8. Anakin vs. Saruman
Who was Anakin? Powerful Jedi-adept who would go on to become Darth Vader
Who was Saruman? Powerful wizard who could go on to join in Sauron’s quest to conquer Middle-earth
Verdict: We’re talking Anakin and Saruman the White here, the ones that came before their more evil incarnations.
Again, since we’re working with just the original Star Wars trilogy and the Lord of the Rings movies here and not their prequels, we don’t have a whole lot to work with.
Still, we can draw some important conclusions. Anakin was among the more powerful Jedi in the galaxy prior to becoming Darth Vader. He sired two children who went on to become important leaders in the Rebel Alliance. While his life’s work ultimately fell predominantly on the ‘evil’ side of things, the man he was before his turn – and the man he ultimately ended up being when he killed the Emperor – ended up being a pivotal figure in the Star Wars story.
We know a little less about who Saruman was before being turned by Sauron. We know he was the strongest wizard in Middle-earth, even greater in power than Gandalf was before his reincarnation. He appears to have been a wise and sage tutor, though he will ultimately go down as the man who was almost complicit in Middle-earth-as-we-know-it’s destruction.
Star Wars wins
Next: 7. A New Hope vs. Fellowship of the Ring