Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

Poll: Favorite ‘Star Wars’ Movie or Show (So Far)

Has our coverage of ‘Star Wars’ this week skewed too negative for you? Out of the darkness comes a new hope! Today, we celebrate the good parts of the franchise. What’s your favorite movie or TV series from that galaxy far, far away?

Common wisdom has it that ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ is the best ‘Star Wars’ movie. I can’t disagree with that. The first sequel took everything that worked in the original movie, expanded the scope of the story and mythology in fun and inventive ways, and deftly balanced searing emotions with lighthearted humor. Nothing to follow ever quite matched up.

However, rather than let the votes for that entry roll in unchallenged, I’m once again going to extend voting beyond just the live-action feature films in the saga. Everything from yesterday’s poll is here again, plus I’ve added all the animated ‘Star Wars’ TV series, and I’ve even tossed in ‘Star Tours’ for good measure. (I can’t believe I forgot that one yesterday.)

While it’s very possible that I’ve forgotten something, the only content I’ve intentionally excluded are the various ‘Lego Star Wars’ shorts and specials, which I think should be considered their own thing.

Be careful when voting not to confuse ‘Clone Wars’ (Genndy Tartakovsky’s 2003 cell-animated series), ‘The Clone Wars’ (the 2008 CG-animated feature film), and the other ‘The Clone Wars’ (the CG-animated TV show that followed the movie).

What Is Your Favorite 'Star Wars' Movie or Show (So Far)?

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  1. ‘Star Wars’ (1977) will always be my favorite. While ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ is the BETTER movie in every respect/aspect, I still enjoy ‘Star Wars’ for various reasons. ‘You’re all clear, kid, now let’s blow this thing and go home’ may be my favorite moment in the whole saga. The fact that the scoundrel came back – and doesn’t just care for money – warms my soul. What a triumphant finale.

    • Dave M

      That’s 100% how I feel too. I acknowledge Empire as the better movie, but Star Wars is far and away my favorite.

      I think the argument could be made though that Empire wouldn’t be Empire without the foundation that Star Wars provided.

  2. Chris B

    I know I’m in the vast minority here but Return of the Jedi is my favorite SW film. As good as Empire Strikes Back is, it’s left so open-ended to be ultimately satisfying (I get that it’s a mid-point film of a trilogy so some open-endedness is to be expected…no need to yell at me).

    ROTJ has it all, Jabba finally getting his just deserts, Boba Fett meeting his demise in the sarlac pit, Luke concluding his training to become the galaxy’s most powerful jedi, Han and Leia finally getting together, the death of the Emperor, the redemption of Vader (we even see under the mask!), more familial revelations, the greatest lightsaber duel of the franchise, the final defeat of the empire, the celebration at the end complete with the ghosts of Jedis whome have passed, the burning of Vader’s remains as added symbolism etc. It’s everything I want in a SW movie and the ewoks don’t bother me a bit.

    • Chris B

      This has to be a joke. There’s no fucking way more people like The Phantom Menace Vs. Return of the Jedi! How is that even possible!? we’re all being trolled!!

      • Josh Zyber

        More disturbing is that someone actually voted specifically for the Return of the Jedi: Special Edition. The one with “Jedi Rocks” and Vader’s “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!”

          • For the worst SW movie, I voted for RotS purely because of the introduction of the “NOOOoooooo!” to the Vader character, which not only changed the tone of his entire character, but infected the special edition of RotJ.

        • Truth to be told, when I read ‘Return of the Jedi: Special Edition’, I think of the 1997 rerelease. WITHOUT the ‘Nooooooooooooooooooo!!!!’. Even the 2004 DVD didn’t have the ‘Noooooooooooooo!’. It’s the Blu-ray that has the ‘Noooooooo!’. So, to me, there’s a clear distinction between ‘THE Special Edition’ (which I have on LaserDisc and VHS) and ‘the third revision from 2011’.

          • Thank you for posting this. The last time I watched ROTJ:SE must have been around 2004, if not earlier. The only striking changes I remember are Ghost Anikan and the shots of Prequel planets during the end celibration.

            I watched my digitally purchased version of ROTJ about a week ago…and Vader started saying “Nooo?! No! NOOOoooo!!” I was shocked. I thought, how did I miss that they added this….because this certainly wasn’t in the version I watched as a child on tv in the 80’s and 90’s.

          • cardpetree

            The version they show over and over again on TNT has the “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!”, Jedi Rocks and the Anakin Ghost and all of them are horrendously bad.

          • William Henley

            I agree, as far as I am concerned, The Special Editions are the ones that came out in 1997. The Blu-Rays are yet another edition. I wish I could vote for the Despecialized Editions

  3. Csm10

    Return of the Jedi is also my fav. I was a little kid, and actually saw it in the theater. I remember the line wrapping around the building. We sat pretty close to the front as far as my memory serves. It left a big impression on me. Jabba the Hutt and the rancor were super awesome. I also don’t have a problem with Ewoks, they’re adorable.

    • Chapz Kilud

      I think I saw ROTJ more times than ESB and NH combined. I don’t know why, for me Jabba the Hut portion was so hilarious. The way Salacious Crumb laughed made me want to laugh harder. I don’t know why more people don’t rate that one highly. Some of the complaints about the movie was the flow and the way it was cut. But seriously people aren’t going to say the same thing with LJ with the space battle scene and the Snoke and saber fights? ROTJ was a very different movie from ESB. I can understand why ESB is considered the best. But ROTJ brought closure to the saga and also rounded out some of the shock effect of ESB with the Vader revelation.

      My vote went for Rogue One. For me Rogue One was the movie that brought Star Wars back to life after terrible prequels and FA. (and LJ was the movie that butchered my childhood memory of Star Wars) I spent serious money on Rogue One. I watched it on IMAX 3D twice and Dolby twice. Then I bought the Steelbook 3D Blu-ray and the Target version of the 3D Blu-ray. I think that should serve as an example of how a good Star Wars movie should be made. I’m not saying Rogue One was better than ESB, NH, or ROTJ. But given that so many terrible Star Wars movies have followed afterwards, I gave extra point for the high caliber of Rogue One.

  4. Empire! First I can remember attending. I still remember the day it came out. I was supposed to have a sleep over at our daycare and at about 4 in the afternoon I insisted that they call my dad because I wanted to leave and see Empire with them. I was 5.

    RotJ I remember waiting in line at the local mall for hours to get to see it on Saturday at around 3pm.

    Empire will always be my favorite, but crazy to say I think Rogue One might be my number 2. ANH is either 2 or 3 and Jedi is 4.

  5. Haha, I never noticed this until now:

    ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Review (Favorable)
    ‘The Last Jedi’ Isn’t the ‘Star Wars’ Movie You’re Looking For (Negative)

    FUNNY, Josh!!

    • Elizabeth

      The Adventure Continues isn’t really a defined show though. It’s made of different sequences that are supposed to be random, so theoretically you might never have the same ride twice. But you could also throw in the current version which is locked to just the new Last Jedi inspired sequences. That’s how they were running it around Thanksgiving and I doubt they’ve changed it yet. And I must say it was pretty fun.

      • EM

        When The Adventures Continue débuted, I read an article which went over the various permutations and concluded there were 54 (or so?) unique shows. As you note, there have been changes since. Just as the poll includes the 2008 Clone Wars movie and the 2008 Clone Wars collective TV series with its 121 episodes, so it would make sense the treat the original Star Tours and the collective Adventures Continue shows as two separate entities. They are far more different from one another than, say, any original theatrical release from the original trilogy and any of the same film’s special-editionized counterparts.

  6. MalickFan

    For me it is
    Star Wars: A New Hope
    Star Wars: The Last Jedi
    Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith
    Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back
    Star Wars: The Force Awakens
    Star Wars: Rogue One
    Star Wars: Return of The Jedi
    Star Wars: The Phantom Menace
    Star Wars: Attack of the Clones

  7. Chaz Dumbaugh

    I put down they are all great, as much as I bitch about the prequels and awful Lucas changes to his original trilogy, I still love the movies and watch them all over and over, I REALLY loved he Last jedi and after a second viewing I’m really in the camp of truly thinking its one of the best in the franchise, subverting expectations and taking what you KNOW about Star Wars and turning it on its head is something I never expected to see in Star Wars, instead of going down the same path again like TFA was doing (which I also really enjoy but get why people have issues with it) it took things in a WHOLE other direction and brought some amazing character development, especially with Luke, now I get why people THINK their childhood is ruined but its far from that, being mad I understand but if you truly watch that movie and see what was done and how right Luke is about everything but also truly coming back to being the Luke we all know….its one hell of a story, sure its got some pacing issues and what not and of course scenes, like Canto Bight, that maybe just dont need to be there, but I can say that about any of the Star Wars movies. You have to sit through some wonderful crap in the prequels to get to the awesome stuff, depending on your opinions, sitting through the Ewoks isnt a good thing either in Return of the Jedi, so, they can all have their problems.

    Rogue One is also an excellent film but I have issues with continuity and while I LOVE that last scene, it doesnt make any sense when being directly connected to A New Hope, other things like the forced cameos of C3P0 and R2D2 just because kind of annoy me, its always great to see them but there was no need for them to show up there really, also the guys from the Cantina at Mos Eisley were stupid and I hate how should probably not be in A New Hope after what happens to that city, but Star Wars is great at just having people live no matter what happens to them (cough Captain Phasma from TFA) and its a poor excuse to force a cameo, the characters are fun but overall kind of pointless and I hate not getting any back story to Jynn Erso, having her go from a young girl straight to a broke down criminal….it leaves out so much of what could have been a good story to make me care about what her and those other team members were doing. But overall, definitely one of the better Star Wars movies in the franchise.

    Again, its Star Wars and for me I’m a die hard fan and love the franchise even with all of their issues…..I’m still pissed at George for interjecting garbage and bad CGI into his original films, THOSE kind of ruined the movies I grew up with, The Last Jedi came no where close to doing that, I fully understand the character choices and how things go in there and am on board with it, retro actively changing already amazing movies to try and make them better fit your terrible looking prequels is the true crime and its sometimes hard for me to watch them that way, I’m glad I have the de-specialized editions downloaded so I can watch the best copies without all the added crap from Lucas

  8. William Henley

    This was hard, because I was watching how people were responding, and it seems that there needs to be yet another poll of “Fondest memories” Star Wars. My fondest memories stem from the Ewok movies and cartoon series because they were my introduction to Star Wars (I was 5 when they came out, I WAS the target audience, and it is what hooked me). However, there is no way I could call them my favorites.

    This really was a tough poll – if you asked me 25 years ago, I probably would have said Return of the Jedi. But then Lucas got his hands on it, and just completely ruined everything that was great about that movie, and now, even watching the theatrical version, my skin crawls knowing what Lucas changed.

    Right now, my favorite is probably The Empire Strikes Back Special Edition, the movie that was almost completely unchanged except for color correction and FX cleanup, and only a couple of additional scenes. If all the Special Editions were like Empire, they would be awesome, but they are not.

    I remember sitting in the theaters in 1997, my first Star Wars theatrical experience. A New Hope was really good, Empire was awesome, so I was looking so forward to Return of the Jedi because it had been my favorite up until that point, then Lucas stole my childhood away took a big dump on the entire franchise. I was horrified. Sadly, it was not enough to prepare me for the turd he was about to release with The Phantom Menace.

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