By George Bate and Josh Reilly B.
As 2022 comes to a close, it’s the perfect time to look back at the year that has passed and acknowledge the great storytelling, products, events, performances, and more in a galaxy far, far away. Below are the winners of our Star Wars Best of the Year Awards!
Best Comic – Darth Vader
Star Wars fans spoiled for choice this year with a selection of high quality, enthralling comic series. But, Greg Pak’s Darth Vader series stood out the most to us. Pak’s Vader run so far has been nothing short of spectacular. The inclusion of prequel trilogy flashbacks bridge the gap between Anakin and Vader like never before. The intersecting elements of Pak’s series with the Qi’ra trilogy, including Crimson Reign, this year made for a story that felt grand and had stakes. Perhaps best of all, Darth Vader reintroduced fans to Padmé’s handmaidens, who now play an integral role in the plot moving forward.
Best Book – Shadow of the Sith AND Brotherhood
The only draw/tie on this list is our award for best Star Wars novel, which goes to both Mike Chen’s Brotherhood and Adam Christopher’s Shadow of the Sith. Chen’s novel struck so many emotional chords in diving deeper into the relationship between Anakin and Obi-Wan. Not only were readers treated to a great, cinematic story that finally answered the “business on Cato Neimodia” question, but it also enhances the viewings of the prequel trilogy and the Obi-Wan Kenobi series.
Equally excellent this year was Adam Christopher’s Shadow of the Sith. It’s a testament to Christopher’s writing that the author crafted a story that connects the entire Star Wars saga so well and answers so many lingering questions from the sequel trilogy. Reading Shadow of the Sith will forever change your interpretation of the sequel trilogy, especially The Rise of Skywalker.
Best Video Game – LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
It was slim pickings for Star Wars video games in 2022, making LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga a shoo-in. The game is worth playing for the array of characters and locations at your disposal alone. Exploring each planet is so much and the shortcomings with the game’s puzzles are overcome by the sheer entertainment of this game.
Best Toy – The Black Series Cassian Andor & B2EMO
Fans and collectors celebrated Andor this year and will be grateful to have this new Black Series duo in their collection.
Best Performance – Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi
Ewan McGregor seamlessly returned to the role of Obi-Wan after 17 years in Obi-Wan Kenobi. McGregor played a jaded, world-weary Kenobi that was converging on the performance of Sir Alec Guinness in the original Star Wars. McGregor’s performance in the season finale alone is worthy of any and all plaudits.
Best Visual Effects – The Book of Boba Fett
The Book of Boba Fett sported a number of impressive visuals, but none more breathtaking than the technology that brought a young Luke Skywalker to life. While the effects behind Luke’s return in The Mandalorian didn’t entirely work well, the visual effects improved immensely in the year between The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett.
Best Easter Egg – Knights of the Old Republic in Andor
Luthen Rael mentions Rakatan invaders to Cassian in Andor episode 4. The Rakata were an ancient warrior race who ruled the Infinite Empire thousands of years before the Skywalker Saga. This lore was introduced in the video game Knights of the Old Republic. Who thought Andor would ever reference something so deep cut?
Character of the Year – Obi-Wan Kenobi
Who else? 2022 was truly the year of Obi-Wan Kenobi. Ewan McGregor reprised the role he played in the prequel trilogy in the fantastic Disney+ series Obi-Wan Kenobi. The new series was the main focus of this year’s Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, California, with Hayden Christensen and Ewan McGregor’s reunion warming the hearts of Star Wars fans everywhere. The relationship between Anakin and Obi-Wan was also the center of Mike Chen’s novel Brotherhood. Obi-Wan was also the star of a new comic series by Christopher Cantwell in which Old Ben reminisces about various adventures throughout his life while waiting out a Tatooine sandstorm. Kelly Knox also celebrated Kenobi with Be More Obi-Wan, a pocket-size book filled with inspiration from the wise Jedi Master. Obi-Wan briefly appeared in the new animated series Tales of the Jedi in the episode ‘Practice Makes Perfect,’ sporting his brilliant Attack of the Clones mullet. Needless to say, Obi-Wan Kenobi was undoubtedly the Star Wars character of 2022.
New Character of the Year – Kino Loy
A number of excellent characters were introduced to the Star Wars universe this year, but none had the impact of Andy Serkis’ Kino Loy in Andor. Appearing in the three episode Narkina 5 prison arc, Serkis brought a profound emotional depth to the character. Kino’s transformation from a rule-abiding prison leader to selfless rebel upon realizing the true heartlessness of the Empire (with the help of Cassian) was captivating to view (we’re still thinking of “Never more than 12.”) To top it all off, Kino Loy has such a tragic ending as it is revealed that he selflessly led the prison rebellion despite not being able to swim and, therefore, having no realistic way to escape himself. No one expected Andy Serkis to return to Star Wars after his role as Snoke, especially as a new character. But thankfully he did.
Best TV Episode – Andor Season 1 Episode 12 “Rix Road”
The season finale of Andor was an achievement in every definition of the word. The culmination of the season’s sprawling and intersecting stories and characters was executed brilliantly by showrunner Tony Gilroy and company. Each character of the ensemble received emotional closure for the season in an episode high in stakes and scale. Maarva’s rousing posthumous speech encapsulated everything great about Andor and conveyed the galaxy’s struggle against the Empire like never before.
Best Show – Obi-Wan Kenobi
Yet another tough decision was for Best Show of the year, but, ultimately, Obi-Wan Kenobi takes the cake. The series promised so much in reuniting Hayden Christensen and Ewan McGregor, bridging the gap between Episodes III and IV, and showing what Obi-Wan was up to after the fall of the Jedi. And, on every front, the Deborah Chow-directed series delivered. The decision to center the show around the relationship between Obi-Wan and Leia was unexpected and carried well through the six episode event. Moses Ingram’s Reva represented a new kind of a Star Wars villain, with every episode revealing more and more dimensions to a complex, tragic character. And what can be said about Hayden Christensen as Vader that hasn’t already been said? The series marked the best version of Vader we’ve seen since 1983. The cameos of Qui-Gon Jinn and Emperor Palpatine and supporting performances from Kumail Nanjani, O’Shea Jackson Jr., and especially Indira Varma further cement Obi-Wan Kenobi as the best Star Wars series of the year.
Best Star Wars Moment – Obi-Wan and Leia Say Goodbye
In just six episodes, the relationship between Obi-Wan and Leia developed into one of the most touching bonds in the entire Star Wars saga. After rescuing Leia and securing her return to Alderaan, Obi-Wan bids his farewell to the young princess in a real tear-jerker of a scene. Obi-Wan beautifully honors his fallen friends Padmé and Anakin while speaking to their daughter Leia. “Princess Leia Organa, you are wise, discerning, kind-hearted. These are qualities that came from your mother. But you’re also passionate and fearless… forthright. These are gifts from your father. Both were exceptional people who bore an exceptional daughter.”
True Highlight of 2022
The true highlight of 2022 was Star Wars Celebration. After a few years without a convention due to the pandemic, Star Wars fans reunited in force (pun intended) to celebrate the franchise we all love and adore. Star Wars Celebration 2022 had a number of highlights, including the opening showcase, The Mandalorian Experience, the Mando+ panel, and more. Check out more of our highlights from the event down below.