15 Best Star Wars Characters Of All-Time | Popcorn Banter

Star Wars 15 Best Movie Characters

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It stands to reason that one of cinemas greatest franchises would carry with it a veritable smorgasbord of engrossing and timeless character. The Star Wars franchise has an incredible assortment of characters, spanning a wide range of different roles. But who exactly are the best Star Wars characters?

The franchise is set across what could technically be an infinite number of planets. Therefore the ability to weave in those from different races, species or even those made of steel is central to the plot of each film.

In this article we’ll be looking at Star Wars Films 15 Best Movie Characters. For further reading, you can check out our ranking of every Star Wars film from worst to best.

In total there have been 11 Star Wars feature films. 9 of these are within what’s known as the “Skywalker Saga”, while two tell origin stories. That’s a lot of movie characters to comb through.

Coming up with any list is difficult, but when you have to try and condense all of the incredible characters into just 15, it’s get tricky.

Without further adieu, here is the list. Enjoy.

15. Mace Windu

Movies Featured: 3

Mace Windu | Star Wars 15 Best Movie Characters | Popcorn Banter

Mace Windu was a Jedi Master and a member of the Jedi Council. Mace Windu was a central figure during the dying years of Republic. You could argue that Mace Windu’s (and the other Jedi Council members) inability to trust Anakin was a major part of his Anakin’s downward spiral.

Mace Windu would die at the hands of Palpatine after Anakin saved his life.

Due to his prominence in the prequel storyline, Mace deserves a well earned spot on this list. Additionally, his portrayal by Samuel Jackson and his bad ass purple lightsaber are fantastic.

14. Padmé Amidala

Movies Featured: 3

Padmé Amidala | Star Wars 15 Best Movie Characters | Popcorn Banter

Padmé began her Star Wars life as the Queen of Naboo. She would go on to relinquish the throne somewhere between Episode 1 and Episode 2.

Padmé would become romantically involved with Anakin Skywalker throughout the events of Star Wars: Attack of the Clones (Episode 2). This relationship would bring about the birth of Luke and Leia, both of whom become central to the Star Wars story.

Of course,Padmé’s importance is not just tied up in her relationships. As Queen she played an important political role in the events of Episode 1.

Padmé Amidala is played by Natalie Portman in all three prequel films.

13. Darth Maul

Movies Featured: 1

Darth Maul | Star Wars 15 Best Movie Characters | Popcorn Banter

Darth Maul played a fleeting role as a menacing villain in Star Wars: Phantom Menace (Episode 1). You’ll notice throughout this list I’ve deducted points from characters who only appeared in one movie. However, Maul was such a fantastic villain that I felt he must make the list.

Additionally, Darth Maul was able to defeat Qui-Gon Jinn in hand-to-hand combat. That fact alone means he was an incredible bad guy and deserves a spot on this list.

Darth Maul’s fate was sealed once he defeated Qui-Gon. An enraged Obi-Wan Kenobi would cut him in half, sending him to his death.

13. Padme

12. Lando Calrissian

Movies Featured: 4

Lando Calrissian | Star Wars 15 Best Movie Characters | Popcorn Banter

With the exception of a brief questionable ethical conundrum, Lando Calrissian is an awesome dude. He is one of Han Solo’s oldest friends, a smuggler, card player and entrepreneur.

Lando played a key role in defeating the empire, fighting in squadron battles over the forest moon of Endor. He also helped Leia, Chewie, R2D2, C3PO and Luke escape the clutches of the empire.

Lando has been portrayed by both Billy Dee Williams (Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi & The Rise of Skywalker) and Donald Glover (Solo: A Star Wars Story).

11. Kylo Ren

Movies Featured: 3

Kylo Ren | Star Wars 15 Best Movie Characters | Popcorn Banter

Kylo Ren was one of the shining lights from the sequel trilogy. Anyone familiar with Popcorn Banter would know that we’re certainly not the biggest fans of the most recent Star Wars films. Kylo Ren, however, was the perfect blend of menacing, strong villain, and petulant man-child.

Kylo Ren was originally known as Ben Solo. The son of Han Solo and Leia Organa. Ben was raised to be a Jedi under the tutelage of Luke Skywalker. Sensing great anger and fear in Ben, Luke attempted to kill him, driving Ben from his parents and the lightside. He would spend the majority of the rest of his years trying to recreate the path of his Grandfather, Darth Vader.

I enjoyed the mix-up in villain formula that followed his character arc. He wasn’t pure domination wherever he turned. He would stuff up, fail and get uncontrollably angry. To be honest, his raw anger in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Episode 7) was something I really enjoyed seeing.

In addition to everything I just said, I’m a big fan of his mask, costume and lightsaber.

10. R2D2 & C-3PO

Movies Featured: 9

R2D2 | Star Wars 15 Best Movie Characters | Popcorn Banter

R2-D2 and C-3PO are a pair. A duet. They work better together than they do apart. So it seemed unfair to separate them, but I knew I wanted both of them on the list.

R2 is a sassy little mech droid responsible for talking directly to computer systems. C-3PO is a humanoid protocol droid.

The two droids feature prominently throughout all 9 Star Wars films. Out of all the Star Wars characters, these two robots have the most appearances.

Both R2-D2 and C-3PO have important roles to play in the events of the original trilogy.

9. Chewbacca

Movies Featured: 7

Chewbacca | Star Wars 15 Best Movie Characters | Popcorn Banter

Chewbacca is one of the most underrated Star Wars characters of all-time. Chewie is a Wookie and close friend of Han Solo. Chewbacca appears in 7 Star Wars films. He has considerable screen time in all original and sequel trilogy films, while he appears briefly in the Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith (Episode 3).

Originally, Chewbacca follows Han around as a form of life debt. This is a aspect of Wookie culture in which you devote servitude to a person or being that saves your life. Overtime, Chewie and Han become best friends and rarely separate.

8. Qui-Gon Jinn

Movies Featured: 1

Qui-Gon Jinn | Star Wars 15 Best Movie Characters | Popcorn Banter

Qui-Gon Jinn is arguably the most important character in the entire Star Wars saga.

I’m not even sure if that opinion is controversial, but hear me out anyway.

Qui-Gon’s actions, either directly or indirectly, tie together the entire Star Wars story. Qui-Gon is the Jedi that first meets a young Anakin Skywalker, introducing him to the world of the force.

His inability to adhere to the ideologies and rules of the Jedi would have made Qui-Gon the perfect Master for a young Padawan Anakin. However, Qui-Gon’s death at the hands of Darth Maul resulted in Obi-Wan taking over Anakin’s training. Obi-Wan’s connection to the Jedi Council caused Anakin’s upbringing to be stiffer and more subservient. Obi-Wan was, of course, a good man and a good Jedi. However, one would imagine Anakin could have learned to express himself and dealt with his feelings better under the tutelage of Qui-Gon.

Qui-Gon Jinn also possessed a green Lightsaber. Which is just totally badass.

7. Emperor Palpatine

Movies Featured: 7

Emperor Palpatine | Star Wars 15 Best Movie Characters | Popcorn Banter

The man has gone by many names. Sheev Palpatine, Senator Palpatine, Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, Emperor Palpatine, Darth Sidious.

One thing, however, is constant. Emperor Palpatine IS the Star Wars sagas big baddie.

Senator Palpatine’s rise to power was slow, cold and calculated. Overtime the man amassed an army of followers, subtly pulling the strings from the shadows while playing the good soldier in the light.

Palpatine earmarked Anakin Skywalker from a young age to become his new apprentice. Over time, Palpatine wore down Anakin’s already frail connection to the light, encouraged him to make the jump to the dark side, once and for all.

Palpatine’s reign as Emperor was brought to an end by Darth Vader.

The sequel trilogy would go and bring Palpatine back from the dead, however, this fact is generally glossed over as fans of the original trilogy would prefer to consider him dealt with once and for all.

6. Yoda

Movies Featured: 6

Yoda | Star Wars 15 Best Movie Characters | Popcorn Banter

Yoda was a Jedi Master and a leading member of the Jedi Council in the dying days of the Galactic Republic. Yoda was many centuries old and had amassed a wealth of knowledge, wisdom and skills.

He is widely regarded as one of the strongest Jedis of all-time. However, even he wasn’t able to stop a rampant Darth Sidious in a 1-on-1 duel towards the end of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith (Episode 3).

While living on the Dagobah system, Yoda trained Luke Skywalker, helping him become a Jedi Knight.

Obi-Wan mentions in the original trilogy that Yoda was his Master, however, the prequels somewhat retconned this notion. If Obi-Wan isn’t being 100% literal, we can give this a pass.

5. Obi-Wan Kenobi

Movies Featured: 6

Obi-Wan Kenobi | Star Wars 15 Best Movie Characters | Popcorn Banter

Obi-Wan Kenobi was a Jedi Master who served on the Jedi Council. Obi-Wan took on Padawan Learner Anakin Skywalker after his Master, Qui-Gon Jinn, died at the hands of Darth Maul. During his prime years, Obi-Wan was known as a master swordsman.

In his later years, and even after his death, Obi-Wan helped train Luke Skywalker.

After the fall of the Galactic Republic and the rise of the Galactic Empire, Obi-Wan went into hiding on Tatooine. Here, he kept a close eye on the upbringing of Luke.

During the events of the Clone Wars, Obi-Wan obtained the rank of ‘General’.

4. Princess Leia

Movies Featured: 7

Princess Leia | Star Wars 15 Best Movie Characters | Popcorn Banter

Princess Leia is one of the most celebrated heroines in cinema history.

Princess Leia, who would later become known as General Leia Organa, was a founding member and leader of the rebellion against The Empire. Leia was directly involved in the defeat of Emperor Palpatine.

The twin sister of Luke Skywalker, Leia was the daughter of Anakin Skywalker andPadmé Amidala.

Leia plays a prominent role in 6/9 of the films in the Star Wars saga. In addition to the Skywalker Saga, Leia was also briefly featured at the end of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Princess Leia was played by the late, great Carrie Fisher.

3. Luke Skywalker

Movies Featured: 5

Luke Skywalker | Star Wars 15 Best Movie Characters | Popcorn Banter

Throughout the events of the original trilogy, Luke goes from obscurity to Jedi Knight. He is a central member in the Rebellions victory over The Empire. Luke’s undying in his Father leads Darth Vader to overthrow The Emperor and return balance to the force.

Luke is the twin brother of Leia Organa. He is the son of Anakin Skywalker andPadmé Amidala.

In later years, Luke would attempt to revive the Jedi order. His failure to train Ben Solo and lead him away from the dark side would prompt the events of the sequel trilogy.

Luke Skywalker is one of the most prominent Star Wars characters of all-time.

2. Han Solo

Movies Featured: 5

Han Solo | Star Wars 15 Best Movie Characters | Popcorn Banter

Han Solo is a smuggler, a gambler, a hero and one of the coolest cats in the Star Wars universe.

Han is a non-force wielding human that is imperative to the events of the original trilogy. He becomes a leader in the Rebellion against the Empire.

He is a master pilot, guiding the Millenium Falcon through countless fights. Han is joined on his journeys by Chewbacca, his best friend and ally.

He and Princess Leia are considered one of cinema’s greatest couples.

Han would go on to become the father of Ben Solo, who would later become Kylo Ren. In his later years, Han would attempt to help the Resistance in their battle against the First Order. He was unceremoniously killed by his own son, Kylo Ren.

Han Solo has been played by both Harrison Ford and Alden Ehrenreich.

1. Darth Vader

Movies Featured: 3

Darth Vader | Star Wars 15 Best Movie Characters | Popcorn Banter

Darth Vader isn’t just the greatest Star Wars character of them all, he may very well be the greatest character in cinema, period. It’s hard to argue that any villain, regardless of genre, has instilled more fear in our heroes or heroines then Darth Vader.

The story of the fall of Anakin Skywalker and the rise of Darth Vader is a tragic tale. Terrified of losing everyone and everything he knew, Anakin fell to the dark side of the force, becoming Darth Vader, only to lose them anyway.

However tragic his fall, and the actions he committed through his life, Darth Vader’s story comes full circle. Saving the life of his son, Luke, Vader destroys the Emperor, fulfilling his prophecy and returning balance to the force.

Honourable Mentions

I must give honourable mentions to a number of characters that I just couldn’t squeeze into this list. There are as follows:

  • Boba Fett
  • Jyn Erso
  • Poe Dameron