Star Wars introduced moviegoers to a wide array of appealing characters who quickly became iconic -- Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, R2-D2, Princess Leia, and Han Solo are just a few of them. The first of the prequels, The Phantom Menace, brought us even more, like Qui-Gon Jinn, Mace Windu, and Darth Maul. With the first entry in the new trilogy, The Force Awakens, we got Rey and BB-8, to name just two. Delivering characters we want to spend time with is fundamentally what George Lucas's epic saga does.
If we consider A New Hope, The Phantom Menace, and The Force Awakens all the "originals" of their respective trilogies, then there have been five sequels so far -- The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, Attack of the Clones, Revenge of the Sith, and The Last Jedi. Each of them added new characters designed to further develop the overall story and take it in new, unexpected directions.
Some of those character additions have been successful. Fans have fallen in love with many of the new players, more than a couple of whom have proven absolutely vital to the series. Others have had the opposite effect. They may have seemed like a good idea on paper, but they didn't translate to the screen very well, consequently becoming weak points in the franchise. A few are even downright horrible. We've picked out the ones that added the most and those that detracted from the enjoyment of this epic space tale.
Here are 10 New Character Additions That Hurt Star Wars Movies (And 10 That Saved It).
20 Hurt: Count Dooku
Count Dooku makes his debut in Episode II - Attack of the Clones, but also factors into Episode III - Revenge of the Sith. He has a fascinating backstory. Once a Jedi Master -- trained by Yoda, no less -- he was swayed by the dark side of the Force and committed himself to advancing the nefarious agenda of the Sith.
By all accounts, he should be a fearsome character.
The casting of Christopher Lee, a screen veteran long associated with horror movies, was nothing less than inspired. Who better to bring such a devious, evil character to life? That's why it's so disappointing that relatively little is done with Dooku. He never achieves the overwhelming presence a Star Wars villain needs, which blunts his power. Darth Vader he is not.
19 Saved: Rose Tico
An unfair amount of negativity greeted Rose Tico -- and Kelly Marie Tran, the actress who plays her -- after she was introduced in The Last Jedi. Such criticism was misguided. Rose is a maintenance technician who moves to the front lines of the Resistance after a random encounter with Finn. Over the course of the movie, she goes from an average, almost anonymous citizen to a full-fledged hero.
What her critics fail to recognize is that Rose is a Star Wars character in the classic mode of Luke Skywalker. Like her, he overcame his humble beginnings-- Luke went from farm boy to Jedi Knight. The main theme of Star Wars has always been that average people with good intentions can make the galaxy a better place. Rose fits perfectly into that notion.
18 Hurt: Bail Organa
Bail Organa receives a mention in the original Star Wars film, but doesn't become a full-fledged part of things until Attack of the Clones. He is a respected member of the Republic Senate, a colleague and confidante of Padme Amidala, and eventually the adoptive father of Leia. Bail and his wife Breha take the infant girl to hide her away when Anakin Skywalker makes his transition into Darth Vader. While this fact takes up just a brief moment of screen time, it's a pivotal piece of Star Wars history.
With a strong actor like Jimmy Smits in the role and his status as Leia's paternal protector, Bail should be a much stronger presence.
To include him and not maximize his potential seems like a waste.
17 Saved: Jabba the Hutt
Jabba the Hutt has a great entrance into the Star Wars saga. He is mentioned in A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, in both instances referred to as a loathsome, highly dangerous gangster. Because we don't see him in either of those movies, he gains an air of mystery.
Then, in Return of the Jedi, we finally get to lay our eyes on Jabba. He's even grosser than we could have imagined. The character is brilliantly designed so that his physical size is equal to the size of his menace, and his unattractiveness is comparable to the depths of his immorality. Jabba is a world-class bad guy.
16 Hurt: Ewoks
The Ewoks are controversial figures within the Star Wars fan community. Some people love them, others hate them. Those who hate them do so with a passion. Truth be told, they have a point.
The teddy bear-like creatures seem a little bit too childish for the conclusion of the original trilogy.
Return of the Jedi is supposed to be the dramatic culmination of the Rebels' efforts to destroy the Death Star and put Darth Vader out of commission. That's some heavy stuff. Presumably, the Ewoks were included to give the intense proceedings a kid-friendly vibe. They admittedly have some innovative ways of helping our heroes fight evil, but the effort to cater to children is a bit too obvious.
15 Saved: Admiral Ackbar
Admiral Ackbar has one of the most well-known and beloved lines of dialogue in the entire Star Wars saga -- "It's a trap!" He exclaims this upon realizing that the rebels have been lured into an ambush on Endor. It's hard to say why fans have seized upon this particular moment. Maybe it's because there's such heightened drama, or maybe because Ackbar is just a cool-looking character. Maybe a little of both.
What we know for sure is that his cry makes an impact. Ackbar is a shrewd, perceptive leader and an expert military tactician. While his screen time in the saga is relatively small, the good Admiral has thrived in the popular Star Wars books. Fans can't get enough of him.
14 Hurt: Salacious Crumb
When we meet Jabba the Hutt in Return of the Jedi, we also meet his pet, Salacious B. Crumb. We're not entirely sure what this thing is. Salacious has parts that look like a monkey, parts that look like a lizard, and parts that are somewhat hard to pinpoint. He's also got an annoying cackle that gets on your nerves quickly.
The problem with Salacious is that he's clearly a puppet.
Yoda is, too, in the original trilogy, yet he has such personality and is so skillfully brought to life that it isn't hard to forget about that. The same can't be said for Salacious. Instead of an alien pet, it seems as though Jabba has a creepy Muppet hanging around him all the time.
13 Saved: Boba Fett
Some people like to mock Boba Fett. He doesn't get a whole lot to do, and he meets his demise rather unceremoniously in Return of the Jedi. Despite those things, the ragged-looking bounty hunter has become a serious fan favorite, thanks to his mysterious nature and some masterful costume design. George Lucas gave him a second chance, revealing his origin in the prequels, which only boosted his popularity.
Boba Fett has helped the saga by proving his versatility. He's been the subject of comic books, novels, and videogames. Even if his on-screen time isn't the most glorious, something about him has captured the imagination of fans, putting him in the upper echelon of Star Wars characters.
12 Hurt: Vice Admiral Holdo
Just to be clear, we like the idea of Vice Admiral Holdo. Having another strong woman step up to lead the Resistance fleet following Leia's injury was an inspired idea. It creates a moment of tension in The Last Jedi, as she gets into a scrape with Poe Dameron. And we can't forget the heroic lightspeed sacrifice she makes.
There just simply isn't enough of her.
Laura Dern is a great actress worth watching in literally anything, but Holdo doesn't get a lot of screen time before making that sacrifice. For that reason, her act of selflessness fails to generate the same emotional impact it would have had we gotten to know her better first -- or had a more established character made it.
11 Saved: DJ
Having an Oscar winner join the cast of a Star Wars movie was an exciting proposition. Benicio del Toro, who won the Academy Award as Best Supporting Actor for Traffic, appears in The Last Jedi as DJ, an amoral scoundrel. DJ's big act of malice is to give the First Order all the details of the Resistance's plans, betraying Finn and Rose in the process.
The Star Wars films tend to be black-or-white when it comes to the characters. Most of them fall squarely into the category of either "good" or "evil." DJ is different. He initially helps Finn and Rose, but later turns on them when it's to his advantage. Such ambiguity provides a refreshing change from the norm, especially since he is not redeemed at the end.
10 Hurt: Elan Sleazebaggano
Elan Sleazebaggano appears in Attack of the Clones for less than ten seconds. Those ten seconds are horribly painful to watch. The character is an intergalactic pusher who tries to peddle "death sticks" to Obi-Wan Kenobi in a Coruscant nightclub. The Jedi Knight responds by using the Mind Trick on him, convincing Elan that he wants to "go home and rethink [his] life."
The sequence is handled with all the subtlety of an old "Just Say No" ad.
Inserting an anti-smoking moment into a movie that heavily appeals to young viewers is fine and dandy. That said, the bit is also played for laughs, which undercuts the message. All in all, this bit could have either been cut out or handled much more deftly than it is.
9 Saved: Emperor Palpatine
Emperor Palpatine has a very interesting character arc in the Star Wars saga. As expertly portrayed by actor Ian McDiarmid, we first meet him in The Empire Strikes Back. He appears as a wrinkled, yet undeniably ominous old man. We meet him again in the prequels, when he was younger and his evil was more discreet.
Palpatine is a Senator from Naboo who engages in underhanded political machinations to become the Supreme Chancellor of the Galactic Republic -- one who goes on to rule with an iron fist. Palpatine is a great addition because he allows the epic story to examine how individuals with bad intentions can exploit the system, rise to power, and then abuse the power they've accumulated.
8 Hurt: Dexter Jettster
Attack of the Clones introduces us to Dexter Jettster, the owner of Dex's Diner and an old friend to Obi-Wan Kenobi. His role is small, but critical. He examines a poisoned dart for his pal, identifying it as having come from Kamino. That puts Obi-Wan on a path to the planet, which he discovers was the genesis of the Clone Army.
Dexter might have been an interesting character, but the movie makes him the worst stereotype imaginable of a short-order cook.
He's overweight, wears a too-short white t-shirt riddled with stains and holes, and has pants that sag in the back. This image has been used in countless movies and TV shows over the decades. It was a boring cliche by the time it was used here.
7 Saved: Porgs
From the moment a Porg was first viewed in the trailer for The Last Jedi, the internet lit up. People were instantly obsessed with these big-eyed, furry birdlike creatures and eager to learn more about them. Any time a character starts to become iconic before the actual movie comes out, you know it's a good addition.
The Porgs provide some comic relief in the film, while also proving to be loyal allies to our heroes. One of them even becomes lunch for Chewbacca. There would seem to be greater possibilities for these characters, which creates a sense of anticipation for what function they might serve in the upcoming Episode IX. We're left wanting to see more of them.
6 Hurt: Zam Wesell
Bounty hunter Zam Wesell is hired by Jango Fett to exterminate Padme Amidala in Attack of the Clones. The first time, she accidentally gets Padme's body double instead of the real deal. Later, she unleashes the dangerous centipede-like kouhuns into Padme's bedroom. This attempt narrowly fails. She's determined, if not always successful.
She's not a terrible character, just more of a missed opportunity.
Zam is a rarity in that she's a female bounty hunter. Clearly, she has the drive to succeed in her missions. For that reason, Clones could have done a lot more to show her personality or illustrate the uniqueness of being a female in a male-driven profession. What sets her apart? We never truly find out.
5 Saved: Lando Calrissian
Lando Calrissian steps into the franchise in Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back. He serves as the Baron Administrator to Cloud City and later becomes a general in the Rebel Alliance. Then there's the little matter of him giving his old pal Han Solo over to Darth Vader.
The introduction of Lando is intriguing because he's cut from the same cloth as Han. Both have a tendency to be morally ambiguous, putting themselves before others. The difference is that, by Empire, Han is much more committed to the side of good. That makes Lando an appealing foil. He's what Han used to be, but is gradually moving away from. An added bonus is that Billy Dee Williams is suave as all get-out in the role.
4 Hurt: J’ywz’gnk Kchhllbrxcstk Et’nrmdndlcvtbrx (a.k.a. Joh Yowza)
Look, we think J’ywz’gnk Kchhllbrxcstk Et’nrmdndlcvtbrx should be in the Hurt category based on that name alone. How do you even say that? Call him by his other name, Joh Yowza, and he's still terrible. George Lucas has long had a weird tendency to go back and "improve" the Star Wars movies. This is a perfect example of that tendency run amok.
Joh wasn't originally in Return of the Jedi.
A singer in the Max Rebo Band, the CGI character was added to the Special Edition re-release in 1997. He performs an annoying new song called "Jedi Rocks". ROTJ was perfectly fine without Joh Yowza, so his presence in the tinkered-with version is utterly unnecessary.
3 Saved: General Grievous
It's always fun when the Star Wars movies introduce a new villain who looks as alluring as they do dangerous. Remember laying eyes on Darth Maul for the first time? That's the feeling we're talking about. General Grievous, who was brought in for Episode III - Revenge of the Sith, also fits the bill.
Although he doesn't have a huge arc -- and is thoroughly dispatched of by Obi-Wan Kenobi -- it's an impressive moment when the multi-limbed warrior whips out four lightsabers and begins spinning them around like a helicopter blade. That put a new spin on the lightsaber battles and provided some genuine thrills for the audience. He looked tough to beat, so there was drama in wondering whether he could take down the Jedi.
2 Hurt: Wodibin
Actor Warwick Davis has a long and varied history with the Star Wars series. He played Wicket the Ewok in Return of the Jedi, Wald in The Phantom Menace, and Wollivan in The Force Awakens. Casting him in various roles has become something of a tradition within the franchise. He later turned up in Solo: A Star Wars Story, too. In The Last Jedi, Davis plays Wodibin, an alien on the casino city of Canto Bight.
Here's the issue -- you can't tell it's Warwick Davis.
Admittedly, you never really see his face in any of his roles, but the whole point of casting him here is to have a fun little cameo. If we don't know it's Davis, then the cameo is rendered worthless.
1 Saved: Yoda
Has any added character had more of an impact on the saga than Yoda? From the time the diminutive Jedi waltzed onto the screen in The Empire Strikes Back, he changed the Star Wars landscape forever.
With Ben Kenobi gone, Yoda becomes the wise mentor, instructing Luke -- and, in essence, the audience -- in the ways of the Force. He provides information that will become valuable as the series goes on, dropping important nuggets of wisdom like "Do or do not, there is no try" along the way.
Yoda is also a comforting presence. He's the one who knows what to do in threatening situations. Revenge of the Sith twists that magnificently. When Yoda says, "Into exile, I must go. Failed, I have," a chill goes down your spine. If he's failed, things are catastrophic.
Who's your favorite new addition to the Star Wars franchise? Tell us what you think in the comments.