Top 20 Greatest Star Wars Characters
VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
WRITTEN BY: Garrett Alden & Ryan Hechler
These "Star Wars" characters are iconic! For this list, we'll be going over the most iconic, well-developed, and interesting characters from the “Star Wars” franchise, across all media. Our countdown includes Yoda, Han Solo, Rey, Qui-Gon Jinn, Boba Fett, and more!
Top 20 Star Wars Characters
Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 20 “Star Wars” characters.
For this list, we’ll be going over the most iconic, well-developed, and interesting characters from the “Star Wars” franchise, across all media.
If there’s a character from a galaxy far far away that wasn’t close enough to our list for you, please – let the comments be with you, always.
#20: Mace Windu
A Jedi Master on the High Council, Mace Windu is regarded as the Order’s greatest champion. He even pioneered a new aggressive fighting style, Vaapad, to help him channel and control his inner darkness. In some ways however, he’s also an example of how the Jedi lost their way. While he avoids politics, he has a dogmatic dedication to tradition, and embraces his role as a soldier and general. Nevertheless, he’s a certified badass and deadly duelist! He killed Jango Fett and almost killed Darth Sidious for crying out loud! Of course, we’d expect nothing less from a Jedi played by Samuel L. Jackson.
#19: Qui-Gon Jinn
This Jedi’s influence echoes throughout the entire franchise. Once Dooku’s Padawan, Qui-Gon became a Jedi Knight and Master to Obi-Wan, but refused a seat on the High Council. He’s the first to see the potential in Anakin Skywalker and foresee his role in fulfilling the Jedi prophecy. In contrast to Mace Windu, he’s considered a maverick by the council. But he’s also everything a Jedi should be – a powerful warrior who’s compassionate and strives for balance within the Living Force. Even after his untimely death at the hands of Darth Maul, Qui-Gon still has much to teach the Jedi.
Given their identical genes, the clone troopers can seem very similar at first glance. However, their different experiences make them unique, and Rex is one of the most distinguished. Serving under Anakin Skywalker and Ahsoka Tano, Rex learns from their unorthodox approach to problems. He’s also a fiercely loyal soldier and natural leader, helping the early Rebel Alliance in its fight against the Empire. In Latin, the word “rex” means king, and that’s fitting, since Rex is the very best of the clones.
The protagonist of Disney’s sequel series is polarizing. She’s kind of a lighting rod for the whole trilogy’s mixed reception … no pun intended. But despite the films’ missteps, she still has some good moments. Orphaned as a child, Rey is a survivor, eking out a living as a scavenger on Jakku. She finds purpose and a new family when she’s thrust into the Resistance’s fight against the First Order. Trained by both Luke and Leia, she becomes a powerful Jedi, whose struggle with her inner darkness and family legacy make her a foil for Kylo Ren.
C’mon ya’ll it’s Baby Yoda! The mind-bogglingly adorable alien child has proven to be one of the most popular “Star Wars” characters in the last decade. Pursued by the remnants of the Empire for his abilities with the Force, Grogu is protected by Mandalorian bounty hunter Din Djarin. Mischievous and always hungry, Grogu is a ton of fun to watch no matter what he’s doing. If he had a bit more substance to his character, we could’ve easily ranked Grogu higher. But he’s still young and has plenty of time to develop.
#15: Darth Maul
Maul not only looks badass, he’s responsible for some of the coolest lightsaber fights in the whole franchise. He’s also one of the most fascinating villains in “Star Wars”. As a child, he was separated from his mother, beaten, and made to embrace the Dark Side. This gives his story a tragic streak, even though he goes on to become a ruthless and sadistic killer. The fact that he turns against his former master Sidious almost makes you root for him; we do love an underdog. Still, few Dark Side users manage to embody hatred and rage the way Maul does. It makes every interaction he has tense and electrifying to watch.
#14: Lando Calrissian
A smuggler, entrepreneur, and pilot, Lando Calrissian is the most interesting man in the galaxy. Suave and effortlessly cool, Lando is so charming, even droids want him! But Lando is more than just a ne’er-do-well who’s great at sabacc. He’s also a competent leader, overseeing Cloud City and joining the rebellion against the Empire, and eventually the First Order. He may betray our heroes at one point, but it’s only out of a desire to protect his people – and he still helps them anyway. As many great characters as there are in “Star Wars,” Lando might be the one we most want to just hang out with in real life. We just want more Lando.
#13: Boba Fett
The Mandalorian bounty hunter immediately captivated audiences, despite limited screen time in the original trilogy. Boba Fett’s determination to capture Han Solo and company for Darth Vader, and then double-dip by turning carbonite-frozen Solo over to Jabba, made him quite the badass. In the prequels, it’s revealed that he’s a clone of Jango Fett, who was also the genetic template for the clone troopers. His character was further fleshed out in “The Clone Wars”, from his quest for revenge against the Jedi to how he became a feared bounty hunter. One thing is for sure, Boba Fett is a survivor, who always manages to make his way through the galaxy!
#12: Ben Solo / Kylo Ren
The son of Han Solo and Leia Organa, Ben Solo was seduced to the Dark Side, becoming Kylo Ren. Over the course of the sequel trilogy, we see him fight against the temptation, not of the Dark Side, but of the Light. Despite his vile actions, including killing his own father, his inner decency eventually wins through, although it costs him his life. Kylo Ren’s arc is one of the most dramatic in the sequels, and everything about his design, from his Vader-style mask to his unique lightsaber, remains memorable.
#11: R2-D2 & C-3PO
We’ve bent the rules for this entry… but what’s R2-D2 without C-3PO and vice versa? This robotic duo often finds themselves in the most dangerous of predicaments, sometimes being the center of conflict in an intergalactic civil war! Princess Leia gave R2 the secret plans of the Death Star and was charged with the task of delivering them to the Rebels, unbeknownst to C-3PO who just got dragged along for the ride! While 3PO frequently berates R2, he can hardly function without him. This odd couple’s bickering only makes them more treasured.
What’s there not to like about Chewie? After having been saved from Imperial imprisonment by Han Solo, Chewbacca swore a life debt to him and has since been his co-pilot on the Millennium Falcon. His staunch loyalty finds him frequently stuck in dangerous situations, but he never hesitates to help his comrades! The good-hearted Wookie warrior is arguably the easiest character to love. As long as you’re not a threat, his bark is worse than his bite. But if you are, you better watch out for his bowcaster … or bare hands!
#9: Sheev Palpatine / Darth Sidious
Emperor Palpatine’s dark visage was first revealed to audiences in a hologram broadcast in “The Empire Strikes Back.” However, before becoming Emperor, during the days of the Republic, Palpatine pretended to be a noble senator, eventually rising to the position of Chancellor. All the while, he was secretly operating as Sith Lord Darth Sidious. Through his executive powers, he instated Order 66, which killed off virtually every Jedi and eased the transition of the Republic into the Empire! His ruthless ambition, terrifying power, and scathing voice make him impossible to forget!
#8: Din Djarin
This Mandalorian bounty hunter has plenty of skills to admire - especially when it comes to combat. But arguably, what makes him most compelling is his character arc. Devoted to a strict code of conduct, Din finds his life changed after he takes the tiny alien Grogu under his wing. His development from a solitary warrior unwilling to compromise his beliefs, to a devoted surrogate father surrounded by allies, is wonderful to watch. Plus, he’s a complete badass throughout his journey. We don’t know exactly what’s next for “Mando,” but we have a feeling that wherever he goes, “Star Wars” fans are going to enjoy the trip, because we’ll be taking it with such a great character.
#7: Ahsoka Tano
Of all the characters to come out of the “Star Wars” animated series, Ahsoka Tano is easily the best. The former apprentice of Anakin Skywalker, Ahsoka learns how to think outside the box from him. Her story sees her depart from the Jedi order, without turning to the Dark Side, which is a fascinating turn. Ahsoka is a compassionate and honorable fighter, as well as one of the most skilled in the galaxy! Heck, she even bests Maul! While fans were reluctant to accept Ahsoka at first, she’s proven to be a spectacular addition to the “Star Wars” universe and one who will no doubt contribute even more in years to come; particularly now that she’s appearing in live action too!
#6: Leia Organa
Princess, rebel, general: Leia is all these things and more. As the adopted daughter of Senator Bail Organa, she’s instrumental in the Rebellion against the Empire, fighting on even after witnessing the destruction of her home planet Alderaan. Like her father Anakin, she’s strong in the Force, although she opts for the life of a political and military leader dedicated to democracy. Even when all the odds are against her, Leia somehow finds a way to save herself and those she loves. She even manages to redeem her and Han’s son Ben back to the light side of the Force.
#5: Obi-Wan Kenobi
Over the course of the franchise, we’ve seen Obi-Wan grow from a Jedi Padawan still learning the ways of the Force to a wise Jedi Master. In between, he was Anakin’s mentor and a general in the Clone Wars. Through it all, his dry sense of humor made him especially entertaining to watch. While Obi-Wan is a skilled negotiator, he’s also gifted with a lightsaber, managing to defeat an impressive list of foes - from Darth Maul to General Grievous and even Anakin. That’s on top of his other achievements, like watching over and training Luke, sacrificing himself, and continuing to help Luke from the afterlife! If that isn’t devotion, then what is?
Judge him by his size, do not! Yoda is easily the most powerful Jedi, as well as the wisest. He also has a quirky sense of humor to boot! Don't be fooled by his diminutive stature and cane. This little green guy can flip through the air and do battle with the deadliest villains. When agility and swordsmanship aren’t necessary, Yoda can draw on his incredibly strong connection to the Force. It’s no wonder he presided over the High Council until the Republic’s fall. In exile, he also mentored Luke Skywalker. This hero is easy to admire!
#3: Luke Skywalker
The legendary Jedi’s life epitomizes the hero’s journey. When we first meet Luke, he’s young and full of complaints, gazing up at the stars from his uncle and aunt’s moisture farm. Thanks to mentors Obi-Wan and Yoda, he becomes a formidable warrior and powerful Jedi. But he still follows his heart, making mistakes along the way - such as when he rushes into battle against his father, Darth Vader. While fans might not have loved his portrayal in the sequel trilogy, we have “The Mandalorian” to thank for a glimpse at Luke in his absolute prime.
#2: Han Solo
This charming rogue is the ultimate space cowboy. As an orphan on the streets of Corellia, Han learned the value of quick thinking, self-reliance, and of course credits! For a long time, his copilot on the Millenium Falcon, Chewie, is the only one he really trusts. However, after the smuggler meets Luke, Leia, and Obi-Wan, that starts to change. Coupled with his charisma, it’s this growth that makes Han such a fascinating and relatable character! While he seems selfish on the outside, he goes to great lengths for those he cares about - even after being frozen in carbonite!
#1: Jar Jar Binks
Was Jar Jar secretly a Sith Lord the whole time? You know what … even if he was, we’re just joking. He’s NOT our number one.
#1: Anakin Skywalker / Darth Vader
Anakin’s tale is at the heart of the “Star Wars” saga. Miraculously conceived without a father, he grew up as a slave on Tatooine, until Qui-Gon recognized his potential. As a Jedi Padawan, he was torn between the Order’s Code and his feelings of fear and resentment, born from a childhood spent under the thumb of the more powerful. Nonetheless, Anakin became a powerful Jedi, incredible fighter, and great master to his apprentice Ahsoka. Tragically however, his mother’s death, and forbidden love for Padme, led him down a dark path. As Vader, he became a terrifying villain, one of the most iconic in cinema history. Only after his defeat by Luke was he redeemed. Anakin’s rise, fall, and redemption, is what “Star Wars” is all about!