Over forty years ago, George Lucas began a trilogy that would go on to become a worldwide phenomenon. Star Wars has since spawned movies, TV shows, comics, books, video games and even theme park attractions, all taking place “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away”. With ten live-action movies, plus an incredibly fleshed out Expanded Universe - rebranded Star Wars Legends - this franchise doesn’t appear to be slowing down any time soon.
The heroes and villains of Star Wars are some of the most enduring characters ever created. As such, viewers have become incredibly invested in their fates. Whether it be through stories or art, many fans have taken it upon themselves to rewrite Star Wars history, or at least, put a new spin on it. After all, viewers haven’t exactly been thrilled with every canonical entry in the series.
We all know that every story has two sides and as much as viewers adore the Jedi, many of them have undeniably found themselves lured over to the dark side. Darth Vader is probably the most iconic character of the entire franchise. Even those rare humans who have yet to sing the gospel of Star Wars know the Big Bad when they see him. Having an affinity for certain characters is one thing, but what about reimagining them completely? Some of these artists have chosen to completely recreate these villains as heroes, while others have merely chosen to depict them in a more heroic light. The results are undeniably awesome.
Here are 25 Star Wars Villains Reimagined As Heroes.
25 Captain Phasma
Game of Thrones fans were thrilled when Gwendoline Christie was cast in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Christie portrayed Captain Phasma and although the character looked awesome, she was dispatched far too quickly. Viewers have definitely been left hoping that her story isn’t over.
Sadly, we’ll have to wait and see if she can cheat her fate a second time when Episode IX hits theaters next year. This image by natebaertsch paints Phasma in a much more heroic light. However, we’re willing to bet that if she does make a triumphant return, it will be as a villain.
24 Kylo Ren and Rey
Kylo Ren and Rey may be on different sides ultimately, but that certainly hasn’t stopped some fans from desperately trying to hope their romance could become a reality. They may not get their wish, but the chemistry between Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver is palpable. Plus, Keylo Ren and Rey do share quite a bit in common, bonding over mutual feelings of loss, betrayal and isolation. Here, shorelle created an adorable image of the two together.
They would hardly be the first case of opposites attracting in this universe.
Many fans would love to witness them sharing a scarf and enjoying some hot chocolate.
23 Darth Vader and Boba Fett
Darth Vader is the most iconic Big Bad in the Star Wars Universe. Interestingly, despite having precious little screen time, bounty hunter Boba Fett is equally beloved by fans. Despite the fact that both characters are villainous, many viewers have a particular affinity for them.
This image was drawn by Dan-the-artguy and colored by ZeroMayhem. The piece imagines Vader and Fett, fighting the good fight together. Okay, so they’re most likely still fighting the bad fight, but they look pretty heroic here. Besides, there are plenty of fans who will tell you that Vader is the true hero of the original trilogy anyway.
22 General Hux
General Hux is one of the newer villains of the franchise. Like Captain Phasma, he was introduced in The Force Awakens. Hux is in a constant power struggle with Kylo Ren, one that he often comes out on the losing side of. The character is expected to return for Episode IX, with Domhnall Gleeson reprising his role. Therealmcgee created this Regency AU image of Armitage Hux with his pet cat, Millicent - the true hero of the Star Wars saga.
Ever since Lucasfilm’s Pablo Hidalgo tweeted Millicent into existence, Star Wars fandom has been obsessed with Hux’s feline companion.
This piece is one of many to depict the fanatical general with his beloved pet cat.
21 Boba Fett
Here is another image of Boba Fett looking heroic, this one drawn by gattadonna. Newer Star Wars fans often struggle to understand the appeal of Boba Fett. After all, the bounty hunter didn’t really have all that much to do in the movies. His story has definitely been built up more in the Expanded Universe, but many who love the character do so based solely on his film appearances.
Older Star Wars fans have pointed out that much of the Fett love can be traced back to the early marketing campaign for The Empire Strikes Back. Boba Fett was featured heavily and many fans had his action figures before the character even debuted onscreen.
20 Grand Admiral Thrawn
Despite facing off against classic Star Wars characters, such as Luke, Leia and Han, this villain never appeared in the original trilogy. Grand Admiral Thrawn was introduced in the 1991 novel, Heir to the Empire. Although Lucasfilm later declared that those works were no longer canon, Thrawn has since shown up in Star Wars Rebels. Timothy Zahn, the writer responsible for creating Thrawn also revisited the character with a novel of the same name last year.
Thrawn appears in Eun-su's piece as a young man. The artist obviously has a lot of love for the Grand Admiral, who remains one of the most enduring characters to come out of the Expanded Universe.
19 Ben Solo
This piece by mkmatsumoto features Ben Solo abandoning his Kylo Ren identity and becoming a hero.
That’s certainly an image that many fans would like to see become a reality.
Adam Driver made Ren such a compelling villain that seeing him find redemption would satisfy many. Sure, some would argue that there is no redeeming a guy who offed his father - especially when that guy was one of the most beloved characters in Star Wars history. However, Driver’s nuanced performance leant so much humanity to Ren that many viewers can’t help but feel sympathy for him.
18 Darth Maul
Can Darth Maul really be a villain if he’s this well dressed? Not only does he look great in this piece by Nikolaspascal, but his confident stance reveals that he knows it.
Sure, there are plenty of Big Bads who’ve shown a certain sartorial elegance, but this is definitely a new look for the Sith Lord.
Although he debuted in the much maligned Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, Darth Maul somehow still managed to find popularity in the Expanded Universe - even after apparently meeting his end at the hands of Obi-Wan Kenobi.
17 Anakin Skywalker
There are a lot of negative things that can be said about Anakin Skywalker: his teen angst, his painful lack of chemistry with Padme, and his stilted dialogue, to name a few. One of Anakin’s worst sins, however, was how seriously he took himself. The balance of heart and humor was a vital aspect of the original trilogy. Sadly, the prequels were lacking in both of these areas.
This piece by shorelle imagines a very different Anakin, one who perhaps possesses a sense of humor. Aside from that, the character’s angst appears to have been redirected here. Maybe Anakin got super into the Clash and stopped caring so much about the dark side.
16 Iron Vader
This piece by @DepressedDarth is obviously a mashup of Darth Vader and Iron Man, completely reimagining both classic characters. Admittedly, Iron Vader looks pretty formidable. We’ll choose to call him a hero, although it’s equally plausible that this guy has chosen the dark side. If you think about it, this makes a strange kind of sense.
Both men are incredibly powerful and deeply flawed.
Plus, anyone with the combined abilities of Iron Man and Darth Vader would be unstoppable. Let’s hope this new character is playing for the good guys!
15 BB-8 and BB-9E
Although the introduction of BB-9E was likely more about selling merchandise than it was about creating a new character, fans still love this droid. While undeniably cute, BB-9E is in league with the First Order, in direct opposition from the equally adorable BB-8.
The character didn’t get much screen time in The Last Jedi, but it was enough to leave an impression. This piece by strdusts imagines a love story between the two small droids. R2-D2 and C-3PO proved a long time ago that droids can be close companions. BB-9E looks a bit caught off guard by BB-8’s affections, but perhaps it’ll come around.
14 Greedo Green Lantern
This piece by Nikolaspascal is unexpected, but looks incredibly convincing. Greedo is the Rodian bounty hunter who was disposed of by Han Solo. Although he a had a very minor role in the original Star Wars, Greedo became far more well known after Lucas altered his scene at the Mos Eisley Cantina.
The artist depicts him here as a member of the intergalactic peace keeping force known as the Green Lantern Corps.
This is certainly a more heroic rendering of the character, who would probably never be chosen to wear a Green Lantern ring. Another color corps on the Emotional Electromagnetic Spectrum would likely be happy to have him though.
13 General Grievous
General Grievous was introduced into the Star Wars franchise with Clone Wars in 2004, but made his live-action debut soon after, appearing in Episode III - Revenge of the Sith. The Kaleesh warlord turned Supreme Commander of the Confederacy of Independent Systems' Droid Armies was rebuilt as a cyborg after sustaining irreparable injuries.
Although he could be taking this Stormtrooper’s life for purely malicious reasons, it could also be viewed as a heroic move for the character. This piece by Twynsunz is ambiguous, but since Grievous’s lightsaber skills rival that of a Jedi, his switching sides could have been quite helpful to them.
12 Galactic Empire of Dogs
Although this image by Pink-Skink doesn’t explicitly state that these characters are meant to be heroic, they’re dogs, which automatically places them in the good guys column. Here we have K-9 versions of major Star Wars Big Bads: General Veers, Grand Admiral Thrawn, Grand Moff Tarkin, Director Krennic, Admiral Piett, and Darth Vader.
This is certainly a different interpretation of these characters, who appear more snuggly than villainous.
The piece makes us wonder what kind of dogs the heroes of Star Wars would turn out to be. Either way, this is a movie that we would watch.
11 Baby Stormtrooper
It’s difficult to imagine the childhood of a Stormtrooper, considering the fact that their humanity wasn’t really explored until the more recent Star Wars entries. This piece by KER1 of a kid running with what is presumably his pet lizard and shooting at things with his squirt blaster is much cuter than the backstory that most fans would imagine.
Knowing that Finn was sold off to the First Order at a young age means that this certainly wasn’t his childhood. However, there is no denying that this paints the Stormtroopers in a very different light.
10 Darth Maul, Shaak Ti and Gungi
This piece by Miriel features a happy group that you would never see in actual Star Wars canon. You may recognize Shaak Ti from Attack of the Clones. The Jedi Master actually lost her life in a deleted scene from Revenge of the Sith, but instead went on to appear in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. As for the Wookie, he also showed up in that series. His name is Gungi and he’s a youngling in training to become a Jedi.
Shaak Ti and Darth Maul may be enemies, but they look pretty cozy here.
9 Stormtrooper Avengers
Now this is an unexpected, but cool concept. In this piece by JonBolerjack Stormtroopers become Avengers. We have Stormtrooper versions of Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, Captain America and Hawkeye - sadly, even here, Black Widow gets the shaft.
This is a creative idea, as Iron Man’s armor lends itself to the design, but the rest of the Avengers’ costumes certainly do not.
Even still, the artist has made believable heroes out of all of them. Perhaps more Stormtroopers would defect from the Galactic Empire if joining Earth’s Mightiest Heroes was an option.
8 D&D Jedi and Sith
This mashup of Dungeons and Dragons and Star Wars was created by lgliang. The artist decided that if you could play D&D as Jedi and Sith, that they would most likely be Psions. This rendering certainly makes all of the characters look like champions, whether they were originally or not.
.Even Darth Vader, the Biggest Bad of them all appears to be a hero here.
The comparison between Psion and Jedi/Sith is apt due to the telekinetic powers of these characters, as well as their impressive fighting skills.
7 Super Stormtrooper
Well, we’ve seen the Marvel versions of Stormtroopers, but Robert-Shane brings DC into the mix with this Superman Stormtrooper. The Last Son of Krypton certainly did come from a galaxy far, far away and here’s what he could look like under very different circumstances.
That would make for one incredibly powerful soldier.
Of course, this Super Trooper would obviously be Team Jedi. Imagine the epic showdown when Darth Vader catches wind of this guy. Even stranger still, consider a battle between Super Trooper and Iron Vader. We’re not even sure who would win that one.
6 Jedi Kylo Ren
This piece by punmagneto is another one that imagines a more heroic Kylo Ren. The fact that he is missing his facial scar likely means that this is more of a “what if” scenario. Ben Solo could’ve made very different choices and grown up to be the hero that everyone assumed he would be.
After everything that this character has done, Ren’s redemption does seem unlikely at this point. He makes an incredibly compelling Big Bad though and what would any Star Wars movie be without one of those? Kylo Ren is no mustache-twirling caricature, but rather a fully formed villain with very human motivations and vulnerabilities.
5 Chibi Palpatine
Well, who knew that the villainous Emperor Palpatine could look this adorable? This piece by Evolvana imagines a much less threatening version of the Star Wars Big Bad. It makes one wonder what exactly it would take for the evil Sith Lord to appear this happy.
The artist created this image in response to someone claiming that the character was merely misunderstood.
Many arguments have been made on behalf of Darth Vader and even Kylo Ren. Most fans, however, accept Darth Sidious as a rather straightforward villain.
4 Winter Soldier Stormtrooper
Whether you want to call him the Winter Trooper or the Storm Soldier, this piece by RickCelis is a mashup of a stormtrooper and Bucky Barnes, aka the Winter Soldier.
Bucky has had quite a journey in Marvel Comics: from sidekick to assassin to Captain America himself. Fans have been wondering where his story will go once Chris Evans leaves the MCU for good. He could wind up becoming the next Cap or his future may be in Wakanda. First, he’ll have to find a way back from Thanos’s finger snap, but we all know that the Winter Soldier will return.
3 Darth Vader and his pet AT-AT
Sorry, Vader, but no one finds you threatening here. This piece by jmascia features a super cute Chibi Darth Vader taking his even cuter pet AT-AT for a walk. The All Terrain Armored Transport has been used by both the Galactic Empire and the First Order to tip the scales in battle.
There is something animalistic about the combat walker though, and if anyone needs a pet, it’s Vader.
Having something to love might be exactly what that guy needs to make him realize that there’s more to life than the Dark Side.
2 Phasma, Kylo Ren, and Hux
It’s kind of difficult to imagine Captain Phasma, Kylo Ren, and General Hux as villainous when they’re all goofing around like this. Isaac-laforete recreates the characters with a much lighter tone than anything we’ve seen in the films, inspired by a photoshoot featuring actors Gwendoline Christie, Adam Driver, and Domhnall Gleeson.
Let’s face it, these guys probably have no idea how to have fun. When they hang out, it’s probably all dark side all the time. Perhaps if they spent a bit more time partying and bit less time plotting the demise of their enemies, there would finally be peace in a galaxy far, far away.
1 Boba Fett
Boba Fett: the galaxy’s greatest hero. Or at least that’s how he appears in this piece by CValenzuela. The bounty hunter is already considered heroic by a great many Star Wars fans or at the very least, incredibly cool. This image expertly conveys the feelings of so many Fett devotees. He truly looks like he could swoop in and save the day.
Whether his immense popularity stems from the early marketing campaign of The Empire Strikes Back - which included his first appearance in the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special - his demeanor or his armor, Boba Fett will always be beloved.
Which Star Wars villain do you think would make the best hero? Share your thoughts in the comments.