Most people who are familiar with Star Wars likely know the universe chiefly because of the movies. If you go one layer deeper than that, you may be aware of shows like The Mandalorian, starring everyone’s favorite bounty hunter. Deeper than that, though, are the animated stories that have done so much to expand the canon of Star Wars.
Of course, the history of animation and Star Wars tracks back decades, but only recently has this universe become more devoted to regularly creating new animated series. Now, as those series continue to succeed, we’ve decided to rank all the animated Star Wars shows that already exist.
The Ewoks weren’t particularly cool on the big screen, and the world of animation didn’t do them many additional favors. Set before the original trilogy, in a time when the forest moon of Endor, where the Ewoks live, was a peaceful place, Ewoks is fairly harmless, even though it’s also not all that interesting.
The Ewoks speak English, an obvious deviation from the rules of the movies that was made out of necessity. The animation here has its moments, but the misadventures of these Ewoks are really for die-hards only.
The franchise’s first foray into animation, Star Wars: Droids simply doesn’t have the heft that would come with later animated Star Wars shows. Instead, the 13 half-hour episodes in this series are designed primarily for kids who loved Star Wars, as the droids take center stage to battle a variety of gangsters and other low-level villains.
The characters here aren’t particularly memorable, and the writing and animation aren’t very good either. It’s interesting as a piece of ephemera, but not for any other reason.
Star Wars: Resistance is hurt in part by its close ties to the fairly muddled sequel trilogy, but the two seasons the show got did manage to provide some additional context for the dynamics between the First Order and the Resistance.
The show is ostensibly about a young, hotshot pilot who is tasked with investigating the emergence of the First Order, but ultimately, the show is pretty episodic. While it’s targeted at a younger audience and has a cruder animation style than many of the other shows on this list, Resistance still has plenty for the average Star Wars fan to enjoy.
Set in the aftermath of the Clone Wars, The Bad Batch follows a group of clone soldiers who are deprogrammed and wind up on the run. While it’s fairly tangential to the main story that Star Wars is telling, The Bad Batch works best as an extension of the world that always feels rich and compelling.
The best parts of The Bad Batch often come in the subplots, though, while the main storyline can sometimes feel just a little bit too much like The Mandalorian. Ultimately, though, there’s still plenty in The Bad Batch that makes it worth recommending.
One of the best ideas for an animated Star Wars show comes with Visions, a series of anthology stories set within the Star Wars universe that were produced by multiple different Japanese animation studios.
The most striking thing about each of these films is that the production values are high, and because they’re all self-contained, they each feel like a complete story. Some installments are definitely better than others, but on the whole, Star Wars: Visions is a striking series that offers a totally different notion of what Star Wars can be, which is thrilling in its own right.
Set between the prequels and the original trilogy, Star Wars: Rebels is one of the flagship animated properties in the Star Wars universe, and with good reason. Telling the story of a young, Force-sensitive rebel as he learns about his powers and comes to resist the oppression of the early days of the Empire, the series is both an exciting expansion of existing canon and a reminder of how important the idea of rebellion is.
There are plenty of outstanding moments scattered through Rebels, but the show’s entire run is worth a watch, and it’s an excellent reminder of what Dave Filoni brought to the Star Wars universe.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars is remarkable not just because it’s so good, but because it takes some of the most hated aspects of the Star Wars universe and turns them into something beloved.
Set between the events of Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, this show does what the movies could not as we watch the Republic slowly collapse, almost in plain sight. Every character here is compelling, and it’s also where we first meet Ahsoka Tano, one of the most beloved Star Wars characters to never appear in a movie. It’s great from start to finish.
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