If you haven’t been reading any of the Star Wars comic lines released by Marvel since 2015, then you are doing yourself a great disservice. Star Wars, Darth Vader, Poe Dameron, Shattered Empire and many more – all of them are chock full of awesome space adventures. And on top of providing canon material for some of the gaps between your favorite movies and exploring new facets of your favorite characters, the new comics have introduced a whole roster of new and diverse characters to populate the galaxy far far away. New rogues and robots, fresh warriors and weirdos; there are tons of new faces to challenge our favorite heroes in new ways or bring to light formerly unknown bits of Star Wars lore. All of the new characters leave good impressions, however, some naturally outshine the rest. And so, here are the 17 Best Characters Introduced In Marvel Star Wars Comics.
Droid companions are somewhat of a staple in Star Wars; Luke has R2-D2, Leia has C-3PO, Poe Dameron has BB-8. But what kind of droids would accompany the evil Sith lord, Darth Vader? Well, evil droids!
BT-1 might look like an astromech, but he is in fact an assassin droid with a litany of weapons built into his tiny frame. And as for Triple Zero? Well, he has the same specialities as any other protocol droid… as well as a talent and passion for torture. Together, the two of them accompany Darth Vader in his quest to build his own army and investigate Luke Skywalker, leaving carnage and terror in their wake. BT is always eager to bathe a battlefield with blaster shots and flamethrowers, and you can count on Triple Zero to inflict slow agonizing pain upon Vader’s opponents and give a cheery quip about it. They might not have much more depth than “what if R2 and 3PO were painted black and evil,” but thumbing through the Darth Vader series, you can always count on them for a good, sadistic laugh.
Jabba isn’t the only big slug crime lord with incredible wealth and influence. Grakkus was a Hutt located on the seedy planet of Nar Shaddaa. He’s an interesting case in that his fascination with the Jedi lead him to collecting a series of Jedi artifacts, most notably a necklace of lightsabers he constantly wore around his neck. His interest in the Jedi is what caused him to capture Luke Skywalker and force him to fight as a gladiator in his grand arena.
While the Empire cracked down on his operation and arrested the Hutt, that didn’t stop his tendency to dominate. During the Poe Dameron series, we see Grakkus again in the Megalox prison, lording over a majority of the inmates in a grand fortress. His Jedi obsession went from interesting quirk to a factor in the continuity, as it was his knowledge that lead Lor San Tekka his way and eventually making the map to find Luke Skywalker, thus inadvertently setting the events of The Force Awakens in motion. Here’s to hoping we see even more of this big, Jedi-loving slug.
Some of strangest, yet coolest characters to come out of the Lando mini series, Pavol and Aleksin were a pair of feline experts in hand-to-hand combat. Also, they were both clones and lovers. Now that’s some next level narcissism.
They accompanied Lando in his mission to steal Emperor Palpatine’s personal yacht and earn a huge pay day (which they were then going to use to afford yet another clone to rear as a child, to make their dynamic that much stranger). In this mission, Pavol and Aleksin found themselves squaring off against the Emperor’s red-clad Royal Guard, resulting in an epic battle of staffs and daggers. Finally, Pavol and Aleksin place a spot on this list for bringing to light a fascinating aspect of the dark side of the Force: that Sith artifacts can corrupt the mind. After exposure to the Emperor’s personal collection of dark artifacts, Aleksin became murderous and traitorous, even to his lover. Maybe these two cat men were meant as a foreshadowing for what could be happening with Kylo Ren and the mask of Darth Vader? Who knows. But what we do know is that Pavol and Aleksin are some really cool cats. Although they could’ve used some couple’s therapy.
Eneb Ray first appeared as the protagonist in Star Wars Annual #1. As a Rebel spy, Eneb took on the pseudonym of Tharius Demo to go undercover and infiltrate Imperial bureaucracy. He was given a mission from Princess Leia to rescue a couple of senators scheduled for execution, but upon learning that the Emperor himself would be present for the affair, Eneb took it upon himself to plot an assassination instead. The plan would end up a colossal failure, resulting in all the senators dying and Eneb Ray enduring the agony of the Emperor’s Force lightning. Eneb Ray would show up again in the Star Wars comics during the Rebel Jail arc as a free agent who attacked the Rebel-controlled Sunspot Prison in order to assassinate all the Imperial captives held within.
What makes Eneb Ray so fascinating is that he highlights the moral dilemmas involved with staging a rebellion. What sacrifices should one make in order to pursue the greater good? Is ruthless killing warranted if it’s of vicious enemies who themselves kill ruthlessly? Or does that make you just as vicious? It’s these moral quandaries that are often lost in Star Wars amongst all the lightsaber fights, and the highlighting of them that earns Eneb Ray a spot on this list.
The Star Wars: Obi-Wan and Anakin mini-series owes a lot of its quality to the never before seen location of Carnelion IV and the ever-warring people that populate it. When the two Jedi crash land on the snowy planet, they find themselves accompanied by Pran and Kolara, two women who fly a steampunk-inspired dirigible, wield gunpowder weapons and have no clue what a Jedi is. The first question they ask is if Obi-Wan and Anakin are “Open or Closed,” as Pran and Kolara are of the former faction forever at war with the later. Some time after, they are joined by Grecker, a Closed warrior who begrudgingly joins them for a while. The almost seem to reach some kind of peace and mutual respect for one another, highlighting how arbitrary drawn-out, principle-based warfare is. But sure enough, the Open and Closed turn on each other again, needing the Jedi to mediate the conflict between the factions.
The Carnelions are interesting in that they show us how even something like a cut-off steampunk dystopia can exist in Star Wars. They remind us that Star Wars takes place in an entire galaxy, and that a galaxy is a really big place with a variety of locations and cultures. And for that, they are some of the most interesting characters the comics have to offer.
Alderaan’s destruction is one of the most poignant moments in the original Star Wars, and yet little work has gone into displaying the people and culture of the planet before it was blown up. That is until Evaan Verlaine was introduced in Star Wars: Princess Leia.
Evaan was a rebel Y-Wing pilot who participated in and survived the Battle of Yavin. An Alderaan native, she grew up under the tutelage of Princess Leia’s own adoptive mother, Queen Breha Organa, which resulted in Evaan’s respect and unwavering loyalty for the Alderaan monarchy. However, she did not think Princess Leia as perfect, and criticized her seemingly cold and reserved reaction to Alderaan’s destruction – an interesting critique of Leia never seeming to properly mourn her home planet in the movies. Nonetheless, Evaan’s commitment to the preservation of Alderaan and expert pilot skills lent a great hand in helping Leia find and unite the remaining populace of Alderaan scattered about the galaxy. Evaan Verlaine serves as proof that Alderaan was a real place with real customs and real people, not just an emotional set piece, and easily earns her a spot here.
The scientist Cylo made a series of cybernetically-enhanced warriors to replace Darth Vader as Emperor Palpatine’s enforcers. There was Tulon Voidgazer, a genius whose mind was connected to a matrix of droids, and could even control a rancor with a computer chip embedded in it. Then there was Karbin, a Mon Calamari with the lightsaber skills and robotic body of General Grievous. And of course, there was the Astarte twins, Aoilin and Morit, who combined a selection of gadgets to pair with their lightsaber skills. Their creation was seen as so abominable to Vader, that he deemed them all a “blasphemy to the Force itself.”
The four cybernetic warriors (previously five, until Morit Astarte cut down his own Trandoshan comrade during their first battle with Darth Vader) provided a series of challenges for Vader to face throughout his storyline. Each of them combined technology and combat skills to challenge a Sith lord, and Vader’s battles with each of them are some of the highlights in his comic series. In the end though, none of these combatants could match the power of the dark side.
Loo Re Anno was the last of her kind in the galaxy as well as the greatest racer in the grand Dragon Void Run. She may have come off as intimidating and mysterious with her nebulous age as well as her tall, blue figure, but Loo was a calm and reserved individual who had great respect for the glory of the race. While other racers acted in cut-throat or unsportsmanlike behavior, Loo always took it upon herself to help ensure the race remained fair and the rules respected. While others saw the race as a place to earn spoils and glory, Loo saw it as sacred rite.
She took interest in Han Solo during her final race. At one point in the race, she hooked her ship to the Millennium Falcon to have Han pull her through a field of mines, but later, she stood up for him in a few altercations. This proves her commitment to the race, both in upholding its fairness, but also in doing everything she could to win. In the end, her assistance allowed Han to dodge the Empire and succeed in his mission, and she won her last race and rejoined her people. Her unwavering sportsmanship easily make her the stand-out character of the Han Solo comics.
While many incorrectly assumed Rogue One’s Cassian Andor was going to be revealed as Poe Dameron’s father, readers of the Shattered Empire mini series knew that Poe’s parents were already established as ace pilot Shara Bey and spec-ops soldier Kes Dameron.
Kes Dameron was part of a special squadron of rebel soldiers known as the Pathfinders, who fought under the command of Han Solo during the Battle of Endor and were instrumental in rooting out remaining Imperial strongholds during the collapse of the Empire. And despite those accolades, Shara Bey had an even more impressive career. As an unrivaled A-Wing pilot, Shara also took part in the Battle of Endor, and her skills caught the attention of Princess Leia, who recruited her on a diplomatic mission to Naboo. They were attacked by Imperial remnants, but Shara and Leia were able to fight them off in old N-1 starfighters. Her accomplishing this mission then made Luke Skywalker seek her out in order to recover a sacred force-sensitive tree the Emperor had locked away on Coruscant. Shara succeeded in this mission too, retiring with Kes after helping the Jedi knight and bringing home her own piece of the sacred tree.
With their daring lives of adventure and vital role in the Rebellion, Shara Bey and Kes Dameron are some awesome characters. And with their inclusion in the comics, now we know where Poe Dameron got all of his awesomeness from.
Have you ever wondered what Chewbacca would be like if he wasn’t a good guy? If he just let loose with all of his wookiee strength and carved a path of destruction in his wake? Well, if you did, the image you’d have would match that of Black Krrsantan.
A hulking beast with dark fur, Black Krrsantan makes an imposing addition to the already intimidating collection of Star Wars bounty hunters. And while any wookiee in its prime can rip a man’s arms out of his sockets, Black Krrsantan is particularly fierce. The only reason he became a bounty hunter at all was because he committed a crime egregious enough to disgrace his people and get exiled. Krrsantan also bears a great lightsaber scar across one eye he received from battling Obi-Wan Kenobi himself. Heck, he almost ended the life of Chewbacca in Star Wars 14: Vader Down Part V, when the two wookiees engaged in one of the most epic duels to take place in the comics yet! He’s still a recurring character in the new line of Doctor Aphra comics, so expect to see even more badassery from this black beast.
A running theme throughout all of Star Wars is that of the struggle between that which is natural and that which is machine, and perhaps it has no greater embodiment in the comics than that of Cylo.
Cylo was the scientist that saved Darth Vader’s life by designing his suit and attaching robotic prosthesis, but he didn’t stop there. He was so obsessed with pushing the envelope with cybernetic enhancements that he made himself into an immortal system of backlogged memories and personality maps that could be implanted in a series of clones as soon as his current body died. On top of that, he quarrelled with Darth Vader by thinking the Force as obsolete and designing the cybernetic warriors Tulon Voidgazer, Karbin, and the Astarte Twins as replacements for the Sith lord.
In the Darth Vader comics, Cylo is a fascinating Faustian villain, who seeks progress and the deletion of the obsolete with vigor. However, his pride and confidence in his creations aren’t enough to save him. For in the end, Vader lethally reminds Cylo that the technological terrors he constructs are insignificant compared to the power of the Force.
One thing fans of Star Wars: Rebels must have all wondered at some point is “how did Kanan become as cool as he is?” Well, a big part of that answer is Kanan’s experience with Janus Kasmir.
Janus was a native of the planet Kaller, where Kanan (then going by his real name of Caleb Dume) found himself during the great Jedi purge or Order 66. The young Jedi would have surely been found and killed hadn’t been for Janus Kasmir, who took the young Caleb as a protege, even after the boy stole Janus’ ship in an attempt to escape the planet. Janus taught Caleb how to hide his Jedi identity, as well as how to use a blaster and everything else involved with becoming a lawless rogue. All the guerilla tactics, strategies and smuggling techniques you see Kanaan employ in Star Wars: Rebels can be traced back to the survival skills he learned from Janus Kasmir. Even his adopted name “Kanan Jarrus” is derived from “Janus Kasmir.”
We see Janus help out Ezra Bridger in the 12th issue of Kanan, so we know he’s still out there in the galaxy causing mischief and trying to earn a quick buck. Hopefully we get to see even more of this Kalleran criminal.
There was probably no greater character introduction in the Star Wars comics than at the end of Star Wars #6, when Sana came out of her ship, blaster in hand, proclaiming to be the wife of Han Solo.
The budding relationship between Han Solo and Princess Leia has always been a joy to watch, but the revelation of a long-lost, previously scorned wife added a whole new wrinkle to their dynamic. It’s hilarious watching Han trying to cozy up to Leia while she’s pushing him away, annoyed at his apparent infidelity, made only worse with Sana dogging him for stolen money. See, Sana wasn’t really married to Han for love; the two staged a wedding in order to pull off a big robbery. And Han being the rogue we know him to be, made off with both cuts of the cash. But Sana was a capable fighter and pursuer, able to track Han down and gun down other criminals looking to cash in the bounty on Han’s head. She stuck around with the Rebellion, stubborn to get the cash she was owed. And it’s good that she did. During the assault on the Sunspot prison, Sana lent a great hand to Leia and Doctor Aphra in holding off the attacking forces. Because of her fighting abilities and her highlighting of Han Solo’s less than stellar past, Sana Starros is just an all around delight in every panel she’s in.
Thanoth was an inspector for the Empire, whose unparalleled abilities in deduction and investigation made him incredibly good at his job. After Darth Vader clandestinely stole a large sum of contraband credits, Emperor Palpatine sent Thanoth to discover the truth. This thrusted Vader and Thanoth into a tense game of cat and mouse, as Vader had to simultaneously work with Thanoth to discover the crime that he himself created and thus had to hide.
Despite the efforts of the Sith lord, however, Thanoth was able to deduce all of Vader’s plans – from the involvement of Doctor Aphra, to the desire to find Luke Skywalker and train him to overthrow the Emperor. Thanoth was even able to discover that Darth Vader was Anakin Skywalker, a closely guarded secret at the time. And yet, strangely enough, Thanoth ended up completely in support of Vader’s plans! Thanoth was so committed to the preservation of the Empire (the “Eternal Empire” as he called it) that he deemed Palpatine to weak to continue ruling it. He was willing to die for his beliefs that Darth Vader would be a stronger figure in maintaining order in the galaxy. With his sharp wit and martyrish devotion to the strength of the Empire, Thanoth was one of the many highlights in the Star Wars: Darth Vader series.
We first meet Sergeant Kreel in Star Wars #10, known then only as the Gamemaster in Grakkus the Hutt’s arena, where he trains Luke Skywalker to fight with a lightsaber. But he’s not just some nameless warrior, he was actually a cunning undercover agent of Darth Vader the entire time sent undercover to undermine the operation. Later, he would rejoin the 501st legion as the leader of an elite stormtrooper squadron, brutally crushing rebels in Star Wars #21, then leading the assault on the Harbinger ship in Star Wars #24.
In the latest arc of comics, Kreel provided an image never before seen in Star Wars: a stormtrooper wielding a lightsaber. It was such an unexpected moment to see him ignite his green blade, and yet it served as an excellent nod to Ralph McQuarrie’s original concept art depicting stormtroopers all carrying lightsabers instead of blasters. Kreel was a serious force with the Jedi weapon too, turning the tides in battle, and would have defeated Luke Skywalker were it not for Darth Vader’s insistence the boy not be harmed. As the only stormtrooper to swing a lightsaber around like the best of them, Kreel is easily one of the coolest characters to come out of the Marvel comics.
In Poe Dameron’s line of comics, he’s proven to be a cunning and capable commander. And yet, with all his cunning, every time Poe seems to always be one step behind the First Order. This is thanks to the leadership of Poe’s very own Moriarty, Agent Terex.
Terex was a devout stormtrooper in the days of the Empire, but switched to a ruthless life of crime after he realized the Empire’s law and order had been swept away. He developed a sense of ruthlessness and tactics that then made him a valuable asset to the First Order. He first crossed paths with Poe on the planet Ovanis, where he was sent to capture the Resistance pilot. He lead a surprise attack on the planet, spouting cruel-humored quips before callously brutalizing the Creche people in an attempt to goad the noble Poe Dameron out. Later, he would once again prove his cunning by beating Poe to the Megalox prison and make a deal with Grakkus the Hutt for information on Lor San Tekka. Poe Dameron just can’t seem to catch a break with Agent Terex outsmarting him at every turn.
The galaxy far far away has an array of scary, imposing villains, but Terex brings a suave, charismatic touch to Star Wars villainy.
As the only character introduced in the comics now helming an entire line of comics of her own, was there any doubt that Doctor Aphra would end up at the top of this list?
Doctor Chelli Lona Aphra was a self-proclaimed “rogue archaeologist” who had a special interest in droid and weapon technologies and a special talent in making aloof quips to fit nearly any situation she found herself in. Her tech expertise caught the attention of Darth Vader, who enlisted her to aide him in gathering secret allies and armies. She helped Vader find and reprogram the killer droids BT-1 and 0-0-0, execute a large heist of contraband credits and build a droid army.
However, Doctor Aphra is an interesting case in that she isn’t evil by any means, just working in her own self interest. After being arrested by the Rebels, she actually helps Princess Leia and Sana Starros in defending the Sunspot prison from Eneb Ray’s attack. And while Vader came to respect Aphra for all her help, in the end he turned his back on her and chucked her out an airlock. Luckily, she planned for this and managed to survive her death sentence, going to on to carry out her own misadventures. With her cunning, tech skills and quirky charm, Doctor Aphra is undoubtedly the best character to be introduced in the Marvel Star Wars comics.