The 50 best Star Wars characters

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



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Cornelius Evazan and Ponda Baba

Who are they?
The intergalactic renegades who pick on poor Luke in the Mos Eisley Cantina bar. Evazan is roughly human save for a spot of facial scarring and a serious werepig nose, while Baba is a dark green reptilian type with a worryingly fleshy, vaguely gynecological maw.

Why do we love him?
Because they’re hard as nails. These space pirates have the death sentence on 12—count ‘em!—systems, which makes them very much the wrong guys to mess with (unless you’re Obi-Wan Kenobi, which you aren’t). But are they just business partners, or is there something more serious going on? Is interspecies marriage even legal on Tatooine?

  1. Key line: “He doesn’t like you. I don’t like you either.”
    Seen in: Star Wars

General Rieekan

Who is he?
The old-school military man who oversees the Rebels’, ahem, “tactical withdrawal” from Echo Base on the ice-planet of Hoth.

Why do we love him?
Because while everyone else is running about and panicking because the Imperials are on their doorstep, Rieekan just gets on with it, keeping his troops in line at great personal risk. He’s pretty much the last man to leave, but although he seems to survive the invasion there’s no sign of him in Return of the Jedi. Oh, and also because he has an evident fatherly soft spot for Han Solo.

  1. Key line: “A death mark’s not an easy thing to live with.”
    Seen in: The Empire Strikes Back

Count Dooku

Who is he?
Aka Saruman, sorry, Darth Tyranus, a dark lord of the Sith who takes center stage in Palpatine’s evil efforts to topple the Galactic Senate.

Why do we love him?
Because he’s played by horror legend, pagan priest and death-metal pioneer Christopher Lee, and there’s no greater reason than that. Also because he engages in a thrilling, intermittently hilarious lightsaber battle against Yoda, who is approximately a quarter of his size. We were slightly disappointed when he got knocked off right at the start of Revenge of the Sith, though.

  1. Key line: “It is obvious that this contest cannot be decided by our knowledge of the Force... but by our skills with a lightsaber.”
    Seen in: Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith

Bib Fortuna

Who is he?
Jabba the Hutt’s red-eyed, pointy-toothed, lumpy-browed, tentacle-headed “major domo,” aka dogsbody.

Why do we love him?
Because he swans about the palace trying to appear all important and official when it’s patently obvious to any creature with one or more eyes that Jabba and his pals view him as a bit of joke. Also, because even though he has two huge fleshy appendages attached to his head, they don’t seem to serve any purpose except giving him one hell of a neckache. And thirdly, because he’s played by jobbing actor Michael Carter, who got eaten in the Tottenham Court Road tube station by a certain American werewolf.

  1. Key line: “Bargain rather than fight? He’s no Jedi.”
    Seen in: Return of the Jedi

Mon Mothma

Who is she?
The proud ice maiden of the saga, and leader of the Rebel Alliance by the time of the final battle—imagine Margaret Thatcher if she hadn’t turned to the dark side.

Why do we love her?
Because she’s chilly and aristocratic, but a fighter to the core. Her address to the Rebel forces in the run-up to the battle of Endor is the icy calm before the storm, although actress Caroline Blakiston does look like she’s wandered in from an episode of Upstairs, Downstairs (she was, in fact, more recently a regular in Midsomer Murders on British television). Rumor has it that Mothma is set to be played by Judi Dench in the upcoming movies, but we’ll take that with a huge pinch of salt for now.

  1. Key line: “Many Bothans died to bring us this information.”
    Seen in: Return of the Jedi and Revenge of the Sith

Nien Nunb

Who is he?
Lando Calrissian’s co-pilot behind the controls of the Millennium Falcon at the Battle of Endor—an enthusiastic goon with a natty waistcoat and a face like layered sushi.

Why do we love him?
Because, while everyone else is getting blown to bits and yelling about how it’s a trap, Nien just looks like he’s having a whale of a time, bobbing up and down in his seat and gibbering away in what we’re reliably informed is a dialect of the Kenyan language. In the original script, Lando and Nien were supposed to die in the flaming fireball of the Death Star. We’re really glad the producers changed their minds.

  1. Key line: Ask a Kenyan. Let's hope it’s not something offensive.
    Seen in: Return of the Jedi

Biggs Darklighter

Who is he?
Luke Skywalker’s childhood buddy, a red-hot pilot with an absolutely cracking ’tache and the insouciant manner of an old-Hollywood matinee idol.

Why do we love him?
Because the bond between Biggs and Luke represents the link between George Lucas’s own California childhood and his galaxy far, far away. Luke and Biggs are essentially American Graffiti characters gone awol, and the decision to cut most of their scenes together, while justifiable in pacing terms, slices some of the heart out of the first movie. We urge readers to check out these deleted scenes and discover the hero who got left on the cutting room floor. See also: Deak, Windy, Camie and Fixer.

  1. Key line: “The rebellion is spreading, and I wanna be on the side I believe in.”
    Seen in: Star Wars

Admiral Motti

Who is he?
The Imperial upstart who actually dares to challenge Darth Vader’s authority, and even the existence of the Force. But not for long…

Why do we love him?
Because he’s not just an ass-kissing yes-man on the road to terminal strangulation like pretty much everyone else in the Imperial high command (see numbers 37 and 45). Motti is a realist, dammit, and he believes in firepower and overwhelming force, not magic and mystical mumbo jumbo. Also, because he has the best lipcurling snarl this side of Huw Edwards.

  1. Key line: “Don't try to frighten us with your sorcerer’s ways, Lord Vader.”
    Seen in: Star Wars

Padmé Amidala

Who is she?
Doomed Queen of Naboo, member of the Galactic Senate, wife of the traitor Anakin Skywalker, mother of two kids she’ll never get to see and owner of the weirdest make-up box in the known universe.

Why do we love her?
Okay, so Amidala’s not the snap-talking, blaster-wielding hardass that her daughter turns out to be, but she’s still a fascinating character, bred in tradition, but not tied to it, and in love with a man she must suspect is destined to go badly off the rails. Natalie Portman’s performance is hamstrung by some truly fistchewing dialogue, but there are moments where Amidala’s strength shines through.

  1. Key line: “I was not elected to watch my people suffer and die while you discuss this invasion in a committee!”
    Seen in: The prequel trilogy

Admiral Ackbar

Who is he?
The commander of the rebel armada during the Battle of Endor, piscine member of the moronically named Mon Calamari species and deliverer of one of the series’ truly great lines.

Why do we love him?
Because he looks like an enormous leathery, goggle-eyed trout, stands in a slightly camp hands-on-hips fashion and talks like he’s just swallowed a mouthful of Coke. But he still manages to be one of the coolest fish in the fleet. Plus he has a funky extendable chair that allows him to zip about the command centre like that old sci-fi puppet Joe 90.

  1. Key line: All together now: “It’s a trap!”
    Seen in: Return of the Jedi

Continue to numbers 20–11 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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