Theory: The Star Wars Movies Are Inversely as Good as the Number of Times a Lightsaber Is Ignited

From a certain point of view, it may be true that the more lightsabers in a Star Wars movie, the worse it is. However, the actual numbers suggest otherwise in terms of there being an inverse relationship between sabers being drawn and film quality.

Kit Bashed has done the hard work for us all and counted up the number of times a lightsaber is drawn or ignited in the movies and compared this to ratings of the first movies against a range of reputable rating websites. Let's hope he got his numbers correct…

Asked a rabid reader*: “What did Kit Bashed find? Is it true? I think he found it's true cos the prequels sucked and there were heaps of lightsaber fights in the Prequels!”

Woah, now slow down there hater. First, let's be clear about what an inverse relationship means. We can say that an inverse relationship is one where an increase in the value of one number results in a decrease in the value of the other number.
obi wan with lightsaber revenge sith
Image Courtesy of Lucasfilm

So the theory we are exploring is whether an increase in the number of times a lightsaber is turned on or drawn in a Star Wars movie decreases the quality of the movie in question. We can use “good” as a rating by the rating numbers determined by the review sites selected by Kit Bashed (Metacritic, IMDb, and Rotten Tomatoes).

Now let's check out the numbers of on-screen ignitions (so when we see Darth Vader waiting for Obi-Wan Kenobi in A New Hope, his saber is already drawn and doesn't count).
Episode Ignitions Metacritic Rotten Tomatoes IMDb Average
IV 3 91 93 88 91
V 3 78 97 88 88
VI 5 52 79 84 72
I 18 51 57 65 58
II 25 53 67 67 62
III 35 68 80 77 75
So if you took a casual look you might see that the numbers of saber ignitions grew for the prequels and the ratings are lower than the original trilogy received, that's an inverse relationship, right?

Before we start burning effigies of George Lucas in the street, let's turn these numbers into a graph:

That's a really pretty graph. But what in the name of a womp rat am I looking at? You are not looking at a truly inverse relationship. Look at how the number of ignitions increases for the prequel films and that the average review numbers ALSO increase. That is arguably a direct relationship.

Note, too, that the original trilogy movies did not have an increase in ignitions at the same rate. In fact, they stayed fairly static, yet the average scores declined – indeed Revenge of the Sith is rated HIGHER than Return of the Jedi (Metacritic appears to hate Return of the Jedi…).

What can we conclude?

So, given this information, it's not fair to say that the first six Star Wars movies are inversely as good as the number of times a lightsaber is drawn in each of them. Although this little study doesn't include the newer sequel trilogy, those movies need at least 20 saber ignitions more than Revenge of the Sith if they are to continue the trend set with The Phantom Menace.
*Reader does not exist.
This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.