Every Star Wars lover has their own personal list of favourite characters. Every lover. And as you might imagine, those lists are topped with Han Solo, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia. For this list, I wanted to omit those obvious choices. What more can I possibly say about these beloved and worshipped characters? Pretty much nothing.
Right now, you’re probably wondering what this nerf-herding, weak-minded fool is even doing writing a list of favourite Star Wars characters and not including these heroes? The reason is, because what makes Star Wars so great is all the other characters who appear in these movies. Some of these characters had mere minutes of screen time yet, they still hold a place dear to us fans. I wanted to make a list of these characters.
Yes, I did include many of the main characters because how could I not? But go ahead and call me a slimy piece of worm-ridden filth if you must (not the first time that’s happened) if I may have omitted your favourite. These movies are so diverse that if a thousand fans were asked to compile their favourite character lists, it’s possible for each list to be different and that is what makes the Star Wars universe special.
Admiral Ackbar (Episodes VI, VII, VIII) – He may look like a bug-eyed space lobster but this gravel-voiced cunning Rebellion attack navigator has become a fan favourite. Not shy about barking orders and expressing doubt when it’s needed, his sharp sense of battle is never questioned – especially when he’s the first one to realise “IT’S A TRAP!”
Bib Fortuna (Episode VI) – Jabba’s palace aide is certainly loyal to his master but that doesn’t mean Jabba is above calling him a “weak-minded fool” when the occasion calls for it. Still, Bib is every bit as gleefully sinister as his boss – did you catch the look of glee on his face as our heroes are about to become Sarlaac appetisers? It’s downright Hannibal Lecter-ish. This is one nasty, blood-thirsty dude.
Boba Fett (Episodes V – VI) – Intergalactic bounty hunter who looks like he’s been in a scrap or two in his day, Boba Fett is the universe’s version of Clint Eastwood’s man-with-no-name (they even sound alike). Boba’s main goal in life is capturing his prey and collecting his bounty. He fits right in with the other gangsters, swindlers and crooks that inhibit Jabba’s Palace (has he been staying there that whole time?) Don’t expect Fett to show up in Episode IX. He’s only in year 30 of his 1000-year Sarlaac digestion punishment.
C-3PO (All Episodes) – The first time we see C-3PO, he is raising his arms up in disbelief and annoyance. Eight movies later and Threepio has not changed one bit – which is exactly how we like him. Arguably, this character may have seen more action than any character within Star Wars and his main response to all of it is “Why me? Not this again.” He’s fussy, full of complaints, a bit of a narcissist (“Look what happened to meeeee.”) and just plain over it all. But he’s also the first one to offer help and suggestions in tough situations. Who cares about a little moaning? Threepio will always have your back.
Chewbacca (Episodes III – VIII) – 170 years old when we meet him and 240 years old at last count, Chewbacca has not lost a step along the way. The big hairy beast with the bigger heart is fiercely Loyal to those he cares about but will tear a foe limb from limb if they cross him. One wonders what he could do to Darth Vader if you put the two of them in the same room. If Vader was wise he’d Let the Wookie win.
Darth Vader (Rogue One, Episodes IV-VI) Pretty much every child who saw The Empire Strikes Back had a Darth Vader poster on their bedroom wall yet would peek behind the shower curtain in the bathroom out of fear that he would be hiding behind there. Darth Vader was the ultimate bad guy that would illicit fear and astonishment in audiences. Darth Vader might have been the first villain in cinema history who left viewers more breathless when he was onscreen than any of the good guy did. When he froze Han Solo in carbonite, Vader became the most hated character in film and if that wasn’t enough, 15 minutes later he dropped the biggest surprise twist in motion picture history when he confessed the six most heart-freezing words ever uttered by a movie villain. Hate/love him but Darth Vader will always remain not just one of the most important characters in the history of film – he will forever be one of the most important symbols of it.
Greedo (Episode IV) – Perhaps it would have been to on the nose to have named this creature Greedy, but this is exactly what Greedo is – greedy. Unfortunately, Greedy becomes a little too much like his namesake while going head to head with Han Solo in that Cantina on Tattooine and before she realises it, greed doesn’t always prosper which is what happens when you don’t shoot first.
Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin (Rogue One, Episodes III, IV) An upper-level Imperial officer who was not afraid to bark an order at Darth Vader when the moment called for it, Grand Moff Tarkin was a man of steely determination. Though he would get uneasy witnessing a fellow Imperial officer getting force-choked, Tarkin would not think twice about blowing up an entire planet of women and children. Unfortunately for him, a bunch of rebels wouldn’t feel any different about blowing up the battle station he was on. Tarkin found out the hard way the true definition of cosmic karma.
Jabba the Hutt (Episodes I, VI) The biggest gangster in the galaxy is known all over as being the meanest and slimiest thug ruling the land. Even Darth Vader is aware of his hard rep. He may laugh like Santa, but Jabba is no giver – he takes. Bow down to mighty Jabba and he’ll let you live (for the time being) – go against him and he’ll either feed you to his pet Rancor or he’ll hang you up in his chamber like a hunter proudly displays a buck-head. Impervious to Jedi mind tricks, Jabba has struck fear in the galaxy far and wide – until a certain princess decided one day that enough was enough. You should have bargained, Jabba. It was the last mistake you ever made.
Lando Calrissian (Episodes V-VI) – “Hello, what have we here?” was what audiences asked themselves when Lando emerged on the landing pad of Bespin. Where did this guy come from and what’s his story? Such a charmer was Lando, that even when we hated him, we still all kinda liked him – and then we loved him. Standing up to Vader (for all the good it did) helped us love him too. That ol’ smoothie.
Oola (Episode VI) – Unlike the rest of Jabba’s lackey’s, Oola decided once and for all to strike back against the 1000 lb, tub of slime. Oola, the dancing slave girl chained to Jabba, finally resists his control and attempts to break free. One almost wishes Sy Snootles started belting out “You Don’t Own Me” at the sight of Oola trying to escape her captor but alas, instead of breaking free from Jabba, Oola succomed to become a surprise-snack for Jabba’s pet Rancor.
Padme Amidala (Episodes I-III) – George Lucas gets a lot of grief for handing gifted actors with clunky dialogue and Padme Amidala (Natalie Portman) was no exception. If you look at Padme’s arc over the course of the prequels, it’s evident that as the series went on, there became little for her to do which was a shame, especially considering that in The Phantom Menace, Padme was actually a spirited, curious clever young warrior. If the series had stayed true to this Padme, then we really would have had something.
Rey (Episodes VII-IX) – The new Star Wars movies needed one thing that the prequels didn’t have. A main hero who was instantly lovable, vulnerable, strong, inspiring, fearful and courageous. Ladies and gentlemen – meet Rey. This wounded, lonely girl was no princess or Queen. Her heart didn’t crave excitement or money or the chance to blast a bunch of bad dudes over and over again – it ached for love and if anyone came between her and finding it, her survival instincts would take them down. Rey was the first Star Wars character in quite some time, to emerge with a rebel’s heart (apologies to Billy Idol) which even tough- guy Han Solo responded to. By the end of The Force Awakens, Rey might not have found the family she’s been wishing for all her life but she did find something else – her rightful place in the universe. No wonder John Williams loves her.
Salicious B. Crumb (Episode VI) – This impish little rat-creature was every bit the suck-up to Jabba as Bib Fortuna was but way, way more annoying. Where Bib was icily calculating, Crumb found simple things engaging (look at the way he’s amused by Jabba’s tail). When R2-D2 zaps the little rodent after pecking out C-3PO-s eye, he lets out a saucy final yip that just this once, made us wish R2 zapped just a little bit harder.
Sy Snootles and the Max Rebo Band (Episode VI) – Max Rebo looked like a large, fat, Smurf without the hat, but he sure knew how to liven a joint up with a tune. Jabba’s house band was fronted by Sy Snootles and one might wonder if Snootles was a regular performer inside Jabba’s palace or if they were just in town for a one-time only engagement, but whatever the case, Sy certainly gives it her all when rocking out with Max and the crew. We’ll never know if “Lapti Nek” was their only hit and no matter how grimy the venue was, she never forgot to wear her lipstick. That’s class.
Yoda (Episodes I, II, III, V, VI, VIII) “Weird” Al may have referred to him merely as a “Guy who looks like a muppet but he’s wrinkled and green,” and Luke referred to him as “master,” and by the end of Episode II, we all referred to him as bad-ass. Wise, spiritual and often times prickly (watch The Last Jedi to see he still enjoys giving Luke a hard time), this 900-year old Jedi master may not look like much when you first see him, but looks sometimes deceive. Yoda, the breakout of The Empire Strikes Back, possessed the learned mind of Albert Einstein mixed with the fighting spirit of one of Toshiro Mifune’s haunted Kurosawa warriors. Yoda was always philosophical in the face of conflict and when he decided to retire in solitude after years of battle, he did so as the ultimate rebel.
Zam Wesell (Episode II) – Another way too cool Star Wars character who disappears way too soon. Zam Wessell, styling out in a purple leather vest and leggings (even a long, long time ago, those things were fashionable) tried unsuccessfully to kill Padme in her sleep and when that didn’t work out, Zam sprang into action attempting to flee with Obi-Wan and Anakin in pursuit of her in a nearly 10-minute chase through the skies of Courascant. Zam’s time in Attack of the Clones is brief, but it was definitely memorable.