At the time of writing, 11 Star Wars movies have been released. The saga started back in 1977 with Star Wars (since then retitled A New Hope) a blockbuster that captured the hearts of many and inspired a generation. After the iconic original trilogy ended, the saga reemerged with two more trilogies that began in 1999 and 2015, but to varying degrees of success.
But which movie has the shortest runtime, and which has the longest? How did these runtimes affect the story, if at all? Let’s take a look at the numbers and rank them accordingly. It should be noted that, technically, the shortest Star Wars movie is Star Wars: The Clone Wars from 2008, but it is an animated movie and therefore rarely counted amongst the rest of the live-action films of the franchise.
11 Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope has a runtime of 2 Hours & 5 Minutes (125 Minutes)
The shortest live-action Star Wars movie is A New Hope, clocking in at just over 2 hours in its current form. When the film was first released, it was simply called Star Wars. He had no idea that it would be the start of a flourishing franchise and be the beginning of a journey that would span years and generations in equal measure. As a result, like many Star Wars movies, its undergone some adjustment and cutting over the decades.
It was the blockbuster that introduced fans to iconic heroes such as Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, and Han Solo as well as famous villains like Darth Vader and Grand Moff Tarkin. With everybody falling in love with Star Wars, it’s no wonder why it became the yardstick for all sci-fi and adventure movies that followed.
10 Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back has a runtime of 2 Hours & 7 Minutes (127 Minutes)
At the time of its release, The Empire Strikes Back divided critics, with some praising its twists and others calling it an incomplete sequel. But in the decades since, its popularity has soared and it’s now considered by many to not only be the saga’s best but one of the greatest sequels ever made.
Luke begins his Jedi training on Dagobah, Han and Leia grow closer while Darth Vader chases after the heroes the whole time. Despite the lightness of the story compared to the longer runtime, it all feels necessary. The movie’s biggest scene is when Vader informs Luke that he’s his father, in a shocking twist nobody saw coming. New planets like Hoth and Bespin were well-received as well, as they set the stage for some of the saga’s most iconic battles and scenes.
9 Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has a runtime of 2 Hours & 13 Minutes (133 Minutes)
Initially, fans weren’t quite sure what to expect from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which was the first of the Star Wars spinoffs to be released and a bridge between the Prequel and Original Trilogies. Luckily, it garnered positive reactions from critics and fans.
It tells the story of Jyn Erso and a band of Rebels obtaining the Death Star plans that would be used to destroy the battle station, thus paving the way for the Empire’s defeat in the Original Trilogy. It used its runtime to expand on a lot of previously established Star Wars lore as well as introduce new characters. Jyn and Cassian Andor are both standout new characters for the series, while it was great for fans to see cameos from old favorites Grand Moff Tarkin, Leia Organa, and Darth Vader.
8 Solo: A Star Wars Story has a runtime of 2 Hours & 15 Minutes (135 Minutes)
Solo: A Star Wars Story wasn’t a box office hit and its famously troubled production history helped it become the only real flop of the franchise. Nevertheless, it was kept at a full, healthy, runtime rather than being mercilessly cut down to maximize on showings.
The movie uses its runtime to introduce a lot of new characters as well revisiting old ones. Fans got to see a young Han, who is as charming as ever despite the fact that he’s played by Alden Ehrenreich instead of Harrison Ford. Donald Glover nails the role of a younger Lando Calrissian, Emilia Clarke is enjoyable as Qi’Ra and fans loved seeing Darth Maul on the big screen again.
7 Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens has a runtime of 2 Hours & 15 Minutes (135 Minutes)
As the first of the Sequel Trilogy, The Force Awakens was a huge cinematic event. After decades, the Original Trilogy’s main characters were back with a new cast of heroes and villains revamping the saga in that galaxy from far, far away.
The Force Awakens definitely treads lightly, being a soft remake of A New Hope mixed with some of the other movies’ greatest hits. Still, fans found it enjoyable and it got the trilogy off to a positive start. The Force Awakens was a huge box office hit and, arguably, was when the newer Star Wars movies peaked, striking an effective balance between providing a fast-paced and familiar adventure as well as laying the groundwork for the rest of the trilogy.
6 Star Wars: Episode VI – The Return of the Jedi has a runtime of 2 Hours & 15 Minutes (135 Minutes)
Return of the Jedi brought the Original Trilogy to a satisfying end. It was the longest of the first three Star Wars movies but that was fitting for such a significant entry. The Empire Strikes Back also left it with plenty to tie up.
Luke comes into his own as a Jedi and resists the temptation of the dark side to stand tall against Emperor Palpatine, triggering an unforeseen change of loyalties from Darth Vader. Vader destroys the Emperor and, in turn, the Empire. Also, Han and Leia’s love story is given a happy ending with the pair finally choosing to settle down. Plus, of course, the Ewoks!
5 Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace has a runtime of 2 Hours & 16 Minutes (136 Minutes)
The first movie of the Prequel Trilogy got every Star Wars fan eager to get a ticket immediately, with some even watching other films just to see the trailer. Unfortunately, the movie was divisive upon release and perhaps could have done with some harsher cutting when it came to the story’s numerous ideas and concepts.
Some enjoyed the special effects and even took to new characters such as Jar Jar Binks, Qui-Gon Jinn, and a young Anakin Skywalker. Others felt it was the polar opposite of what made the Original Trilogy so special and felt it suffered from more mature themes such as politics and trade disputes. Regardless, it remains an enjoyable adventure and was the biggest box office hit of 1999.
4 Star Wars: Episode III – The Revenge of the Sith has a runtime of 2 Hours & 20 Minutes (140 Minutes)
Out of all the Star Wars movies, Revenge of the Sith is arguably the darkest. Fans see Anakin Skywalker go from a Jedi to a Sith, the Jedi being tragically slaughtered in Order 66 and Palpatine goes from Chancellor to Emperor after defeating Mace Windu and Yoda in battle. All of this added to the runtime but it never feels like wasted time.
Famously, it ends a Star Wars trilogy on a bittersweet note rather than a triumphant one. There’s barely a minute without any action and that’s what makes the Prequel Trilogy’s ending one of the best Star Wars entries to date.
3 Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones has a runtime of 2 Hours & 22 Minutes (142 Minutes )
Like the entirety of the Prequel Trilogy, Attack of the Clones was loved and loathed in equal measure, but it’s still enjoyable nonetheless. However, its increased length helped it to become one of the more maligned movies in the franchise.
The movie still fills all of those extra minutes with action though. There are some big battle sequences, with Anakin and Obi-Wan Kenobi’s fight against Count Dooku being particularly memorable. New characters like Dooku and Jango Fett went down well with fans, as well. Also, the planets were all visually stunning thanks to the use of revolutionary special effects, so lingering on them was no bad thing. Attack of the Clones has its flaws, but there are many highlights as well amongst all of the heavily criticized scenes of romance.
2 Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker has a runtime of 2 Hours & 22 Minutes (142 Minutes)
The conclusion of the Sequel Trilogy, The Rise of Skywalker ended up reversing a lot of the more controversial decisions made in the previous movie, which brought its own controversy, but the movie did a solid job of bringing the trilogy to an end.
Action-packed, but still shorter than the previous installment, the film is entertaining throughout, moving quickly through the story and leaving audiences breathless in the process. Rey triumphs while Finn and Poe Dameron got more screentime than they did before. Plus, it was great for longtime fans to see Emperor Palpatine back on the big screen.
1 Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi has a runtime of 2 Hours & 32 Minutes (152 Minutes)
The second part of Disney’s sequel trilogy definitely has sensational moments, such as the death of Supreme Leader Snoke and the Battle of Crait, which leads to Luke Skywalker’s final sacrifice. But those two finales stretch the movie’s runtime into being the longest Star Wars movie to date. One result of all the extra action is that fans found as much to criticize as they did praise.
Luke isn’t the same as he was in the Original Trilogy, Poe and Finn get shoved to the side and Snoke’s death left many feeling like the planned trilogy was now missing an important antagonist. Fittingly, the longest of the Disney sequels is also the most polarizing.
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