The Star Wars movies are filled with some of the most iconic and endearing characters ever put to film. Through their deceptively simplistic and layered personalities, their moral codes and endlessly quotable dialogue, and even their designs, they’ve captured the hearts of viewers all over the world, to the point that we see them as more than just people on a screen, but as family. They’re the kind of characters we wish were real, and every fan will always have their obligatory list of favorites.
So that’s what I’m going to talk about today, unveiling my list of my top ten favorite Star Wars characters at this moment. For this list, I’m going to be looking back through not only the main movies of Star Wars, but also the TV shows and various spin offs to form my list. Who knows how The Force Awakens will shake things up, but until then, here’s my top ten as of now…
Once a professional gambler and smuggler who worked under his friend Han Solo, while Han would keep to the smuggling business, Lando was able to break away from such things, making an honest living for himself on Bespin. From the moment the two reconnect in The Empire Strikes Back, we can see how deep-rooted a history they’ve had together, and Lando makes for such a scene stealer with his inimitable charisma (thanks mainly to the suave Billy Dee Williams), and his initial moral grayness as he betrays his old friend, before allowing the group of rebels in Cloud City to go free, and joining his buddies to take down the evil Empire. Plus, he’s just the coolest guy in the galaxy…
I know, but I couldn’t leave out everyone’s favorite stuck up, half-witted, scruffy looking nerf-herder. Han Solo has always been something of a rogue, a charming bad boy through and through, who has a very obvious violent streak on his hands by how he shoots Greedo without a second’s hesitation in the cantina (Han shot first!). He’s something of a sarcastic lone wolf looking out for his own well-being first and second, and others very little, at first even joining the Rebel cause solely for the reward that returning the princess would entail. However, as he lets his guard down, we eventually get to see the growth of the character. As time in the series goes on, we can’t help but love seeing him go from being like the violent criminals seeking the bounty on his head, to opening up to his new friends along the way and learning to fight for something bigger than himself, while still retaining that smart-aleck personality that we love to see.
Should it come as a surprise? I think Vader has pretty much established himself as the greatest cinematic villain ever created, and to this day, he remains unmatched. A similar carry over from an older generation like Yoda and Obi-Wan, Vader’s history as a fallen knight who was seduced by the Dark Side has always been intriguing. Though he was a brutal and merciless commander in A New Hope, what really solidified him as an iconic villain would be his appearance in The Empire Strikes Back, where we felt the full grasp and impact of his power and ruthless means to secure his objectives, his unforgiving intolerance of failure from his soldiers that leave them sweating, and even his manipulation of Luke by revealing to him his true heritage as Vader’s son. Yet at the core of it all, there’s still a powerful internal conflict raging within him that gets examined in Return of the Jedi. Though we never forget the horrid things that this man has done under the Imperial banner, once that final film rolls along, we find ourselves rooting for the character to come back to the light, and break free of his own manipulation, hence all the satisfaction we get when we see him vanquish the Emperor. This is to say nothing of the iconic breathing sounds, and James Earl Jones’ intimidating vocal performance that has become synonymous with Darth Vader. Oh, and for anyone wondering, I consider Darth Vader and the Anakin Skywalker of the prequels to be two entirely different characters. The real Darth Vader wouldn’t be caught dead yelling “Noooo!” like a whiny brat.
And there you have it. Those are my top ten favorite Star Wars characters. At least, up to this point. So with that out of the way, I'll be back Wednesday with my top ten John Williams scores, and then on Saturday reviewing The Force Awakens...