over Mandalore. Vizsla, who is not a Force-user applied not only the Darksaber, but all the weapons in his arsenal, like his jetpack, blasters, flamethrowers and grenades, which made the battle so unique, it had to be put on this list. In the end, he was knocked out by Maul in a fistfight and then beheaded with the Darksaber.

3. Anakin vs. Barriss Offee - The Wrong Jedi (Season 5 Episode 20)

The final episode of Season Five had Anakin go up against Barriss Offee, in order to prove the innocence of Ahsoka after a bombing at the Temple. The Padawan Offee, who had become disillusioned with the Jedi way, used the red lightsabers she had taken from Ventress. Anakin had to use all of his powers to finally beat her. The battle took place both inside the Jedi temple as well as on outside terraces and included quite a few acrobatic maneuvers from both fighters, which is also what put it on this list

2. Maul and Opress vs. Sidious – The Lawless (Season 5 Episode 16)

One of the best episodes of the whole series culminated in one of the best lightsaber duels. The machinations of Maul and Opress on Mandalore led not only to a massive Republic invasion, but also made Sidious finally take care of his former apprentice and Maul's brother. The Sith seemed to enjoy the duel as he was laughing most of the time. The two Zabraks did their best to stand their ground against Sidious, but ultimately had no chance. This duel showed the real power of Darth Sidious, much more so than in Revenge of the Sith as Filoni and his crew were not hindered by the limitations of live-action fighting choreography. This “unlimited power” of Sidious is also what put this duel on this list.

1. Ahsoka vs. Maul – The Phantom Apprentice (Season 7 Episode 10)

The series' last lightsaber duel is also its best one. The no-longer Jedi Ahsoka faces off against the no-longer Sith, Maul during the Siege of Mandalore. Maul, who sensed the end of the Clone Wars and the fall of the Republic, offered Ahsoka a temporal cooperation in order to stop Sidious from taking over. Ahsoka refused, which lead to a fierce duel both inside the Mandalorian throne room and high up on support beams under Sundari’s dome. The tides in this battle turned several times. Ahsoka has the chance to let Maul fall to his death, but saves him, using the Force, so that he could be taken into custody.

What puts this duel on the top of this list is not only its length and intensity, but also its perfectly crafted choreography. It was realized using motion-capture, with Ray Park playing the part of Maul and stunt woman Lauren Mary Kim performing as Ahsoka.

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Written by Gerald Petschk

Syndicated from Culture Slate

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