Runner Up. Kyle Katarn – The Jedi Knight Video Game Series
Man, I loved Dark Forces, the first First Person Shooter in the Star Wars universe. You played as Kyle Katarn the spy who stole the Death Star plans, and sent them to operation Skyhook (which appeared in the Star Wars radio drama – yeah I’m that big of a nerd that I know the radio drama). Katarn later faced down the dangerous Dark Troopers, guys with killer armor, killer weapons and jet packs. When Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II came out and Katarn learned Jedi abilities. Now you’re running around with a light saber and actually choosing if you are going to go dark side or light side with your force powers. Katarn was a memorable character and had some great adventures I played both those games quite a bit, and only later found out that Katarn continued to appear in the Jedi Knight games and of course appeared in comics and novels. The guy even had an official action figure made in his likeness. Not bad for a character who never appeared in any of the movies and is now considered outside the cannon.
5. Princess Leia - The original trilogy and The Force Awakens
The Empire Strikes Back evolved her character further. She stays to the last minute on Hoth ensuring her soldiers are able to get away and coordinating the escape. Her banter with Han Solo is excellent, and their budding romance is classic stuff. The finale of Empire packs its emotional punch because of Leia’s torment at seeing Han frozen and taken away to an unknown fate. Return of the Jedi doesn’t utilize Leia as much as the previous two films (a messy screenplay is probably the main culprit), but she does get some further character development with her interplay with Luke on Endor. And yes, the metal bikini, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that, right? What is interesting is that Leia character development is actually all based around her romance with Han and Luke. She is a tough resourceful leader in the original trilogy and that never changes. Even when we come to The Force Awakens she is still the woman we remember, but the added twist of dealing with her son and estranged husband gives Leia added depth. It creates added emotional resonance for the climax of the film. All told Princess Leia or General Leia Organa is an unforgettable character and key piece of the mythology of Star Wars.
4. Luke Skywalker - The original trilogy and the new trilogy
3. Obi Wan Kenobi - The original trilogy and the prequel trilogy
mentioned before how well realized Obi Wan’s arc is in the prequels, and how much Ewan McGreggor’s performance resonates. Alec Guiness creates an instant character in A New Hope, a wise mentor that leads Luke toward his destiny. But this also falls in line with the Obi Wan of the past, learning from his mistakes in some ways and yet still performing the same actions of trying to control a Skywalker instead of guiding him. I put Kenobi so high on the list because of the strong performance by both actors playing the role.
2. Han Solo - The original trilogy and The Force Awakens
1. Darth Vader - The original trilogy and the prequel trilogy
10 things the prequels did right, the story structure for this journey is solid, and actually well developed. Anakin turning to the dark side because of love mirrors his return to the light for the same reason. Yes poor casting and direction cause the prequels to fail in delivering the punch they could. But Revenge of the Sith gives us a glimmer of what could have been. Even with his demise in Return of the Jedi, his shadow continues to loom large (and not just in the merchandizing. So much Darth Vader merchandise and imagry exploding everywhere for The Force Awakens even though the character never makes an appearance). In The Force Awakens his legacy (or a warped version of it) compels Kylo Ren. I’m very curious to see what it is about Vader that drives Ren further into the Dark Side.
Well there you have it, my ten favorite characters from the Star Wars universe. It was fun to really ponder these folks and write a bit about them. Like many mythologies, Star Wars has a rich tapestry to look into, even sticking to just the films. This new trilogy of movies has me intrigued and enjoying the Star Wars universe more than I have in many years. I can’t wait to see what new characters may be added to this list in the coming years.
Who are your favorite Star Wars characters? Did I leave anyone off the list?
|A list without Ackbar? It's a trap!|
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