May the Force be with you! Critic Josh Burford counts down the best Star Wars characters ever…

Wars Star

Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi is nearly upon us so it could not be a better time to countdown the best characters from a galaxy far far away!

Picking 10 characters was an impossible task so I didn’t, I chose 15 instead. This is just my opinion, the best characters in my eyes. However, just because everyone’s favourite Wookie, for example, doesn’t feature on my list doesn’t mean he isn’t a legendary character. I just prefer this bunch a bit more.

I am only looking at characters from the movies, so those hoping to see someone from The Clone Wars or Rebels TV show, I’m sorry to disappoint.

Without further ado, let’s get into it and may the force be with you…


A wise, sincere and skilled Jedi Master, Qui-Gon was one of my favourites as a kid. Liam Neeson was charismatic, even though he did go on and on about midichlorians, he was honourable, and he brought the right amount of calmness and zen to the role. His fight with Darth Maul, accompanied by the best piece of music to be put to cinema in Duel of the Fates, was awesome and he completely held his own until Maul pulled a d@#! move and bumped his saber, still gets me now. Neeson definitely pulled the short straw with his time with the franchise, having to act alongside the annoying child actor Jake Lloyd and the unbearable CGI mess Jar Jar Binks.

14: K2SO

There were plenty of characters in Rogue One but the one that stole every scene he was in was K2SO, voiced expertly by Alan Tudyk. His first appearance established him as one of the most likeable characters in the film, he mixes the intimidating size and might of Chewbacca with the sarcastic humour of C3PO. His dry, blunt, deadpan deliveries were brilliant and some of the wittiest moments of the franchise. It’s a shame he had to courageously sacrifice himself at the end otherwise I would have loved to have seen him pop up somewhere later down the line.


Like Darth Maul, he is a man of few words, but this bounty hunter went from minor bad guy to fan favourite pretty quickly. He is a simple man only in it for himself, all he wants is money. He just looks cool, the jetpack, the cloak, the sweet helmet, his look is awesome. He went out poorly but I’m hoping he gets his own movie where we see him escape the Sarlaac Pit and go back to being the coolest intergalactic bounty hunter ever.


A blind, force-sensitive ninja that can dispatch a group of laser gun-wielding Stormtroopers armed only with a staff and a sense of belief. I didn’t think it could get any cooler than a double-sided lightsaber! Donnie Yen was excellent as the former guard of the ancient Jedi temple, very likeable and a highly competent fighter, his relationship with his companion Baze Malbus (Wen Jiang) led to some emotional and heartfelt moments as well. He also the one who coined yet another memorable Star Wars line; “I’m one with the Force, and the Force is with me”.

11: R2D2 + C3PO

I’ve lumped these two together because I can’t think of one without thinking of the other. R2D2 is the loveable, heroic bucket of bolts. He is responsible for getting everyone out of perilous situations; from rescuing the gang from the closing walls of the trash compactor and taking on a buzz droid one-on-one to being the trusted droid to safely hold the Death Star plans. He is courageous and calm in the face of danger and he takes no s@#! from C3PO.

C3PO is the smart, loyal counterpart of this dynamic droid duo. Anthony Daniels gives a great performance as the prim and proper English butler turned robot. He’s not quite as heroic as his partner, but he did save the little service droid from being sold at the Jawa car boot sale. His witty remarks and the constant exchanges with R2 are very funny, with the latter’s responses coming in the form of beeps and boops, but hey C3PO understands it as he’s “fluent in over six million forms of communication”.


Why have I only just found out that Tupac Shakur was asked to read for this role?! Can’t think of anyone other than Samuel L. Jackson wielding that badass purple lightsaber. The prequels were full of cool characters and Windu was most definitely up there with Darth Maul, wow that would be a good fight to watch! A wise and courageous Jedi Master who was one of the only ones to distrust Senator Palpatine, I just wish he took some actual Jedi’s with him to arrest the sith lord instead of ones who don’t even face the right way when a screeching, 720-spinning maniac hurtles towards them. The fact that the reason for the purple lightsaber was because Jackson wanted to be easily spotted in the Geonosis battle makes him even cooler.


Somewhere between Hayden Christensen’s sulky Anakin and James Earl Jones’s terrifying Darth Vader falls Adam Driver’s menacing Kylo Ren; more towards the Vader side of the scale. It was a nice change to see someone struggling with being drawn to the light side of the Force as opposed to the opposite. Driver portrayed the villain very well, harnessing the inner torture of the character with such complexity and emotion. Oh and he has a badass cross-guard lightsaber that he used to murder his own father!! What I liked about the character was that one minute he’s slaughtering a village of innocent people then he’s having a temper tantrum destroying his office. Looking forward to seeing more of him in The Last Jedi.


Vader was the big bad in A New Hope but in Empire Strikes Back we find out that he was just the lapdog for the master of manipulation, the evil Emperor. In the original trilogy he was unsettling and ruthless, trying to manipulate Luke to kill his father but Vader snaps and throws his ass over the side for a very long fall to his death. The prequels explored his rise to power in a very smart way. Ian McDiarmid’s portrayal was fantastic.

He is the evil that no one notices until it was too late, he conspired to get himself elected supreme chancellor, he orchestrated the Clone Wars, he wiped out the Jedi with three words, well two and a number; “Execute Order 66”. Oh, and he hurled congressional box seats at Yoda, not cool bro. Vader is more memorable but Emperor Palpatine was the true villain of the franchise.


What I loved about Luke was that even though we watched his journey from teenage farm boy to master of the force, he was still a relatable character. He is compassionate, likeable and a good fighter, his lightsaber duels with Vader felt realistic and they had emotional weight to them. He’s the perfect hero. His confrontation with Vader in Empire Strikes Back will go down as the most iconic movie moment ever put to screen. Oh, and Mark Hamill is just the coolest guy ever. Nowhere to be seen in the promotional material for The Force Awakens and all we got was an ominous, silent stare at the end of the film. At least he has something to do in The Last Jedi.


The masterful puppetry work that was done for Yoda in the original trilogy made him feel just as real as Luke. God knows why they ruined it by making him a soulless CGI character in the prequels. He is a brilliant leader, a military strategist, a true master of the force and nightmare to face in a lightsaber duel, with constant jumping and ninja-like acrobatics. His extraordinary wisdom helped train Luke, creating a great relationship that is vital to the emotional story of Empire. He’s the wisest, tiniest, most badass, 900-year-old alien ever.


Princess Leia Organa is probably the best female characters in science-fiction, sorry Ripley. The late, great Carrie Fisher’s portrayal of the fearless, decisive, strategic princess was fantastic. She sheds the stereotypical persona of the damsel in distress and is instead a sarcastic, ballsy warrior, who can handle a blaster, and a slave chain for that matter. Her romance with Han Solo was brilliant as Fisher and Harrison Ford had great chemistry.

It was great to see their relationship grow from stubborn individuals mocking each other to being head over heels for one and another. She completed her scenes for The Last Jedi, but her absence in any later films will leave a hole in hearts all around the world, she’s the only one that could rock the racy gold bikini whilst strangling a giant space slug, RIP Carrie Fisher.


Hands down the coolest character ever, sorry Boba Fett but do you have a double-sided lightsaber? Just his presence alone saves The Phantom Menace from being the worst Star Wars movie. A man of few words hellbent on destroying the Jedi, he was awesome. His fight with Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon was jaw-dropping, accompanied by the excellent Duel of the Fates, makes it an outstanding spectacle. I definitely would have preferred if he was the main villain of the prequels and it ended with another 3-way duel with Anakin and Obi-Wan. Also, he is one of the only people to kill Liam Neeson and that’s hard to do.


The scruffy-looking nerf-herder won everyone’s hearts in the original trilogy. Ford’s charisma really shines in the way he portrayed Solo. He was cool, cocky, funny, he could understand Wookie and was pretty good with a blaster. It was great to see his relationship with Leia grow from squabbling sparring sessions to a deep love for one another, you know after she got over having the hots for her brother that is. “I know” is still the best response to “I love you” ever.

The womanizing, selfish smuggler, who definitely shot first, blossoms into a freedom-fighting Rebel leader with balls of steel, in fact he already had those. He was everyone’s favourite out of the franchises trio of heroes and his death in 2015’s The Force Awakens hit us hard, someone even yelled out “NOOO” in my screening.


When we first meet the Jedi Master he is a mysterious, hooded figure living out in the middle of the Tatooine desert. Played brilliantly by Alec Guinness who brought a sense of conviction to the role, he sold the movie’s mystique to us and George Lucas’s lengthy explanation of the Force was that much better because it came out of Guinness’s mouth. Ewan McGregor played the wise Jedi in the prequels and he was great, he helped develop a back story that deepened the character and explained why he was wary of training Luke and why he carried so much regret for his failures with Anakin. He killed the sith lord that murdered his master, he dispatched a four-armed, lightsaber-windmilling cyborg and cut down his protégé with emotional brutality. Legend.

And coming in at number one we have everyone’s favourite Gungun;


Just kidding, could you imagine?!

No, but seriously the number one pick goes to the one and only…


The most iconic, intimidating and compelling force of evil ever to be put to screen. The chilling noises of his breathing system, the stormtrooper/samurai helmet and the amazing voice of James Earl Jones make Vader an incredible villain. He’s a menacing presence that makes any movie better, with the hallway scene in Rogue One being one of my favourite Star Wars moments. The sense of fear in the rebel’s eyes when his lightsaber ignites, with the glow of blood red enveloping the corridor still gives me chills every time I see it. Complain about the prequel performances all you want but the idea of showing us how an annoying kid was plucked from his home and family, discovering his Jedi powers, falling in love with a princess and ultimately being seduced by the Dark Side was powerful to watch.

About the Author

Josh Burford
Trainee journalist at Highbury College with a passion for film and TV.