Disney Plus is now live in many parts of the world. If you are a Star Wars fan, there’s good news: you can stream every feature film in the space fantasy series with a Disney Plus subscription. Now, all of the Star Wars movies are on the service. But which Disney Plus Star Wars movies are the best? Here’s what we think of each live-action film in the series.
The best Disney Plus Star Wars movies
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
George Lucas might have thought he was making a kids movie when he thought up Star Wars. In the end, the release of this film in 1977 transcended all genres and ages. At its core, this is a space fantasy tale of a farm boy, Luke Skywalker, who dreamed of leaving his home for adventure.
Lucas’ original film has humor, action, and suspense. It also had visual effects that were years ahead of every other sci-fi movie, which made this tale of galactic conflict even more real to an audience.
This version of A New Hope is the 1997 Special Edition version with unwanted and distracting new effects and sequences. Despite this and the new Macklunkey edit of the Han Solo-Greedo shootout, it’s still an all-time classic.
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
The Empire Strikes Back was the most highly anticipated movie sequel ever released at the time. The 1980 film, directed by Irvin Kershner, still has some memorable sequences. These include the battle on the ice world Hoth and Luke’s first direct battle with Darth Vader, which concludes with maybe one of the biggest plot twists in movie history. It’s also the first time audiences were introduced to Lando Calrissian and Yoda.
It’s also got a pretty bleak ending for a space fantasy movie. All of these features and more made The Empire Strikes Back stand out, and it’s easily one of the best Star Wars movies on Disney Plus.
Again, this is the Special Edition version of the movie, although this time, the new visual effects are not quite as annoying.
Star Wars Episode V: Return of the Jedi
The third and final movie in the original Star Wars trilogy didn’t have quite the impact that the first two films did. However, the 1983 release, directed by Richard Marquand, still wrapped up the storyline very successfully. It also introduced us to Jabba the Hutt and the first full appearance of the Emperor, the true antagonist of the trilogy. We also got an epic lightsaber duel between Luke and Vader, a massive space battle, and a swashbuckling fight on a sail barge. There’s also the battle on the Endor moon that involves the small and furry Ewoks, which many have mixed feelings about.
We will point out that this is the Special Edition version of Return of the Jedi. There are some new visuals and an entire music video in Jabba’s palace, and most importantly, some added scenes in the finale.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
With this 2016 release, we finally get to see some of the untold backstories behind the Star Wars universe in a live-action film. This is a grittier version of the space opera franchise, featuring a cast of characters that come together to secure the Empire’s first Death Star plans. That includes Jyn Erso, the daughter of the man who designed the spherical space station. We also get to see Darth Vader as we have never seen him before — as a truly powerful agent of the Emperor. It all concludes in a huge battle in space and on the planet Scarif. Rogue One is the kind of Star Wars movie we want to see more of after the Skywalker Saga is complete.
Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens
Disney bought LucasFilm in 2012. Three years later, fans finally got what they wanted for so long: an official continuation of the saga that showed the events following the end of Return of the Jedi. Co-writer and director J.J. Abrams created a movie that added new characters to the mix, including the mysterious Rey and a cute new droid named BB-8. We also got some returning favorites, including an aged but still quick-witted Han Solo and his companion, Chewbacca. Many critics have since felt that this film was basically a remake of A New Hope. For our money, there were just enough new plot twists and character development to make this film stand out. That includes the death of a beloved character, so bring your tissues.
Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi
The second part of the new trilogy has definitely generated some debate among Star Wars fans. Writer-director Rian Johnson definitely took the film in directions most fans didn’t see coming. For our part, The Last Jedi is uneven but still has some of the best scenes in the sequel trilogy. Oh, and the tissues will need to come back again.
Solo: A Star Wars Story
Star Wars has a rich history of alluding to events without fully explaining them — look no further than Obi-Wan mentioning the Clone Wars in A New Hope. On the other hand, the franchise also tends to overexplain the backstories of characters and events, whether fans are clamoring for that information or not. Solo: A Star Wars Story falls in the latter category, but it actually delivers a swashbuckling adventure that many Star Wars fans can appreciate.
In this prequel film, we learn how Han Solo got his name, met the lovable Chewbacca and the smooth Lando Calrissian, and even how he got his DL-44 blaster. Keeping an open mind is the key to enjoying this film.
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
This is easily the best film in the prequel Star Wars trilogy. The 2005 film was the first Star Wars movie to be rated PG-13, and it shows. It gets into more mature subject matter as the final plans of the Sith manifest themselves. We also get perhaps the best lightsaber battle of all time between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker. The movie still suffers from too many digital effects for some people’s taste, but it’s an overall good movie nonetheless.
Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker
Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker marks the epic conclusion to the Skywalker Saga. The film follows Rey — who is now a Jedi-in-training — as well as Finn, Poe, Chewbacca, C-3PO, BB-8, and newcomer D-O as they unravel the mystery behind Darth Sidious’ Final Order. This all happens while Supreme Leader Kylo Ren chases our protagonists around the galaxy.
While The Rise of Skywalker has some of the best individual moments in the entire Star Wars movie franchise, many points of the movie feel rushed. Granted, there were many loose ends to tie up with this film, and many criticize director J.J. Abrams for introducing more questions than he answered.
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace has something for all age groups. Younger audiences love Jar Jar Binks and Anakin Skywalker’s first adventures through the galaxy. Older viewers no doubt get more out of the political turmoil and war that’s slowly engulfing the galaxy. And we don’t care what galaxy you’re from; the epic lightsaber battle between Darth Maul, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Qui-Gon Jinn is hard to beat.
The Phantom Menace has its charm but is ultimately too inconsistent for many viewers. There are some slapstick comedy beats that are 100% geared toward children. However, the movie also suffers from political rambling and a convoluted storyline that many people are still confused about today.
Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
Attack of the Clones introduces us to Hayden Christensen as the older Anakin Skywalker. His performance may be stilted, but it fits the overall style of the movie. It’s a bit hard to understand why Natalie Portman’s Padmé Amidala would fall for the guy, even if he is a Jedi. Attack of the Clones still has some nice sequences, including a final battle between the clones and the droid army. We also get to see Christopher Lee for the first time as Count Dooku, who is excellent in this role.
Honorable mention Disney Plus Star Wars movie: Empire of Dreams
For true fans of the original Star Wars trilogy, this two-and-a-half-hour documentary is a must-watch. Made in 2004, it goes into heavy details on the making of A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi. It also has lots of behind-the-scenes footage and new interviews with the cast and crew of the movies.