The Star Wars saga is filled to the brim with all kinds of characters, spanning all types of species, and one of the most remarkable aspects of the franchise is the rich history behind nearly every character that graces the screen.
The series has brought some of cinema’s most beloved characters to life, but it’s also managed to push out some of the most repulsive and hated turds to smear that very same silver screen, so we’re going to be counting down the 16 Best (And 16 Worst) Characters In Star Wars.
For this list, we’re mainly sticking to film canon, meaning anything that’s been released in cinemas. So that means no supplemental books, comics or older “Legends” material. However, there’s one exception: Shadows of the Empire. Although this side story’s canon is dubious, multiple elements from it have appeared in current canon, giving enough reason to pluck two entrants from it for our list.
We’re going to get the muck out of the way first, with some of the most heinous, obnoxious or pointless characters to ever “grace” the series before we dive into the iconic heroes and villains that maintain Star Wars’ place as an all time classic.
32. Best: Dr. Evazon (And The Cantina)
Star Wars, while featuring incredible main characters, is also known for its outstanding stock of side-characters, or even just background characters, most of whom have an absurdly in-depth backstory.
It’s safe to say that this element of the series was successfully established in the Mos Eisley Cantina, where countless strange and intriguing creatures made their shocking appearance to first-time audiences, captivating imaginations everywhere.
Of course, the most iconic character was the nefarious Dr. Evazon, along with his partner, Ponda Baba. The duo became inexplicably angry at the young Luke Skywalker, proceeding to threaten his life, along with Evazon claiming to have to the death sentence in multiple systems.
31. Worst: Snoke
While we don’t know if he’ll appear in Episode IX (though it seems incredibly unlikely unless some crazy fan theories are true), it’s safe to say that what we do currently know is beyond unfulfilling, as he embodies nothing more than a waste of space as a knock-off of Emperor Palpatine, with none of the elements that made the Emperor stand out.
Snoke only escapes being utterly pointless because he manages to put major plot threads into motion, but this doesn’t save him from being the worst, most one-dimensional character in a new trilogy filled with one-dimensional characters.
What are his goals? What’s his connection to the Force? Why is he so deformed? How did he come into power? None of these questions are answered before his apparent demise, and it’s likely that they never will.
30. Best: Grand Moff Tarkin
Grand Moff Tarkin, played by the superb Peter Cushing, was a terrifyingly cold figure of authority in the original Star Wars whom even Lord Vader had to take orders from.
His presence demanded attention in every scene. His calculated cruelty was unmatched, even by Vader, and the delight in his eyes at causing destruction and death was palpable. Darth Vader remained powerful and imposing, but to see him obey the orders of this refined gentleman proved just how dangerous Tarkin was.
Like Evazon, Tarkin appeared in Rogue One, and we got a chance to see more of his character, particularly his ambition and intelligence, as he accurately called out Krennic’s failings, and took credit (and command) of the power of the Death Star.
29. Worst: Count Dooku
Conceptually, Count Dooku is an excellent character, and critical to the plot that would eventually form the Galactic Empire. Even his backstory is awesome, being a former Jedi, disillusioned with the cause, and eventually a pawn to a Sith Lord, all the while not understanding that he was merely an expendable piece in a galactic board game.
Where he falls apart, however, is in his limitless wasted potential. Being hastily introduced in Episode II, and then being violently cast away in the opening moments of Episode III, the fertile storylines that could have cropped up with his intriguing backstory and goals withered away into nothingness, making this important figure feel more like a placeholder.
28. Best: R2-D2 And C-3PO
Serving as the “Greek Chorus” of Star Wars, the droid duo fascinated audiences in 1977 and beyond, becoming beloved fixtures of the franchise, and appearing in nearly every single film to date.
C-3PO, the golden protocol droid known for his prim-and-proper personality, along with his endless whining, provides excellent humor, especially when paired with his mischievous and apparently foulmouthed astro-droid counterpart, R2-D2.
These two opposites create an endearing pair when they bicker, but it’s their deep friendship that makes them so appealing in the long run, not to mention the fact that no matter what trouble or annoyances they cause, they’re always there to offer their support.
27. Worst: Maz Kanata
Maz Kanata in The Force Awakens was nothing more than a tool for exposition and seemed like a fanfiction creation for all the crossovers she apparently had with heroes of the original trilogy.
Sadly, despite having the talented Lupita Nyong’o behind the motion capture, Maz never evolved beyond “quirky exposition machine.” For hopeful fans of the character, The Last Jedi further disappointed by shoehorning Maz into a sequence where, once again, she spurts out exposition, but this time she’s in the middle of some intense (and unexplained combat) where she uses a jetpack.
However, perhaps the worst offense of Maz is that the designers and writers were clearly using her as some kind of original trilogy fanservice device: she runs a crazy cantina, she’s got Luke’s lightsaber, and she’s small and funny, like Yoda.
26. Best: Prince Xizor
Like the lame Dash Rendar, Prince Xizor hails from the side-project Shadows of the Empire, which deals with what transpired between Empire and Jedi. Unlike Dash Rendar, however, Xizor is a unique and fascinating character whose villainy rivals that of Darth Vader and the Emperor himself.
The master of the Black Sun crime syndicate, Xizor holds immense power in the Star Wars galaxy. So much so, that the Empire itself chooses not to stop him, forming something of a symbiotic relationship. That doesn’t stop him from having a hateful rivalry with Darth Vader, though, as they compete for the Emperor’s approval.
As a character, Xizor is extremely intelligent and fit, but also exceedingly vain and lustful. These traits end up being his downfall in Shadows, but he remains a fascinating example of a self-made villain, without the help of the Force.
25. Worst: General Grievous
When General Grievous is first introduced in the legendary Genndy Tartakovsky Clone Wars micro-series, he’s portrayed as a towering, ruthless and efficient assassin, more akin to a slasher movie villain than anything in st we had seen before.
Not one for grandstanding or commanding from afar, he takes it upon himself to hunt and kill Jedi, leading a one man assault on the Republic’s capital, and even going up against some of the most elite warriors of the Republic, such as Mace Windu, nearly coming out on top.
Then, in Episode III, Grievous is reduced to an embarrassing “comic relief” villain who, while still powerful, is plagued with a goofy voice and over-exaggerated animations, giving off the impression of a 1930’s mustache-twirling villain than a merciless destructor of the Republic.
24. Best: Darth Maul
Before the release of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Maul’s distinct design and double-bladed lightsaber was the subject of heated discussions on not only playgrounds, but within the inner sanctums of the Star Wars fandom.
Although he only ended up speaking a line or two of dialogue in the finished film, his presence alone made him a legend. Much like Boba Fett, who did little and spoke even less, Maul maintained his status as a fan favorite for years, despite his wasteful death in the very film he debuted in.
Thankfully, he’s been resurrected in the Star Wars television shows, and given arcs worthy of the potential he so clearly possessed in Episode I, before it was squandered carelessly.
23. Worst: Captain Phasma
When the first real trailer for The Force Awakens hit, the tall, chrome Stormtrooper was the talk of the town. Known as Captain Phasma, and hyped up by J.J. Abrams, this female trooper was set to become the new trilogy’s Boba Fett. Alas, that prophecy came true in the most unfortunate of ways.
In Episode VII, the Captain had very little to do but offer minimal exposition and stand around looking cool, which she did successfully. Unfortunately, she met a pitiful end after helping the treacherous Finn shut down Starkiller Base’s shields, apparently ending up in a trash compactor.
In VIII, she returned, got a little more screen time, kicked a little more butt, but still ended up with little reason to be there, meeting another embarrassing (and apparently final) end.
22. Best: Cirrut Imwe And Baze Malbus
A chief complaint about Rogue One was that it failed to flesh out its massive cast. This is true to an extent, although everyone did receive a small arc, just as Cirrut Imwe and Baze Malbus, for ecample.
As former “Guardians of the Whills,” they were forced out from their positions and became more-or-less beggars in the streets of Jedha.
Baze lost his faith all together, while Cirrut maintained his devotion to the Force, much to the former’s disdain, yet the two remained exceptionally close.
During the battle of Scarif, Cirrut’s belief in the Force guided him to victory, protected against fire from Imperial troopers, while Cirrut’s death restored Baze’s faith in the Force, who then managed to defeat every Death Trooper before succumbing to his own fate.
21. Worst: Poe Dameron
Poe dazzled us with his actions in The Force Awakens. His charisma and plucky attitude made him instantly likable. Better yet, he was an exceptional X-Wing ace, able to quickly attain air supremacy, cementing him as a valuable member of the Resistance. Despite this, there was an inkling of hubris and, perhaps, an issue with the suspension of disbelief regarding his skills.
Our worst fears were confirmed in TLJ– not only was Poe absurdly full of himself, he needlessly endangered an entire fleet for personal glory, which threw away all likability.
Then there was the shattered reality of what his skillset could achieve when we are asked to believe that a single fighter could take on a Dreadnaught’s anti-air cannons, which were specifically designed to eliminate that exact threat.
20. Best: Admiral Ackbar
The fish-headed Mon Calamari, and one of the highest ranked leaders of the Rebel Alliance, was the beloved Admiral Ackbar.
Known predominantly for his exclamation of “IT’S A TRAP!,” this strategic genius was far more valuable than his meme-ified understanding of the tactical dilemma the Rebel Fleet found themselves in.
Responsible for countless victories against the overwhelming odds of the Empire, Ackbar is yet another perfect example of Star Wars’ skill of making characters with little screen time be utterly captivating with their mere presence or limited dialogue.
It’s impossible not to be fully endeared to the character when he swivels around on his chair and smirks as a Super Star Destroyer plunges into the second Death Star during the Battle of Endor, which makes his wasted death in The Last Jedi even more excruciating.
19. Worst: Finn
Finn was an immediate fan favorite from The Force Awakens. The story of a Stormtrooper being overwhelmed by the questionable actions asked of him, eventually betraying the only home he had ever known was an excellent concept.
To sweeten the deal, Finn was also incredibly funny, and his somewhat naïve interactions with other characters made him beyond endearing.
Sadly, like others in this countdown, Finn’s established characterization was gutted in The Last Jedi. In The Force Awakens, he was initially a coward, but learned to be brave in the face of adversity. In The Last Jedi, he’s reverted back to a coward until he goes through a nearly identical story arc.
18. Best: Lando Calrissian
Likely the most charming Star Wars character, Lando Calrissian and his excellent cape first appeared in The Empire Strikes Back. Running the heavenly Cloud City over Bespin, Lando was a long time frenemy of Han Solo, and gladly offered his help to his old pal.
However, one encounter with Vader and a broken hyperdrive later (although it definitely wasn’t his fault), and the gambler found himself a general in the Rebel Alliance, and took part in a daring plan to rescue Han, even ending up directly responsible for the destruction of the second Death Star.
Despite his less-than-trustworthy moments, Lando is fun character who can put his money where his mouth is when the going gets tough.
17. Worst: Dash Rendar
Shadows of the Empire is a multi-media side-story taking place between ESB and ROTJ, and although its status as canon is currenty debatable, elements from the project, such as Black Sun and the Outrider, lead us to believe the events are more-or-less confirmed.
This brings us to Dash Rendar. As the hero of the video game adaptation and critical character to the novelization, Rendar is a mercenary hired by the Alliance, and it just so happens that he’s almost identical to Han Solo in nearly every conceivable way.
With Solo in carbonite, the creative forces behind the project wanted to fill that gap, so we’re given a surly-but-handsome gentlemen of questionable morals, with a non-human sidekick, who flies a Corellian freighter. He’s also pals with Lando.
16. Best: Kylo Ren
In a sequel trilogy filled with one-dimensional characters, Kylo Ren is the saving grace. Rivaling the layers of his idol, Darth Vader, Kylo (formerly known as Ben Solo) is a deeply troubled individual, torn between the light and dark sides of the Force, and confused about who he is and what his purpose should be.
He’s also prone to major temper tantrums which seem to be so common, that they’re expected among First Order personnel, who promptly leave whatever area he’s thrashing about in.
All of that combined makes for an intriguing character, and one who steals the spotlight in nearly every scene he’s in.
15. Worst: Vice Admiral Holdo
Vice Admiral Holdo was thrust into the Star Wars universe in The Last Jedi, only to be thrust out just as quickly. With Leia incapacitated, and Admiral Ackbar and most of the senior staff wiped out, Holdo was chosen to take control of the Resistance Fleet, using baffling and deceptive means.
Why did a character we’ve never heard of take command of the ship? Why not Nien Nunb, who’s a veteran from the Rebellion days, and personally dealt destruction to the Death Star II?
Sure, Holdo’s epic hyperspace sacrifice was one of the most brilliantly executed sequences in the franchise, but it would have had an exponentially more potent impact if it were Ackbar or Leia herself behind the execution.
14. Best: Obi-Wan Kenobi
Before Yoda, Obi-Wan was the ultimate mentor figure to Luke. Not only helping the boy take his first steps into the world of the Force, Obi-Wan was also possibly the most critical driving force in pushing Luke into the adventure that would end up reshaping the cosmos, all the way through until his death, and even beyond.
Of course, before the original trilogy, we got to watch Obi-Wan grow from a reckless Padawan to a by-the-books Jedi Master who, in the end, was responsible for the genesis of Darth Vader.
With such a complete and relatable picture of Obi-Wan’s journey through life, failings and all, along with the critical parts he played throughout both the original and prequel trilogies, he easily claims a place on this list.
13. Worst: Dexter Jester
The prequel trilogy has a lot of problems, but most of them stem from George Lucas’ financial and creative freedom, with a crew of “yes men” letting every stinky turd of an idea move into the pictures without any type of refinement.
We’re not here to say that a creator shouldn’t have authority over his own work, but sometimes a creator loses sight of what makes their work so beloved in the first place.
In this case, George Lucas seemed to think a ’50s style diner with a four-armed, grease-stained-shirt-wearing alien would be a great addition to his universe. It wasn’t.
Dexter and his diner are as unsettlingly out of place as the CGI additions to A New Hope, with the man himself being a cringe-worthy element to an already cringe-worthy concept in a movie that’s stuffed to the brim with cringe.
12. Best: Leia
When Princess Leia is introduced in A New Hope, her defining feature is her supreme loyalty to the cause of the Rebellion, no matter what that devotion costs her.
She sacrifices her homeworld, stands up to pure evil (even mocking Tarkin to his face) and is far less a damsel-in-distress than Luke and Han initially thought, as she kicks butt with the best of them.
Beyond this, her status as a Rebellion leader and eventual general proves her diplomatic and tactical chops, with her battle-hardened combat abilities never wavering.
After finding out that she was the daughter of Darth Vader, she began to learn the ways of the Force, even being able to cheat death in The Last Jedi with her knowledge.
11. Worst: General Hux
In The Force Awakens, we are introduced, with zero context, to the First Order, which wishes to retake the Star Wars galaxy from the Republic.
One of the highest figures leading them is the young General Hux, a man who, for whatever reason, seems to have serious beef with the Republic. Angry, petty, and constantly vying for approval over his rival, Kylo Ren, Hux was an intriguing character in the First Order’s roster, but also baffling.
For example, why is he so incredibly angry during his fiery speech to the legions of the First Order? Is he even old enough to have a firsthand reason to hate the Republic, or even the Rebellion?
Worst of all, in The Last Jedi, whatever momentum was being built with Hux is tossed aside in favor of making him the whining butt of countless jokes. Perhaps he should give a fiery speech about that.
10. Best: Han (And Chewie)
Han Solo is the ultimate bad boy, and no matter what George Lucas tells you, he shot first. Yes, Han Solo started off as a scoundrel, but eventually became a well-respected general after giving up his smuggling background (for the most part).
What would Han Solo be without his loyal Wookie companion, Chewbacca? Owing Han a Life Debt, the two partners have been through thick and thin together, all the way up to Han’s heartbreaking death at the hands of his own son.
However, perhaps the best reason these two deserve to be on the list, aside from their chemistry and characterizations, is that they own the coolest, most iconic ship in Star Wars: the lovable hunk of junk known as the Millennium Falcon.
9. Worst: Little Ani
First things first, Jake Lloyd is not responsible for this awful character. That blame falls solely on George Lucas.
Anakin is a cute, joyful kid, and the idea of him growing up into the incredibly dark and joyless Darth Vader would have had a huge emotional impact if the character of “Little Ani” was written to have more depth than an idealized kid shouting “yippee!” and deftly flirting with women twice his age.
Sadly, his annoying traits sour other parts of the canon, when we’re forced to swallow the fact that this child built C-3PO. Of course, there are also his supernatural skills.
Sure, we can believe that the Force was strong enough with him to be able to Podrace, but to take out a Federation ship and actively dogfight with no prior experience?
8. Best: The Emperor
On the surface, Emperor Palpatine is a one-dimensionally evil man who simply wants unlimited power. That’s actually a pretty accurate appraisal, but his delicious characterization and quirks make the Emperor one of the best characters in all Star Wars.
After staging an enormous war and eliminating the Jedi, the Emperor spends his days gleefully being a terrible person, making him, by far, the most entertaining villain in the franchise.
The false sympathy for Luke about the deflector shield, the lackadaisical attitude towards the outcome of Vader versus Luke, and the self-approving smirk when he tells Skywalker that he will die all adds up to someone you just love to hate.
Finally, and best of all, Ian McDiarmid claims that Palpatine’s only redeeming quality is his support of the arts, since he goes to the opera and purchases sculptures. We suppose that sort of makes up for the planet-busting and Force lightning.
7. Worst: Jar Jar Binks
Jar Jar is easily one of the most hated characters in the entire saga, and for good reason. Even if we look past the possibly racist caricature that he represents, he manages to be an unwanted element of slapstick humor that turned off a lot of hopeful Star Wars fans with his Episode I debut.
That said, we have a reason why Jar Jar isn’t higher on this list: there’s an element of the character that has been the subject of much debate, and it’s that very theory that keeps Jar Jar from a worse rank– Darth Jar Jar.
More or less confirmed by Ahmed Best, the character’s actor, it appears that Jar Jar was meant to be the one pulling the strings of the Empire’s creation. If George Lucas had carried out his theorized initial plans, we could have had a moment to rival even Darth Vader’s legendary reveal.
6. Best: Luke
Luke Skywalker has one of the most defined arcs in the series, much like his father. Starting out as a somewhat whiny youth (also like his father), to becoming burdened with an immense responsibility, and then finally accepting and mastering his role as a savior, Luke is a character easy to get behind.
Throughout his journey, we watch him succeed and even fail, all while learning more about his world and the Force that binds it.
He creates a perfect bond with the audience, and it’s an utter joy to see his evolution from farm boy to Gamorrean guard strangler. Who didn’t cheer when Luke stood up against the embodiment of all evil, the Emperor, or when he restored the long-forgotten Anakin Skywalker?
5. Worst: Ziro The Hutt
With the prequels, George Lucas’ bizarre ideas went unchecked, and often marred the films. The same can be said about his suggestions for Star Wars video games and other media. One of the most offensive of these unwanted creations is Ziro the Hutt.
An overtly flamboyant member of the Hutt species (and uncle to the infamously gluttonous Jabba) Ziro debuted in the excruciating CGI Clone Wars film.
Supposedly beloved by the makers of the film, George had a direct hand in this manifestation of an obnoxiously stereotypical alien, who rivals Jar Jar and Watto as one of the least thinly veiled incarnations of insensitivity.
4. Best: Yoda
While the ultimate shocker of The Empire Strikes Back was Darth Vader being Luke’s father, it’s important to consider that the film also brought us the incredibly iconic and wonderfully realized Yoda.
From his time as a wise Jedi Master during the Clone Wars to an impish goblin taunting the young Skywalker before revealing his true nature, Yoda is an exceptional authority figure and leader, who creates an implicit trust with the characters in the film and viewers in the real world.
Brought to life by Frank Oz, Yoda’s backwards way of speaking, and the life lessons delivered through those very means, have given us a character that is absolutely beloved across the saga.
His latest appearance in The Last Jedi brought us back the mischievous but powerful old coot from ESB, and we’re hoping that he’ll make one last appearance in IX, perhaps alongside a Force ghost of Luke.
3. Worst: Salacious Crumb
To be fair, what Salacious Crumb sets out to do, he succeeds with flying colors, but that still doesn’t mean we have to like him.
This vexatious, rodent-like creature constantly emits his ear-piercing giggles of glee at anything his master, Jabba the Hutt, concocts. Whether it’s sentencing people to their deaths, bargaining with bounty hunters, or straight up pretending to be asleep, Salacious lives up to his name as an obscene and indecent goblin who not only takes joy in suffering, but has to annoy others with his laugh while he does so.
Thankfully, his mind-breaking shrieks of infernal glee were permanently silenced by the assault on the sail barge, which resulted in his demise, along with the demise of countless other examples of scum and villainy.
2. Best: Darth Vader
From the moment Darth Vader steps into frame for the first time, he immediately takes his place as the most iconic figure in Star Wars, with the entire original and prequel trilogies essentially being about his fall into darkness and eventual redemption.
At first, his towering physique, black armor and mastery over the Force was everything anyone needed to know about the fallen Jedi, but we soon learned about his familial ties, giving us a greater connection to the Dark Lord of the Sith.
Finally, we were able to rejoice in his heartfelt conversion by Luke, even mourning his death. Also, despite how clunky the prequel were, they at least gave further context to his relationship with Obi-Wan and Palpatine, rounding him out.
1. Worst: Sy Snootles and Joh Yowza of the Max Rebo Band
George Lucas made many maligned changes to the original trilogy during their DVD and Blu-Ray releases. While there are certainly many sequences that are infuriating (like Vader’s “nooo!”), there’s one that stands out as being so obnoxious and offensive that you’d wish the Death Star would have survived just to eliminate it: “Jedi Rocks” performed by Sy Snootles and Joh Yowza of the Max Rebo band for Jabba the Hutt.
The CGI-laden disaster features fourth-wall-shattering characters pretending they are in a gimmicky 3D movie while their hideous vocal eruptions tear away at your sanity, all accompanied by cartoonish dissonance from the so-called “band.”
The greatest crime of all, though, is that these abominations and this horrific piece of music replace the awesome, ’80s-infused “Lapti Nek”, a far-catchier and unobtrusive piece from the original release, and one that is so good, even John Williams’ son performed a cover of it.
Who do you think is the best (and worst) Star Wars character? Sound off in the comment section!
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