No matter how many times you’ve drifted through the Star Wars galaxy, keeping up with its characters is more difficult than facing Darth Vader. From the main cast to its supporting roles, it can get tricky to remember them all.
That being said, some stand out and leave an indelible mark brighter than a lightsaber – no matter how brief their appearance was.
So without further ado, here’s a list of all the best Star Wars characters, ranked! Yes, including characters from those dreaded prequels.
Played by Emilia Clarke, Qi’ra is from the unpleasant planet of Corellia just like Han Solo. While Han has been off living his best life, Qi’ra never fully left the world of crime. She remained in the creepy underworld and became a fierce fighter who knew how to get what she wants. In Solo, she saves Han and Lando, though she joins Darth Maul and becomes his right hand. This decision might rank Qi’ra as our least favorite character, but there’s no denying she’s a kickass girl we wouldn’t mind becoming when we grow up.
39. Bib Fortuna
As Jabba’s majordomo, it only makes sense that Bib appears on this list. Also serving as Jabba’s trusted adviser, Bib only speaks his own tongue, Huttese, even if he can understand others. His most notorious line is “De wanna wanga”, a form of greeting that has become iconic among Star Wars fans. The most likable part of Bib Fortuna is probably the skin under his cheek, which, well, sits like a ‘bib’.
38. Uncle Owen
Luke Skywalker’s uncle and adoptive father figure, Owen Lars is a character we have seen very little of, but the lore speaks for itself. Indeed, without him and his wife, Beru protecting him throughout his childhood, much of the beautiful things Luke has accomplished might not have happened. A farmer on Tatooine and Anakin Skywalker’s half-brother, Owen raised Luke as his own and did his best to keep him away from danger. Unfortunately, he and his wife were killed by stormtroopers and Luke ended up in a whole lot of danger, to say the least.
37. Count Dooku
It’s complicated to hate any character that Christopher Lee plays, so we have to admit that we’d probably have loved to hate him whether he was Count Dooku or Dora the Explorer. But there is no denying that the Sith Lord has a praiseworthy charisma, not to mention his fighting skills which prove flawless until he is defeated by Anakin.
36. Mon Mothma
An underrated revolutionary leader who accomplished a lot in the name of harmony, Mon Mothma was a senator in the final days of the Republic. She advocated for peace – something Palpatine wasn’t exactly a fan of. Mon eventually helped create the Rebel Alliance and did a whole lot of badass things to take down the Empire. Nothing but respect for our senator.
35. General Grievous
Some of the greatest characters in Star Wars are often villains and this one is no exception. General Grievous is a baddie that didn’t let viewers down in that department. Quite talented with lightsabers, the general’s best moments include his fight against Obi-Wan in Revenge of the Sith. Who can forget all those arms! They held four lightsabers at once!
34. Admiral Holdo
Admiral Holdo is one of those supporting characters you can’t help but admire. Just like Leia, she has done her homework and knows how to run an operation successfully. This is exactly what Admiral Holdo does as they try to flee from Kylo Ren in The Last Jedi, but also and foremost, when she sacrifices herself to help Poe and his friends gain some time. No, we’re not crying.
33. Babu Frik
He may have only appeared in one Star Wars movie, but his appearance was surely memorable. Babu Frik is remembered as a cute creature who works as a droidsmith for the Space Runners of Kimji. He knows droids better than anyone else and brings his help to Rey and her gang in Rise of Skywalker when a piece of C-3P0’s memory needs to be retrieved. With brains twice bigger than his tiny body and a hilarious way of communicating, Babu doesn’t have a lot of screen time, but we won’t forget him anytime soon!
32. Wicket W. Warrick
Many disliked the Ewoks in Return of the Jedi for being “too childish” and a marketing ploy to sell Star Wars merchandise. The furry creatures are cute, but not only! They’re also very brave, and Wicket is certainly one of the most courageous as he helped Leia and The Alliance during the Battle of Endor. We won’t talk about that Star Wars theory that suggests they might be cannibals…
31. Maz Kanata
Called the ‘Pirate queen’, this humanoid alien from Takanoda who appears in the more recent trilogy might not seem like a huge character, but her role in the Star Wars universe is far bigger than you might realize. A wise, loyal and intelligent member of the Resistance who has been collecting precious artifacts for years, Maz is ready to do whatever it takes to help Rey and her friends, and she bows to no one. A criminally underused character if you ask us!
30. Padme Amidala
It’s no news that female characters rarely have the greatest fate in Star Wars (in the old trilogy at least), and Padme is unfortunately no exception to the rule. If anything, she might be the saddest example. While she started as a cunning politician and senator, Luke and Leia’s mother eventually had her energy and character softened to become background props to Anakin’s drama queen personality. She died soon after her twins’ birth because of her husband’s dark shenanigans, and to be honest, we’re not exactly over it yet.
29. Qui-Gon Jinn
The memorable master Jedi played by Liam Neeson is one of the few good aspects of The Phantom Menace. The actor indeed gave his all as the wise mentor of Obi-Wan Kenobi, who can wield a lightsaber as if he was born with it. His passing at the end of the movie, after his combat with Darth Maul, is one of the saddest scenes in the franchise. And we won’t lie, but seeing his faith in Anakin, we’re almost happy he didn’t get to see how poorly that part went down.
28. Grand Moff Tarkin
This character isn’t a major staple of the franchise, but he still has a charisma that can’t be forgotten. In A New Hope and then again in CGI for Rogue One, there’s something about Tarkin that inspires fear but also, strangely, respect. This might have to do with Peter Cushing’s undeniable presence in this role. The commander of the Death Star, who had no pity for the civilians who died thanks to this mortal instrument, met the end he deserved when a Death Star blew him to pieces. Did someone say karma?
The goodhearted, reprogrammed Imperial droid in Rogue One is difficult to remember without tearing up. In fact, any time a good droid pops up in this movie series, we don’t quite know what’s happening to our tear ducts! K-2SO might look like any other droid in this saga, but the witty and kind robot with a British accent is also a badass – even when he meets his untimely end by sacrificing himself for the Rebellion. R.I.P friend.
26. Rose Tico
An essential member of the Resistance who befriends Finn in The Last Jedi, Rose is a fearless mechanic whose hate for the First Order acts as a powerful fuel in all of her missions. One of the most underrated characters of the franchise, Rose plays a vital role in helping Finn and his friends defeat the Empire – we’re damn sad that we didn’t get to see more of her!
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25. Mace Windu
Mace Windu wasn’t on our screens for long, but he stayed in our memories nonetheless – he was played by the amazing Samuel L. Jackson, after all. Mace is an important member of the Jedi council and one of the most gifted Jedi to have existed. Initially a student of Yoda, he learned how to see shatter points in the Force, which eventually earned him the title of Jedi Master, then Master of the Order. Mace served in the Clone Wars, although he wasn’t a fan of the Jedi being used as soldiers. A great guy all around.
24. Chirrut Imwe
A member of Jyn Erso’s crew in Rogue One, Chirrut is the former guard of an ancient Jedi temple. Although he is a minor character, who can forget his kickass motto, “The Force is with me and I am with the force”? He may be the only character in the recent trilogy to give fans a decent Star Wars quote since Yoda. Chirrut’s eloquence, dedication, combat skills and loyalty to the cause are impossible to forget, not to mention his eventual sacrifice.
23. General Hux
Who can forget the First Order’s straight-laced, horribly annoying General Hux? Kylo Ren being his least favorite person, Hux eventually decides to spy for the Resistance and betray the Order. But it is hardly out of the kindness of his heart, and rather to help defeat Ren so he can take over himself. Cold and genocidal, we won’t give Hux any flowers, but we do think he is a character who’s just odious enough to be memorable.
22. Poe Dameron
Poe isn’t on screen too often despite being marketed as a leading role. Yet, the handsome pilot has become a major protagonist in the latest installments, proving more often than once that he is willing and capable to save the day in spectacular ways. Commander of the Resistance Starfighter Corps, Poe was raised on stories about the Alliance as both his parents were involved in the conflict against the Galactic Empire. This explains why he is determined to do things right from day one, and we love him for it!
21. Admiral Ackbar
This revolutionary leader, who belongs to the aquatic species known as the Mon Calamari, has been part of the most important fights in the galaxy and has notably helped defeat the Galactic Empire and the First Order. In short, he’s been everywhere. Hero of the Clone Wars and of the Battle of Endor, there is very little the galaxy doesn’t owe to this brave and wise admiral, and for this reason, we tip him our hats.
20. Jyn Erso
The daughter of Galen Wrap, a scientist who reluctantly helped build the Death Star, Jyn is a courageous, naturally headstrong character we can’t get enough of. Ready to do anything for the right cause, she embodies the Star Wars universe’s best values. Although we wished we could have seen more of her, her short but efficient contribution to the Galactic Empire’s demise is enough to make her a heroine worth remembering.
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The force-sensitive Sith responsible for leading Kylo Ren/Ben Solo to the dark side has no interest in playing nice and will go to great lengths to get what he wants – even if he has to kill millions of innocent souls to do so. As ruler of the First Order, he was actually created by Palpatine to take over the galaxy, which makes him, by association, one of the best villains in this franchise. Still, he really gives us the creeps, so we won’t rank him any higher than this.
18. Jabba the Hut
Slug-like gangster with zero empathy levels, Jabba is not necessarily a character people can love, but definitely one they remember. Introduced in Return of the Jedi, the sadistic crime boss has a tendency of throwing parties that don’t end well for his slaves – his enemies are turned into a monster’s dinner whenever he fancies it, after all. A villain we hate, but a good one nonetheless!
17. Darth Maul
It’s difficult to forget the nightmarish horned devil of the prequel trilogy. The Sith Lord is not only terrifyingly laconic, he is also a terrific fighter. One of the only Star Wars villains brave enough to show his face, Darth Maul’s double light-saber and his killer glare stay with fans forever. We’re still angry at him for killing Qui-Gon Jinn, but that’s what baddies are unfortunately for.
Former First Order stormtrooper FN-287 Finn was originally a promising fighter for the baddies. Fortunately for us and for the Rebellion, his compassion made him turn against the dictatorship that raised him and become part of the Resistance in The Force Awakens. A kindhearted friend and a devoted fighter, Finn is easily one of the most lovable human characters in the entire saga.
15. Lando Calrissian
Han Solo’s equally badass smuggler friend is unforgettable every time he appears on screen, whether it be in the original trilogy played by Billy Dee Williams, or in Solo played by Donald Glover. Witty and clever as a fox, Lando’s still a little bit self-centered, but his redeeming moments siding with the Alliance is what makes him a valuable character. What can we say, any friend of Han Solo is our friend, too!
14. Boba Fett
Intergalactic bounty hunters are hard to ignore, especially when they are as badass as Boba Fett. Although the character is incredibly rare on screen, he has endured as one of the most cosplayed characters in the Star Wars fandom. Appearing for the first time in The Empire Strikes Back, Boba is a favorite of the franchise’s hardcore fan purely based on how cool he is. Sometimes you just want to see an intergalactic bounty hunter at work!
A droid our hearts beat for, BB-8 is a little bit less talkative than its fellow droids, but maybe that’s what makes it the perfect addition to the crew! The same way that Chewbacca’s roars don’t exactly make sense to us, but do for the characters, the cute ‘beeps’ of this little metal ball are adorable and heartwarming, because we know the other protagonists see nothing but good in them.
12. Emperor Palpatine
If there is one thing the prequels did well, it’s to show Palpatine’s rise to power in the dying days of the Republic. Initially a politician who pretended to side with the good guys, Palpatine gradually showed his true colors as Darth Sidious, lord of the Siths. We basically have him to thank for corrupting Anakin Skywalker’s mind. In short, a lot of the bad stuff happening in the Star Wars universe is because of Palpatine, so of course we have to tip our hats to him. It’s difficult to craft a character so despicable you wished you could punch him yourself.
It’s difficult to find anything wrong with C-3PO, the slightly uptight yet incredibly lovable golden droid. Like any of the best sidekicks would, C-3PO follows our heroes on their adventures. We tend to forget that it’s Anakin Skywalker who brought him to life on Tatooine! We’re damn proud of how far the droid has come since then, becoming one of the most beloved and important characters of the franchise. Darth Vader did one good thing apart from conceiving Luke Skywalker, didn’t he?
Being at the center of the most recent trilogy, the gifted Jedi makes a good candidate as the ‘Chosen One’ – a position that was occupied by Luke before her. Rey may have started off as an orphan whose origins were a mystery, but she went on to become a worthy member of the Resistance. Many were disappointed with the big-reveal of Rey’s lineage, but that’s not to say the character isn’t great. She’s an iconic Star Wars heroine who’s independent, dedicated and optimistic. That’s why she deserves her spot in the pantheon of kickass Star Wars characters.
9. Kylo Ren
Kylo Ren, born Ben Solo, is Han and Leia’s son-gone-rogue. A standout character in the latest trilogy, Kylo is a force-sensitive Jedi who turned to the Dark Side and became the First Order’s genocidal commander despite his parents’ heroic legacy. Although it’s tempting to see Kylo as an even more emo version of Anakin Skywalker, his character development fortunately doesn’t follow his grandfather’s. Charismatic and vulnerable all at once, we think he deserves the highest ranking among his fellow new trilogy characters.
The sidekick everyone wants to hug, Chewbacca has been an essential character of the franchise for as long as it has been around. The broad-shouldered and gigantic Wookie is a devoted friend to Han Solo and his crew, and though he never had any line that we could understand from our earthly seats, what matters is that his friends understood him just fine and made it obvious he could be trusted.
Small and loyal robots are a fixture of the Star Wars universe and R2-D2 easily ranks among the best non-human characters in the saga. The resourceful droid was always there for the Skywalker family, from Anakin to Padme, all the way to Luke himself, and though he is small, his help has often been vital in our main characters’ missions. He might not say much, but we’d trust him with our lives!
6. Obi-Wan Kenobi
Obi-Wan Kenobi is a well-meaning, badass Jedi who defeated Darth Maul and became the first Jedi in 1,000 years to vanquish a Sith. Poised and wise, especially in the original trilogy when he was already a hardened Jedi, Obi is one of the most influential characters of the franchise. While he didn’t exactly see red flags with his pupil Anakin, he was ready to do the right thing no matter the risks and learned from his mistakes in the process – that’s just enough to make us love him.
Yoda is the mentor we all wish we could have when we’re struggling. Luke Skywalker’s teacher is known for mixing up regular English sentences and making everything he says sound like the riddle of the universe. But most importantly, he is the reason why Luke went on to become such a great Jedi and triumph against evil. We say thank you Yoda! Or rather, “Thank you Yoda, we say to you!”.
4. Han Solo
Han certainly puts the ‘Star’ in Star Wars. A smuggler-turned-rebel, Han has one of the best character developments in the saga. He starts out as a self-centered, lonesome pilot who only does what’s in his best interests. Then with the right friends, he soon becomes an essential asset of the Alliance. Accompanying Luke and Leia on their evil-defeating campaigns, Han never loses the sarcasm and wit that make him an unforgettable and the coolest figure of the Star Wars canon.
3. Luke Skywalker
There’s no Star Wars characters list without this icon. Luke is the driving force of the original trilogy (pun fully intended). Raised on Tatooine, this young farm boy went through dark moments including the death of his uncle and aunt, before finding his way towards his Jedi awakening and the Alliance. Fortunately, unlike his father, he never strays off the path of righteousness and beautifully fulfills his duty as the ‘Chosen One’. Who said the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree? This one fell as far as possible.
2. Darth Vader
Like Luke, there’s no list of ‘best Star Wars characters’ without the ever-popular Darth Vader. Sure, it’s difficult to picture the frightening dark leader without remembering the overly dramatic young Anakin from the prequels – but we’ve got to give it to the kid. His descent into madness is by far one of the top character arcs of the saga, if not the best. Cunning and determined to get what he wants, Darth Vader is not only the most charismatic evil dude of the galaxy, he is also undeniably one of the best villains ever crafted for the screen.
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1. Leia Organa
Joining Luke and Han in their quest, Leia became a key player in the Rebellion and eventually gave us one of the most legendary love stories of film with Han Solo. In the most recent movies, she has become a hardened General who is still determined to do things right, even if that means opposing her own son. From Carrie Fisher’s powerful and earnest portrayal of the character, to the straightforward and brave way Leia delivers all her lines, it’s difficult not to officially make Leia the best Star Wars character of all time.
Ranking the Star Wars characters was easier said than done, but hey, we did it – and we’re sure it’s set to spark some debate!
So, what did you think of this list? Don’t hesitate to let us know if you agree with it and which top characters you think we might have forgotten…
Oh, and when you’re done here, be sure to also check out our ranking of the BEST and WORST Star Wars movies!