We’re in the midst of what could be the biggest year for Star Wars television ever. The Mandalorian Season 3 just came to an end and the second volume of Star Wars: Visions just dropped in honor of May the 4th, 2023. Of course, Star Wars: The Bad Batch kicked everything off earlier this year with its now completed 16-episode second season. Lucasfilm isn’t slowing down just yet because fans can expect not one but two more original Star Wars shows premiering on Disney+ later this year. Fans are in no short supply of stories to choose from when it comes to Star Wars on streaming. Now more than ever, this prompts the ultimate question: which of these shows truly stand out as the best? We’re here to answer that with a full list of every Star Wars TV show ranked from worst to best.
Ahsoka and Jon Watts’ Goonies-inspired passion project Star Wars: Skeleton Crew are both expected to debut in the latter half of 2023. This is full-steam ahead for the Star Wars television train with production on Andor Season 2 and The Acolyte already well underway. Jon Favreau recently stated that The Mandalorian Season 4 is written and ready to go into production as well. With all of these live-action television ventures on the way, we can’t forget that it was the success of Star Wars in animation that first set the bar. Years of Star Wars: The Clone Wars on Cartoon Network and Star Wars Rebels on Disney XD have not only influenced the direction of some of these live-action shows but it has also proved that the Star Wars universe works on television thanks to thousands of dedicated fans who have tuned in week by week.
Be that as it may, not all of these Star Wars TV shows have been met with loud applause. Where some have become cherished pieces of media, others have not lived up to the standard that Lucasfilm has previously set with original programming on the small screen. With the exception of a few particular outliers that we feel need more time to firmly establish themselves, like Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi, here is every major Star Wars TV show ranked from worst to best.
Star Wars Television Ranked Worst to Best
9. Star Wars Resistance
Star Wars Resistance may fall in last place on this list, but this doesn’t mean it’s not a series worth watching. Airing between late 2018 to early 2020, Resistance is set before The Force Awakens during Season 1 and after the events of the 2015 film in Season 2. Audiences follow Kazuda Xiono (Christopher Sean), a young pilot who joins the Resistance after being invited by the one and only Poe Dameron himself. He joins a racing crew as a mechanic aboard the mighty refueling station The Colossus and spies on the First Order to foil its sinister initiatives.
While the series does have various stand-out episodes, including the two-part Season 1 finale that surprisingly brought some of the darkest moments ever seen in Star Wars television, Resistance was cut short of its true potential when it ended only after two seasons. The show frustratingly felt like it was merely used by Disney as filler content until they could finally release The Mandalorian. Furthermore, its 3D CGI animation style gained heavily mixed reactions from fans across the board. Although characters did often look wonky in this style and the household look of Rebels and The Clone Wars would have been preferred, the animation of Resistance is not all bad and sometimes does provide beautiful scenery. This animation style clearly thrives within its stunning backdrops but flounders when it comes to the characters.
The main cast of Resistance deserves to be praised, even if this title does rank dead last on our list. The characters are likable enough to carry two seasons – not to mention some rather rocky episodes here and there – and flaunt well-rounded arcs that feel complete despite the show’s short life. A highlight of this roster is Tam (Suzie McGrath), a mechanic on the Colossus who defects to the First Order after hearing about the betrayal she has faced from her friends. Tam’s arc in Resistance Season 2 is riveting and provides an inside look into the First Order that fans can find nowhere else. Above all else, Star Wars Resistance is exciting enough when Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson, and Gwendoline Christie cameo as Poe, General Hux, and Captain Phasma respectively. BB-8 plays a hilariously cute role in the first season too!
8. The Book of Boba Fett
Years ago at Star Wars Celebration, a stand-alone Boba Fett movie was announced with Fantastic Four director Josh Trank at the front of the ship. When that film bombed at the box office and Josh Trank’s name got caught in controversial headlines, Lucasfilm subsequently parted ways with the filmmaker. Rumors then floated that James Mangold was attached to direct a Boba Fett film, which was the running speculation for a couple of years until studio president Kathleen Kennedy announced that the project was no longer in development. Fans of the character were left disappointed until Jon Favreau satisfied their needs for a thrilling story about an armor-wearing bounty hunter with The Mandalorian.
Even so, there was still a high demand for a stand-alone Boba Fett project. The big question of what happened to Fett after the Sarlacc Pit circulated for years, with fans hoping that the character shared a similar fate in canon as he did in the fabled Star Wars Legends. This was finally answered when Temuera Morrison reprised Boba Fett at the end of The Mandalorian Season 2 premiere, sporting a rugged look that piqued curiosity. Boba Fett soon returned alongside Ming Na-Wen’s Fennec Shand, as the duo confront Din Djarin for his classic armor. Foes turn into allies as the three work together to protect Grogu, which doesn’t work out too well. The Mandalorian Season 2 concluded with Din and Boba united and with the promise of a new spin-off series via a post-credits scene of Fett and Shand taking over Jabba the Hutt’s palace.
However, what came to be really wasn’t a new spin-off series. Sure, it was named The Book of Boba Fett, but when its last few episodes hardly feature the titular character, it becomes evident that this project was born out of the necessity to gain more Disney+ subscribers rather than out of love of the iconic bounty hunter. The episodes of The Book of Boba Fett that are essentially The Mandalorian Season 2.5 are actually fun – the showcase of Din flying his new N-1 starfighter through the dunes of Tatooine being one example. Diverting focus on special occasions from the titular lead can work successfully when a show has a decent amount of episodes though. In the case of The Book of Boba Fett, it was given only seven.
It doesn’t help that Boba Fett’s main story is mixed as well. The idea of making Fett a crime lord on Tatootine is interesting when he is faced with characters like the Hutts or Cad Bane. It can be exciting to see how Fett faces these threats in different ways after his experiences in the Sarlacc Pit and with the Tuskens. Yet, this concept is never made to be all that fascinating. The Book of Boba Fett instead introduces a bunch of supporting roles that are given the valued screen time which Fett himself and Fennec Shand are vitally missing. When looking at Shand specifically, she mainly serves the role of a supportive voice pushing Fett’s character forward. She is sadly given little agency of her own because of this. It’s still unclear why she would put so much on the line for her fellow bounty hunter.
One aspect of The Book of Boba Fett that works – and afforded this series a spot above Star Wars Resistance – is the flashback sequences to Fett’s time immediately after the Sarlacc Pit and being taken in by the Tuskens. Recontextualizing an alien race that was previously perceived almost like wild animals in A New Hope as a unique iteration of a tribe with their own culture and rituals that are not necessarily the same as other Tusken groups is brilliant. You can read more on why evolving the view of the Tuskens in The Book of Boba Fett is the show’s biggest strength at Gizmodo.
7. Obi-Wan Kenobi
Similar to The Book of Boba Fett, talks of an Obi-Wan Kenobi spin-off starring Ewan McGregor and set after the events of Revenge of the Sith had been circulating for years. These reports even included a feature film version directed by Stephen Daldry. That soon changed with the dismal box office results of Solo: A Star Wars Story. Plans for an Obi-Wan Kenobi project then turned towards a high-budget limited series, something that could only be achieved in the current streaming era where television budgets can now be as high as movie budgets with access to advanced technology such as “The Volume.” Yet, in this case, access to this technology may be what limited this show’s overall potential.
When Darth Vader and Kenobi himself were first confirmed to be dueling each other again in Obi-Wan Kenobi on Disney+, it sounded like an extremely complicated idea. Frankly, this pitch initially came across as the need to sell more Darth Vader toys than anything else. Coupled with the concept of having young Princess Leia play an integral part in the plot made Obi-Wan Kenobi sound more like fan fiction than something Lucasfilm actually gave the green light to… and somehow it all works.
Obi-Wan Kenobi is a success on a narrative level. Vivien Lyra Blair is hilariously adorable as a young Leia Organa and her arc in the series ends with the audience fully understanding why she would later say the famed line “Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you are my only hope.” The dynamic between Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen continues to be unmatched, with Kenobi having to now accept that he is not to entirely blame for Anakin Skywalker’s fall to the Dark Side. Additionally, Darth Vader has never been this extensively menacing on-screen, killing civilians with ease all in the hope to get his revenge on Kenobi. This is especially captivating when it’s Hayden under the mask, and the viewer can properly see how this once beloved Jedi has fallen so far into hatred.
Moving into the visuals of Obi-Wan Kenobi, the less said the better. ILM’s StageCraft technology, better known as the Volume, is something not many artists in the industry know how to truly utilize. Cinematographer Greig Fraser has flaunted the Volume’s awesome abilities in both the first season of The Mandalorian and DC’s The Batman. On the other hand, the limitations of the tech are seen in Obi-Wan Kenobi as environments and backdrops look fairly flat. Locations that are meant to feel expansive and other-worldly instead look like they take place in a box with painted walls on each side – which is kind of what the Volume really is. The dour visual effects of Obi-Wan Kenobi sadly bring down what is otherwise an engrossing tale that could have easily turned into cheap fan fiction. Still, this series proved to expand on some of the franchise’s most iconic characters in new ways
6. Star Wars: The Bad Batch
Star Wars: The Bad Batch is perhaps higher in this ranking than what would be expected. The animated series follows in the footsteps of The Clone Wars and Rebels, using Lucasfilm’s house-style animation to take fans who enjoyed the humanization of the Clone Troopers in the aforementioned shows on a whole new journey. The Bad Batch explores the lives of rejected Clones (all voiced by Dee Bradley Baker) who lived through Order 66 and must find a new purpose in life after their primary role for existence is served.
What happens to Clones bred for battle once said war is over? The Bad Batch walks the fine line of this question when Clone Force 99, made up of Hunter, Wrecker, Tech, and Echo, loses their sharpshooter Crosshair to the side of the Empire. The rest of the team is disillusioned with the Empire’s ideologies and soon decides to become mercenaries after the Clone Wars with the help of the young and rare female clone Omega (Michelle Ang). By the end of Season 1, it’s revealed that Crosshair sides with the Empire out of his own free will instead of being mind controlled via an inhibitor chip – giving the series a more mature and nuanced thematic edge.
The Bad Batch does a lot to showcase what the Empire’s rise to power looked like immediately after the events of Revenge of the Sith. This isn’t just with the Clones either. The tyrannical effects on the Senate and the seedy criminal underworld are also seen. While there are valid criticisms to be made about how underdeveloped some members of Clone Force 99 are within the show’s first season, using this unique and lively group as a window into a galaxy that’s in its first steps of being radically changed for the worse is quite thrilling.
This is especially evident when examining Omega’s journey with the young Jedi Wookie survivor Gungi in The Bad Batch Season 2. Omega provides the audience with new knowledge on how Gungi has been broken from his experience as a Jedi post-Order 66 and how a well-known species like the Wookiees already face immediate danger from the Empire who are already destroying their culture after only holding an iron grip on the galaxy for just over one year. It’s reasons like these and more that make Star Wars: The Bad Batch a worthy addition to the canon, one that deserves a bit more love for its bold and adventurous storytelling.
5. The Mandalorian
It can be argued that The Mandalorian is what pushed Star Wars television into the mainstream. But this couldn’t have been done without the great appeal of both its titular bounty hunter and little Grogu, otherwise known as Baby Yoda. Pedro Pascal’s Din Djarin could have easily been a half-baked copy of Boba Fett as both sport similar costumes and features. Their individual experiences within the criminal underworld are what ultimately separate these characters into two distinct forces. Suffice it to say that The Mandalorian would have been a completely different show if Boba Fett or any other armor-wearing bounty hunter found Grogu at the beginning of the story.
Mandalorian culture is one of the most intriguing aspects of the Star Wars universe, having only been scrapped at the surface level a few times prior in canon. In this series, we at long last get to dive into the Mandalorian lifestyle post-imperial rule. In putting up a fight back against the Empire, the Mandalorians severely paid the price and were forced into hiding. The Mandalorian shines when it focuses on these aspects as well as the constantly-developing relationship between Din and Grogu. The show is really at its very best, though, when Mandalorian traditions cross over into Grogu’s upbringing, as Din treats the child like a foundling would have been treated during the glory days of his Mandalorian tribe.
While The Mandalorian Season 3 proved to be an intriguing exploration into the home world of Mandalore – choosing to stray away from being another cameo festival like season two in a sigh of relief – these latest episodes still, unfortunately, showcased the show’s largest flaws. Din Djarin taking a back seat for most of the season within his own series made his personal arc and the return of Grogu feel somewhat empty and meaningless. The pacing as a whole then felt painfully jagged when some episodes would jump from exploring Mandalorian culture in a riveting way to going back to the old serialized style of the first two seasons. With Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) finally defeated and The Mandalorian Season 3 closing on a clean slate, you can only hope that these flaws will not reappear moving forward, for the show’s own sake of maintaining a large audience.
Going back to the gaping flaw of relying on cameos, it should first be noted that characters like Bo-Katan (Katee Sackhoff) and Boba Fett were initially seen as cameos but have since become supporting characters who have helped propel Din’s journey. Bo-Katan especially rose to prominence as the new leader of Mandalore in Season 3. Characters like Rosario Dawson’s Ahsoka or CGI Luke Skywalker, on the contrary, are painfully slotted in for oohs and ahhs. Some viewers will say that these big names were necessary for developing Grogu’s arc, yet that argument falls flat when Grogu returned to Din in a different show. What’s the point of bringing Luke in if no proper emotional pay-off was planned and what did Ahsoka provide (outside of Grogu’s name) that wasn’t just set up for her own spin-off series?
4. Star Wars: Visions
Star Wars: Visions first began with a volume of nine anime short films produced by seven Japanese animation studios: Kamikaze Douga, Studio Colorido, Geno Studio, Trigger, Kinema Citrus, Production I.G, and Science SARU. The artists at each studio were given free rein to re-envision the ideas of the Star Wars universe as they saw fit – not bound to any canonical material, thus allowing each short to shine with no barriers. The results saw a massive explosion of creativity, both through inventive storytelling as well as mind-blowing animation. Witnessing these stories brought to life with such vibrancy and bold execution made Visions utterly satisfying in a way that few Star Wars shows have ever accomplished.
Focusing on Volume 2 of Visions, the decision to move from strictly anime studios to a wide variety of creators from across the globe paved the way for more styles like stop-motion and all kinds of CGI to take Star Wars to unexplored territory. Even more creativity was put to the test, with each animation studio now encouraged to form a tale that also reflected the culture of where they come from. The results saw nine more uniquely captivating shorts, one being Cartoon Saloon‘s “Screecher’s Reach” which focuses heavily on Irish folklore. Likewise, the teams from El Guiri (Spain), Punkrobot (Chile), Aardman (United Kingdom), Studio Mir (South Korea), Studio La Cachette (France), 88 Pictures (India), D’art Shtajio (Japan), and Triggerfish (South Africa) all just propelled Visions to the next level with their one-of-a-kind interpretations.
This could easily be the most accessible show on this list. Obviously, not every short will be loved equally by everyone. Nonetheless, there’s no debate that Visions offers something for every type of audience member at the very least. Personally, seeing my childhood favorite animation studio Aardman – responsible for Wallace and Gromit, Chicken Run, and Shaun the Sheep – team up with Lucasfilm to create a precious stop-motion Star Wars tale is something that I will cherish forever. To think this series has the power to bring that same kind of wonder to all kinds of fans in their own special ways. Just how many more creative barriers Star Wars: Visions can break remains to be seen with another volume, and that alone certifies the show being this high on this ranking.
3. Star Wars: The Clone Wars
The first major Star Wars animated series kicked off in 2008 with a poorly received theatrically released film but then slowly found its footing after a couple of middling seasons. Created by George Lucas himself, Star Wars: The Clone Wars ended its run on Cartoon Newtwork with its fifth season – seemingly going out on a high note with the captivating story of how the fan-favorite padawan Ahsoka Tano (voiced by Ashley Eckstein) chose to leave the Jedi Order. This explained her absence in Revenge of the Sith and closed out the largest narrative thread from the series. However, creative director/writer Dave Filoni had much more stories to tell. As such, The Clone Wars eventually found new life twice more, the first time with a sixth season on Netflix in 2014 consisting of “The Lost Missions” and then with the seventh and final season on Disney+ in 2020.
Introducing a canon-breaking character like Ahsoka was always going to be difficult. When Lucasfilm first revealed that Anakin Skywalker actually had his own padawan between two films in the prequel trilogy, fans were highly skeptical about how any of that would make sense after watching the movies. Nevertheless, The Clone Wars took its time with Ahsoka and built her up to be an iconic character that arguably stands toe-to-toe in popularity with her masters Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi. In the end, George Lucas’ decision to frame The Clone Wars as an anthology series gave it a stronger leeway to introduce and develop characters like Ahsoka and more. From the show’s very first to last episode, audiences see Ahsoka go from a young novice in the Jedi arts to a well-rounded apprentice who ends up having stronger morals than many of her former Jedi masters.
The Clone Wars hugely succeeds in creating three-dimensional characters out of the Clone Troopers themselves; literal carbon copies are given loads of personality with their own differing attitudes in the ongoing war against the Separatists. The show gives viewers valid reasons to root for the Clones, looking at them not as mindless soldiers but as individuals who only know life on the battlefield. We are introduced to a variety of Clones including loyal leaders like Captain Rex and Commander Cody, Galactic Republic traitors who side with the Separatists, and even deserters like Cut Lawquane who find their true purpose outside the war. This all builds to a tragic climax where the Clones’ pre-programed inhibitor chips force them to turn on the Jedi, stripping their human qualities away and once again becoming what the public perceives them as: mindless pawns fit for only one purpose.
Impressively, this series also built itself off the fan trepidation concerning the handling of Anakin Skywalker. In The Clone Wars, Anakin is given a more gradual fall to the Dark Side. Whereas the films don’t lay the foundation for this as clearly, by the time one finishes this show, the reasoning for why Anakin’s mind has become so corruptible is much easier to understand. This is huge thanks to Anakin voice actor Matt Lanter, who injects the series with all the humanity and life needed alongside James Arnold Taylor as Obi-Wan Kenobi. Furthermore, Star Wars: The Clone Wars made the way for a slew of supporting/background prequel characters to take center stage. Take Plo-Koon for example, a Jedi master who doesn’t speak in the films but steals episodes of this show, which only makes his quick death in Revenge of the Sith all the more impactful.
Although many fans loved Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the general reaction to Andor on Disney+ being announced was undeniably mixed. The concept of an entire series surrounding Cassian Andor, a supporting character in Rogue One who was not overly developed or even a popular favorite of the film, is already a rocky idea. The prospects of Andor are even rockier when considering that everyone has already seen Cassian meet his fate in the suicide mission of retrieving the Death Star plans. The fact that his snarky droid companion K-2SO was announced to not be appearing until the second season could have easily been the final nail in the coffin.
Against these odds, Andor has proved itself to be the best live-action Star Wars series by a country mile. It wouldn’t be far-fetched to call it one of the best dramas of 2022 and on that same note, it’s likely to take the top spot of best Star Wars series after its second season concludes this incredible tale. Under the watch of creator and showrunner Tony Gilroy (the Bourne series), Andor manages to effortlessly strike back at many of these pre-conceived criticisms in telling a powerful self-contained narrative about identity, perseverance, unity, and, more importantly, resistance.
It’s hard to choose a stand-out episode in Andor as most of them are equally brilliant. But if one had to make a choice, the final episode of the Narkina 5 prison arc is perhaps the best episode of any Star Wars television project yet, including captivating performances from Andy Serkis and Diego Luna, a thunderous score from Nicholas Britell, and an awe-inspiring uprising that you cannot help but stand up and cheer for. Seeing a group of prisoners rise against their oppressors and free themselves from a labor camp that they have been forced into because of committing meaningless crimes creates the kind of adrenaline rush that only Star Wars can deliver at its peak.
Andor is the most human story in the Star Wars universe and almost serves as a touching point for not just how good IP-based television projects can be, but for showcasing how these IP ventures can be utilized to provide fascinating insight into our current world. Tony Gilroy successfully crafts Andor with character work always at the forefront, showing how Cassian and the colorful supporting cast around him are affected by tyranny across the galaxy.
1. Star Wars Rebels
Andor is certainly the best live-action Star Wars series. However, Star Wars Rebels combines all of those elements and more. What may seem to be a simplistic story at first branches out with far more complex layers that make the members of the show’s main Ghost crew some of the best characters in the entire franchise. Rebels did not get the strongest start, that we all know. In fact, the show’s first season is rather mediocre. Many fans were still dismayed that Star Wars Rebels was brought in as a replacement for The Clone Wars. Though it’s important to remember how The Clone Wars was also middling when it began. If audiences wanted to get something out of Rebels, they would have to stick through this early rocky patch.
And as the muddled first season came to a close, Rebels revealed what its full potential could be with an incredible two-part conclusion, capped off with the reintroduction of Ashley Eckstein’s Ahsoka. From here, there was nowhere to go but up. There were definitely some pitfalls here and there in Season 2. Yet, by the time of its finale, everyone was fully on board. Fans were treated with moments that they had been waiting for, such as the return of Maul and the long overdue clash between Ahsoka and her former master Darth Vader. To their credit, creator Dave Filoni and his team did this in a way that was more honorable than cheap. Ezra Bridger (Taylor Gray) and Kanan Jarrus (Freddie Prinze Jr.) were no mere bystanders watching on like the audience, they became staple Star Wars characters in their own right at this moment.
Where other Star Wars shows have been criticized for using famous characters as cameos, Rebels takes a more justified approach. Familiar faces like Rex and Ahsoka are not re-introduced to simply appease fans but to build their identities in new and exciting ways that force our Ghost crew to adapt. Then when a character like Grand Admiral Thrawn is pulled from Star Wars Legends, Rebels uses him correctly, leveraging his menacing nature of calculation over brute force as a threat that challenged the cast to believe whether or not this fight against the Empire was winnable. While the Insquitiors brought exciting lightsaber combat, the emotional stakes of the Ghost crew always hinged on someone like Thrawn who could challenge them psychologically. What could have been another cameo became a fresh reimagining that is looking to be a powerful force to be reckoned with in the future of Star Wars television.
Ezra Bridger followed a similar path as Ahsoka at first, both narratively as they shared the same experiences of being young teenagers plucked to become experienced Jedi and in terms of the audience needing time to get comfortable with them. But by the end of the series, Ezra along with Kanan, Sabine Wren (Tiya Sircar), Hera Syndulla (Vanessa Marshall), Zeb Orrelios (Steve Blum), and the loveable astromech droid Chopper had all formed their own highly regarded legacy in the franchise. Star Wars Rebels saw these freedom fighters come together as a loving family unit – growing pains and all – every step of the way. It is admittedly disappointing that the stories of the Ghost crew will continue in live-action rather than in animation. Hopefully, this means that general audiences come to love these characters within this different medium and return to see them at their glory in animation.