May the Fourth be with you! To celebrate Star Wars Day, let's look back at all the Star Wars movies and rank the 10 greatest characters from pop culture's most beloved sci-fi universe. (Don’t worry, Jar-Jar Binks is nowhere to be found here.)
10. Jabba The Hutt
Jabba has thrown his weight around throughout the Star Wars saga. Not only is he a visual staple of the Star Wars universe, making his way into pop-culture as much as any other character, he’s also the impetus for some of our favorite scenes in the original trilogy. Plus, without Jabba, we would never have gotten Slave Leia's bikini and without Slave Leia we wouldn’t have decades of Slave Leia cosplayers. Thanks, Jabba.
9. Lando Calrissian
Star Wars’ very own Benedict Arnold, Lando makes this list because he taught every fan that it’s never too late to redeem yourself, both in your life choices and to your friends. Lando’s resume includes things like gambler, smuggler and general, and that’s just damn impressive.
8. Emperor Palpatine
As viewers of the movies, Palpatine is our main connection to the history of the Sith which is one of the most fascinating elements of the entire Star Wars universe. He’s a master manipulator who isn’t just responsible for turning a whiny Anakin into an utterly bad-ass Darth Vader but also for somehow convincing an entire republic to cede their sovereignty to a power-hungry madman.
7. Princess Leia
Girl-power personified, Leia’s transformation from high-maintenance princess to rebel general has been an inspiration to generations of fans. She’s one of the strongest female characters in all of cinema and Carrie Fisher’s absence in the forthcoming movies doesn’t just leave a hole in the plot, it leaves on in our hearts.
Take everything great about Leia and turn it up by adding sick pilot skills, some serious fighting chops and a growing mastery of The Force and you have Rey. Rey’s past and lineage is one of the most interesting mysteries in all of the SW universe and has us foaming at the mouth for the next installment where we’ll undoubtedly get more info about where Rey came from and who her parents are.
5. Luke Skywalker
The most central character in all of the Star Wars movies is also one of the dearest to our hearts. Anyone who has ever dreamed of having their normal life replaced by one with special powers has to look up to Luke as a hero. He’s a crack shot, a level-headed powerhouse and, most recently, a sage of The Force. Also, Mark Hamill absolutely kicks ass as a person and no one would have known that if Luke didn’t springboard him into our lives.
4. Han Solo
The stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf-herder is also a smuggler with a heart of gold and balls of steel. Anyone who could earn the respect of a Wookie like Chewbacca, to the point of becoming his life partner, must be one helluva character, too. We don’t care if Han shot first or not or even if he’s a terrible father, he’s still one of our heroes.
Quite possibly the most important robot in the universe, R2-D2 is a quick-thinking, loyal little guy who has saved more asses than practically anyone in the Star Wars universe. When you realize that the entire saga started with R2 (and that deplorable bastard, C3P0) there’s no denying he’s an absolutely essential character. He is the droid we’re looking for.
2. Darth Vader
We’ll forgive Vader’s namby-pamby origins (waaah, sand, waaah) and skip straight to the part where he becomes an all-powerful, half-cybernetic villain of epic proportions. Vader’s presence, in any form, gives us chills. Doesn’t matter if it’s just a cameo appearance in Rogue One or even just the sight of his destroyed helmet in The Force Awakens. A movie with Darth Vader is greater than a movie without him. And a movie where Darth Vader Force-chokes someone might be the best of all.
In appearance, Yoda is a little green muppet. In practice, Yoda is a brilliant commander, military strategist, unparalleled Force-wielder and ninja-like brawler. He taught us to never underestimate people or judge others based on appearances. He confirmed that there’s value to being thoughtful. He may have fucked up our understanding of grammar and syntax while teaching us life lessons but that’s a small prices to pay when you’re learning from the badass buddha of the Star Wars universe.