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From The Mandalorian to The Bad Batch: the best Star Wars spin-offs ranked

The Mandalorian and Baby Yoda (Disney+)
The Mandalorian and Baby Yoda (Disney+)

The iconic Star Wars franchise doesn't just end with the epic films. The blockbuster movie series has spawned numerous spin-off shows that are loved equally, and sometimes even more, by the diehard fans.

From successful hits like The Mandalorian, Obi Wan Kenobi and Andor to the more recent and well-received series Ahsoka, Star Wars spin-off series have gripped audiences since 2019.

But Star Wars-adjacent TV shows are not a new phenomenon by any means. The very first spin-off series, Droids, was released in 1985, and over the following four decades there have been over a dozen spin-off animations, shorts and micro-series, which have radically varied in quality.

There are undoubtedly many be more to come. But for now, as fans celebrate Star Wars month (so called because the first six films were all released in May - not to mention May the 4th be with you at the start of the month) these are all of our favourite Star Wars TV shows so far, ranked.

7. Star Wars: The Bad Batch (2021)

The Bad Batch are a group of benevolent clone troopers (the Empire’s foot-soldiers, which have become a feature of the franchise), who have turned good because of a genetic mutation. They now have the ability to resist the influence of the killing protocol Order 66, which means they can follow their own will – and, happily, they choose to go on missions to undermine the Emperor.

Set between Revenge of the Sith (2005) and A New Hope (1977), there’s no subtlety here, and the script is a bit clunky, but the series is fun and action packed, which makes it somewhat of a winner. And, crucially, you don’t need to have read up on your Star Wars lore to dive right in.

6. Star Wars Rebels (2014)

We enjoyed this 3D, more kids-angled, animated spin-off series – and so did other Star Wars fans: it has a whopping 98 per cent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Created by Simon Kinberg (who wrote Mr. & Mrs. Smith and X-Men: Days of Future Past) alongside Star Wars mastermind Dave Filoni (who directed The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett and Ahsoka, and who wrote Tales of the Jedi, Star Wars: The Bad Batch, and Star Wars: The Clone Wars) the story is set over a decade after the Galactic Empire has seized power.

It follows a group of rebels, the Spectres, who are all working to try and undermine the Empire’s many operations.

5. Ahsoka (2023)

We thoroughly enjoyed Ahsoka, another series that split fans down the middle. Former student of Anakin Skywalker Ahsoka Tano is a hero of the Clone Wars who first popped up in 2008 in the animated film Star Wars: The Clone Wars. To us, she was an obvious pick to lead a spin-off show: she’s feisty, loyal and a respected woman leader in a world full of men. This 2023 series is about her fight against remaining parts of the Galactic Empire.

But despite lots of potential, some thought the series lacked vitality, calling it “flat, flimsy and devoid of life” and “more bad Star Wars”. We were far less critical, saying “Star Wars finds its heart again”. After all, who doesn’t appreciate a heroine battling dark forces in a galaxy far far away?

4. Andor (2022)

This series, starring Diego Luna as Cassian Andor, tells the story of the birth of the Rebellion, aka The Rebel Alliance (the resistance movement that works in secret to try and restore a liberal government in the place of the evil Galactic Empire) – undoubtedly a fascinating premise.

It had an excellent cast – Adria Arjona, Stellan Skarsgård, Fiona Shaw and Kyle Soller also star – top writing and some incredible special effects, making it one of the best spin-off series yet.

But everything considered, Andor failed to perfectly come together. There are some confusing flashbacks, too much focus on routine activities and not enough action.

Others, however, disagree: Rotten Tomatoes gave it 96 per cent Tomatometer rating, and a second series is set to be released in August 2024.

3. Obi-Wan Kenobi (2022)

Ewan McGregor returned to play Obi-Wan Kenobi in this smash series, which is set a decade after the events of Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005). Fans of the franchise will remember that as a very dramatic film: the Jedi were all but wiped out after the killer protocol Order 66 turned robots into Jedi killers. In the wake of all the drama, Kenobi fled to the planet Tatooine, which is where the new series picks up.

Now Kenobi is looking after the son of his old apprentice, wrong’un Anakin Skywalker, aka Darth Vader (Hayden Christensen). But after Anakin’s daughter, Leia (Vivien Lyra Blair), is kidnapped, he goes on a mission to save her. The series pulled in mixed reviews, with some loving the action scenes and praising McGregor’s acting, while others saying the series didn’t bring anything particularly new to the franchise. We thought it was rather good.

2. Tales of the Jedi (2022)

This six-episode animated anthology series splits in two, following the lives of Ahsoka Tano (Ashley Eckstein) and then Count Dooku (Corey Burton). Even though the episodes fly past at just 15 minutes each, they still manage to fill out the back stories of the two Jedis by providing snapshots into some of the most pivotal moments in their lives.

The show was widely praised (it has an incredible 100 per cent Tomatometer rating), but was generally seen as being a treat for Star Wars devotees rather than a series created for people just dipping into the franchise: Empire said it “reminds fans why they fell in love with those animated portrayals in the first place”; The Hollywood Reporter said it was, “strictly for fans” – not necessarily a bad thing, at all.

1. The Mandalorian (2019)

For most Star Wars fans, The Mandalorian was everything they had dreamed a spin-off series could be. “The Mandalorian is too cool to resist,” said one reviewer. Set after the fall of the Empire, the space western stars Pedro Pascal as warrior and bounty hunter Din Djarin / The Mandalorian and focuses on his adventures with Grogu (Baby Yoda).

Action-packed, fun and thrilling, made up of a starry cast (Katee Sackhoff, Werner Herzog, Nick Nolte, Taika Waititi and Omid Abtahi star) and with a score by Ludwig Göransson, it was no wonder that the series was nominated for 12 Emmy awards (winning seven) in 2020.

“The Mandalorian is perhaps the ultimate expression of what George Lucas was getting at all along… Star Wars should never have been a set of films, it should just have been a TV show. Thank the Maker we finally have it,” said the Standard.