"I think you overestimate their chances."
December 13, 2017 1:44 PM   Subscribe

USA Today lists the 40 best Star Wars movie characters.
Star Wars turned 40 this year, and four decades have spawned nine movies and endless characters, be they Jedi or Sith, Rebels or Imperials, twisted bounty hunters or adorable porgs.
Spoiler alert: no listing for the Gonk droid, so the whole list may be considered incorrect
posted by hanov3r (82 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
Star Wars...?

It's an older movie, sir, but it checks out.
posted by GuyZero at 1:47 PM on December 13, 2017 [12 favorites]


Wedge isn't #1, so this list is trash.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:54 PM on December 13, 2017 [11 favorites]


I object to calling Wedge the "Tom Cruise of the Rebel Alliance". WTF does that even mean?

Wedge was there for every significant Rebel engagement we saw: Yavin. Hoth. Endor. He flew them all, he survived them all - I don't think there's another pilot (besides Luke) who can say that. Tom Cruise? Tom would've blown up one TIE fighter at Yavin and then buzzed the tower while Wedge is still trying to run the trench.
posted by nubs at 1:56 PM on December 13, 2017 [4 favorites]


Padme ranked higher than Maz.
Maz is 1000 years old, runs cool shit, and has a lot of sass.
Padme died because she was sad.
(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻
posted by phunniemee at 1:57 PM on December 13, 2017 [12 favorites]


Kylo Ren before Rey?

Bye.
posted by asteria at 1:57 PM on December 13, 2017 [15 favorites]


More seriously, including *any* prequel characters means I can ignore it safely.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:58 PM on December 13, 2017 [4 favorites]


The story of Star Wars, four decades of it, is Anakin's, a tragically Shakespearean exploration of what happens when "the chosen one" isn't exactly that.

Spoiler: he is exactly that.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 1:59 PM on December 13, 2017 [1 favorite]


Running down the list I kept saying to myself " Oh they should be higher up the list than that!"

But I kept saying it until I ran out of list. So many great characters!
posted by Start with Dessert at 2:01 PM on December 13, 2017


As we race to find this list's most egregious sin, consider the poor rancor keeper.
posted by The Gaffer at 2:01 PM on December 13, 2017 [19 favorites]


40 characters? Isn't that pretty much all of them?
posted by Greg_Ace at 2:03 PM on December 13, 2017 [2 favorites]


Are there spoilers in this article
posted by billjings at 2:07 PM on December 13, 2017


Greg_Ace: "40 characters? Isn't that pretty much all of them?"

No, there's the guy who says, "Look, sir, droids." And there's...

Okay, maybe there aren't that many characters.
posted by Chrysostom at 2:09 PM on December 13, 2017 [1 favorite]


before i read this i need to know if ice cream maker guy is on the list
posted by poffin boffin at 2:10 PM on December 13, 2017 [10 favorites]


No Lobot. Fail.
posted by SansPoint at 2:13 PM on December 13, 2017 [3 favorites]


Anyways, because it is Star Wars insanity week (did you guys know there's a new movie coming out this week? I'm shocked!):

-15 Star Wars background characters with amazingly detailed background stories
-11 Minor Star Wars characters with full lives outside the movies (some crossover with the above) (spoiler: Ice cream maker guy is #1)
-A salute to Bidlo Kwerve, the man with the most important skull in Star Wars
-Some film students use MacQuarrie's original concept art to imagine the Star Wars that might have been
posted by nubs at 2:13 PM on December 13, 2017 [3 favorites]


This list is bad and it should feel bad for its badness.
posted by poffin boffin at 2:14 PM on December 13, 2017 [3 favorites]


This list is bad and it should feel bad for its badness.

This was not the list you were looking for.

In all seriousness, while I love me some Star Wars, the sheer insanity and inanity of everyone trying to come up with clickbait lists and links ahead of TLJ is really quite annoying - there's nothing to this list, it's just somebody scribbling down some names and a couple of sentences of justification; Star Wars films are pretty much pop culture junk food to begin with and these listicles are even less nutritious. And what I find particular annoying with this one is the inclusion of characters from the new film - FFS, the audience doesn't even know these people yet, don't include them.
posted by nubs at 2:19 PM on December 13, 2017 [1 favorite]


What? No Sarlacc?! Screw that! Srsly, the final movie could be "The Sarlacc Eats Everybody" and I would be all like MichaelJacksonEatingPopcorn.gif

Also, Mon Mothma was robbed. (also robed)
posted by sexyrobot at 2:23 PM on December 13, 2017 [8 favorites]


Imma let you finish, but any list that leaves off the emotionally charged acting of the Rancor Keeper misses out on the connection that a man can have with a bloodthirsty death monster.
posted by Nanukthedog at 2:24 PM on December 13, 2017 [19 favorites]


No Kit Fisto, the Jedi with the best name and also the only person in the Prequels who looked like he was having a good time? I despair of the world.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:34 PM on December 13, 2017 [7 favorites]


I assume Ashoka is number one?
posted by drezdn at 2:40 PM on December 13, 2017 [2 favorites]


Some really great characters, with some profoundly silly names.

(All fear the dread power of Archduke Weezeltwat!)
posted by The Underpants Monster at 2:45 PM on December 13, 2017 [3 favorites]


The fact that HRH Gen. Dr. Leia Organa (FBWH) is not first on this list invalidates it immediately.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:46 PM on December 13, 2017 [17 favorites]


Something the list got right: No Jar Jar.

(Salacious B. Crumb should maybe have an honorable mention, though.)
posted by nubs at 2:54 PM on December 13, 2017 [5 favorites]


Good to see Jek Porkins, he doesn't get enough respek. But where is Dengar, the bandages guy briefly in one scene of Empire Strikes Back? I had like six of his action figure, many of them before I even saw the movie. Naturally I concluded he was super important, thats why I received so many of hims. And obviously nothing has occurred since then to change my estimation, and this list is a terrible injustice.
posted by rodlymight at 2:55 PM on December 13, 2017 [7 favorites]


I object to calling Wedge the "Tom Cruise of the Rebel Alliance". WTF does that even mean?

I think it's just an extraordinarily lazy and confusing way to say, "this character is a fighter pilot". Wedge isn't even a Top Gun-style fighter jock, he's just kind of a regular dude.

Alternatively, in one of my most treasured Usenet memories, the Wedge Antilles FAQ, he did everything in the entire trilogy, including shooting Greedo from orbit, killing the Rancor while Luke hid, lifting the X-Wing out of the Dagobah swamp using an invisible towing mechanism attached to his unseen ship, etc.
posted by Copronymus at 2:57 PM on December 13, 2017 [3 favorites]


But where is Dengar, the bandages guy briefly in one scene of Empire Strikes Back? I had like six of his action figure, many of them before I even saw the movie. Naturally I concluded he was super important, thats why I received so many of hims.

rodlymight, the EU has your back; he may not be on the list, but revel in his adventures!
posted by nubs at 3:00 PM on December 13, 2017


not clicking on this list for fear of spoilers, but this list is garbage if it doesn't have the following

* Gonk (as mentioned)
* Porkins
* Cloud City Dude Who Loves His Ice Cream Machine
* That Imperial On Endor Who Says "You Rebel Scum" with Great Relish
* That One Fucked Up Droid With The Crazy Grin On Tatooine
* That Stormtrooper Who Hits His Head On the Door (because who hasn't had a day like that)
* Captain Admiral Piett (the one semi-competent Imperial officer)
posted by entropicamericana at 3:06 PM on December 13, 2017 [8 favorites]


Go porg or go home.
posted by mhum at 3:09 PM on December 13, 2017 [3 favorites]


Hey, given that this list is Disney, has Jimmy Kimmel snuck Guillermo onto a set yet as an extra? If he has - that guy. Totally that guy needs at least a #40 spot.
posted by Nanukthedog at 3:15 PM on December 13, 2017


Fuck all that, imma play Star Wars: Battlefront 2 right now. You guys know that the ships now have roll so flight is much more realistic? It’s like a cake and ice cream buffet trough of loud explosions and better than any fanwank because it’s your own fanwanking set to multiplayer. The campaign was fun too.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:20 PM on December 13, 2017


I guess i was surprised there were even 20 characters with more than one significant line, but 40? To my eye the various pod racers were more interesting than General Hux (#28!)

At least it was all on one (pretty annoying) page...
posted by OHenryPacey at 3:33 PM on December 13, 2017


Good to see Jek Porkins, he doesn't get enough respek.

Didn't he host Biogrophe on A&Y?
posted by The Underpants Monster at 4:00 PM on December 13, 2017 [2 favorites]


No Ponda Baba. No Doctor Evazan.

This list had better be careful.
posted by mr_roboto at 4:36 PM on December 13, 2017 [2 favorites]


No, there's the guy who says, "Look, sir, droids."

This being Star Wars I bet that guy has a name and a whole trilogy of novels giving him a back story and a redemption to secret hero status.
posted by traveler_ at 4:38 PM on December 13, 2017 [2 favorites]


I was worried the list might not include As Yet Unseen characters. Thankfully this was not the case and I, as part of that incredibly hard to convince People Who Read Star Wars Lists category, now feel impelled to go see a new film about Star Wars. Luckily there happens to be one coming out tomorrow, for which I already have my ticket. Truly we live in a world of wonders.
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 5:00 PM on December 13, 2017 [3 favorites]


No, there's the guy who says, "Look, sir, droids."

This being Star Wars I bet that guy has a name and a whole trilogy of novels giving him a back story and a redemption to secret hero status.


Ah, you mean Davin Felth, protagonist of When the Desert Wind Turns: The Stormtrooper's Tale.
posted by Copronymus at 5:05 PM on December 13, 2017 [11 favorites]


Ah, you mean Davin Felth, protagonist of When the Desert Wind Turns: The Stormtrooper's Tale.

Jesus fucking Christ. There are characters in The Illiad about whom less has been written.
posted by mr_roboto at 5:11 PM on December 13, 2017 [11 favorites]


> Jesus fucking Christ. There are characters in The Illiad about whom less has been written.

That's because the Illiad is boring and Star Wars is the shit.

(Also, the bounty hunters wuz robbed. Where are Zuckuss and IG-88 and Bossk? Robbed, I tell you, robbed!)
posted by protocoach at 5:16 PM on December 13, 2017 [3 favorites]


Hell, where's Saw Gerrera?


I mean, sure- he was an erratic, drug-crazed hardliner, but he really got people believing, you know?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:38 PM on December 13, 2017 [1 favorite]


Wedge has the distinction of being that rarest of things (at least for someone not masked) in Star Wars: portrayed by three people in one movie. Quoth Wookieepedia:
Antilles was portrayed by two actors in A New Hope. During the Rebel briefing, he was played by actor Colin Higgins, but he was replaced with Denis Lawson for the scenes depicting the Battle of Yavin—both actors were overdubbed by David Ankrum for the film.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:07 PM on December 13, 2017 [1 favorite]


Jesus fucking Christ. There are characters in The Illiad about whom less has been written.

DID YOU KNOW: The droid in the first one that blew up so Uncle Owen bought Artoo was weakly force sensitive and terminated itself so the great force-destiny of Luke could be realised.
ALSO: This.
posted by Sebmojo at 6:25 PM on December 13, 2017 [1 favorite]


Kit Fisto

As a phrase, this really looks like it should be over in the Tom of Finland thread.
posted by Diablevert at 6:29 PM on December 13, 2017 [5 favorites]


Some really great characters, with some profoundly silly names.

So, I watched about three seasons of The Clone Wars, and that was my main takeaway. Like, the story of Savage Opress is a proper tragedy that I actually liked... but his name is still Savage fucking Opress. ('What would Savage Opress do?' was a running gag here for years.)

I feel like Star Wars is the sort of shared universe where you might see a story like Othello, but the protagonist would be named Doop Credulus, Iago would be Advisor Malusario and so on.
posted by mordax at 6:59 PM on December 13, 2017 [8 favorites]


I feel like Star Wars is the sort of shared universe where you might see a story like Othello, but the protagonist would be named Doop Credulus, Iago would be Advisor Malusario and so on.

Lucas agreed that this situation made sense for Sith royalty, and offered up two Darth titles for the team to choose from. “He threw out ‘Darth Icky’ and ‘Darth Insanius.’ There was a pregnant pause in the room after that. People waiting for George to say ‘just kidding,’ but it never comes, and he just moved on to another point.”
posted by rodlymight at 7:17 PM on December 13, 2017 [5 favorites]


haha.

it's a childrens story. for children. to sell toys.

these three facts can be remarkably slippery in 2017.
posted by Sebmojo at 7:31 PM on December 13, 2017


“He threw out ‘Darth Icky’ and ‘Darth Insanius.’

*facepalms*

Sometimes I think I'm going about this all wrong and should deliberately write the worst thing I can think of.
posted by mordax at 7:32 PM on December 13, 2017


My favorite 'character' is the low-level imperial soldier who refused to shoot the escape pod from the original movie. His choice changed the course of millions, billions of lives. The thing was, he was tired and bored, probably just doing the bare minimum until the end of his shift. Those are the people who make history happen, not the 'chosen ones'.
posted by KHAAAN! at 7:44 PM on December 13, 2017 [7 favorites]


You have got to be kidding me. MACE WINDU. Samuel L Fucking Jackson who was responsible for EMPORER Palpatine’s disfigurement.

General Grievous with 4 fucking light sabers while Admiral Akbar makes the list?

The Wampa.

1. Yoda
2. Obi-wan Kenobi
3. Wedge
4. Han Solo
5. The bartender at the cantina. “We don’t serve their kind!”
6. Boba or Jango Fett. Take your pick.

Luke and Threepio and Dooku and the emporer don’t even make this list as far as I’m concerned.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 8:01 PM on December 13, 2017 [1 favorite]


My favorite 'character' is the low-level imperial soldier who refused to shoot the escape pod from the original movie.

Um, there's actually an amusing story by Ken Liu in the recently published anthology "From A Certain Point of View" about that particular character's conundrum and how a logistics officer who is a master of bueracratic paper saves his bacon when it's discovered he didn't fire on the escape pod.
posted by KingEdRa at 8:08 PM on December 13, 2017 [5 favorites]


There is literally an EU story written about every single person who had even one word of dialogue in the movies, and most of the ones who didn't.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:31 PM on December 13, 2017 [2 favorites]


Of course there is. For some reason, every single person who has ever appeared in a Star Wars movies, even if they were a background extra, or even just a couple of pixels wiggling in some dark corner of the screen, they get a name, a backstory, a paperback trilogy, some action figures, and a loyal cosplayer following.

Aside from obvious mercenary reasons, I wonder about the zealotry and ardent desire SW fans show for canonical consistency. They seem to want everything to line up and make some sort of sense, as if they could somehow transcribe this world into reality. I've seen this behaviour in my own tribe, but the Star Wars people take it to a whole other level.
posted by KHAAAN! at 8:38 PM on December 13, 2017 [2 favorites]


They seem to want everything to line up and make some sort of sense, as if they could somehow transcribe this world into reality.

I feel like it's a fandom size thing. In any given fandom, *most* people go about it in 'normal' ways: they buy the merch, spout the lines and see all the media, while some fleetingly small percentage of fans go full 'occupy the fictional universe.'

It's just that most fandoms are newer and smaller than Star Wars. It's *so much* bigger than, say, Babylon 5 or Stargate or whatever that even that tiny minority is actually a sizeable faction, so they can form groups and we hear about them more.
posted by mordax at 10:32 PM on December 13, 2017 [1 favorite]


If Star Wars hermeneutics are not immediately apparent to you then it means you're Force-blind.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:39 PM on December 13, 2017 [1 favorite]


Oh, digging into the superfan thing too -

I think the fiction we consume (or create, for those of us who do that), is a reflection of our inner hopes and desires - a sort of Rorschach test. People who are super into Star Wars or Star Trek or LOTR or whatever find something about that universe that makes sense to them, probably more than the chaos and injustice of real life.

I'm honestly not a Star Wars fan of any stripe myself - I grew up in a time and place where we used to have ironic Star Wars vs. Star Trek arguments for laughs, and I was always Team Doctor Who But Grudgingly Trek Because Nobody Here Knew What Daleks Were. That being the case, I cannot speak authoritatively as to why Star Wars in particular grabs someone's soul that way. I do suspect it has to do with the clarity of the world though - good and bad are very clear cut, there's a just cause to fight for and so on. Plus, I admit it would be awesome to be a space wizard with a laser sword because there's no point in denying it.
posted by mordax at 10:42 PM on December 13, 2017 [1 favorite]


This list is incorrect.

(Seriously: a muppet comes out ahead of Alec Guiness? Please.)
posted by senor biggles at 2:20 AM on December 14, 2017 [1 favorite]


Kyle Katarn is my favorite character, because I got to be him for a while in 1995 or 1996. As I recall, Kyle Katarn was pretty into the REM album Monster.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 2:37 AM on December 14, 2017 [1 favorite]


Being films-only the list is deeply flawed from the outset: it pushes Maul far lower than he should be, omits Saw Guerrera, and (vilest of heresies!) ignores Ahsoka Tano completely. But lists are made only to argue over!
posted by The Nutmeg of Consolation at 5:23 AM on December 14, 2017


I'm on media blackout until I see The Last Jedi on Saturday.

Tell me. Does the list include "Two. Fighters. Against. A. Star. Destroyer. ?." guy?

I mean, that guy had to have been a producer's nephew or something.
posted by Fleebnork at 7:15 AM on December 14, 2017


More seriously, including *any* prequel characters means I can ignore it safely.

I will allow exceptions for characters played by Christopher Lee and Samuel L. Jackson.

Even if said characters aren't technically "in" a "Star Wars" movie. (Saruman? Jules Winnfield? Yes please.)
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:56 AM on December 14, 2017


Does the list include "Two. Fighters. Against. A. Star. Destroyer. ?." guy?

DID YOU KNOW: Derek "Hobbie" Klivan hails from the planet Ralltiir. He attended the Skystrike Academy with Wedge, and defected with him to join the Rebel Alliance. He joined Rogue Squadron on Luke's invitation after the Battle of Yavin. Hobbie was Skywalker's wingman during the fight on Hoth, and never had the chance to test out the theory that the ion canon could support two fighters against a Star Destroyer as he was shot down and crashed into one of the AT-ATs.
posted by nubs at 7:59 AM on December 14, 2017 [3 favorites]


When the weather was too bad on Hoth to go on patrol missions, Hobbie would pass the time in the hangar by improving on the tactical designs of tauntaun saddles.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:14 AM on December 14, 2017 [1 favorite]


No love for the musicians. Seriously, me and my best friend were rocking out to Figrin D'an and the Modal Nodes around the clock!!

And with better music, though kinda creepy and Fraggle-Rocky, the Max Rebo Band belonged on the list, too.

Also, shout out to Bossk for whom I had to send like 10 cereal box tops in order to acquire.

And IG-88 who was just a little too tall to fit into my Darth-Vader's-head-shaped-action-figure-carrier.
posted by bluejayway at 9:06 AM on December 14, 2017 [1 favorite]


I had that carrier, too, and the one shaped like C-3PO's head. They had a little compartment for all of the figures' guns. I put them in there, and then immediately realized that I didn't know which gun went with which figure.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:21 AM on December 14, 2017 [1 favorite]


And IG-88

DID YOU KNOW: IG-88 was an assassin droid; when activated it turned on & killed its creators as its advanced sentience programming made it conclude it was superior to the biological forms. It then copied its programming into 3 other, identical bodies and they escaped the complex. The IG-88s began to plan the droid revolution. IG-88B worked as a bounty hunter to ensure that it could keep their secret base from being discovered by hunters sent by the company that created them. IG-88B was killed on Bespin by Boba Fett, in retaliation for tracking Fett. IG-88C &D were subsequently destroyed by Fett when they attempted to intercept him on his way to Tatooine with Solo. IG-88A uploaded his consciousness into the computer core of the second Death Star and was preparing to activate his program to seize control of all droids in the universe when the Rebel Alliance succeeded in the destruction of the Death Star.

That's the canon, anyways. I prefer IG-88 the dancing robot.
posted by nubs at 9:38 AM on December 14, 2017


The IG-88s began to plan the droid revolution.

god dammit it's IGs-88
posted by the phlegmatic king at 9:51 AM on December 14, 2017 [3 favorites]


No disrespect to Gonk, but my favorite supporting droid is 2-1B , the medical droid that nurses Luke to health on Hoth. His, "Take care, sir," is so warm and comforting. And then Luke has to go and ruin it all by getting his hand cut off.
posted by cottoncandybeard at 9:55 AM on December 14, 2017 [2 favorites]


IG-88odes, surely.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:55 AM on December 14, 2017 [1 favorite]


god dammit it's IGs-88

You're a feisty one.
posted by nubs at 10:06 AM on December 14, 2017 [2 favorites]




Oh, what a big darklighter you have!
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:53 AM on December 14, 2017


40. Wookie
39. Darth Vader
38. Darth Vader
...
1. Darth Vader
posted by Cookiebastard at 11:55 AM on December 14, 2017


This list fails to live up to the single most important piece of advice offered within the SW franchise itself:

Let the Wookiee win.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:27 PM on December 14, 2017 [2 favorites]


Okay but what about Dexter "Dex" Jettster???
posted by A Bad Catholic at 12:39 PM on December 14, 2017


DID YOU KNOW: Dexter "Dex" Jettster was a Beskalisk. He owned Dex's Diner on Coruscant, known for it's nerfburgers (considered the best in the galaxy; people would travel to Coruscant to eat there) and the freshly brewed ardees. Dex got help from Obi-Wan Kenobi in breaking up a pickpocketing ring that was active around the diner, and repaid the favour by identifying a dart used by an assassin as being from the planet Kamino. Dex employed Hermonie Bagwa, a human, and FLO, a WA-7 waitress droid.
posted by nubs at 12:55 PM on December 14, 2017


One of real nadirs of the prequels. Seriously, A FIFTIES DINER?
posted by Chrysostom at 1:39 PM on December 14, 2017


Seriously, A FIFTIES DINER?

Whoever wrote that in should go home and rethink their life.
posted by nubs at 1:57 PM on December 14, 2017 [3 favorites]


This celebration of villains has got to stop. It's how we got Trump as president.
posted by grubi at 10:49 AM on December 15, 2017 [1 favorite]


I would just like to say that I love all of you equally but nubs is currently my most favorite person on Earth.
posted by hanov3r at 8:43 AM on December 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


Related Onion: New ‘Star Wars’ Film Once Again Disappoints Die-Hard Nien Nunb Fans

I'm not sure I'm a true die-hard Nunb-head, but I'm definitely the biggest enthusiast of anyone I know, and I would say that I definitely could have been much more disappointed by The Last Jedi from that perspective. We shall see what 2019 brings.
posted by Copronymus at 11:37 AM on December 18, 2017


Ok gang - Luke is back, with Wedge and Dak Ralter (from Kalist VI) to drop some sick beats in Hostiles on the Hill from the good folks at Bad Lip Reading.
posted by nubs at 10:01 AM on December 21, 2017


The guy who has the death sentence on twelve systems has died.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:23 PM on December 27, 2017


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