Best Star Wars trailers: from A New Hope to Rogue One, ranked

A new year, a new Star Wars film - a "new hope", even. A year on from the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, we're now just a few days away from the release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Which means it's time to revisit our great big Star Wars trailer rankings! Rogue One has had a slightly more muted marketing push than last year's sequel did - but it's trailers have been just as strong.

That said, even the oldest member of the TechRadar team can't remember the original trailer to Star Wars (before it was given its 'A New Hope' subtitle), so we were keen to go back with fresh, yet cynical, eyes and rate each trailer.

Settle in - it's time for one more ride on the hyperspace hype train before Rogue One's big reveal.

So Rogue One, as having the freshest trailer, is the most logical place to start, right? As we're focussing on one core trailer per flick, we've settled on Rogue One's first cinematic trailer from back in August. Bombastic and brooding without being too spoiler-y (especially compared to the one that followed) it's particularly good.

You get a good look at the multi-cultural cast, a big fat helping of old-school Star Wars sights (Death Star? Check. AT-AT? Check? Darth? Check). And it's arguably got a tougher job than The Force Awakens had last year - there's no Han Solo to fall back on, nor those key John Williams musical themes.

And yet it still excites - a gritty new look at the Star Wars universe, it's a tonally unique trailer as far as Star Wars goes. 

Trailer Rating: a solid 8 out of 10 here.

But the film stands on the shoulders of giants - do their trailers compare favourably?

Star Wars: A New Hope

Ah the movie that, in Apple parlance, changed everything; and a trailer that's so utterly shoddy you can completely understand why the extras were swearing at the then-unknown cast as they walked past them.

The trailer highlights the soon-to-be stars; fresh faced Mark Hamill, the fresh faced Carrie Fisher and, well, the already ruggedly craggy Harrison Ford. It definitely shows a few of the iconic moments, including Luke's clumsy swing with Leia, but nobody could accuse it of showcasing the Star Wars universe at its finest. Bad trailer, legendary film.

Trailer rating 2.5/10

The Empire Strikes Back

The movie that changed everything - again (HT Apple again). Empire Strikes Back is arguably the best of the original trilogy, although the original Star Wars obviously remains the most impactful.

The trailer is, still, pretty awful - with a dreadful cheesy voiceover - but points are won with a glimpse of Boba Fett, a chunk of Hoth and a quick look at the key players...and Lando Calrissian. It's an epic of romance (Luke STOP! It's your sister…), of heroes and villains and exploding Star Wars logos.

Trailer rating: 2.5/10

Return of the Jedi

Return of the Jedi in trailer form has clearly benefited from a few key learnings, with a bit of polish fairly obviously arriving for the third in the series.

There's a few spoilers (It's a trap!) in retrospect and the injection of an element of doubt about Luke's parentage, as well as a Force ghost Obi Wan.

But let's face it - it's a long, long away from the artistry of a modern trailer.

Trailer rating: 5.5/10

Patrick Goss

Patrick Goss is the ex-Editor in Chief of TechRadar. Patrick was a passionate and experienced journalist, and he has been lucky enough to work on some of the finest online properties on the planet, building audiences everywhere and establishing himself at the forefront of digital content.  After a long stint as the boss at TechRadar, Patrick has now moved on to a role with Apple, where he is the Managing Editor for the App Store in the UK.