Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi is now out in theaters and is set to become one of (if not the most) highest grossing films of all time. This should come as no surprise; every single Star Wars movie has come close to shattering the records set by the previous installments in the series upon release. The story, the action, the drama, and the truly immersive world George Lucas has created all feed into our love for Star Wars. But perhaps above all, it’s our love of the great characters that keeps us coming back to the franchise.
Even the worst films in the franchise are able to draw us in with their awesome characters; for example, Darth Maul and Qui-Gon Jinn are still hailed as fan favorites even though The Phantom Menace is looked upon negatively by most. Likewise, many fans love Jabba the Hutt and the Clone Troopers even though they appeared in weaker entries of the series.
That said, not all characters introduced in the Star Wars lore are gold. In retrospect, some of these guys are so offensive and controversial that Disney would never even consider putting them in the future movies! Here are the 15 Most Offensive Star Wars Characters Who Could Never Be In The Movies Today.
15. Elan Sleazebaggano
Yes, that is the guy’s real name. When you’re creating a character that only has two or three lines of dialogue in the entire film, why wouldn’t you give him an insanely on-the-nose name like Elan Sleazebaggano? Elan famously asked Obi-Wan Kenobi if he wanted to buy any Death Sticks and the Jedi responded by using the Force to make him go home and rethink his life.
In Legends, Elan has an elaborate backstory where he falls in with the wrong crowd and starts selling Death Sticks. He eventually becomes addicted to his own product and throughout the rest of his appearances is seen to be struggling with hopping off and on the bandwagon of the drug in a never-ending cycle.
14. Jar Jar Binks
Ask anyone who’s ever watched a Star Wars movie who the worst character in the entire saga is, and chances are they will tell you it’s Jar Jar Binks. Allegedly, George Lucas had a huge story arc planned out for the Gungan, but the negative backlash he received from The Phantom Menace caused him to give Jar Jar a minor role in the rest of the prequels. It’s not just Jar Jar’s annoying personality that makes him offensive, though.
Even when Episode I came out in 1999, people accused Jar Jar of being an offensive stereotype. They claimed that he spoke like a typical inhabitant of the Caribbean and played into all the stereotypes of a lazy, buffoonish caricature some have about the people of the Caribbean. Some even took it a step further and said Jar Jar was a racist portrayal of all black people. Yikes.
13. Young Anakin
When the prequels were announced, everyone was excited to see the story of how Anakin Skywalker became the villainous Darth Vader. When Episode I hit the scene, however, they were shocked to see that the future Sith Lord was just a small child. People have hated child Anakin so much that Jake Lloyd (the actor who played him) has sworn off Star Wars forever and claims that fans’ harassment has driven him to having mental problems.
When we say “offensive,” we don’t just mean racist or sexist or non-PC. Young Anakin was offensive to the Star Wars fandom because it took the greatest cinematic villain ever made and turned him into a little boy who yelled “yippee!” and brought down the entire Trad Federation fleet at the age of 10.
12. Tusken Raiders (AKA “The Sand People”)
The Tusken Raiders were a tribe of migratory aliens who traveled around the desert world of Tatooine, pillaging and destroying everything they came across. The race is characterized by the hilarious grunting sounds they make along with their mummy-like masks, blaster staffs, and pet Banthas. They have appeared in three Star Wars films to date as well as multiple entries in the comic book and TV show lore.
Here’s the thing… Tusken Raiders have also been known to go by another name: The “Sand People.” Back in 1977 this term was harmless enough (though it still had somewhat of a negative connotation), but today this particular phrase has a very bad message behind its use. Especially in today’s political climate, they would have at least had a different name.
One of the things that people remember most about Return of the Jedi is the epic opening act involving the heroes’ plot to save Han Solo from Jabba the Hutt. After Leia gets caught, Jabba turns her into one of his “Slave Girls” and makes her don a metal bikini and keeps her close by with a chain around her neck. Though she escapes, Leia was just one of many of these Slave Girls.
Do we even need to go further on this one? Maybe it flies over the heads of the little ones, adults know what kind of connotation comes with these “slaves,” and it’s something that seems a little too dark for Star Wars. Not to mention, human trafficking is a huge issue in modern-day society. Disney realizes this, and has gone out of its way to try and quietly stop the production of any “Slave Leia” merchandise.
Say what you will about The Phantom Menace, but it did give us a couple awesome characters and some great action scenes! One of the set pieces in question was the legendary pod race in which a young Anakin Skywalker shows off his great piloting skills. His main rival both inside and outside the track is Sebulba, a member of the Dug race who is known for his ruthless and cheating racing techniques.
Here’s the thing about Sebulba: he’s portrayed as somewhat of a Latino stereotype. He’s got a deep, raspy voice, and rocks a ‘stache-like appendage that would make Danny Trejo jealous. Then there’s the fact that his name sounds awfully familiar to Xibalba, the Mayan underworld that you could only avoid by dying a violent death. If that’s not enough, his species is infamous for clearing the forest of their homeworld so that they can mine it for resources. Yeah…
9. Yarna d’al Gargan
We’ve already talked at length about why Jabba’s slave girls wouldn’t fly today, but now let’s talk about one in particular: Yarna d’al Gargan. This character was the daughter of a fierce Askajian chief whose family was captured and sold into slavery. Yarna can be seen in Return of the Jedi dancing slowly in the background of Jabba’s palace.
But that’s not what makes her character offensive. In the current canon, Yarna was forced by Jabba to eat massive amounts of food to gain weight and was required to wear makeup so that she’d look more like Jabba’s mother. That’s right, Jabba the Hutt apparently had some sort of creepy Oedipus Complex. Couple that with subtle fat-shaming, and you’ve got a character that would never fly with today’s audiences.
8. Sheev Palpatine
Now wait a minute! Emperor Palpatine is one of the greatest villains to ever grace the silver screen, and his portrayal in the Prequels by Ian McDiarmid is legendary for its subtly manipulative nature and hilariously hammy villainy. So why, you might ask, is Sheev Palpatine on this list?
If the Prequels were made today, we doubt Palpatine would play the same role as he does in the movies we got. The last few years have been horrifically touchy when it comes to the subject of politics. Would a character who is elected democratically and then uses a crisis to steal power and become a murderous dictator would work today? Of course! But it would also hit too close to reality for some and could cause major backlash in that many current political figures could be projected onto Sheev’s character. It probably wouldn’t be worth the risk to the studio.
7. Ziro the Hutt
Even though Jabba is the only one we had seen on screen, everyone knew that he was just one of many in a large family of Hutt gangsters. In the highly-panned animated film Star Wars: The Clone Wars, we finally got to meet a few other members of the family in the form of Ziro the Hutt (Jabba’s Uncle) and Rotta (his son). Ziro would once again make an appearance on the Clone Wars TV show.
Though the controversy was later cleared up by the TV show, there was massive speculation that Ziro was Star Wars‘ first gay character back in 2008. Although many fans thought it was an interesting concept, the fact that the Hutt was a ridiculous stereotype completely turned them off of the idea; one reviewer even went as far as claiming that Ziro’s stereotypical flamboyancy made Jar Jar look subtle by comparison. Ouch.
Watto was Shmi and Anakin Skywalker’s owner in The Phantom Menace. An avid gambler, the junkyard owner would often sponsor and bet against young Skywalker during his podraces. After losing the boy in a bet with Qui-Gon Jinn, he sold Shmi to the Lars family and was never heard from again after Attack of the Clones.
You’ve probably heard a million times over why Watto is so offensive to people. He worships money. He has a hooked nose. He wears a small circular hat in Episode II. His accent comes across as a cross between Yiddish and Arabic; lots of people believe Watto is a caricature of a Jewish person.
Disney recognized the backlash, and has tried to keep Watto out of the picture. On rare occasions he has appeared, his accent is downplayed and his headpiece has been changed to resemble more of pilgrim hat.
5. Ponda Baba
Believe it or not, this guy did have a name. Fans have theorized about the strange-looking character ever since his brief cameo in A New Hope; you will likely remember him as the alien who gets his arm chopped off by Obi-Wan in the Mos Eisley cantina. Ponda Baba actually has a semi-thought-out backstory in which he had saved his partner from a bounty hunter and had gone into business smuggling for Jabba the Hutt.
Now you might be saying, “Couldn’t appear in the movies today? He was in Rogue One!” Well, that’s because he’s an established character. As kids, most of us knew Baba as “the guy with a butt on his face” (or many other derogatory names we can’t say here); there’s no way that Ponda’s design would get past the initial idea in today’s internet culture filled with memes and immaturity.
4. Jek Porkins
Jek Tono Porkins was a pilot and trader from the planet Bestine who grew angry with the Empire when they took over his homeworld. Porkins joined the Rebellion, becoming part of their X-Wing squadron and taking on the call sign of Red Six; he took part in both the Battle of Scariff and the Battle of Yavin. Porkins was killed when his fighter took heavy damage during the Rebel’s final assault on the Death Star.
This poor actor. The character was based purely on his outward appearance: he’s an overweight dude whose last name is “Porkins” for crying out loud! To make things worse, people in the Rebellion would sometimes call him by his nickname, “Piggy.” This sort cruel, topical, depreciating humor would cause a huge ruckus today and would never be allowed in newer Star Wars movies.
3. The Ring Master
Maybe it’s unfair to include the Star Wars Holiday Special on this list considering that the entire movie was offensive to Star Wars fans. Most of the special focused on Chewbacca’s family as they awaited his return for Life Day. While waiting, they used their space TV to watch a bunch of skits set in the Star Wars universe.
One of the skits included a strange man called “The Ringmaster” who led an intergalactic circus in hologram form. This character would be a no-go today for multiple reasons. For starters, just look at him. He has highly exaggerated, almost caricature-like oriental features. Then there’s the fact that the circus itself is controversial nowadays due to questions of animal cruelty. The Ringmaster definitely wouldn’t make the cut.
Like we said, the Holiday Special is offensive, so why wouldn’t its characters be? Attichitcuk (“Itchy” for short) is the father of Chewbacca and the former leader of the Wookiee nation on Kashyyyk. As a young warrior he led his people to victory in multiple conflicts, including a few in the Clone Wars. Though he has yet to appear in the new canon, his grandson Lumpy has. Chewy has to have a father: is it still Itchy?
The main reason he has been written out was because of his portrayal in the Holiday Special. During the show, he was supposed to be watching Lumpy and Chewy’s wife while his son was away. Instead, he watches some VR performance of scantily-clad women who talk seductively to him and sing him a song that’s “for your eyes only.” Yeah, we probably wouldn’t see a pervy old grandpa character in Star Wars today!
1. Nute Gunray
When Episode I was first teased, fans went crazy of the prospect of Darth Maul; who was he? How did he fit into the story of Darth Vader? Was he Palpatine’s master? Unfortunately, we got no answers for years. In fact, Maul wasn’t even the main villain of The Phantom Menace. Instead, we got the Trade Federation led by Nute Gunray. Oh, joy.
Where do you even start with this guy? There is no ifs, ands, or buts about Gunray being an Asian stereotype. His species talks like a character straight out of a propaganda piece from the “Yellow Peril” days of pop culture. He even wears elaborate oriental-style robes and head pieces. But perhaps the most terribly offensive part of Gunray’s design are his eyes; they’re slits, for crying out loud! Of all the offensive characters in the Star Wars universe, this one is by far the worst.
Were you offended by any of these Star Wars characters? Let us know in the comments!
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