There is a saying that is attributed to both actress Ginger Rogers and the director Constantin Stanislavski - "there are no small parts. Only small actors."
Regardless of who said these famous words, the statement does reveal a serious truth about storytelling in every media. While the heroes and the villains may hold the focus of a tale, every character - however briefly they enter the orbit of the star of the story - has their own tale to tell.
This is particularly true of the universe of Star Wars, where nearly forty years of various media have managed to delve into the histories of the background players that appeared only briefly in the films. Indeed, whole novels have been devoted toward detailing the lives of all the denizens of Jabba the Hutt's palace and the various bounty hunters Darth Vader hired to track the Millennium Falcon besides Boba Fett.
Some of these characters possess back-stories that are as intricate, epic and tragic as those of the protagonists of the original trilogy and the prequels. In fact, we know more about some of them than we do about the history of Poe Dameron, Rey, or Finn!
Here now are 15 Minor Characters From Star Wars That You NEED To Know.
15 Rick Olié
Capable of flying any craft made on his native Naboo, Rick Olié was considered the finest pilot in the Royal Space Flying Corps. Dubbed "Reckless Rick" in his youth, time tempered Rick's daring streak and his talents earned him a position as the pilot of Queen Amaidala's personal starship.
Rick's most notable accomplishment is also his most infamous one. It was he who first instructed a young Anakin Skywalker in the basics of piloting a fighter ship. We can only wonder if the course of galactic history might have changed forever had it not been for Rick's act of kindness to an aspiring young starfighter.
Rick is also called "Captain Obvious" by some Star Wars fans, due to much of his dialogue in Episode One largely describing everything everyone else just saw. (i.e. "We didn't hit it!" or "There's the blockade!")
14 Lor San Tekka
Killed in the opening scene of The Force Awakens, Lor San Tekka was an accomplished explorer and archaeologist even before his discovery of a lost map leading to the first Jedi Temple. It was this sacred site where Luke Skywalker sought refuge after the death of his students at the hands of Kylo Ren.
Lor San Tekka was a member of the Church Of The Force, which secretly upheld the ideals of the Jedi Knights during the dark days of The Imperial Rule. While not a Force Sensitive, he became the galaxy's leading expert on the ancient lore of the Jedi. He preserved many Jedi documents and worked side-by-side with Luke Skywalker in locating those few Jedi temples left untouched by Emperor Palpatine's purge of Jedi holy sites.
13 Salacious B. Crumb
Most casual Star Wars fans recognize this odd creature, who lurked around Jabba the Hutt's throne. However, few fans know the name of Salacious B. Crumb or that he is one of a long-line of Kowakian Monkey-Lizards which served various crime lords as court jesters.
Crumb lived the life of a thief after leaving Kowak. One day, needing a fast escape, he stowed-away on Jabba the Hutt's ship. Caught in the act of stealing from Jabba's food bowl, the dexterous Crumb managed to evade Jabba's guards in their attempts to kill him.
An amused Jabba struck a bargain with Crumb, offering to let him live for every day he made Jabba laugh. Crumb agreed and proved to be an excellent fool, surviving for a dozen years before dying with his master when Jabba's sale barge was blown up.
Originally seen in The Empire Strikes Back, the cyborg Lobot - who served as the chief administrator of Cloud City - has two different but equally complex histories.
In the reality of Star Wars Legends, Lobot acquired his cybernetic implants after being convicted of theft in Cloud City. Sentenced to fifteen years involuntary servitude, he was transformed into the city's first computer-liaison officer. Lobot continued to serve Cloud City and retained his implants once his time was served, enjoying his work and proving the most competent administrator the city ever had.
In the current reality, Lobot was given his implants to run battlefield calculations for the Empire. He somehow broke free of the forced-loyalty that was programmed into him and began working for gambler Lando Calrissian, aiding him in various shady schemes before taking over management of Cloud City after Lando won it.
11 Nien Nunb
First seen in Return of The Jedi, the heroic Nien Nunb deserves better than being remembered as "that guy who co-piloted the Millennium Falcon with Lando." A freighter pilot by trade, he turned smuggler when his employer began currying favor with the Empire.
Nunb officially joined the Rebel Alliance after learning of an Imperial plot to kill all the Alderaanians who had been off-world when the Death Star destroyed Alderaan. He smuggled a group of Alderaanians to safety at great personal risk. This act of courage impressed Princess Leia, who rewarded him with The Chalcedony Waves - a necklace passed down among the women of House Organa.
Nunb continued to serve with distinction in the New Republic, before joining the Resistance as a Lieutenant Commander. You can see him in The Force Awakens, where he is one of the X-Wing pilots who survived the destruction of Starkiller Base.
10 Yarna d'al Gargan
Originally known as "the fat dancer" from Return of The Jedi, Yarna d'al Gargan agreed to become a slave for Jabba The Hutt to save her children's lives.
Hailing from the desert world of Askaj, Yarna's race had the ability to store massive amounts of water inside their bodies. Jabba forced Yarna to remain fully hydrated and wear special makeup in order to make her look like a Hutt female. Disturbingly, Jabba said Yarna reminded him of his mother in this state.
Freed upon Jabba's death, Yarna would go on to find new love with the hunter Doallyn. They became free traders, though Yarna still performed as a dancer for fun. Her performance of The Dance Of The Seventy Violet Veils at the wedding of Han Solo and Princess Leia led to her being discovered and a new career as a jeweled brassiere model.
9 Max Rebo
Hailing from the planet Orto, Siiruulian Phantele was a popular musician, famous for his ability to play the red ball jett organ with his feet. Like many performers he used a stage name - the far easier to pronounce Max Rebo.
The youngest of five children, Max spent most his youth struggling to survive and find food. This is probably why he agreed to a lifetime contract with an unlimited supply of food as payment for leading the house-band in Jabba the Hutt's palace. This deal angered his band-mates, some of whom only had to eat once a month!
After Jabba's death, Max embarked on a solo career and went on-tour. He also performed for the troops as part of the New Republic equivalent of the USO. He eventually retired from music, lending his name and likeness to a successful chain of restaurants - Max's Flanth House.
BoShek's role in Star Wars: A New Hope was a minor but ultimately important one. A smuggler and pilot-for-hire who was not at liberty to take on a new client at the time, he nevertheless introduced Obi-Wan Kenobi to his friend Chewbacca.
BoShek had quite an active life in the Star Wars Legends universe. Reportedly a Force Sensitive, though never trained in any capacity, a kind word from Obi-Wan encouraged him to give up smuggling and focus on meditating upon the Light Side of the Force.
Before he went straight, he successfully broke Han Solo's record in completing the Kessel Run... along with several Imperial TIE Fighters. This drove BoShek to go on the run and eventually led to him joining the Rebellion.
7 Momaw Nadon
Originally known only as "Hammerhead" on the packaging for his action figure, Momaw Nadon's fearsome appearance conceals a noble soul. Momaw was first seen hanging out in the background of Chalmun's Spaceport Cantina in A New Hope.
Momaw was the high priest of his people on the herdship Tafanda Bay, but the whole of his home world of Ithor was threatened by the Empire. In order to save his species from extinction, Momaw gave the Empire the sacred agricultural secrets of his people. This act of blasphemy led to his banishment.
Settling on the planet Tatooine, he attempted to use his talent as a gardner to make something grow in the sandy soil. In time, his exile would be lifted and he would return to Ithor, resume his position as high priest, marry, and have a son.
Best remembered for his tearful reaction to the rancor's death in Return of The Jedi, the animal trainer Malakili had a sad life even before the loss of his favorite charge.
Born in the slums of Nar Shaddaa, Malakili worked in a circus as an animal trainer for several years. He was sold into slavery after one of his creatures killed several audience members. Eventually sold to Jabba the Hutt, Malakili found some small pleasure in tending to Jabba's pets, despite his captivity.
Free but without purpose following Jabba's death, Malakili contemplated suicide and wandered into the Dune Sea. Ambushed by gangsters and saved by the local sheriff, Malakili found new purpose and employment training the department's riding animals. Malakili would go on to found a restaurant in Mos Eisley with the former chef at Jabba's palace.
An insectoid creature from the planet Gand, Zuckuss was one of the bounty hunters who answered Darth Vader's call to track down the Millennium Falcon following The Battle of Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back.
Dubbed "The Uncanny One" by his fellow bounty hunters, Zuckuss had an amazing ability for finding his prey. This was due to both his training as a tracker on his mountainous homeworld and an untrained sensitivity in The Force which let him instinctively sense nearby life signs.
This sensitivity may have fueled Zuckuss' later descent into madness. He was diagnosed with a severe case of multiple personality disorder, talking to himself in different dialects. Despite his ignoble end in a New Republic asylum, Zuckuss' example still proved an inspiration to the people of Gand and many of his race followed in his footsteps as bounty hunters.
4 Willrow Hood
You know a character is obscure when it is harder to find a picture of him than it is to find pictures of his LEGO mini-figure or his cosplayers. Such is the strange legacy of Willrow Hood, also known as "The Ice Cream Guy" due to the object he carries resembling an ice-cream maker.
A gas miner on the planet Bespin, Willrow worked his way up to middle-management at A'roFilter - a company sympathetic to The Rebellion. When the Empire invaded Cloud City, Willrow bravely stayed behind to recover the memory core of A'roFilter's mainframe, lest the list of Rebellion contacts within it be discovered. He is seen briefly clutching the memory core in The Empire Strikes Back, running past Lando and Leia.
Though his exploits have been relegated to the non-canon Star Wars Legends timeline, Willrow's bravery is still celebrated with an annual "Willrow Hood Run" at the Star Wars Celebration convention.
3 Garindan ezz Zavor
First seen in A New Hope, it was Garindann ezz Zavor who told a group of Stormtroopers that C-3PO and R2-D2 were, in fact, the droids that they were looking for.
Simply called "Snout-Spout" by the underworld of Tatooine, Garindann ezz Zavor was respected, feared and loathed in equal measure. He was considered by most to be the greatest spy in Mos Eisley, so even Jabba the Hutt was wary of consulting with the informant for fear of what Garindann might learn if allowed too close.
In the Star Wars Legends continuity, Garindann played an important role in helping Darth Vader deduce the identity of Obi-Wan Kenobi's new pupil. It was Garindann who discovered that a young man named Luke Skywalker had sold a landspeeder on the day the Millennium Falcon left Tatooine. He also confirmed that Skywalker had been seen in the company of Kenobi and Han Solo that same day.
A male Ubese from the planet Uba IV, Boushh has never actually been seen in the Star Wars films. Princess Leia posed as the bounty hunter in order to infiltrate Jabba The Hutt's palace in Return of The Jedi.
Why the unnecessary level of subterfuge? Partly because Jabba would have been suspicious of an unknown bounty hunter showing up with a captive Chewbacca, but also because Leia just happened to acquire Boushh's armor. This occurred in the novel Shadows of the Empire, after Boushh made the mistake of trying to blackmail his latest employer. This is odd as Boushh was portrayed in other Star Wars Legends stories as paranoid and unwilling to risk his life by angering a client.
As of late 2017, Boushh has yet to make an appearance in any canon media and it seems unlikely the real man behind the mask will ever be known.
Famously brought to life by Bea Arthur in The Star Wars Holiday Special, Ackmena was the night-shift bartender at Chalmun's Spaceport Cantina, in the city of Mos Eisley. A gifted singer who was popular with her patrons, she utilized her musical talents and gifts for persuasion to clear the bar when the Empire imposed a system-wide curfew on Life Day.
These theatrical talents served Ackmena well after the death of Emperor Palpatine. Teaming with one of her patrons, she produced a musical based on the life of Luke Skywalker. The show proved successful enough to go on tour and Ackmena became a minor celebrity as a result.
In her later years, she used her fortune and fame to aid Freedom Flight - an organization akin to the Underground Railroad, which helped escaped slaves.
Is there a crazy minor Star Wars character we missed? Let us know in the comments!