What are the best Star Wars characters? A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away… A cinematic universe was born. Since 1977, the Star Wars franchise has been selling out cinema screens all over the world. The original trilogy of sci-fi movies breathed new life in to age old themes such as good versus evil; love and enduring friendships; battling your destiny. These are themes that the newer editions to the saga have continue to explore.
Star Wars movies have given us so many iconic cinematic facets. Yellow ascending text; the score; the costumes; the dramatic one liners. So much of it is embedded deeply within our cultural references that it is almost impossible to imagine cinema history without the sci-fi giant.
Complex characters set against hyperbolic inter-galactic backdrops has seen every film generate hundreds of millions – if not billions – at the box office. So, who are the best Star Wars characters across all 11 movies (sorry, no Baby Yoda)? Here’s our top 10.
The best Star Wars characters:
- Grand Moff Tarkin
- Obi-Wan Kenobi
- Kylo Ren
- Emperor Palpatine
- Princess Leia
- Han Solo
- Darth Vader
Grand Moff Tarkin
Peter Cushing is so deliciously terrifying as a proper baddie. And here he is, commanding the Death Star with his razor-sharp cheekbones and delightful burr. Tarkin was introduced in the original 1977 movie, A New Hope, and was seen gleefully destroying the planet Alderaan with a giant laser. His intimidating scowl and sheer physicality made him the perfect Star Wars villain.
We’ve probably all attempted a Chewy impression at some point – some of us more successfully than others. The two hundred year old Wookiee is faithful, sensible and adorable. First mate of the Millennium Falcon, he’s been a reassuring presence throughout the franchise. We don’t need to know what he’s saying to know when he’s being sad or sassy.
Finn’s story was one of the most intriguing of the new trilogy. He’s a deserter, a fugitive and a rebel at heart. He sees injustice and wants to fight – he fits in perfectly with the themes of good versus evil and battling your destiny. John Boyega made damn sure we knew what goes on behind those Storm Trooper masks and created a Star Wars character so utterly human.
BB8 could never. The original bleep-bloop-blip is one of the most iconic Star Wars characters to
have endured. He is helpful, conveys information and is very capable of giving a sarcastic beep. This small droid has a big impact across the franchise, providing both comic relief and moments of real pathos. Not bad for someone who looks like a 10 litre bin.
Obviously, we’re referring to the rich and resonant vocals of Sir Alec Guinness here (no offence, Ewan), the man who brought Obi-Wan to life. He’s an oasis of stoicism among all of the chaos. He will listen to your confessions, heal your body and spirit, and urge you on with sage guidance. He has an aura of unmistakable authority about him which Sir Alec encapsulated perfectly.
Star Wars characters, particularly the villains, tend to be rather outlandish. Adam Driver brought a new disturbance to the Force with his realisation of Kylo Ren. This is a young man who is damaged and is dealing with his trauma through darkness and violence. Driver imbued Kylo Ren with new depths to this not-quite-but-sometimes villain, and was the outstanding performance of the new trilogy.
The snarling, hooded Palpatine is a real piece of work. Not content with having manipulated his
way into power, Palpatine started the Clone Wars and destroyed as many Jedi as he could. Ian McDiarmid turns in a performance that is part Shakespearian, part pantomime, and it works. His
dialogue has become iconic (and often parodied) in a way that no other Star Wars character has.
Truly powerful and credible women can be hard to come by in the sci-fi genre, so it’s important to recognise not only Carrie Fisher’s phenomenal performance but the social and cultural impact the character of Leia has had. Fisher is assertive yet vulnerable; a princess, a general, and a fighter. Her presence in the most recent trilogy showcased how bad-ass she is to newer viewers. Leia is an iconic movie character and will always be royalty to us.
Truly the coolest man on every planet, Han was brought to life with a ballsy swagger by Harrison Ford. He’s cocky, sarcastic and, ultimately, very loyal. Han has a roguish, rebellious charm that simply leaps off the screen. Whether he’s captaining the Millennium Falcon or giving it p-chew p-chew, he’s the Star Wars character that all the guys (and girls!) want to be.
Although Darth Vader looks like a spare part in a hoover tool kit, he is one of the most instantly recognisable movie villains of all time. He has his own theme tune, his own particular way of breathing and, of course, he is your father. Voiced to perfection by James Earl Jones and given his physicality by Dave Prowse, there was never any doubt that Darth Vader is the best Star Wars character in the whole of the saga.
There you have it, the best Star Wars characters of all time!