It’s no secret the Star Wars series has as many critics as it does fans, after the second dose of George Lucas’ prequel trilogy soured the series for many. That doesn’t mean the original films were flawless, or that every character they introduced was a home run, but for every character that has won an instant fan base (often spreading across platforms and into the extended universe), there’s been just as many who keep audiences rolling their eyes – or covering their ears.
It’s not easy to weed out the Star Wars saga cast members who truly spoiled the bunch, but with a new era of Star Wars dawning, and the release of the highly-anticipated Star Wars: The Force Awakens imminent, there’s no better time to review the past, so the same mistakes won’t be made again. Aside from being irritating, fans will notice that these human and alien stars embody larger problems, or hinted at future criticism, all while they had viewers hoping their scenes would end sooner, rather than later.
Here is our list of the 10 Most Annoying Star Wars Characters Ever.
Jar Jar Binks
Let’s just get the easiest pick out of the way. If there are any who are willing to defend the Gungan known as Jar Jar Binks (voiced by Ahmed Best) – a blundering, jabbering klutz who winds up making decisions for an entire planet – they have yet to do so. Since the release of Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace, Jar Jar has become the mascot for George Lucas’ questionable sense of humor for the entire prequel trilogy, and with good reason.
Fans can openly question several aspects of the character: his Shaggy-from-Scooby-Doo strut, his aloof attitude, appropriation of Jamaican dialect, or inability to show even a basic level of common sense. Even if viewers were able to stomach his performance or, heaven forbid, his constant efforts to complicate or disrupt an already convoluted story, the fact that his impact on the series was overwhelmingly negative means every appearance is an annoyance (in a literal sense).
As the head of the Trade Federation, it’s undeniable that Viceroy Nute Gunray is a gifted and manipulative businessman. But as much as the Star Wars prequels tried to convince audiences otherwise, he was hopelessly out of his depths when it came to politics or backroom dealings. To the Galactic Senate, he was the spokesperson of those systems who sought independence. But to the actual viewer, he was a cowardly puppet controlled by Count Dooku and Emperor Palpatine.
What crossed the line was the decision to portray Nute Gunray as obviously – obviously – sinister and two-faced, making every other character who failed to question him or believe he was up to no good appear idiotic as a result. His bug-eyed innocent act wore out its welcome almost immediately, but somehow he was the only villain to appear in each prequel alongside Palpatine.
His name is based on congressman Newt Gingrich and President Ronald Reagan (gun-ray, get it?), which is a good indicator of how much creative spark and character investment went into his creation. The wait was worth it though: his whimpering end at the hands of Darth Vader was one of the few truly enjoyable twists of the prequel trilogy!
Nobody is going to deny that a teddy bear brought to life is an adorable thought. An entire race of living teddy bears, occupying an entire moon, and creating a tribal culture in the treetops? That’s a dream come true for every human’s inner child. But what if those teddy bears were a bit less cuddly, and a bit more… angry? Paranoid? Xenophobic? Aggressive? Grabby? Prone to poking or holding people at spearpoint at the drop of a hat? If you’re like us, things suddenly go from irresistibly cute to weird.
Fans of Wicket (played by a young Warwick Davis), the first Ewok encountered, are easy to find, and the race’s teamwork in taking down Stormtroopers with everything from stones to swinging tree trunks is admirable. But their jibbering language and general high-strung movements become irritating fast. And when you realize Lucas originally planned to have Return of the Jedi‘s finale on Kashyyk, with mighty Wookie armies taking down Vader’s forces, they’re an easy group to despise.
Fode & Beed
Officially titled “Fodesinbeed Annodue,” the two-headed Troig charged with commentating The Phantom Menace‘s famous podrace is hard to forget… but likely not for the reasons George Lucas had envisioned. That isn’t to take anything away from actors Greg Proops and Scott Capurro, since their portrayal of a race announcer able to speak in both Basic (English) and Huttese is a clever idea.
What audiences didn’t expect was to sit listening to close to three minutes of crowd work, inside jokes, and introductions to characters they’d never heard of, and would never see again. After that rough start, the duo are only charged with narrating events that are completely obvious, rendering them fairly useless. In a small dose, it could have worked. But prolonged, not quite.
Who knows, maybe Fode and Beed would have been more endearing if audiences got to watch the actors’ actual performances – in full prosthetic makeup – as was originally intended, before Lucas decided to make the creature completely CG… and didn’t decide to arbitrarily switch their characters around for some reason.
Ziro The Hutt
The idea of introducing one more Hutt to the Star Wars movie canon isn’t hard to grasp, considering the fame Jabba achieved in just a handful of appearances. But Ziro was a bit too much of a departure from his nephew than Clone Wars viewers could have ever expected. Sporting neon paint and tattoos across his body, colored purple and usually sporting a feather headdress, Ziro was a far cry from the typical idea of a crimelord in Coruscant’s underworld.
He also didn’t speak Huttese, but a heavily affected English. And by “heavily affected,” we mean as high-pitched, accented and lispy as possible while still being easily understood. Unfortunately, the fans have nobody to thank for his unsettling/over the top delivery but George Lucas himself. In the beginning, Ziro spoke Huttese just like Jabba, and later in a deep, sluggish voice. Until one day Lucas was watching test footage and uttered a sentence that shocked the crew, but would soon become a piece of Star Wars history: “I want him to sound like Truman Capote.”
It’s entirely possible that Jar Jar Binks brought down the appeal factor of every Gungan character, so perhaps the odds were against Rugor “Boss” Nass from the very start. And as a general rule, adding small character tics or eccentric habits is usually a smart move in creating a memorable character. But for Nass, his trademark was a constant clicking, slobberring, or flapping his cheeks as if he was performing slaptstick for his fellow Gungan citizens.
It’s a shame, too. In the larger Star Wars universe, the rotund Nass is one of the Ankura Gungans; a species separate from the thinner Otulla who, while making up a minority of the species, are among the ruling class. Since the film decided to ignore that history and simply include a rotund, slobbering, pigheaded leader refusing to help the Naboo, it’s just a good thing his scenes are few and far between.
There was a time when people might have thought that C-3PO was as wooden, stuffy, neurotic and annoying as a droid could get. That was, until audiences got their first dose of WAC-47 in the Clone Wars, a DUM-series pit droid recruited to the Republic cause. He even earned the rank of Corporal, when he wasn’t busy putting himself and his droid squadmates in harm’s way to prove a point.
If you’re one of the people who find bumbling characters who somehow find success instead of death hilarious and charming, then WAC-47 may be one of your favorites. Even so, his voice alone is enough to turn any Star Wars die-hard off, best described as a too-robotic C-3PO impression run through a synthesizer. With self confidence issues.
One fact we can all agree on: Jake Lloyd was miscast as young Anakin Skywalker in The Phantom Menace (even the actor has conceded as much). Instead, the entirety of the blame has to lay on the shoulders of George Lucas, and whatever other writers he turned to for assistance in crafting the character’s arc. Going by the original films, Anakin was a proud, incredibly powerful warrior who was turned to the Dark Side by tragedy. In other words, a fairly standard story of a tragic hero’s fall from grace (and eventual redemption).
As we now know, that’s not what fans got. Instead – and we’re still baffled by the decision – Lucas created a character who was so clearly power-hungry, petulant, single-minded, self-centred and fascist-leaning, it’s safe to say audiences were shown that Anakin was always going to go bad. In all honesty, nobody has to make a case for Anakin being an annoyance as a child, teenager and adult(?).
Young Boba Fett
In hindsight, the popularity and cult status of Boba Fett is a testament to just how much a slick costume, a (very) few lines of dialogue, and imagination can turn a character into an icon. In the original Star Wars trilogy, Boba Fett is hardly ever referred to by name. He was little more than a bounty hunter taking Han Solo to Jabba the Hutt, and as a result, the actor(s) playing him never really mattered. He didn’t do much – he instead implied a world in the Star Wars universe that writers and readers craved, and Boba Fett was the way in.
With that in mind, George Lucas’ changes or “expansions” upon Fett are immediately suspect. In the Extended Universe, basing the Republic’s Clone Army on Mandalorian warriors made sense… so using Jango Fett, Boba’s father as the source of the clones was harmless. Making Boba one such clone, having him serve no purpose in the story, and making him a whiny little brat constantly glaring at Jedi for no real reason? That’s a mistake we’ll never accept (at least his hatred of Jedi was finally explained… an emotion never shown in the original films).
Joh Yowza/Sy Snootles
With so many changes made to the “Special Edition” you would think it would be hard to pin down the worst offender of “trying to be cool.” It turns out, it’s not: the digital insertion/overhaul of Sy Snootles and Joh Yowza is universally loathed, and pointed to as the perfect example of George Lucas’ willingness to tarnish his classic, beloved films.
In the original version of Return of the Jedi, Jabba’s Palace was revealed with a hip tune called “Lapti Nek,” performed by the group known as Sy Snootles & The Max Rebo Band (a mix of performers in costume and the fully-articulated Snootles puppet). Apparently George Lucas fancied himself a song and dance director, and always felt the musical number should be a far larger production than what made the finished film.
That meant re-filming insert shots of alien backup singers, and replacing the impressive (and entertaining) puppet Snootles with a shiny, off-putting CG creature that felt as fake as a computer-generated character could be. It also meant the addition of Joh Yowza, a furry, gravelly-voiced, cartoonish warbler. The result was a bloated, out of place, and annoying (not to mention ugly) sequence that, in hindsight, was a sign of Lucas’ coming indulgence in his prequel films.
Which of the Star Wars characters on our list can YOU least tolerate? Are there any supremely annoying inhabitants of the galaxy far, far away that we missed? Leave your own picks in the comments!