Star Wars Shows : Animation vs Live Action


The title graphics of the animated show “Star Wars : The Clone Wars” and live action show “The Mandalorian”, widely regared as the most popular of the two types of Star Wars shows

Izzy Casillas, Journalist

Since 1977, Star Wars has been entertaining us with tales of a galaxy far, far away. The franchise has since become a household name, rising in popularity and spreading its reach out to television shows.

Which begs the question: which variety of Star Wars show is better, animated, or live action?

There have been several animated Star Wars TV shows throughout the years, the most popular releasing in 2008. Namely, “Star Wars : The Clone Wars.” (2008-2014, 2020).

This series kicked off with a CG animated movie by the same name. While this movie was not necessarily popular when released, it led way to several seasons’ worth of thrilling story arcs and characters that spread across the three years of the galactic struggle known as the Clone Wars. While “The Clone Wars” is still widely regarded as the most popular animated series, it led way to several other animated shows like “Star Wars Rebels” (2014-2018) and “Star Wars : The Bad Batch” (2021-current).

The other side of the Star Wars television coin are the live-action shows. Live-action television for this franchise got its start in 2019, with the incredibly-popular series “The Mandalorian.” This show immediately captivated audiences, and even non-Star Wars fans found themselves watching. This show was followed by “The Book of Boba Fett” (2020-2021), “Obi-Wan Kenobi” (2022), and the newest, “Andor” (2022).

So, which type of show is better?

As an avid Star Wars fan, I prefer the animated shows over the live-action ones. Not only am I more inclined to animation in general, I feel as though the content of the show is more enjoyable in a variety of ways.

For example, fights. Whether it be a lightsaber fight or a blaster shootout, animated fights are amazing. Real-life actors are limited with stunts, props, and abilities. Animated characters have no such constrictions. They can do incredible stunts and have more elaborate battle sequences that really highlight characters and their abilities.

Another reason I prefer Star Wars animated shows is the character development. Characters have more time to go through development arcs because animated shows generally tend to be longer, with more episodes and seasons. Live action shows can’t always take the time or have the room to develop characters as much.

Something amazing about animated shows is the portrayal of alien species. This is something that was talked about concerning the transition of animated characters into live-action media. Characters such as the fan-favorite Ahsoka Tano and slick bounty hunter Cad Bane received some slander for their appearance in live action shows, especially after only being seen in the animated format for so long. Animated shows are more able to achieve that accuracy in terms of consistent species design and representation.

So, what others’ thoughts on which type of show is better?

An Instagram poll on which Star Wars show our Mustangs prefer (Izzy Casillas)

“Some of the [live action shows] have good elements, but overall, they’re always bogged down by something, ” said Zan Naqvi, a senior who prefers the animated shows over the live action ones. “[‘The Clone Wars’] got better as it went on, until it became comparable to the best Star Wars media… None of the live action duels match the flair of Ahsoka vs Maul, or the cinematography of Ben vs Maul.”

“I couldn’t really pick one over the other. I think I would pick the live action, to be honest, because you actually see physical people as the characters,” said Ryan Adams, a calculus and Math 1 teacher. “So it becomes a little more personal. But honestly, the quality of the writing is really good in some of the animated stuff, and it really enriches the story.”

Both types of shows have different and amazing things to offer. Which type of Star Wars show do you prefer?