Star Wars has no shortage of wonderful and amazing characters populating its galaxy far, far away. Everyone has their favorite. Be it the roguishly charming Han Solo, the mysteriously helmeted Bobba Fett, the lovably oversized Chewie, or the man in black himself, Darth Vader. But you never really hear anyone say, “I wish Wedge Antilles was around more,” do you? Which is a shame, because while they might not have their names up on the marquee or the good fortune to own a jetpack, these bit role players are just as crucial, if not more so, than their more well-known, flashy counterparts.
Understandably, there is only so much room for the millions of beings that populate the Star Wars universe (for our part, we’ll be concentrating on those solely from the movies). But with just a few seconds of screen time and a quick glance of their faces, these B-listers make the most of their moments in the starlight in ways a mop-haired, brat from Tatooine never could. Because without their sacrifice, loyalty, and conviction, there would be no movie, no franchise, no erotic C-3P0 tape dispenser. Which is why these folks are the true heroes of the galaxy far, far away.
Here are the 15 Most Underrated Star Wars Characters.
Poor Lo. Will you ever get the recognition you deserve? Like so many others in the franchise, Lando Calrissian’s personal man-servant turned sentient Bluetooth played a vital role in saving the galaxy, only to be immediately forgotten by everyone. Lobot’s contributions were so overlooked that in The Empire Strikes Back‘s credits, he was referred to merely as “Lando’s Aide.” Sure, George Lucas, you can go back and add in unnecessarily creepy Ewok blinking, but you can’t take the time to change some simple white text and give this mute cyborg the respect he deserves? It’s a miracle we even know his name at all. Thank goodness for action figures.
Originally intended to have dialogue, the filmmakers ultimately decided that Lobot should be mute on account of his cybernetic implants. If losing the ability to talk wasn’t enough, he also had a sizable chunk of his screen time lobotomized. In the Expanded Universe, Lobot was provided an amazing backstory where, amongst other awesome feats, he steals the Emperor’s space yacht and liberates an entire planet from the Empire’s rule. Alas, even that was stripped from him when Disney came along and threw it all down the trash compactor.
14. Max Rebo
The life of an artist is hard. Especially when you look like a Winnie the Pooh drug hallucination. So let’s give a shoutout to the blue pudgy elephant Max Rebo for entertaining the sludge of the galaxy by tickling the ivories day in and day out. Not to mention having to look at the truly ugly Sy Snootles every night.
This Ortolan is indeed a rare talent. How many young boys and girls were inspired to take up a career in music after hearing “Lapti Nek“? We can only assume millions. He and his Max Rebo Band will surely go down in history as the best of the best when it comes to jizz-wailing (i.e. “musicians who play a fast, contemporary, and upbeat style of music” according to the Star Wars Encyclopedia). Sadly, we can only presume the entire Max Rebo Band died a horrific death on Jabba’s desert barge following Luke’s entirely unnecessary destruction of it. That is unless you count the Expanded Universe, where Max survived and went on to own a successful chain of restaurants.
Having a seizure because of faulty mechanics might not seem like something worth boasting about, but if it were not for R5-D4’s bad motivator, the entire Rebellion would have been shot to hell, the Empire would still rule over the galaxy, Han Solo would most likely be in jail, Leia tortured to death, and Luke living out the rest of his days aging poorly as a water farmer on Tatooine. So thank goodness for this little dude’s shoddy parts.
Need another reason to have your mind blown? In the comic Star Wars Tales #1, it is revealed that R5-D4 was actually an undercover Jedi. Entitled Skippy the Jedi Droid, R5 has a vision of what would happen if Luke didn’t get off the planet, so he set off an explosion within himself and uses the Force on C-3PO to suggest Luke get R2-D2 instead, knowing full well what this meant. We shudder to think what happened to the poor little bot after Luke and Uncle Owen went on their merry way with their new droids. Most likely, R5-D4 was violently ripped apart by the Jawas and cannibalized for spare parts. But his sacrifice will not be forgotten. Unintentional hero or not, without “Red,” there would be no original trilogy.
12. General Veers
Could General Maximilian Veers be the only competent Imperial officer in all the galaxy? His resume speaks for itself: efficiently led the assault on Hoth and personally destroyed the Rebel’s crucial power generators. Stared Darth Vader right in the eye only inches from his face. Never got choked. Is it a coincidence that The Empire Strikes Back is the best Star Wars movie and also the only one with General Veers in it? We’ll let you be the judge.
As far as evil space Nazis go, none are more effective and exacting as General Veers. While pretty much every one of his other colleagues were failing miserably at their jobs, ole Maxy was kicking the Jawa out of their foes and taking names. What ever became of this cold, cool, and collected commander? Apparently, he’s so tough, he survived having a snowspeeder fly into him and his AT-AT being blown up. As depicted in the Expanded Universe, the injuries he sustained cost him an eye and a leg, so he put on an eyepatch and started floating around in a hover chair – an image that just makes him seem all the more awesome. Later, he would go on to bigger and better things by having his face melted off at the end of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
11. Nien Nunb
The poor man’s Chewbacca, Nien Nub is every bit the wingman that furry Sasquatch is. Okay, well may be that’s not true. But this native Sullustan can belligerently spout rapid fire gibberish with the best of them. No one may know what he’s saying for sure, but damn if it’s not fun to watch him freak out.
Will history remember Nien Nub as the heroic co-pilot of the ship that brought down the second Death Star? Will it remember him as one of the few talented pilots to survive the Resistance’s attack on Starkiller base? Or will he be remembered for having a pancake face that kind of looks like magnified genitalia? Most likely none of these. Try bringing up the name Nien Nunb in casual conversation and you’ll get blank stares all around. Sadly, Nien Nunb will most likely spend the rest of his life trying to convince people he was there the day the galaxy was saved.
Amidala may have been its official queen, but Sabé will always be the true royalty of Naboo to us. While none of Queen Amidala’s handmaidens have ever gotten the credit they deserve, the brave decoy played by Kiera Knightley stole the show. In fact, pretty much everything she did held greatness, right down to leading the attack when Amidala gets captured by the Trade Federation. You especially gotta love the scene when, while acting as Queen, she commands Padmé out of all the servants to get down and dirty cleaning up R2-D2. Like a boss.
Sure, if Sabé hadn’t swapped places with Amidala on Tatooine, we might have all been saved the harrowing sight of one day seeing Anakin Skywalker use the Force to feed Natalie Portman fruit. But she was just following orders. You can’t fault her for that. On the contrary, if Sabé had actually been in charge, things might have turned out a lot different. Do you think Sabé would have meekly died of a “broken heart” when her secret husband turned out to be Space Hitler? Not a chance.
9. Biggs Darklighter
Biggs Darklighter is on this list for one reason and one reason alone: his name is Biggs freaking Darklighter. But also because he has the most kickass mustache in all the galaxy. How no one has ever made an adult film parody starring this guy is beyond us. And don’t forget the deleted scene where he’s wearing a cape. A CAPE! This guy is so cool.
Biggs Darklighter is everything Luke Skywalker is not. He’s basically the Burt Reynolds of the Rebellion. Instead of being Force pushed into the fight kicking and screaming by Obi-Wan Kenobi, Biggs forged his own path like a real man and volunteered to fight. Even more heroically, he gave his life during the Battle of Yavin by willingly sacrificing himself as laser fodder so Luke could get a clean shot at the Death Star. Honestly, we are not entirely sure the right Tatooinian survived. Would Han Solo still be alive if Biggs were around? We’ll never know.
8. Count Dooku
He may look like nothing more than a well-groomed butler, but don’t be fooled by his elegant speech and fancy facial hair — Count Dooku is one of the fiercest Sith in the galaxy. But while he is just as likely to cut your head off with a lightsaber as zap you with finger lightning, the true power of Dooku was that he never came off as being truly villainous. Even though we find Darth Vader infinitely cool, there is little doubt that we should be booing everything he does. Dooku, on the other hand, makes us feel things we never knew we could feel and actually has us cheering when he cuts Anakin down to size.
Some theorize that Dooku was a last minute add because George Lucas got cold feet about turning Jar Jar Binks into a secret Sith Lord. Regardless if that’s true or not, Christopher Lee does quite a bit with his poorly developed character. Wise, stylish, elegant, and well-tempered, in just a few short scenes, Darth Tyranus makes the Dark Side look very appealing compared to Anakin crying his way to limb loss. Having been trained by both Yoda and Sidious, he embodies the best of both sides and deserves a whole lot better than an unceremonious decapitation.
7. Shmi Skywalker
Shmi Skywalker basically gave birth to Star Wars single-handedly. The mother of Darth Vader, her story might just be the most tragic of anyone in the galaxy. Giving up her only son so he could go off and live a better life with celibate space monks, she would find happiness as a water farmer’s wife, only to be abducted and tortured to death by Tuskan Raiders. To add insult to injury, her son never visited.
Seriously, is there a stronger character in all of Star Wars than Shmi? Not only did she overcome the traumatic event of having been forcefully impregnated by microscopic space creatures, but Mother Skywalker somehow managed to raise Anakin amidst slavery and not strangle him every time he yelled, YIPPEEE. Now that takes perseverance.
6. Wedge Antilles
Our second X-Wing co-pilot to make the list, like so many others (not including Porkins), Wedge Antilles was overshadowed by the bratty antics of a young Luke Skywalker. Two Death Star runs, the Commander of Rogue Squadron, and as straight faced a hero as there ever was one, Wedge notably kicked butt in all three of the original trilogy’s films. Yet sadly, he never got the same cred as the headliners.
Not only did he save Luke’s skin by getting a TIE fighter off his back on the first raid of the Death Star, but he brought down an entire AT-AT during the Empire’s attack on Hoth. Where was Luke during that battle? Getting prepped for an abominable Wampa feast. Lest we also forget that Wedge threaded the needle when he took out the second Death Star’s power regulator on the North Tower, clearing the way for Lando and Nien Nunb’s coup de grace. Never one for praise or fame, the galaxy is nonetheless a safer place thanks to the heroics of Wedge Antilles.
5. Qui-Gon Jinn
Jedi don’t get any more influential or awesome than Liam Neeson’s Qui-Gon Jinn, aka the Jesus Jedi. Yet, despite his particular set of skills, this Force whisperer rarely gets the love he deserves. Sure, he basically set in motion billions of deaths and an entire galactic dictatorship. Yeah, he cheated, lied, and defied his way into getting whatever he wanted. Most certainly, he allowed himself to be casually killed in the most pathetic way possible and goes down as owning the most shameful death in a franchise that includes Porkins. But forget all that, because Qui-Gon Jinn might just be the perfect Jedi.
Unlike Yoda and Obi Wan Kenobi, he is not blindly devout or monkishly self-righteous. In fact, he displays something neither of them ever do: inherit wisdom. Only Qui Gon takes the initiative to foil the Sith’s rise by using a mindfulness we have yet to see anywhere else in the galaxy. In fact, the argument could be made that he was the one to bring balance to the Force. Palpatine was going to take over whether Darth Vader was by his side or not. Thankfully, Ra’s al Jinn saved the day by single-handedly setting up his downfall. Here’s hoping that Luke has found his inner Qui-Gon in The Last Jedi.
4. Mon Mothma
We’re so glad Mon Mothma got to come back for Rogue One in a significant film role. Not only was she cut entirely from Revenge of the Sith, but when she debuted in Return of the Jedi, no one had any clue who she was and why she was there. All this despite pretty much being the architect of the Rebellion and first Chancellor of the New Republic. Guess that’s what you can expect when you hang around showboats like Admiral Akbar.
Thanks to her appearances in Clone Wars and Rebels, we’ve gotten to see just how much of a revolutionary Mon Mothma is. When everyone else was too afraid to speak out against Palpatine’s government takeover, she brazenly brandished him a “lying executioner” for all to hear, which ultimately landed her atop the Empire’s Most Wanted list. It was a short move from there to forming the Rebel Alliance with Bail Organa and becoming one of the greatest women in the galaxy, no thanks to the movies. All they ever told us about Mon Mothma is how sad dead Bothans make her. Speaking of which…
3. The Bothans
Hoping to let the onlooking generals, pilots, and Skywalkers realize the substantial costs taken to procure the second Death Star’s plans in Return of the Jedi, Mon Mothma solemnly proclaims, “many Bothans died to bring us this information.” Which meant absolutely nothing to anyone, because despite their great sacrifice and playing a key role in ending the Empire’s reign, that’s all we ever learn about these alien McGuffins. Not even a picture to remember them by.
Sure, an entire movie gets made about Rogue One’s daring mission to retrieve the first Death Star’s specs, but what do the Bothans get? A brief mention by a B-level character, and that’s about it. Of course, the Expanded Universe shed some light on these galactic heroes, revealing they were a short race of beings combining the looks of a dog, cat, and horse. Okay, so maybe it’s better we never saw them on-screen. But still, the Bothans are easily the most overlooked species in all of Star Wars, who at the very least deserve some kind of statue or bank holiday commemorating their efforts.
2. Green Leader
During the Return of the Jedi’s final battle above Endor, the Rebel Alliance was in dire straits. That is until one brave soul took it upon himself to single-handedly turn the tide in their favor with an epic feat of badassery. The Super Star Destroyer was on the defense, its deflector shields were down, an Imperial Commander orders nothing to get through, and then, in a defiant barrel-rolling blaze of glory, Green Leader shoots out from the mayhem and kamikazes his A-Wing right into their stupid faces.
To say Green Leader has been underappreciated for his sacrifice is an understatement. The character (along with his actor Hilton McRae) were blasphemously uncredited at the film’s end. Not cool Star Wars. (For the record, this hero’s name is Arvel Crynyd.) What’s more, that wasn’t just any Star Destroyer he destroyed. That was the Executor — the Empire’s flagship vessel and one of the largest and most powerful ever constructed. Oh yeah, and it was also Darth Vader’s personal spaceship. In other words, this guy took out Darth Vader’s ride. Now that’s a hero worth appreciating. We salute you Green Leader! May the legacy of your crazy scream reverberate throughout the galaxy forever.
Let face it, Stormtroopers have a bad rap. Probably more so than any other character in the franchise, maybe even all of movie history. Always missing shots and failing to find droids even when they’re right in front of them, these Imperial space soldiers don’t exactly have the best track record. Just ask all those Ewoks currently eating Stormtrooper brains. But don’t be fooled by their inability to kill teddy bears or walk through doorways without bumping their heads, Stormtroopers are exactly what the Emperor ordered. In fact, there have been a lot of times when these seemingly white-domed lugheads have been far too frighteningly effective.
Watch the Star Wars movies again and you’ll see that when left up to their own devices, Stormtroopers actually accomplish quite a bit despite all their misses. With Rogue One and the emergence of Death Troopers, the bar has only been raised higher. Or did you think Jyn Erso and Co. all got killed on Scarif because Shore Troopers weren’t good at doing their job? Yet tragically, as a whole, Stormtroopers are still seen as a joke, and have many wistful for the days of clones. All that despite being just as iconic as Yoda, Darth Vader, lightsabers, or anything else Star Wars has produced. Inspire the 501st Legion, invade the Great Wall of China, dominant Britain’s Got Talent, and they still get no love?
Honorable Mention: Random Rebel Soldier in Rogue One
It’s kind of hard to be underrated when nobody knows your name and the coolest thing you ever did was get killed by Darth Vader, yet we would be remiss not to at least mention the guy who managed to get the Death Star plans out of Vader’s grasp and into the hands of Leia. Imagine how sad Rogue One would have been if all our heroes died just so Vader could casually walk down a hall and retrieve the disk in the end. Thankfully, one man had the forethought to stick his hands through a crack in the door, and thus provide a new hope for the galaxy.
If we saw Vader appear from the shadows breathing like a vacuum cleaner and brandishing his laser sword, we’d fall to the ground in a hot mess and soil our Rebel uniform. But nope, not this random soldier. Sure, he was scared beyond all belief. Seeing the most feared man in the galaxy mercilessly slaughter all your friends before your eyes will do that. But he still had the resolve to hand-off the Death Star plans and allow himself to get impaled just long enough to give the Tantive IV enough time to disembark. Just another one of the galaxy’s many middling day-laborers put in an extraordinary circumstance, only to rise to the challenge as an unsung hero.
Did we miss any of your favorite underrated Star Wars characters? Let us know in the comments.