Written By Austin Hall (@ADWAustin)
Star Wars, for all intents and purposes, is a timeless story about heroes and villains battling for the soul of the galaxy. In my last piece, I told you all about evil that cast a shadow over the entire saga. Now it’s time to shine a light on, well, the light side. Without further ado, here are the best heroes of Star Wars.
Heroes That Missed The Cut:
Cassian Andor (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, played by Diego Luna)
Every character in Rogue One would have been perfect for a spin-off series, so be thankful that Cassian has one. The first character to finally explain to everyone that this franchise is actually based on, well, war, he’s seen it all and done things he regrets, but he knows there is an endgame to it all. This is why he joins a rogue squad on their mission, because, as he says, it would have been for nothing if they didn’t.
Jyn Erso (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, played by Felicity Jones, Beau Gadsdon, Dolly Gadsdon)
A complicated history that was unpacked throughout one great movie, Jyn is the daughter of what we like to call “retconning”, but this time it works! As the daughter of Galen, an Imperial Research Scientist who helped create the Death Star, Jyn was either on the run from the Empire or under the care of Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker) before eventually finding out that Galen had a built-in flaw that would destroy the whole thing. Through blaster fights and multi-faceted plans, this rebel gave the rest of them a new hope in destroying their most dangerous threat.
Poe Dameron (Episode VII-IX, played by Oscar Issac)
What if you took Han Solo and gave him no depth? That’s what you basically get with Poe. At least, that’s what we first see through 1 ½ films. The flyboy is no stranger to the term “shoot first, ask questions later”, but learns from a wise general that that isn’t always the best way to do things.
9: Finn (Episode VII-IX, played by John Boyega)
A stormtrooper who decides on a whim to join the Resistance, Finn gets caught up in a crossroads: do I run away, or do I join the fight to save the galaxy? He has that same epiphany (fight for good) in two consecutive movies, and constantly seems out of his depth. So what makes him a hero then, you may ask? Well, when push comes to shove, Finn rises to the occasion, whether it’s speeding straight into a huge wall buster or standing up to a force-sensitive Kylo Ren. At his core, Finn cares about the people he befriends and shows that he’ll do anything to save them.
8: Rey (Episode VII-IX, played by Daisy Ridley)
With one movie left in her journey, Rey’s biggest story seems to either be her lineage or how she feels about Kylo. As one of the few female leads in the entire franchise, and the first woman to wield a lightsaber since the prequels, this is quite disappointing. But even so, she has a great sense of morality, is never beaten in a fight, and always has her friends’ backs. The Force is strong with this one, and I have a feeling we’ll see more of a story arc by the end of the saga.
7: Lando Calrissian (Solo: A Star Wars Story, Episode V-VI, IX, played by Donald Glover & Billy Dee Williams)
“How you doin’ ya old pirate? So good to see you!” Lando exclaims to his best frenemy, Han Solo, as his own way of easing the tension between them. We later learn this is because the last time they saw each other, Han stiffed him for the Millennium Falcon. Lando gets a lot of flack for allowing Han and Co. to fall prey to Darth Vader, but ever since I was a kid, it was pretty clear that he had no choice. If you watch the movie closely, you know that he was just trying to do right by his people. I think it’s fair to mention that I’m angry at the thought of anyone who would be daft enough to think otherwise. But, I digress. He is a charmer, a lover, and a fighter, and he’s quite good at all three while wearing one of a plethora of beautiful capes.
6: Chewbacca (Episode III, Solo: A Star Wars Story, IV-IX, played by Peter Mayhew & Joonas Suotamo)
The only hero on this list that needs all of his lines translated, Chewie has a longer history with the saga than we first thought. A Wookie warrior in the Clone Wars, he fell prey to enslavement after Order 66, and a chance encounter with his BFF Han led him on a swashbuckling ride that led him right back into the thick of things.
5: Han Solo (Solo: A Star Wars Story, Episode IV-VII, played by Harrison Ford & Alden Ehrenreich)
You could argue that he’s more of an anti-hero than anything else, but the swashbuckler flyboy scruffy-looking nerf herder is actually capable of love and friendship, even when both were taken away in his solo movie (no pun intended). Behind all the gravitas is a kindred spirit who does the right thing even when he doesn’t want to (and a lot of times, he really doesn’t want to). In the end, it’s the actions you take instead of the thoughts you have that make you who you are, and Han’s a hero, whether he’d like to admit or not.
4: Princess/General Leia Organa (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Episodes III-IX, played by Carrie Fisher)
Easily one of the most important women in the entire saga, Leia is never a true damsel in distress, and has a knack for putting cocksure dudes in their place. Just look at how she taught Poe a lesson on the simple fact that tact is sometimes more important than blowing things up, or that Han is still capable of love, Qi’ra be damned. She isn’t defined by the men in her life though, as she is shown as a genius when calling for various airstrikes or plans to ruin the Empire’s day, and will certainly aide in the Resistance’s last stand.
3: Yoda (Episodes I-VI, VIII, played by Frank Oz)
The wisest Jedi Master we ever meet, Yoda lived for 900 years and left a lasting legacy. He was a mentor to Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker, still teaching the latter lessons from the grave. A skilled swordsman, he saved Anakin and Obi-Wan’s lives by going toe-to-toe with Count Dooku and later, Emperor Palpatine. In fact, he thwarted the first assassination attempt as a result of Order 66, allowing him to await Luke and turn Luke into a hero for a new generation.
2: Obi-Wan Kenobi (Episodes I-VI, VII, played by Ewan McGregor & Sir Alec Guinness)
“Hello there!” At times snarky but always wise, Obi-Wan was one of the last remaining Jedi Masters after Vader killed every Jedi he could find. Though he never quite knew how to teach Anakin, he righted his wrongs with Anakin’s son Luke, and was always the voice of reason whenever Luke needed him. He could have been the same to Anakin, but Anakin never listened.
1: Luke Skywalker (Episodes III-IX, played by Mark Hamill)
Everything begins and ends with Luke. He was born in the prequels, became a hero in the original trilogy, and died in the sequels. His father was number #1 on our list of the greatest Star Wars villains, and Luke was able to turn Vader back to the light side, as Vader threw Palpatine down a long shaft, presumably to his death (until recently, of course). He was a skilled warrior and creative tactician, but it was his empathy for others that led to his legend, one that he was able to summon as his last act before he became one with the Force.
Star Wars: Episode IX — The Rise of Skywalker arrives in theaters December 20, 2019.