Wookiee Rookie: These Are the Best Star Wars Movies, According to a First Time Viewer

We launched a nationwide search to find a Star Wars first-timer to evaluate and rate the Skywalker Saga.

FinanceBuzz wookiee rookie side hustle
Updated July 11, 2024
Fact checked

We receive compensation from the products and services mentioned in this story, but the opinions are the author's own. Compensation may impact where offers appear. We have not included all available products or offers. Learn more about how we make money and our editorial policies.

At FinanceBuzz, we love side hustles and saving people money. Paired with a good hero’s journey and a side of lightsaber battles? A match made in Cloud City.

Earlier this year, we started our own hero’s journey by launching a nationwide search for someone to watch and review Star Wars movies for the first time. We wanted to know, from an outsider’s perspective, whether it’s worth the time (and money) investment to jump into the franchise in 2024.

After receiving more than 34,000 applications for the role, an arduous selection process, and more than 25 hours of movie marathoning, our Wookiee Rookie’s results are in.

In this article

What we did

  • A few months ago, we put out a job listing for a Star Wars newbie to watch the Skywalker Saga (episodes I-IX) for the first time.
  • We wanted our expert to rate and review each movie to figure out whether it’s actually worth hopping into the franchise at this point or if you’re better off staying away if you’ve managed to this long.
  • We offered our Wookiee Rookie $1,100 for their time (and snacks).

Meet our Wookiee Rookie

After reviewing nearly 35,000 applications, we selected Aly Ruffing of Pittsburgh, PA, as our Wookiee Rookie. Aly was born and raised in the Steel City where she currently works and lives with her yellow lab, Remy, and her husband, Jeff: the only Star Wars fan in the house.

Aly’s submission was simple: Jeff is obsessed with Star Wars, and this was the perfect opportunity for her to catch up.

“My husband is literally the biggest Star Wars fan ever! He has his own lightsaber hanging up on the wall in our house next to all of his Star Wars memorabilia. We recently went on our honeymoon to Disney World, and we wore matching ‘Til Death Star Do Us Part’ shirts,” Aly’s application essay read.

Aly Ruffing and her husband dressed in Star Wars shirts.

According to Aly, she hasn’t seen Star Wars yet because she’s just not that into SciFi.

“I haven’t watched Star Wars until now because it’s not the typical genre of movie that I enjoy watching. I mostly associate action-type movies with masculinity and always thought science fiction/fantasy type movies were nerdy,” Aly wrote.

And while she was excited about the experiment, the movies weren’t the first thing on her mind. “I’m most looking forward to spending quality time watching the movies with my husband, as well as bingeing movie theater popcorn and GetGo slushies.”

The Best Star Wars Movies According to a First-Timer

Armed with enough snacks to feed an Ewok army, Aly went chronologically (by release date) through each of the nine canonical movies in the Skywalker Saga. We asked her to give her own review of each movie and rate each on how fun it was to watch, how bored she got, how confusing each film was, and to give any other thoughts.

    1. Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

  • Overall Rating: 10
  • Favorite Part: THE EWOKS!! Any scene they were in was my favorite! When they thought C-3PO was their leader, I found it to be surprisingly hilarious!
  • Aly’s thoughts: This movie definitely had me in the most suspense. The beginning started a little slow, but I was more focused on this movie than the first two wanting to know what was going to happen next. I had no idea that Darth Vader was going to die in the third movie, which I guess now makes sense if the next movies are prequels.

    2. Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

  • Overall Rating: 9
  • Favorite Part: The epic battles between Obi Wan and Anakin, as well as Yoda and the Emperor. It was sooo intense!! In your head you know that they eventually all live on with the knowledge from the first trilogy, but you have no idea how it’s going to play out and the battles really drew me in.
  • Aly’s thoughts: Love this movie!!! Definitely has the best action scenes and storyline, and they did an excellent job summing up both trilogies. Not sure yet if I’d still call it my favorite because I still love Episode VI but for wayyy different reasons.

    3. Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker

  • Overall Rating: 8
  • Favorite Part: When Babu Frick was resetting C3PO’s memory to be able to translate the Sith language!
  • Aly’s thoughts: Found myself enjoying the ending movies of each trilogy better than the ones in the beginning of the trilogies. Not sure why but I thoroughly enjoyed 6, 3, and 9 the best!

    4. Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

  • Overall Rating: 7
  • Favorite Part: My favorite part was when Luke and the other pilots took down the AT-ATs in Hoth.
  • Aly’s thoughts: I am kinda shook that Star Wars doesn’t really show any blood or any gruesome scenes in any of the movies with how much battling there is! It’s so funny that they were just able to repair Luke Skywalker’s hand after he got it chopped off with a lightsaber.

    5. Episode IV: A New Hope

  • Overall Rating: 6
  • Favorite Part: I enjoyed when Han Solo and Luke Skywalker go undercover as Storm Troopers to trick the Empire into thinking they belonged there but were really there to fight back against the Empire.
  • Aly’s thoughts: It cracks me up how bad Stormtroopers are at shooting the Rebels. The Rebels never get shot once and the odds of that are just hilarious. I was also so shook of the quality of the graphics and special effects in the movie. I know the movie is from the 70s but didn’t realize how difficult to watch they would actually be.

    6. Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

  • Overall Rating: 6
  • Favorite Part: PORGS!! Plus when R2-D2 saves the day at the casino planet by blasting the bad guys with coins. I also enjoyed when Kylo killed Snoke and the lightsaber duel that followed after with him and Rey. All the duels are fantastic, really.
  • Aly’s thoughts: The plot was a little confusing. There were definitely some parts that were much better than others, and overall it was just average. All of the introductions of new characters can be really confusing. Especially when it’s someone new, like Rose for example, and then they are there to play such a huge role out of nowhere.

    7. Episode VII: The Force Awakens

  • Overall Rating: 5
  • Favorite Part: My favorite part was when Rey and Fin escaped the First Order in the Millenium Falcon and then also when Han Solo and Chewbacca rediscovered the Falcon.
  • Aly’s thoughts: This movie wasn’t as confusing as I thought it was going to be with all of the new characters. It was almost like a carbon copy of the first movie. The death of Han Solo was pretty predictable, and I also figured out right away that Kylo was Luke’s apprentice. Decent movie overall, just a little predictable!

    8. Episode I: The Phantom Menace

  • Overall Rating: 4
  • Favorite Part: My favorite part was the pod race when Anakin beats Sebulba. Young Anakin was so cute to watch, plus we love a good Liam Neeson role.
  • Aly’s thoughts: This movie was probably the most confusing one for me so far and probably my least favorite at this point in the series. I’m afraid that it is becoming a pattern at this point after starting each trilogy of movies and being introduced to new characters, places, and things.

    9. Episode II: Attack of the Clones

  • Overall Rating: 2
  • Favorite Part: When C-3PO got caught in the Droid factory and got switched up with a battle droid. (Can you tell he’s my favorite character yet?!)
  • Aly’s thoughts: By far my least favorite movie. Snooze fest.

    A final Q&A with our Wookiee Rookie

    1. What was your favorite part of the experience? What was the worst part?

    My favorite parts of this experience were:

    1. Being able to spend quality time with my husband doing something that he loves
    2. Chatting with friends and family after watching the movies about their favorite/least favorite Star Wars movies and comparing our opinions on the franchise
    3. Buckets and buckets of movie theater popcorn

    The worst part was that I wasn’t motivated to watch the next movie if I didn’t enjoy the one before it, but I was pleasantly surprised at some of the ones I wasn’t looking forward to.

    2. How has this changed your understanding of pop culture, movie history, or the Star Wars fan base?

    It makes you appreciate movie history and older/more nostalgic movies in general given what they had to work with in the years the movies were produced. It also helped me appreciate different types of genres of movies as well too. I used to think that those who liked the Star Wars franchise were “weird,” but it just makes you realize that everyone has their different interests and to not knock it until you try it.

    3. How does your husband feel about all of this?

    He loved it! Both he and I are flabbergasted at the fact that we have differing opinions of some of the movies, as well as some of the characters, considering how alike we are. He didn’t tell me which movies were his favorite until after we watched them to keep away from bias, and after he told me #4 was his favorite, I couldn’t believe it. We then googled the ranking of the movies, and every single site had something different listed. Just goes to show you again that everyone has different perspectives and opinions! He made a joke that his friend, Kasey, loved Star Wars movie number #6 the best and that nobody else agrees with that, and after we were done watching it, I told him that I thought that #6 was my favorite too HAHA!

    4. Will you watch Star Wars content (shows, games, whatever) going forward?

    Honestly, most likely no. Possibly The Mandalorian just because of the exposure it has at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (we frequent Disney more than we’d like to admit), but I’m not jumping at the opportunity at the moment.

    5. Finally, do you think it's worth the time (and money) investment to jump into the Star Wars world for newbies? Would you do it again?

    Yeah, I do think so! I honestly wish some of my friends and family members who haven’t seen the movies would give it a chance! I would probably only do it again if it meant spending some quality time with someone I love.

    Missed out on this side hustle? Here are other ways to make money on the side.