Every Live-Action ‘Star Wars’ Show Ranked

To love Star Wars is to know pain.

No matter if you happen to be an original trilogy purist, part of the rising throng proclaiming the prequel trilogy to be the pinnacle of the franchise, or the brave and unwise few who still stand on the battlefield over whether “The Last Jedi” is the best of the series or the absolute worst, most everyone can agree the franchise is flawed and uneven.

When the movies and shows are great, few things compare. But when they’re bad it can be tough to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The “Star Wars” franchise is a journey of peaks and valleys and that’s most clear when looking at its live-action TV offerings.

Even when it’s bad, I love “Star Wars” and being in that world — whether the characters are driving me insane or bringing a smile to my face. That said, here’s how every “Star Wars” live-action show ranked from worst to best.

6. “The Book of Boba Fett”


Spinning out of the acclaimed second season of “The Mandalorian,” “The Book of Boba Fett” was the first real dud for Star Wars content on Disney+. The show had a very herky-jerky nature to it as it bounced from present-day Boba (Temuera Morrison) and Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen) tried to get a foothold in Mos Eisley, and flashbacks to how Boba survived his encounter with the Sarlacc everyone thought killed him in “Return of the Jedi.”

Neither past Boba’s time with the Tusken Raiders nor present Boba’s hunt for power in Mos Eisley are given the time they need to make viewers care. Couple that with many low-budget and ultimately memeable moments (the 5 MPH scooter chase will stay with me until my dying days) and less-than-stellar dialogue cemented the show’s fate. When the best part of a series is the two episodes where the titular character either is barely featured or never shows up once, it’s usually not a great sign.

Silver lining: seeing live-action Cad Bane was a thrill for me and me alone.

5. “Obi-Wan Kenobi”

Obi wan kenobi
“Obi-Wan Kenobi.” (Disney+/Lucasfilm)

Disney really wanted (and realy needed) “Obi-Wan Kenobi” to do well. All the pieces seemed to be there: Ewan McGregor was back as Obi-Wan, Hayden Christensen also returned as Darth Vader, giving him more than a blink-and -you’ll-miss-it moment in the iconic suit. All of it steered by director Deborah Chow who had already put out two fan-favorite episodes of “The Mandalorian.” The pieces were in place.

And the show landed with a resounding thud.

When the show wasn’t downright dull or placing a ton of focus on the baffling choice to include Princess Leia as a child (Vivien Lyra Blair), it was pulling its best moments wholesale from storylines that happened in the animated series years before. The final battle between Obi-Wan and Darth Vader – down to Vader’s mask being damaged and Anakin’s eye being visible beneath – is a lesser recreation of Ahsoka and Vader’s first reunion in the Season 2 finale of “Star Wars: Rebels.” Attempts to bring in elements of the animated series to live-action can be pulled of (see: Ahsoka) but “Obi-Wan Kenobi” proved some characters should be left in cartoon form – looking at you Grand Inquisitor/Rupert Friend.

The show also brought out the incredibly toxic elements of the fandom again – a toxicity that has only grown in the Disney era. Actress Moses Ingram received relentless undeserved attacks online when the show debuted that the hate earned more headlines than the show itself. That alone is enough to leave a sour taste on any potential rewatches.

4. “The Acolyte”

Amandla Stenberg in “The Acolyte” (Lucasfilm/Disney)

It’s still very early days for “The Acolyte” but so far the series is a fun and ultimately engaging look at a period of “Star Wars” history that many have never experienced. The show takes place in the High Republic era – hundreds of years before the name Skywalker will be said – and depicts both the Galactic Republic and the Jedi Order at the height of their power and influence. The story follows a Jedi Master (Lee Jung-jae) and a team – including a former Padawan (Amandla Stenberg) – tasked with investigating a string of murdered Jedi across the galaxy.

“The Acolyte” still has a fair share of clunky dialogue the live-action shows have unfortunately become known for, but the smaller scope of the series and the mystery do it more favors than the “galaxy threatened” scope the franchise usually features. The show’s choice to forego shooting in the Volume and instead film on practical sets and locations provides a tactile nature than many of the Disney+ shows lack.

3. “Ahsoka”

Baylan Skoll (Ray Stevenson) and Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) duel in “Ahsoka” (Credit: Lucasfilm)
Baylan Skoll (Ray Stevenson) and Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) duel in “Ahsoka” (Credit: Lucasfilm)

It’s nothing new to say that Ahsoka is Dave Filoni’s favorite character (he created her after all), but that love really shines through in her live-action series. The story of “Ahsoka” picks up – for better and worse – primarily after the events of the animated series “Star Wars: Rebels” with the hunt for Ezra Bridger (Eman Esfandi) and Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen). For better because “Star Wars: Rebels” remains the single best Disney-era entry into the franchise, and for worse because not all elements of the animated series translate to live-action.

But when it works, it works. Rosario Dawson is unsurprisingly great as Ahsoka – a fact we already knew through her appearances in “The Mandalorian” and “Book of Boba Fett.” Esfandi brings Ezra’s charm to life while also adding a maturity that being lost in space for years would no doubt create. The real jewel of the season came in the form of the late Ray Stevenson’s Baylan Skoll. He and Ahsoka are very much reflections of their paths not taken and whether they were crossing blades or comparing philosophies, the show was rarely better than when Dawson and Stevenson shared the screen.

2. “The Mandalorian”

“The Mandalorian” (Disney+)
“The Mandalorian” (Disney+)

Disney+ struck pay dirt right out of the gate when “The Mandalorian” debuted shortly after the launch of the streaming service in 2019. Few enjoyed a more meteoric rise to cultural stardom than Grogu – then known by the much more adorable Baby Yoda. But on top of Baby Yoda love, the show was good! It brought a spaghetti western sensibility to a galaxy far, far away along with an unexpected but not unwelcome blend of serialized and procedural storytelling.

Then Season 2 came out and it got better! Ahsoka appeared in live-action for the first time, planting the seeds for her own series. Boba Fett returned from the dead. And that Season 2 finale with Luke Skywalker getting his own “hallway fight” to rival his dad’s had fans buzzing for what was to come.

Season 3 was less than stellar as it got a bit lost in the minutiae of Mandalorian customs, and the immediate take-back of Grogu from his training with Luke left more than a few “what was the point of all this?” thoughts percolating. But even a lesser season still included plenty of thrilling moments, and the OG stands as the second best show.

1. “Andor”


The good shows on this list are examples of Star Wars done right. “Andor” is a great show regardless of the Star Wars moniker. The Tony Gilroy-steered and Diego Luna-starring series really came out of nowhere in 2022. People expected the show to be good – Luna and Gilroy teamed up to great effect in “Rogue One” – but the results were one of the best “Star Wars” stories ever told.

Set five years before the events of “Rogue One,” the series shows how Cassian Andor (Luna) first fell into the Rebellion. Along the way we also see the machinations of the Empire and the lackeys it was prepared to bury to wrest even more control of the galaxy.

“Star Wars” creator George Lucas has always insisted that the franchise should be made with kids in mind. Gilroy definitely said “no” and put together a show that is decidedly adult and deeply serious, tackling socio-political issues as it chronicles the literal origin story of a rebel — Andor goes from uninterested bystander to devout believer over the course of the first season.

The show’s choice to zoom in on the regular folks of the galaxy and see how the Empire affects their day-to-day lives was a brilliant one, resulting in an exhilarating and harrowing story from start to finish.

The post Every Live-Action ‘Star Wars’ Show Ranked appeared first on TheWrap.