10 Biggest Fan Debates in Star Wars History

Movie franchises tend to develop legions of enamored fans. And few communities are as expansive or as passionate as the fan base of Star Wars. Since 1977, Star Wars has been transporting audiences to a galaxy far, far away and building generations of fans. Its movies have become legendary, its characters iconic. And now with Disney taking over the franchise, there’s no shortage of new Star Wars content for fans to enjoy (though some might argue that it’s too much).

Like any passionate fandom, Star Wars devotees love to discuss and analyze every detail about their favorite galaxy. And they also love to debate. Certain topics have become triggers within the Star Wars community. These subjects have been hotly argued and discussed over and over again, both sides going back and forth. Let’s take a trip around that galaxy far, far away and take a look at some of the fiercest debates among Star Wars fans.

10 Jar Jar Binks…a Sith Lord?

Senator Jar Jar Binks
20th Century Fox

The Phantom Menace introduces some iconic Star Wars characters like Darth Maul, Padmé Amidala, and Qui-Gon Jinn. But it also introduces some…not so great characters, like the dim-witted Jar Jar Binks. There are two debates when it comes to Naboo’s most famous Gungan. One is simply about liking or disliking the character. There is a small group of fans who enjoy Jar Jar and embrace his comedic relief. But most of the Star Wars fanbase finds him to be annoying, childish, and overly dumb.

The other debate involves Jar Jar Binks being a Sith lord, a secret apprentice to Darth Sidious. Some fans scoff and say, “No way” when they hear this. But others claim that it was George Lucas’ intention all along, a plot twist that he had planned for a future movie — but then scrapped when most of the fanbase grabbed their pitchforks, screaming for Jar Jar’s head. Think about it for a second. It’s Jar Jar Binks who helps to establish the Galactic Empire in Revenge of the Sith. These believers also think this reveal is meant to parallel the Yoda reveal in The Empire Strikes Back: a seemingly dim-witted creature with a weird dialect is secretly a powerful Force-user. Jar Jar Binks being a Sith lord is probably nothing more than a popular fan theory, but it’s still a favorite debate in the Star Wars community.

9 A Different Vision for the Sequel Trilogy

John Boyega as Finn in The Force Awakens
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Star Wars fans were thrilled when the sequel trilogy was first announced. The actors from the original trilogy would be returning to their iconic roles, and J.J. Abrams, the nerd of cinema, would be directing and also writing the film with Lawrence Kasdan, the screenwriter of The Empire Strikes Back. What could go wrong?

For many fans, the sequel trilogy was a disjointed mess that pulled the franchise in different directions, establishing one plot point and then undoing it with the next film. There was no real cohesion between the movies. Disgruntled fans like to debate how storylines turned out and whether that was Abrams’ original intention. Was Flynn supposed to be Force sensitive? Was Palpatine always coming back? Was Rey supposed to be a nobody, as was established in The Last Jedi? Or was she always related to Darth Sidious, or maybe even to someone else? Was it always planned for Luke to toss that lightsaber over his shoulder and stay out of the action? These questions are just the tip of the iceberg. Fans were also upset to hear that George Lucas handed Disney a treatment for the sequel trilogy, a story that laid out the next three movies, and it was largely discarded. Would Lucas’ story have given us a better sequel trilogy than what Abrams and Disney delivered? The world will never know.

8 Prequel Trilogy vs. Sequel Trilogy

Anakin Skywalker with Padmé Amidala and Obi-Wan Kenobi
20th Century Fox

Most fans agree that the original films make up the best Star Wars trilogy. But what’s better (for some fans, it’s really what’s worse): the prequel trilogy or the sequel trilogy? Many fans hated the prequels when they first came out due to their copious CGI, their (at times) mediocre acting and writing, and their slower political scenes. Likewise, many fans hated the sequel trilogy for its disorganized storylines, its mishandling of iconic characters and plot points, and Disney’s shameless merchandise plugs. The second film in the sequel trilogy, The Last Jedi, launched a debate by itself and polarized the fan base; some praised its direction while others loathed it.

Some fans have grown to appreciate the prequels over time, especially after watching the sequels. Plus, they actually involve Star Wars creator George Lucas. Other fans, though, prefer the nostalgic and more modern feel of the newer movies.

7 The Ewoks

Ewoks to Return in New Star Wars TV Show for Disney+ Streaming?

Return of the Jedi has a lot to love, like the long-awaited introduction of the Emperor and the final confrontation between Luke and Darth Vader. But one thing that has fans divided are the Ewoks, who play a pivotal role in the Battle of Endor. Are they cute and lovable characters? Or are they annoying, corny, and stupid? This debate has fans divided and has been raging since 1983.

6 Midi-chlorians

Anakin and Obi-Wan Kenobi

“The Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together.” This is how Obi-Wan Kenobi described the Force in A New Hope. There was not a single mention of midi-chlorians. So it baffled Star Wars fans when Qui-Gon Jinn in The Phantom Menace explained that the Force had to do with something called midi-chlorians, these microscopic and intelligent life forms that reside within all living things and interact with the Force. For fans of the original trilogy, the Force had always been this unexplainable and mystical energy field. A number of them felt that putting a scientific spin on the Force took away some of the magic. Others, however, enjoyed the scientific rationale, as it explained the Force’s hereditary nature and strength within the Skywalker family.

Related: The 10 Biggest Star Wars Retcons, for Better or Worse

5 Which Star Wars Movie Is Best

Luke and Darth Vader fighting in The Empire Strikes Back
20th Century Fox

This is a common debate among fans of any franchise: what is the best movie in the series? Some Star Wars fans claim that it’s the movie that started it all, A New Hope. It established the galaxy far, far away, introducing us to these iconic characters and storylines, and changed the scope of fantasy and science fiction. It’s also the only Star Wars film to receive Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay. Other fans claim that it’s Return of the Jedi, which delivered a satisfying conclusion to the original trilogy. Some argue that it’s the Disney-affiliated Rogue One, which retcons major plot holes and cleverly bridges the prequel trilogy to the original films. Or maybe it’s Revenge of the Sith, which captures the tragic fall of Anakin Skywalker and the Jedi and the rise of Darth Vader and the Galactic Empire.

Most fans, however, confidently believe that it’s The Empire Strikes Back. And between its iconic new characters and locations, its darker story and finale, the long-awaited confrontation between Luke and Darth Vader, and that legendary plot twist, it’s not hard to see why.

4 Viewing Order of the Movies

Hamill, Fisher, and Ford in Star Wars
20th Century-Fox

The Skywalker saga, as it’s now called, unfolded in a very unique way. Episodes IV – VI were released first between 1977 and 1983, though they weren’t given those titles until years later. Sixteen years later, Lucas delivered the prequel trilogy, Episodes I – III, between 1999 and 2005. And ten years after that, Disney took over the franchise and gave us the sequel trilogy, Episodes VII – IX, between 2015 and 2019.

This unusual timeline of events has left fans wondering: what’s the right order for watching these movies? Do you watch them chronologically, from Episode I through Episode IX? Or do you watch them by order of release? The latter seems like the best strategy for someone who’s never seen Star Wars before. This approach keeps the Darth Vader twist intact, which is regarded as one of the greatest plot twists in cinema. That is, if it isn’t spoiled for that person first.

3 The Strongest Force User

Obi-Wan Kenobi vs Darth Vader in the season finale lightsaber battle
Lucasfilm Ltd.

Star Wars fans love to debate: who is the most powerful Force user in the galaxy far, far away? Some fans point to Yoda, who was called the strongest Jedi before Anakin. But it’s not just Yoda’s power or midi-chlorian count (cringe) that make him a contender in this debate. It’s also his wisdom, as well as his clear understanding of and connection with the Force. Other fans argue that it’s Darth Sidious, who established a Galactic Empire right under the Jedi’s noses and then wiped out the bulk of them. Some people claim that it’s Luke Skywalker, who beats Darth Vader in a lightsaber duel. He also mastered the Force at a much older age and without much training from other Jedi. This same argument can be applied to Rey, whose immense power terrified even Luke.

The most common answer in this debate is Darth Vader. His midi-chlorian count surpasses Yoda’s, and he exhibits more power with visibly less effort than other Force users. But if Anakin/Darth Vader is the most powerful Force user in the galaxy, then what does that make Obi-Wan? Kenobi beats his apprentice twice in his prime– once as Anakin in Revenge of the Sith and once as a young Darth Vader in the Obi-Wan Kenobi TV show. Even in A New Hope, Vader only wins their lightsaber duel because Obi-Wan lets him.

2 The Chosen One

Still from The Rise of Skywalker
Walt Disney Studios

The Star Wars prequel trilogy introduces a Jedi prophecy about a mysterious Chosen One, who will restore balance to the Force. Strangely, the prophesied Chosen One is never confirmed, leaving fans to speculate over their identity. On top of this, it isn’t clear what restoring balance to the Force actually means. Is it bringing the Jedi back from extinction? In this case, Luke Skywalker could be the Chosen One. He converts Darth Vader to the light, which leads to the destruction of the Galactic Empire, and brings back the Jedi (for a time). Or does restoring balance to the Force mean wiping out the Dark Side from the galaxy? With this scenario, the Chosen One could be Rey. In the end, she’s the one who finally destroys Palpatine and the Sith (cringe).

Some Jedi and fans believe that Anakin Skywalker was the Chosen One due to his tremendous power; Qui-Gon Jinn in The Phantom Menacebelieved it with his dying breath. If it is Anakin, then that lends itself to a darker interpretation of the prophecy. In the prequel trilogy, there is an overabundance of Jedi and only two Sith lords. By the end of Revenge of the Sith, Anakin has wiped out the excessive number of Jedi, leaving two Sith lords (Darth Sidious and himself) and just a handful of Jedi, thus restoring balance to the Force.

1 Who Shot First?

Long Lost Star Wars Script Answers 'Who Shot First?'

Han Solo (one of Harrison Ford’s most iconic roles) is the lovable badboy of the Star Wars universe, an edgy character who won’t hesitate to shoot his blaster. Or is he? In the original version of A New Hope, bounty hunter Greedo threatens to turn Han over to Jabba the Hutt for the large price tag on his head. But before Greedo can do this, Han shoots the bounty hunter dead right there at the table. It’s a famous Han Solo moment. But apparently, George felt that it made Han look a little too bad, which led to several retcons over the years.

In the 1997 version of A New Hope, this moment is changed to an act of self-defense when Han dodges Greedo’s blast (in a very awkward, blatantly fake way) and then fires his weapon. In the 2004 version, Greedo shoots first with Han firing his own blaster shortly afterward. In the 2011 version, this scene is cut down so that all you see are two blasts; you can’t tell who pulled their trigger first. “Who shot first?” is the most fiercely debated question among the Star Wars community and continues to rage on today.