This week, the trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi was dropped on us. The official trailer on the Star Wars YouTube page has already surpassed 29 million views so there’s a pretty good chance you’ve seen it unless you’re under a rock (or my brother who still doesn’t get Star Wars). So, rather than just post the trailer and hope to piggyback a few clicks, I thought it would be more interesting to go back and watch all (okay, not all because the films have had multiple trailers) of the trailers from the first 7 movies along with the new one and rank them. Here’s how the trailers rank from worst (The Phantom Menace) to first (Now, you have to read further because I’m not just giving the whole list away!):
8. Episode I: The Phantom Menace
From Jar Jar Binks to Anakin’s mom uttering the silliest line in Star Wars history (What does your heart tell you?), The Phantom Menace offers the least compelling trailer of the series. Little did we know Yoda was describing Star Wars fans watching the trailer and predicting their journey through the prequels: Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering. That’s the prequels, basically. Let’s be honest, we knew that the prequels were going to disappoint when we saw this trailer. We were just in denial.
7. Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
Marginally better than The Phantom Menace‘s trailer is what many of us thought would be the final Star Wars movie. With no plans in the foreseeable future to extend the story beyond Return of the Jedi, the bridge from the prequels to A New Hope felt like it was going through the motions even in the trailer.
6. Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
I’m the first to defend Return of the Jedi as the best of all Star Wars movies. (I know! Empire Strikes Back, blah, blah, blah! I get it!) However, I can’t do the same for the trailer. First of all, the trailers from the 70s and 80s just aren’t the same as today’s trailers. Overly narrated and a little silly in retrospect, these trailers don’t create the excitement of today’s trailers. They don’t make ’em like they used to… and that’s a good thing.
5. Episode II: Attack of the Clones
Of the second trilogy that was actually the first trilogy, Attack of the Clones had the most promising trailer. At that point, you still had hope that the prequels would rebound. The Phantom Menace closed with easily the best lightsaber showdown of all time when Obi-Wan and Anakin squared off with Darth Maul and then this trailer hit the screens and you were filled with anticipation. Attack of the Clones, like the rest of the prequels, never lived up to the hype.
4. Episode V: Empire Strikes Back
It’s hard to separate the finished product from the trailer and there’s something about this trailer that doesn’t sync with the film. At some point, you expect the narrator to shout, “SUNDAY, SUNDAY, SUNDAY!” Plus, doesn’t he mispronounce Lando Calrissian?
3. Episode VIII: The Last Jedi
The latest trailer finishes third on the list. While it’s an amazing trailer and there is a lot of excitement about the follow up to The Force Awakens, it doesn’t feel like a slam dunk that there won’t be a sophomore slump for the J.J. Abrams-refueled saga set to break box office records this December.
2. Episode IV: A New Hope
Sure, it’s a little hokey but it’s the trailer that launched the greatest movie franchise in cinematic history. Sure, it promotes a romance between siblings that never comes to fruition but I’m sure the narrator didn’t know Luke and Leia were sisters… hell, George Lucas didn’t know.
1. Episode VII: The Force Awakens
A simple trailer allowed for forgiveness for Episodes I-III. The Star Wars fans had new characters to be excited about, slick visuals that were broken down frame by frame and a new hope that Star Wars wasn’t dead. Even though the film ended up being a complete rip-off of A New Hope, we didn’t care. We were just excited to have Star Wars back!