The 50 best Star Wars characters

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



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Salacious B. Crumb

Who is he?
Jabba the Hutt’s pet-cum-sidekick, a diseased little rodent with big ears, a ravenous black beak and one of the coolest names in the series. Imagine the psychotic, half-starved offspring of The Great Gonzo and Rizzo the Rat.

Why do we love him?
Because he’s got a bad attitude, and he doesn’t care who knows it. None of Jabba’s ill-tempered pronouncements would be complete without a vicious little cackle from stage right, as Salacious gleefully rubs salt into the wound.

  1. Key line: “Ee-hee-hee-hee!”
    Seen in: Return of the Jedi

Gonk droid

Who is he?
A big, chunky ’70s TV set with Michelin-man feet who hangs out in the darkened nether regions of the sandcrawler belonging to the Jawas (little rat-like creatures on Tatooine) making cool noises.

Why do we love him?
The aforementioned cool noises. Plus the fact that he’s clearly just a very small man with a cardboard box on his head, with legholes cut in it—perfect for the lazy Halloween partygoer.

  1. Key line: “Gonk.”
    Seen in: Star Wars and The Phantom Menace


Who is he?
Some will doubtless argue with this inclusion—the only good Ewok, they’ll say, is a dead Ewok, preferably being wept over by his traumatized Ewok buddy. In most cases we’d agree, but Logray, the medicine man of the tribe, is an altogether classier specimen.

Why do we love him?
Because he’s got a bird skull on his head, he’s got snazzy stripy fur, he dances like a demon and we have to believe his position as tribal shaman involves necking a pouch-load of the local wacky herbs and getting jiggy with his spirit animal.

  1. Key line: [Squeaky squeaky squeak!]
    Seen in: Return of the Jedi

General Grievous

Who is he?
The supreme commander of the droid army, and a dark lord of the Sith. In appearance he’s a big skeletal robot with four arms and a human heart. Not that it seems to make him any nicer…

Why do we love him?
Because he can fight with four lightsabers at once! Which is, of course, pretty cool. Plus he pre-empts Darth Vader by having a serious lung infection which causes him to cough and splutter like an 88-year-old asthmatic, which is actually scarier than it sounds.

  1. Key line: “I’ll enjoy crushing you!”
    Seen in: Revenge of the Sith

Admiral Piett

Who is he?
An Imperial officer who receives an unexpected promotion when his superior gets telepathically strangulated by Darth Vader. He wears a natty green outfit, topped off with what appears to be the Empire’s equivalent of a flat cap.

Why do we love him?
Because he looks so completely out of his depth. One of the most interesting things about the original trilogy is how it approaches the idea of the banality of evil: sure, Vader might be a terrifying black giant but his underlings generally look like middle-managers from a fusty smalltown bank. Despite being in charge of a vast and destructive starship, Piett seems like the sort of chap you wouldn’t mind sharing a beer with.

  1. Key line: “As you wish, my lord.”
    Seen in: The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi

The Max Rebo Band

Who are they?
Jabba the Hutt’s house band, consisting of flop-eared keyboard legend Rebo, shaved-mole clarinetist Droopy McCool and female-testicle-on-legs Sy Snootles.

Why do we love him?
To be fair, it was a close call between this combo and equally smokin’ Star Wars egg-heads Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes. In the end, Rebo’s outfit won the battle of the bands because they were so egregiously “updated” for the Special Edition, transformed from giants of interstellar funk to a hideously CG-mogrified soul-blues outfit. According to online sources, their original name was Evar Orbus and his Galactic Jizz-Wailers (honestly!), so lucky escape there.

  1. Key line: “Lapti nek, rat a ran wim joct co jappi qaff!”
    Seen in: Return of the Jedi (original release version only)

Aunt Beru

Who is she?
Luke Skywalker’s long-suffering auntie (though not, as it turns out, by blood), a goodhearted woman who has the bad luck to be married to the universe’s grumpiest man.

Why do we love her?
Because she puts up with so bloody much, and her only reward is to be unceremoniously burned and left out in the sun to smoke. In Revenge of the Sith, Beru and Owen look like a fairly contented young couple, happy to take little Luke under their protective wing—and yet, by the time of Star Wars, they’re weatherbeaten, world-weary and barely speaking to one another. It’s basically a kitchen-sink drama in space.

  1. Key line: “Luke's just not a farmer, Owen. He has too much of his father in him.”
    Seen in: Star Wars and Revenge of the Sith

Mace Windu

Who is he?
A top-level Jedi, member of the Council and all-round protector of the weak and defenseless.

Why do we love him?
Because Samuel L Jackson was such a huge Star Wars fan he actively lobbied for a part in The Phantom Menace, and won. We’re not entirely convinced by Windu—his tendency towards would-be cool cod-Tarantino exclamations feels just a teensy bit forced—but he’s got a groovy purple lightsaber, which wins him a lot of points.

  1. Key line: “This party’s over!”
    Seen in: The prequel trilogy

Supreme Chancellor Valorum

Who is he?
Pretty much the top geezer in the entire galaxy, the head of the Galactic Senate, and a pleasantly fusty old stick.

Why do we love him?
Largely because he’s played by the legendary Terence Stamp, who looks intermittently bemused, amused and slightly annoyed to be surrounded by blue screens, invisible effects and people with very silly hair. Valorum is, of course, booted out of his job in favor of the devious Palpatine. We imagine him back at home, feet up, sipping cocoa, listening to the news of the collapse of the Republic on the radio and mumbling “I bloody told them.”

  1. Key line: “Will you defer your motion to allow a commission to explore the validity of your accusations?” Snappy.
    Seen in: The Phantom Menace

Angry Tusken Raider

Who is he?
A desert warrior with an appearance seemingly modelled on the lovechild of an Egyptian mummy and a 16mm camera.

Why do we love him?
We had to have a Tusken Raider on this list, simply because these Bantha-riding bruisers are the baddest Bedouins in Beggar’s Canyon. This particularly narky specimen is the pick of the bunch, dealing Luke Skywalker a bloody good smack over the head before letting out a genuinely blood-curdling war cry.

  1. Key line: “Arrrrrgh-ack-ack-ack!”
    Seen in: Star Wars

Continue to numbers 30–21 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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