Star Wars is one of the most iconic properties in pop culture today and its popularity is second to none. From the moment George Lucas kicked things off in 1977, fans fell in love and it became a global phenomenon. Whether it be the original trilogy, the prequel series or the new era that J.J. Abrams kickstarted in 2015, it’s hard to find someone who doesn’t love at least one story in this space saga that’s set a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away. After all, Lucas’ vision gave us intergalactic politics, epic spaceship battles and yes, a love story in outer space!
However, we can’t forget the mystical and philosophical concept of the Force. The Light and the Dark, metaphors for good and evil, gave rise to the Jedi and the Sith, respectively, and we’ve seen devotees of each side do both great and terrible things. The Force is considered to be the very essence of life and because of its fluidity, the Jedi and Sith will forever be locked in battle as to how it should be used in the cosmos. With that said, CBR decided to rank the Jedi and Sith we’ve seen harness its power on the big and small screens thus far.
SPOILER WARNING: Major spoilers ahead for several Star Wars movies and cartoons!
15. EZRA BRIDGER
Ezra Bridger started as a Jedi Padawan on Star Wars Rebels, but rose to become a revolutionary leader in the fight against the Empire before A New Hope. However, despite training under the Jedi Kanan Jarrus, Ezra showed a tendency to float towards the Dark Side. He even sought out a Sith holocron, hoping its power would help him protect the galaxy after he lost his family and saw his homeworld of Lothal enslaved by Emperor Palpatine’s forces.
Ezra almost became Darth Maul’s apprentice in his journey, with his powers growing ever stronger. He tried to find Obi Wan Kenobi as well, since he thought he would be key to helping the Rebel Alliance. Now Admiral Thrawn has his eyes set on the youngster and his Ghost Crew, especially as Ezra’s ability with a lightsaber, his talents as a pilot and his overall leadership have made him quite the Jedi.
14. KANAN JARRUS
Kanan Jarrus may have lost his sight recently at the hands of Darth Maul but he’s still an elite Jedi. Kanan’s leadership has meant the world to the Ghost Crew, and his mentorship to Ezra has also been very important. Seen as a crucial part of the fight against the Empire, Kanan has also become a major target for Admiral Thrawn.
His Force capabilities have also been deemed impressive by Bendu, the mystical creature that monitors the yin-yang essence of the Force. Despite being reluctant about leading a galactic war, Kanan has embraced his more direct and aggressive role in the fight against Palpatine’s might, as seen when he battled the evil Inquisitors. Fans are praying that he doesn’t end up facing Ezra if the youngster turns to the Dark Side because it would be another heartbreaking story similar to Darth Vader and Obi Wan.
13. GENERAL GRIEVOUS
Okay, this one is an obvious cheat, since General Grievous is neither Jedi nor Sith. But he did kill plenty of the former and wielded their lightsabers in testimony. We figure that has to count for something. Plus, we just love him, and this is our list, so back off! Grievous was introduced in Attack of the Clones as a walking, talking weapon. He was a cyborg general who worked for Dooku and could take on multiple Jedi at a time. Obi Wan eventually defeated him, but Grievous’ skill with a lightsaber was so legit that whenever he killed a Jedi, he kept theirs to add to his collection.
Fans felt one movie was not enough to do him justice but honestly, with Dooku already in the picture, Grievous was expendable. That aside, he was a very smart strategist who understood military tactics to a tee. The Jedi knew he was such an integral part of the Empire that he had to be taken off the board, permanently, and was thus just as dangerous as any Sith.
12. AHSOKA TANO
Ahsoka Tano’s story came full-circle in Star Wars Rebels when it turned out she escaped the Clone Wars alive, and was gearing to face her former master, Anakin Skywalker. Of course, the Anakin she knew no longer existed, but was instead the nefarious Darth Vader. When they fought, it appeared that he came out victorious. However, her fate wasn’t confirmed. Fans are hoping she appears in the upcoming season.
She’s slick with a lightsaber, and just as good behind a ship or with blasters. Learning from Anakin made her a well-rounded warrior, ready to break the rules just like her master did. Ahsoka is one of the franchise’s most endearing characters but don’t let that fool you, she learned from the best and is definitely a topnotch Jedi. Taking Vader to the limit requires a lot of talent after all!
11. KYLO REN
Kylo Ren was introduced to the current generation as their version of Darth Vader. J.J. Abrams wanted to ensure that he stuck to Star Wars having epic villains and in this case, he utilized Vader’s very own grandson. Kylo, the son of Han Solo and General Leia, was actually trained by Luke Skywalker, only to turn to the Dark Side, and follow Supreme Leader Snoke.
Kylo destroyed Luke’s temple in The Force Awakens and ended the Jedi dream once more. In The Last Jedi trailer, both Snoke and Luke actually mentioned his tremendous power. It may still be untapped but we’ve seen him use the Force to stop energy blasts mid-air. The Dark Side also allows him to mentally interrogate prisoners and despite losing to Rey, he’s no slouch with a lightsaber. It remains to be seen how his new aggression takes him forward.
10. DARTH MAUL
Darth Maul remains a fan-favorite Sith to this very day, so much so that he was brought back in Star Wars Rebels to face Obi Wan once more! He fared just as badly the second time around but fans can’t forget how he killed Qui Gon Jinn in The Phantom Menace. Whether it’s with his double-sided lightsaber or a single-blade, he’s as deadly as they come.
Palpatine knew how lethal and possibly traitorous he was so he used him and then discarded him. However, Maul clawed his way back from death and tried to use Ezra to attain even more power. Maul was driven by revenge, shifting his gaze from the Jedi to the Emperor; this is what made him such a relentless killer. His skill in battle was beyond words and it constantly pushed Obi Wan to the limit.
Rey is relatively inexperienced, but she was so in sync with the Force that we saw her take Kylo Ren to task! When he tried to mentally interrogate her, she blocked him. She also defeated him in a lightsaber duel, harnessing the Force along the way. She also used a mind trick on a First Order soldier to escape, proving that she’s worthy of being a Jedi.
With this potential, it’s no wonder that Luke is training her. Rey has only scratched the surface though and Rian Johnson has shown her levitating rocks and scaring Luke with her abilities in The Last Jedi. Her origins remain a mystery but we could well be looking at one of the most powerful Force wielders of all time here. One can only hope she doesn’t accept Kylo Ren’s offer to partner with him on the Dark Side.
8. COUNT DOOKU
Count Dooku wasn’t to be trifled with… at all. Introduced in Attack of the Clones, he was Palpatine’s puppet and one that learned a lot from his dark master. He was able to go toe-to-toe with Yoda in a lightsaber fight, while also being one of the few who mastered the use of Sith lightning. Dooku managed to take on Obi Wan and Anakin at the same time too, cutting off Anakin’s hand in the process.
Palpatine suspected Dooku’s power could even overthrow him as Emperor and eventually used Anakin to kill the old warrior, thus luring the young Jedi closer to being his new apprentice. However, from the little we saw of Dooku in the main movies (there was a lot more of him in the Clone Wars series), he more or less took on the Jedi Order’s very best. Fighting Anakin, Obi Wan and Yoda in one battle is the mark of someone who definitely has a lot of talent, albeit a dark and sinister one.
7. QUI-GON JINN
Qui-Gon Jinn didn’t play by the rules. This gave him the extra edge over a lot of Sith and Jedi warriors. In The Phantom Menace, we saw him mentoring Obi Wan Kenobi but it was clear he wasn’t just a fighter. His intuition was above most others’, which led to him sensing Anakin Skywalker’s power. Granted he didn’t end up bringing balance to the Force, but still, Qui-Gon recognized his special abilities.
His skill with a lightsaber, his use of the Force and his wisdom helped teach Obi Wan well. Yoda, Mace Windu and even Emperor Palpatine all respected Qui-Gon, whether as a rebel or as a loyalist to the Light. It took a sadistic assassin, Darth Maul, to kill him, but Qui-Gon was so powerful, he became a Force ghost and contacted Obi Wan later on.
6. MACE WINDU
Mace Windu carved a path as one of the galaxy’s most fearsome yet wise Jedi members. Fans witnessed this in Attack of the Clones when he swatted away energy blasts, used the Force to defeat his opponents and of course, we can’t forget how he decapitated Jango Fett in front of his son, Boba’s, eyes. Windu proved to be ruthless and unforgiving, not to mention quite an authoritative figure on the Jedi council.
He’s regarded as second only to Yoda, and even Emperor Palpatine feared him. When Palpatine’s ruse was eventually discovered, Windu took him on in Revenge of the Sith and bested him, showing how strong he was by actually deflecting the Sith’s lightning with his lightsaber and scarring him. However, trust was Windu’s downfall as Anakin blindsided him and helped kill the Jedi to complete his turn to the Dark Side.
5. OBI-WAN KENOBI
Obi-Wan Kenobi remains a fan-favorite Jedi because of his swagger and his skill. Learning from Qui-Gon helped make him a formidable fighter, as seen when he battled Anakin and left him burnt, on the verge of death. Eventually he would end up dying at Vader’s hands, but he too was so powerful that he became a Force ghost who communicated with Luke after death.
Obi-Wan was a master with a lightsaber (as seen when he killed Darth Maul… twice!) and an expert in the use of the Force! With rumors of an Obi-Wan spinoff in the works, maybe we’ll get insight into his past and explore more of how powerful he was. Luke clearly learned how to harness the Light Side of the Force from him, as did Anakin, so it’s clear his knowledge and skill are greater than the average Jedi.
4. DARTH VADER
Anakin Skywalker didn’t balance the Force but he definitely shook the cosmos up after becoming Darth Vader. He killed countless Jedi, including Obi-Wan, and even took out Sith Lords such as Dooku. In Star Wars Rebels, we saw him power up more than he did in the movies, especially versus his former apprentice Ahsoka, but it was in Rogue One that we saw him truly cut loose with his signature red lightsaber.
Slashing through the Rebel Alliance and using the Force along the way illustrated how deadly he was, and just why Palpatine wanted him as his apprentice. Eventually he used his strength and his love for Luke to kill the Emperor and return to the Light. That said, whichever side Anakin was on, he stood out as a truly remarkable warrior capable of making or breaking the galaxy.
3. EMPEROR PALPATINE
Emperor Palpatine changed the course of space history with his devious actions. He poisoned his master, Darth Plagueis, and then started grooming servants of his own. They included Darth Maul, Count Dooku, General Grievous and Darth Vader, and he passed down just enough knowledge to them in order to further his political ambitions. But while his tongue and mind were most malevolent, we can’t discount his skill in the field.
Palpatine was a boss with a lightsaber and he also wreaked havoc with his Force lightning, taking on the likes of Yoda and Mace Windu with this knowledge of the Dark Side. He held a lot of tricks up his sleeve and it took both Luke and Vader together to kill him, ending his reign. However, Palpatine still stands as one of the most cruel Sith Lords that ever existed.
Yoda wasn’t just a Jedi master, he’s more of a grandmaster! He led the Jedi Council and helped teach the likes of Mace Windu, Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi the ways of the Force. Yoda was versed in how the Light was to be used to guide the galaxy, as seen when he trained a young Luke to become a Jedi in The Empire Strikes Back.
In his heyday, he survived the vicious slaughter of the Jedi via Order 66, orchestrated by Palpatine and Vader, and even battled the Emperor in a thrilling showdown. Yoda eventually passed into the afterlife and returned as a Force ghost, cementing his legacy as one of the most legendary members of the Jedi Order. Every Jedi respected him and all Sith warriors feared him, but his heart was just as big as the reverence everyone held for the sage.
1. LUKE SKYWALKER
Luke Skywalker has been through it all — the death of Obi Wan, training with Yoda and defeating Emperor Palpatine. In the process, he redeemed Anakin Skywalker and removed the essence of Darth Vader from his father. His skill with a lightsaber, use of telekinesis and his mind tricks are just the tip of the iceberg, because as The Last Jedi shows, Luke may well have broken free from the concept of Jedi and Sith.
Some may say he’s a Gray Jedi now, but after losing his temple and his faith to Kylo Ren’s betrayal, who can blame him? Luke is teaching Rey how to harness her powers and after all these years, who knows what other information he picked up on the ways of the Force. If he has found the Journal of the Whills, expect Luke to solidify his place as the greatest Force user ever.
Let us know in the comments how you would rank the Jedi and Sith we’ve seen on-screen so far!
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