One of the most recognised science-fiction weapons in the world, the lightsaber — an energy sword featured in the Star Wars universe — has been the go-to weapon for the Jedi order and their Sith counterparts when going head to head with each other. If you’ve seen the somewhat sloppy duel between Kylo Ren and Rey in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), you’d know that the weapon is only as good as its wielder. So, as we unite to celebrate Star Wars day, we bring you a list of the top 10 characters from the franchise’s movie-verse who were total badasses when wielding a lightsaber.
Duels are a common thing when you’re the big bad guy, but Darth Sidious (who became the evil Emperor Palpatine) knew exactly how to slice through the opposition. A master in multiple forms of combat, Sidious not only kept his combat fluid and ever-evolving, but also used the force within him to take down several opponents at once by channelling it through his lightsaber. Only one Jedi could truly beat Sidious, and that was Mace Windu.
Probably the most formidable fighter in the universe, Mace Windu not only battled like a true master, but was also one of the two Jedi who created a new fighting style known as Vaapad. In a duel, Windu could move so fast that it would appear as if he was wielding multiple lightsabers; and if that doesn’t tell us about his greatness as a fighter, filmmaker and Star Wars creator George Lucas himself called him the best fighter in the Star Wars canon.
If you’re the guy who has taught some of the best, such as Mace Windu, Obi-Wan Kenobi , Kit Fisto, Count Dooku and Ki-Adi Mundi, you gotta have some serious skill yourself. What makes Yoda a deadly fighter is his 900-year experience, immense knowledge of the force, and his agility. If you remember his duel with Count Dooku from Attack of the Clones (2002), you know exactly what we’re talking about.
A master of Makashi (another form of lightsaber combat invented by the Jedi order), Dooku is a combatant you do not want to mess with. Trained under Yoda, he later aligned himself with the Sith order to become Darth Sidious’s apprentice. This turn not only made him a lethal warrior, but his fighting style also reflected his vast knowledge of the two sides at war. As a bonus, Dooku had one of the best lightsaber designs, which just added to the badassery.
Known for being the most intelligent and force-sensitive swordsman in the Jedi order, and also for his aggressive and tactical fighting style, Qui-Gonn Jinn became a fighter many would fear to face. Swift and powerful, Jinn displayed a certain strength in his swordsmanship and many credited him for making Obi-Wan Kenobi the fighter he was.
If it is a battle of the bests, Luke Skywalker can never be far behind.George Lucas himself has called Luke “one of the best there was”. Trained by Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda, he had the best tutors in the galaxy far, far away and Luke proved his abilities time and time again, against various foes (making him a fan favourite).
Acrobatic, fierce and unpredictable, Darth Maul wasn’t just a fighter, but a lethal weapon. Trained by his mentor Darth Sidious, he was well versed in the martial arts fighting style Teräs Käsi. His knowledge of the form made it easy for Maul to anticipate an opponent’s moves. This ability, when coupled with the form six lightsaber combat, also known as The Way of the Rancor, made Maul nearly unbeatable. Maul also wins for having the coolest lightsaber — just because it was a double-bladed one.
Anakin Skywalker once referred to his teacher, Obi-Wan Kenobi, as a gifted Jedi with the wisdom of Yoda and the power of Mace Windu. He was trained by Qui-Gon Jinn, had mastered Sokan (a form of lightsaber combat), and was the first Jedi Master in a thousand years to defeat a Sith Lord in combat, defeating Darth Maul during the Battle of Naboo. His fights against Anakin at Mustafar and General Grievous at the Battle of Utapau are fine examples of his skill.
Once a Kaleesh warlord from the planet Kalee and then the Supreme Commander of the Droid Army, Grievous was trained under Count Dooku, and his abilities were enhanced by cybernetic implants. The four lightsaber-wielding warrior has slain several Jedis, and it is always a treat watching him battle with his reflex and speed.
Be it as Anakin or later as Darth Vader, Skywalker Sr was always trouble for his enemies. While many would argue about his impulsiveness and impatience making him less of a fighter, Anakin still was a great swordsman. His best lightsaber moment would be when he beheaded Count Dooku with the sabers after removing both his hands.