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The best Star Wars characters of all time, ranked

These are the best Star Wars characters in the galaxy - and without a Jar Jar Binks in sight…

The best Star Wars characters of all time, ranked
13 February 2024

Picking the best Star Wars characters is more of a challenge than making the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs. That's because the Star Wars universe (or, more accurately, the galaxy far, far away) has given us some of the biggest stars in space itself, and the most instantly recognisable characters, ever.

Because there were already many awesome characters in the core movies, but there have been plenty more in the wider Star Wars canon, like in the comics, TV shows and animated series. So many, in fact, we must issue an apology to the unfortunately maligned characters who didn’t make this list – Wicket, Sabine Wren, Qui-Gon Jinn, Grand Moff Tarkin we love you, promise.


UPDATE: Did you know it has been 25 years since The Phantom Menace was released? To celebrate that frankly scary anniversary, the film is coming back to cinemas, in May. This is slightly ahead of the actual July anniversary, but it allows for the "May the 4th be with you" pun Disney apparently couldn't resist. We have also added Carl Weathers's Greef Kanga to our list of the best Star Wars characters below, following the actor's passing. Do give him an upvote below if you'll miss his exclamations of "Mando!" in the next chapter of The Mandalorian.


With such a Death Star-sized catalogue of films and countless other properties, each full of quirky creatures, narrowing this list down was tougher than a Storm Trooper’s rubber boot. After much Force-focusing, here are the 30 most iconic Star Wars characters to inspire the imaginations of audiences across this little blue planet.

But don't just take our word for it. Submit the additions you don't think we should be without at the bottom, after voting for your top Star Wars characters.

Best Star Wars characters

Best Star Wars characters

1. Darth Vader

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If Princess Leia gave us the world’s most copied fancy dress costume, Darth Vader has surely given us the most imitated voice impression in any Dad-joke repertoire. James Earl Jones, who voiced cinema’s most iconic villain in the classic first trilogy, requested to leave his role uncredited until Return Of The Jedi, as he thought his contribution too small to warrant it. The distinct sound of Vader’s breathing, meanwhile, was made using scuba breathing apparatus: impressionists take note. We've been lucky enough to see more of Vader in the Obi-Wan Kenobi TV show, which saw Hayden Christensen reprise the role.

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Obi-Wan Kenobi is the elder statesman of the Star Wars universe, teaching Luke the way of the Force and central to all that is good with the Rebel Alliance. He sacrificed his life for the good of the good and is sage words of advice help Luke destroy the Death Star. In his younger years, he was also a badass - something we saw in the Obi-Wan Kenobi TV series, which starred Ewan McGregor.

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Best Star Wars characters

3. Han Solo

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This scruffy looking nerfherder is the coolest guy in the galaxy. That’s just a fact. But the space pirate wasn’t always going to look so badass. George Lucas has said he originally wanted the character to be a big, green, Creature From The Black Lagoon –style, erm, fish monster. Despite the early design, after working with Harrison Ford on his film American Graffiti, Lucas later changed the character description to the “young Corellian pirate” we know and love. We saw Harrison Ford reprise the role of Solo in Episode VII and a younger version of the character in Solo: A Star Wars Movie. Although Alden Ehrenreich was great in the role, the film wasn't a success.

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Small but mighty, he is. The iconic design of the oldest Jedi master and Luke Skywalker’s tiny, trusty trainer was created by legendary movie make up artist Stuart Freeborn. He based it on a mash up of Albert Einstein’s and his own face. Yoda may be a little green guy, but look up and image of Freeborn and you’ll see that the resemblance is uncanny.



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Best Star Wars characters

5. Luke Skywalker

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Before he was the greatest Jedi in the galaxy, Luke had a very different work-in-progress name – the character was originally named in the script as ‘Anakin Starkiller’. This was later changed to Luke, and ‘Starkiller’ swapped for ‘Skywalker’, because George Lucas was worried that audiences might unwittingly think of the Charles Manson murders when they heard the name ‘Starkiller’. Of course, the name ‘Anakin’ made its way into the series later instead, as Luke’s father’s name. As a character there is nobody as important as Luke in the Star Wars franchise and it's great that we have been seeing him pop up again in The Mandalorian, albeit thanks to clever SFX trickery.

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Best Star Wars characters

6. Chewbacca

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Han Solo’s faithful co-pilot was actually based on George Lucas’s dog – a massive Alaskan Malamute named Indiana. Apparently, she would sit in the front passenger seat when Lucas was driving and people would mistake her for a person.

“Having her with me all the time inspired me to give Han Solo a sidekick who was like a big, furry dog. Not quite like a dog, but intelligent,” Lucas revealed. Chewbacca is also 200 years old in A New Hope. That's a lot in dog years.

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R2-D2 is a stalwart of the Star Wars franchise. He was the vessel that was trusted with the Death Star plans, which lead to the destruction of the thing. He is a skilled starship mechanic and fighter pilot's assistant and basically the best atromerch around (sorry BB-8). He's also had to put up with C-3P0 throughout all the Star Wars movies now and, for that, he deserves a medal.

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Best Star Wars characters

8. Leia Organa

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Episode 9 featured a significant amount of General Leia Organa, even though Carrie Fisher passed away in 2016. Leia lives on in the posthumous performance thanks to unused footage originally filmed for The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. Not only is Princess Leia’s iconic bun hair style one of the most parodied in all of popular culture, but Leia is one of the most influential feminist heroes in cinema history. We also had the pleasure of seeing a younger version of Leia in the Obi-Wan Kenobi TV show, played brilliantly by Vivien Lyra Blair.

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27 words and 6 minutes. That's all it took to become one of the most iconic characters in the Star Wars franchise of all time. Boba is so popular - or his race is at least - that we got some of his back story, in the prequels, as a guest in The Mandalorian and his own spin-off show. Yes, it looked like he had the most rubbish of ends, falling in the sarlacc pit, but the way The Book of Boba Fett retro-fitted a change to his story was impressive. Most impressive.

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Best Star Wars characters

10. The Mandalorian

The Mandalorian hasn't been in Star Wars for that long but already established himself as a classic character. This is because of the show by Jon Favreau which hits all the right Star Wars buttons for us. Mando is played by Pedro Pascal and is a bounty hunter whose job it is to protect Baby Yoda. He's monosyllabic at times but we just love everything about him. We're getting more Mandalorian, with a third season in the works.

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Best Star Wars characters

11. Ahsoka Tano

Seeing Rosario Dawson as Aksoka Tano in The Mandalorian was a casting masterclass as she suits the character so well. Aksoka has cropped up in The Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels (as well as her voice in Rise of Skywalker). Dawson was so good in the part that a spin-off series is being created for the character.

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If you are a fan of the Original Trilogy, it's highly likely you hate The Phantom Menace. Kids love it, though, and it does house one of the very best Star Wars characters: Darth Maul. He looks the part, is actually pretty scary (as all Star Wars villains should be) and can fight like the best - with a ruddy great dual lightsaber. Fantastic stuff.

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Emperor Palpatine is the big bad that reverberates throughout the whole of the Star Wars universe and we saw him return in Episode IX. He's an absolute rotter who starts out boring people about trade agreements in the prequels, then shifts into 'I'm going to rule the Empire' mode when he remodels himself as the purely evil Darth Sidious. He also shoots electric out of his fingers which is pretty cool.

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Yes, he's annoying. Very annoying. But there's something endearing about the droid that can speak 7 million languages but chooses to go around lauding it up like a posh British butler. His loyalty is of no question, though, and this Reddit thread is a brilliant example of why he isn't a baffoon but "a precise psychological operative designed to optimize team performance by redirecting negative feelings away from teammates and onto himself." Marvellous.

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Best Star Wars characters

15. Baby Yoda

Yes, we know it's not really called Baby Yoda but even though we now know its real name (Grogu), it will always be Baby Yoda to us. The cutest thing in the Star Wars universe that can be forgiven for causing genocide by eating the eggs of the Frog-Lady, Grogu is a fantastic addition to Star Wars.

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Lando is the coolest character in the Star Wars universe. Played originally by Billy Dee Williams (reprised the role in Episode IX) and effortlessly by Donald Glover in the under-appreciated Solo spin-off, the character is a cad (like Han Solo) who is only out for himself, selling the Star Wars crew out to Darth Vader but eventually helping save the galaxy. He does it in a cool cape, though, so all is good.

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Jabba The Hut is a grotesque, crime lord whose role in Star Wars is intrinsically linked with Han Solo in Star Wars. Solo owed money to Hutt, so he sends over Boba Fett to find and capture him - which he does, in carbon. Even though he was first seen in Jedi, part of George Lucas' changes to the Original Trilogy meant we saw him in A New Hope, too.

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Best Star Wars characters

18. Count Dooku

Star Wars has a habit of casting British acting stalwarts so it was fantastic to see Christopher Lee cast as Count Dooku. What wasn't as fantastic was that he was in one of the worst Star Wars movies (luckily, he also turned up in Revenge of the Sith). Fortunately his acting gravitas and menace was perfect for the former Jedi Master who trained under Master Yoda and actually trained Qui-Gon Jinn.

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The Rebel Alliance's big military cheers, Admiral Ackbar was always a brilliant presence when he was on the screen. Whether it was muttering the immortal lines "It's a trap!" Or masterminding the Rebel attack when another DeathStar sprung up in Jedi, he's the grizzled, should really be retired veteran the world needs right now.

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Best Star Wars characters

20. Cassian Andor

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Cassian Andor's role in Rogue One was powerful and emotional. Getting to learn more about his backstory in 2022's TV series Andor was such a treat. Well, a tear-jerking treat that made us want to take to the streets along with the people of Ferrix. We know some people are Star Wars purists, only interested in the movies – or even only the first three movies – but Andor's story is one of the best in the whole Star Wars-iverse.

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Best Star Wars characters

21. General Grievous

General Grievous is a terrifying Jedi hunter who never made it to Darth status because they don't have the Force in them. They do, however, have a mostly android body and fantastic lightsaber skills - it helps when you have four hands to wield them - that were taught to them by Count Dooku. While mostly robot, the hacking cough he delivers reminds you that there is some sort of life form under all the twisted metal, and they were eventually fallible, eventually losing in a fight to Obi-Wan.

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Best Star Wars characters

22. Asajj Ventress

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No, Asajj hasn't featured in any of the major Star Wars movies. But fans of the wider Star Wars canon – like the comics and Clone Wars – will know that this Dathomirian witch who became a Jedi who then became a Sith assassin under Count Dooku is one of the most fascinating, powerful and spook characters in the whole galaxy.

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Best Star Wars characters

23. Bo-Katan Kryze

It was a genius decision to bring Katee Sackhoff back as Bo-Katan Kryze, the character she voiced in The Clone Wars, for The Mandalorian - she's now an essential part of the show. From princess to terrorist and now lone gunslinger, she is now pride and place in Star Wars lore and stands equal to Mando

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Best Star Wars characters

24. Greef Karga

Cinema legend Carl Weathers died in February 2024, but got his chance to leave an indelible mark on the Star Wars series thanks to the Madalorian. His character Greg Karga is one of the most memorable of the show, a magistrate who becomes an agent of the bounty hunters' guild. This story is one of the corrupting force of power, but he gets his own redemption arc that is satisfying to watch. And we'll have his many calls of "Mando" rattling around our heads for years to come.

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Best Star Wars characters

25. Mon Mothma

Thanks to Andor, we have seen much more of Mon Mothma as a character and Genevieve O'Reilly really does do a splendid job of taking off from where Caroline Blakiston left off. Throughout Return of the Jedi we saw her powers as a leader, while through Andor and beyond we understand just why she became a core part of the Rebel Alliance. She may not wield a lightsaber but it's her forthright forethought that eventually helped rid the galaxy of tyranny.

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Best Star Wars characters

26. Kylo Ren

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The Dark Side-turned son of General Leia and Han Solo formerly known as Ben Solo is a villain we can’t help but love. He’s a terrifying, cruel character, but he is also vulnerable and human. One of those human flaws is being prone to temper tantrums – you’d be forgiven for thinking he was a teenager for that reason, but he’s actually older. In a since-deleted tweet, a member of the Lucasfilm Story Group confirmed he was "around 29 to 30" years old.

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He may essentially be a Swiss army knife on wheels, but our beeping companion is certainly the most adorable droid in all of the galaxy. Evolutionary Biologist JV Chamary explained, in an article for Forbes, there’s a scientific reason audiences love BB-8 so much, too: it’s because he’s childlike. His round body, baby-like chirps and bumbling movements make him toddler-esque, and even more endearing. The little baller.

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28. Poe Dameron

Poe Dameron was the most gung-ho character of the latest Star Wars movies, made in the mould of Han Solo, starting as part of the Spice Runners of Kijimi, then becoming a pilot in the New Republic and eventually General. His affection for General Leia was brilliant to see on the screen.

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Daisy Ridley’s Jedi-in-training, Rey, has given us a hero cloaked in conspiracy, and in Episode Nine, we have our fingers crossed that the big question of her mysterious parentage may finally be revealed. In The Last Jedi, Kylo Ren taunts Rey that her parents were “nobodies”, but fans had their own theories. The truth came out in the rather rushed The Rise of Skywalker

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The hero formerly known as First Order Storm Trooper FN-2187 provides much of audience’s entry point to the most recent trilogy. He’s thrown into a situation, and is instantly overwhelmed by it all. Let’s be honest, we’d all be too, if we had abandoned our Storm Trooper day jobs and got entangled with the Resistance. He also provides a lot of the humour. Boyega has explained, "During the auditions I found that my niche for this character was definitely in the more humour and fear.”

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Who shot first? Who cares, when the iconic scene between Greedo and Solo brought one of the very best characters into the Star Wars universe. Greedo is a Rodian bounty hunter who has mere minutes of screen time - but his character is fleshed out in the Clone Wars animated spin-off.

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