The best of Star Wars in 2022: End of year awards!

It has been an incredible year for Star Wars fans.

We got three live-action shows, an animated series, an animated Lego film, a Lego Star Wars game, a docu-series on ILM, and tons of books and comics. It also included the first Star Wars Celebration in years, and announcements about things to come. And, to top it all off, Lucasfilm also debuted their first non-Star Wars series for Disney+ as well with Willow. It was a packed year, and as has become my annual custom, let’s take a look back at the best of Star Wars in 2022 by handing out some awards.

Explore more of my lists of year-end award winners: 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018


BEST FILM:

Winner: LEGO Star Wars: Summer Vacation

This one is the winner by default, as it was the only Star Wars film released this year, much like last year’s Lego special was. In typical Lego fashion, it includes humor, characters and places from all over the saga, and a heartwarming lesson. It gave us our first look at the Solo family together, and also provided some hints about what the characters from the sequel trilogy might be up to in the time after The Rise of Skywalker. These Lego specials are great, and they’re especially welcome in years like this one where there wasn’t any other Star Wars film to watch.

BEST SHOW:

Winner: Andor

Perhaps the most packed and competitive category of the year came from the Disney+ shows, as we got four different shows in 2022 – as many as we’d seen in the three previous years combined. I enjoyed all four of them – The Book of Boba Fett, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Andor, and Tales of the Jedi – but I’m giving the nod to Andor. It’s received some very impressive praise, showing up on plenty of best-of lists at the year’s end, and it certainly deserves it. Obi-Wan Kenobi was the other serious contender, a show that I adored, but I’m giving Andor this one because of the story it told and how it did it. It’s unlike what we’ve seen from the franchise before, relying on the acting and writing to carry it rather than big action setpieces. The dialogue drives the tension far more than anything else, and it’s done with masterful success. Tony Gilroy and his team deserve a lot of credit. It’s a series that takes Star Wars in some important new directions, but also thematically hits so much at the heart of the saga, making you think and engaging so many key elements. It makes the Empire terrifying, the rebellion real, and the importance of hope all the stronger.

Honorable Mention: Obi-Wan Kenobi

BEST BOOK:

Winner: Shadow of the Sith (by Adam Christopher)

Star Wars publishing was consistently at a high point this year, and there were tons of great books – so much so that it won’t be possible to mention all of them here. But even though it was a very strong field, my favorite here is a very easy decision: it’s Shadow of the Sith. It’s really everything I’ve been wanting in a Star Wars book, and the one I’ve been waiting years for. It’s a story about Luke Skywalker set in-between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, in a story that feels truly significant in adding context to the whole sequel trilogy. And, in itself, it’s an interesting and engaging story of Luke and Lando investigating the rising darkness, which leads them on the hunt for a young family and their 6-year-old daughter, Rey. It’s a great book that will change how you view the sequel trilogy, and in the process gave us a great story about Luke in an era we’ve seen very little of in recent years.

Honorable Mention: Brotherhood (by Mike Chen); The Fallen Star (by Claudia Gray); The Princess and the Scoundrel (by Beth Revis)

BEST COMIC:

Winner: The High Republic (by Cavan Scott)

There were a lot of Star Wars comics released this year, as we’ve become used to, but I don’t think it was quite as elite of a year in terms of the peaks those comics hit. My two favorite runs of the year were actually mostly from 2021 but that wrapped up in 2022, and that’s the case with The High Republic, which gets the slight nod here over Trail of Shadows because of two things: first, it released one more issue this year, and second, it had Keeve Trennis, who I think was the best character from the entire phase one of the High Republic era.

Honorable Mention: Trail of Shadows (by Daniel José Older); Crimson Reign (by Charles Soule)

BEST EPISODE:

Winner: “The Book of Boba Fett Chapter 6: From the Desert Comes a Stranger” and “The Book of Boba Fett Chapter 5: Return of the Mandalorian” (tie)

In my mind, the two strongest episodes of the year from Star Wars came in the weakest overall series (which should say more about how good the other shows were and not be viewed as a knock on The Book of Boba Fett). And, ironically, both episodes happened in the show about Boba Fett, though neither one of them focused on Boba Fett. It’s a bit strange, but episodes 5 and 6 of The Book of Boba Fett take the crown here. One of them saw the return of Din Djarin in one of the finest hours of TV we’ve ever seen in Star Wars, and that was followed up a week later by seeing the return of Luke Skywalker, Grogu, and Ahsoka Tano (not to mention Cad Bane!) as Luke trained Grogu in the ways of the Force. Both of these episodes are among the best episodes we’ve seen from any Star Wars live-action series, no matter the year.

Honorable Mention: “Andor episode 10: One Way Out”; “Tales of the Jedi episode 4: The Sith Lord”

BEST GAME:

Winner: LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga

The main game that released this year was also a fantastic one. As an avid fan of the original Lego Star Wars games, I was eagerly anticipating the release of the new one, and it didn’t disappoint. Packed with tons of characters, worlds, levels, and open-world gameplay, this game allows you to play through the entire Skywalker Saga with the same exciting moments we’re used to combined with the same humorous twists we’re used to with Lego. It’s an expansive game, and it’s one I have deeply enjoyed.

BEST SONG:

Winner: “Obi-Wan Kenobi” (by John Williams)

It isn’t every day that we get new Star Wars music from John Williams, but it’s always a good day when we do. He wrote the theme for the Obi-Wan Kenobi series, having never written a true theme for the character before, and the result was beautiful. It’s reminiscent of other Star Wars pieces while standing on its own, a fitting theme for a heroic Jedi Master in hiding, building into a heroic and hopeful motif for a worthy hero. It is easily my favorite new piece of Star Wars music this year.

Honorable Mention: “The Book of Boba Fett” (by Ludwig Goransson); “Teacher’s Pet” (by Joseph Shirley); “Young Leia” (by Natalie Holt); “Niamos!” (by Nicholas Britell)

BEST TRAILER:

Winner: Obi-Wan Kenobi teaser trailer

The best trailer of the year is an easy choice: it’s the first teaser trailer for Obi-Wan Kenobi. Not only was it our first real look at the most anticipated Star Wars project of the year, but it totally leaned into that with the epic duel of the fates montage, exciting moments, and some great lines providing narration (“the Jedi code is like an itch…”). This is everything a trailer should be.

Honorable Mention: Obi-Wan Kenobi trailer 2; The Mandalorian season 3 trailer; Jedi: Survivor teaser trailer

BEST PERFORMANCE:

Winner: Vivien Lyra Blair and Ewan McGregor (tie)

Without question the best acting from Star Wars this year came in Andor, with virtually every cast member absolutely nailing their performance and with the series so dependent upon it. There are numerous cast members from that show that are more than deserving of this nod, but I’m actually going in a different direction and giving it as a tie to two members from Obi-Wan Kenobi: Vivien Lyra Blair and Ewan McGregor. Both of them were absolutely fantastic and helped to carry the series, and the reason I’m recognizing them here is that they were just as great as the cast of Andor, but with the added burden of having to portray a legendary Star Wars character made famous by another. Portraying a young Princess Leia Organa might seem like an impossible task, but Blair’s performance was one of the absolute highlights of the year. She perfectly captures the essence of Carrie Fisher’s performance of the legendary character. And McGregor is as brilliant as ever, managing to bridge the gap between his performance of Kenobi in the prequels and Alec Guinness’s performance in the originals.

Honorable Mention: Genevieve O’Reilly; Stellan Skarsgard; Andy Serkis; Diego Luna

BIGGEST SURPRISE:

Winner: Grogu returns to Mando

At the end of The Mandalorian season 2, Grogu is taken by Luke Skywalker, departing from Mando. When The Mandalorian season 3 premieres next year, Grogu will be back with Mando. What happened? In The Book of Boba Fett, we see how Mando still cares for the child, bringing him a gift, and how Luke gives Grogu an option: either stay and keep training, or return to Din Djarin. Grogu chooses the latter, so the series ends with Djarin and Grogu flying away together to continue their adventures. I think everyone knew that Djarin and Grogu would wind up together again at some point down the road, but it was quite shocking to see it happen this quickly, before the next season of The Mandalorian even begins.

Honorable Mention: Andor being better than expected; Leia having a starring role in Obi-Wan Kenobi

BEST STORYTELLER:

Winner: Tony Gilroy

Andor flew the most under-the-radar of all the Star Wars shows entering the year, but it’s ending the year as perhaps the best of all of them. Tony Gilroy stepped in to help save Rogue One, and now he’s back as the showrunner of Andor. He’s managed to tell a story with brilliant writing, fun connections to the Star Wars universe, and a compelling story without leaning too much on nostalgia. He has managed to tap into the thematic elements and heart of the Star Wars saga without just doing what Star Wars has always done, and for that he’s the storyteller of the year.

Honorable Mention: Charles Soule

BEST STAR WARS MOMENT:

Winner: Obi-Wan and Darth Vader meet again

Andor may have been the better overall series, but it didn’t match the best moments of Obi-Wan Kenobi, which culminated in a climactic lightsaber duel between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader. We actually saw them fight twice in the series: in the first one, Kenobi was devastated by Vader, but in the second, we saw the Jedi Master return to glory. They engaged in a heated duel, during which Vader thought he had won… only to see Kenobi use the Force to pummel his former apprentice with rocks before unleashing an array of blows. It culminated in him breaking Vader’s mask open, hearing the voice of Anakin once more, and Kenobi breaking down and tearfully apologizing. This whole moment, from the fight to the emotional meeting between them, is easily the best moment of Star Wars in 2022.

Honorable Mention: Luke Skywalker trains Grogu; Ben rescues Leia from the Fortress Inquisitorious; “Never more than twelve” / “One way out”

BEST STAR WARS STORY:

Winner: Andor

I’ve written quite a bit already about Andor, so I’m not sure there’s much more for me to say here. It was a brilliant series, one that showed the stakes the rebellion is up against and the tyranny of the Empire as well as anything we’ve ever seen. It drives home the point that good people must fight against this kind of evil, but also raises the important point about how we should fight. We see the fight play out on different fronts, from a gritty warfare to the polished politics, but it’s all about fighting to protect and preserve life, not to resort to the same tactics of the enemy. It’s a thought-provoking series. I think Obi-Wan Kenobi is the more memorable and re-watchable series, but Andor is the best one.

Honorable Mention: Obi-Wan Kenobi

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