The 50 best Star Wars characters

We count down our favorite denizens of a galaxy far, far away…



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Clumsy Stormtrooper

Who is he?
As platoons of Imperial stormtroopers pursue our heroes around the first Death Star, one particularly inelegant footsoldier manages to give himself a mighty good crack on the noggin with a partially-descended blast door.

Why do we love him?
Because we always root for the underdog. And also because imperfection is something to be treasured, particularly in these times of CGI-up-the-wazoo blockbusters (see the deeply unfunny pratfalling battle droids in The Phantom Menace for proof).

  1. Key line: “Ow!”
    Seen in: Star Wars

Major Bren Derlin

Who is he?
A Rebel Alliance officer during the short stay on the ice planet of Hoth who bears a striking resemblance to a certain Boston barfly…

Why do we love him?
Because he’s played by the legendary John Ratzenberger, aka Cliff from Cheers, in an enormous pair of lime-green snow goggles and a pretty dashing ’tache. But it’s a tiny part, which is why almost nobody knows his name (sorry).

  1. Key line: “Your Highness, there’s nothing more we can do tonight. The shield doors must be closed. Now who fancies a beer?” (Okay, we added the last bit.)
    Seen in: The Empire Strikes Back


Who is he?
Chewbacca’s dad, just an ordinary hairy-collared guy trying to keep his head down and scratch out a meager living in this crazy universe.

Why do we love him?
Because he’s the only completely normal dude in the entire Star Wars canon: his interests include drinking, snoozing, hanging out with his boys and interacting with pervy holograms while the wife cooks Bantha rump in the background. Imagine a hirsute Homer Simpson and you’re pretty much there.

  1. Key line: [Erotically charged howl!]
    Seen in: The Star Wars Holiday Special (this is the only character in our list drawn from somewhere other than the six-film canon).

The Rancor Keeper

Who is he?
As his job title suggests, Malakili (his name, apparently) is the burly, leather-hatted slob hired by Jabba the Hutt to tend his captive man-eating monster, the infamous Rancor.

Why do we love him?
Because his weepy distress at the death of his beloved pet provides a moment of completely unexpected pathos in the midst of all the yelling and gunfire, reminding us that even the most mindless killing machine needs someone to love him/her/it.

  1. Key line: [Sobs!]
    Seen in: Return of the Jedi


Who is he?
Lando Calrissian’s head of security, a slapheaded cyborg mute with a seriously funky wraparound headpiece.

Why do we love him?
Because he’s a great example of what the Star Wars series does so well: guys who make a great impression without saying a word. Lobot just strides about the place looking all bald and in charge, defying the Empire without breaking a sweat. The only thing uncool about him is his rubbish name.

  1. Key line: We suspect he may be able to speak, but is just too achingly hip to actually bother.
    Seen in: The Empire Strikes Back

Admiral Ozzel

Who is he?
The chief officer aboard Darth Vader’s giant star destroyer Executor, and the man in charge of finding those pesky rebels.

Why do we love him?
Because he dies well, and that’s an art. Ozzel’s demise—choking and clutching at his neck as Darth works his long-distance Dark Side mojo—is perhaps the most memorable in the entire series, responsible for giving a whole generation of kids the screaming heebie-jeebies.

  1. Key line: “Lord Vader, the fleet has moved out of lightspeed and we’re preparing to— accccch…”
    Seen in: The Empire Strikes Back

Chief Jawa

Who is he?
Clan leader for a roving bunch of squeaky, ratlike, robot-scavenging desert midgets. Hey, it’s a living…

Why do we love him?
Because he’s basically the ass-end-of-the-galaxy’s nearest equivalent to a fast-talking used car salesman: roll up, roll up, get the finest robots at keraaaazy prices! Plus he attempts to pull a fast one on old sourpuss Uncle Owen, making him our kind of scum.

  1. Key line: “Utini!”
    Seen in: Star Wars

Death Star gunner

Who is he?
To be fair, we’re stretching the definition of “character” somewhat here (and not, it must be said, for the first or final time). The Death Star gunner is basically just an extremely cool hat with, we assume, a fairly unpleasant person inside.

Why do we love him?
It’s all about the upside-down helmet and the creepy black jumpsuit, which work together to make him look like nothing so much as a Darth Vader mini-me. Plus he’s the man with his finger on the planet-shattering button (well, lever), so he deserves your respect, puny earthling.

  1. Key line: His actions speak volumes.
    Seen in: Star Wars and Return of the Jedi

Jango Fett

Who is he?
He is the clones! Yes, bounty hunter Jango (good name, by the way) is not only the father of little troublemaker Boba, but the genetic source of every clone trooper in the entire galaxy. It’s like one of those sperm-donation comedies gone horribly, horribly wrong.

Why do we love him?
Well, he’s got a good outfit, he’s a crack shot with a poison dart and he’s the original owner of that slinky space-coffin, Slave 1. Plus he’s played by stone-faced Maori hardnut Temuera Morrison, arguably the only living New Zealander not to make it into the Lord of the Rings movies. Hopefully this goes some little way to compensate.

  1. Key line: “I’m just a simple man, trying to make my way in the universe.”
    Seen in: Attack of the Clones


Who is he?
A ruthless pod-racing legend who looks like a genetic blend between a camel and a condom.

Why do we love him?
Because he comes this close—this close!—to splattering little Anakin Skywalker all over the canyon wall, which would not only have wiped out the single most irritating child in the universe but saved a heck of a lot of trouble further down the line. If you can watch The Phantom Menace without praying for him to win, you’re made of more sentimental stuff than we are.

  1. Key line: “You won’t walk away from this one, slave scum!” If only…
    Seen in: The Phantom Menace

Continue to numbers 40–31 in our list

Users say

Janeen V
Janeen V

HEY NOW!!  IT'S TIME FOR YOU TO EAT THAT WOMP RAT!!  I think Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker was one of the greatest all-time fits for an actor IN ANY ROLE!. His combination of hope, purity and  innocence combined with his chronic restlessness and permeating sadness made him so believable that to this day I still believe Luke Skywalker lived in that galaxy long long ago and far far away. .But that hope that somehow managed to fight it's way through all that sadness and restlessness--well that gave even ME hope!!  So, you've found your gal that not only prefers Luke to Han, but absolutely could not even STAND Harrison Ford!  For the record,  I think first place should have been a 4-way tie between Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Alec Guiness's Obi Wan, and the inimitable yet lovable Yoda. Who could possibly choose between those 4? All were superb!!!!   But Han Solo? Ohmigod he was horrid!  I saw Star Wars when it first came out, and absolutely could not stand Harrison Ford in that role,  I thought he was so awful that I almost didn't go see The Empire Strikes Back, but loved the other 4 so much that I just had to go. I just closed my eyes when Harrison Ford came onscreen--and still do--and have throughout the years. I feel the same about Samuel Jackson--he was absolutely awful as Mace Windu!  Ford and Jackson are 2 of the highest paid and worst actors of all time in my opinion..... I have to close my eyes when they come onscreen. But all is redeemed with just the sight or sound of Alec's Obi Wan, Mark's Luke, Oz's Yoda or James' Earl Jones' Darth.  SO EAT A WOMP RAT--I'm an original and die-hard Star Wars lover and I cannot and never could stand Harrison Ford's Han Solo! I would have loved Clint Eastwood as Han, though...........

See all Star Wars films

Episode IV: A New Hope

The movie that started it all: a work of pure spectacle and wonder.

Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

The best (and bleakest) movie in the series? Most fans think so.

Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

We may have been wondering if it was time Lucas tried his hand at universes new.

Episode I: The Phantom Menace

The film grinds its way from nonsensical plot exposition to anti-climactic finale.

Episode II: Attack of the Clones

After the longueurs of The Phantom Menace, George Lucas was taking no chances.

Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Breathless, dramatic, effects-filled, badly acted and slightly disappointing.

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