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Star Wars : Top 100 Characters - A Commentary

  • Aug 21, 2010
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OK, this isn't actually a list I've devised, but rather comes from the gaming website IGN. They've created a list of the top 100 Star Wars characters, including the (HUGE) Expanded Universe of novels, comics, and video games. You can find the list here. It's definitely a must for any Star Wars fan.

By and large, I like the list... at least for the characters I actually know - I've never heard of a good quarter of them. What I've done below is make a list of my top 11 comments and critiques of this list, including a few characters who should have made it on. I try not to comment on characters I don't know well (so even thought I don't know anything about Quinlan Vos, he's safe at #18). Enjoy!
Worst Decision
IGN put everybody's favorite Rebel admiral at a measly #29. While not a horrible showing, Admiral Ackbar easily deserves to be in the top 20. This jolly squid has become a fan favorite and featured in many of the EU books, particularly Michael Stackpole's X-Wing series (after Zahn's, the best Star Wars novels). For audiences in 1983, Ackbar looked awesome and pretty darn realistic (even today, after we've been spoiled by computer-generated aliens, Ackbar stands out). Plus, he has some of the most quotable lines in the movies ("It's a trap!"). More importantly, Ackbar brought some much-needed diversity to the Rebel Alliance, showing that aliens were in the fight as well. Ackbar has always been one of my favorites, and putting him so low (behind Mace Windu for goodness sakes!) is a travesty.
I've never been a huge fan of Qui-Gon Jinn. While he was supposedly a maverick, he seems to act like a fairly typical and uninteresting Jedi (like McCain I guess). I had gotten the impression that most Star Wars fans thought Liam Neeson's portrayal of Qui-Gon was flat and lacked chemistry. Furthermore, Qui-Gon doesn't really do much for the plot - well, except for prove disastrously wrong about little Anakin Skywalker. That's why I was puzzled when IGN put him at #20 - ahead of Admiral Ackbar! Maybe other Star Wars fans are seeing something in Qui-Gon that I haven't, but he doesn't seem to deserve that rank.
Did the Music Die?
Where Max Rebo's musical sequence in Jedi was roundly booed, everybody seems to love Figrin D'an and the Modal Nodes from the Star Wars cantina in Mos Eisley. I won't claim they have the most interesting backstory - they're just musicians trying to make a living. However, their two songs are both great to listen to and really set the mood for the cantina bar fight. I was pretty surprised that Figrin D'an wasn't selected for the top 100 just on the basis of their musical talent.
Least Notable Missing Character
I really wasn't sure where to put Ree-Yees, but I knew I wanted to include him. Ree-Yees looks like a three-eyed, good-for-nothing drunkard, and that's basically all he is. He died on Jabba's Sail Barge, evidently too drunk to escape the explosion. For whatever reason, I've always had a soft spot for this guy. He's a cool looking alien and the Hasbro figure of him is easily my favorite of the entire line. Moreover, he's one of the few characters show in Star Tours (during the safety video, he is seen using a flash-bulb and smoking on the ride). I can't justify putting him in the top 100, but wanted to make sure to mention him somewhere.
Isn't He Really Just a Clone?
Dash Rendar is another character who, in my opinion, ranks far too high on IGN's list. Dash Rendar is a smuggler who teams up with Luke and Leia in Shadows of the Empire in between the Empire and Jedi movies. IGN puts him at #26. However, all too often Dash Rendar seemed like a glorified clone of Han Solo - filling the big man's role while he was encased in carbonite. I always found this odd because it removed a lot of the dramatic tension in Shadows of the Empire. It would have been more interesting if Rendar had not been created and the characters really had to deal with Han's loss. Furthermore, I never found anything particularly interesting or unique about him - except for those giant leather pauldrons (admittedly a cool feature). Not that IGN should kick Rendar off the list completely - just not rank him quite so high.
New Rule
You cannot be a top 100 Star Wars character if Hasbro hasn't yet made a figure out of you. This is admittedly a very low bar - Hasbro has hundreds, if not thousands, of Star Wars figures from the movies, comics, and books. So, if a character doesn't yet have the demand to entice Hasbro to make a figure of him or her, then that character obviously isn't important or popular enough to be on any list. That means Darth Traya (#81) and HK-47 (#38) should be booted off in favor of somebody who has been immortalized in plastic.
Do Creatures Count?
It's a silly question in some ways since creatures aren't characters. Yet, the Star Wars universe is filled with awesome animals (by the way, new edition of the Wildlife of Star Wars is coming out soon). Aside from the Hutts, there aren't too many creatures that come close to being characters. However, Boga, a varactyl native to Utapau seen in Revenge of the Sith, might be an exception. Unlike almost all other Star Wars creatures, this animal has a proper name (Luke's tauntaun never had a name). More importantly, Boga was the only creature to die protecting a character, in this case Obi-Wan.

What did you think of this list?

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August 24, 2010
Good call on Admiral Thrawn. While I haven't read a ton of the EU stuff, Zahn's books are just really good standalone sci-fi books on their own even if they had nothing to do with Star Wars. When I started reading his Thrawn books I wondered why they don't a make a few more movies based around those rather than that dumb-sounding live-action show they've been talking about.
August 24, 2010
Um... all I can say is that I agree 101%. A Star Wars series based on the Thrawn trilogy (with a few modifications for film) would be awesome. I doubt it would happen, but I think many fans agree that the Thrawn trilogy is more special than the rest of the Expanded Universe - almost a real part of the Star Wars canon.
August 21, 2010
Nice list. I think it's sad that Wars has so many names come from how many books, games and comics instead of having a couple more (good) movies.
August 21, 2010
I wish... Alas, I'm not hopeful. In fact, I think there's something to be said for leaving the movies be - after all, I don't trust ANYBODY to make worthy Star Wars movies. I would recommend the Heir to the Empire book series. I don't read much Star Wars at all (I mostly read history books), but Timothy Zahn's Heir to the Empire really recreates some of the magic of the original trilogy.
August 21, 2010
I don't think that we will ever see "Good" Star Wars movies, and certainly not written, produced or directed by Lucas. When Lucas says that the original Trilogy would be "too expensive" to put on blu ray and restored and Lucas is worth a nice 4 billion dollars, you know hes lost it completely. I read most of the Timothy Zahn books and I really like Dark Empire.
August 21, 2010
Actually Lucas just announced that all of the films will be released on blu-ray next year, including deleted scenes (I think under special features). That's good news for us! I don't think Lucas would ever release restored versions of the original versions of the original trilogy because he views these movies as his babies and he wants them seen a certain way. I suspect cost is just an excuse. I kind of can't blame him, as much as I'd like to see the originals restored, because he is the artist after all. I liked Dark Empire the first time I read it, although after seeing the prequels I felt like Dark Empire really cheapened Vader's sacrifice in killing the Emperor. However, Lucas was known to give copies of Dark Empire out to friends and supposedly said that if he ever made sequels, they would be based on or like Dark Empire.
August 21, 2010
I heard the bluray announcement too but it also came with the tack on that the old GOOD movies won't be on bluray for the limp wrist reason of it costing too much. If I don't see original editions, I don't see myself buying it. He sees the Special Editions as his babies, thats fine but in that same vein, they're HIS babies and they're only going to be really special to him. Lucas likes Dark Empire, that shows he has SOME taste and I think the Prequels ruined Dark Empire with Lukes exploration of the Dark Side and why did his father make that choice and then showing the Prequels and seeing Vader as a huffy little hothead who I couldn't stand.
August 21, 2010
Although we both know cost isn't really the issue... "sigh." I should reread Dark Empire again and see what I think of it now. It's been many, many moons ago. I'm sure a debate about the prequels would get a lot of attention on Lunch.com! I think somebody already said they wanted to do a comparison of the two trilogies. I'm personally ambivalent about the prequels - they could have been a lot better, but they have their moments (Order 66 and the killing of the Jedi was one of the greatest sequences in the entire saga).
August 21, 2010
Yeah, I said this on other forums and here too that I'm not buying Special Editions again. Phantom Menace was fun and had action but really gaping logic flaws. Attack of the Clones was odious and boring and one of my least favorite movies and Revenge of the Sith was to me now a better Phantom Menace. I'll respect your opinion about Order 66, but for a powerful race with ESP like powers, all those Jedi to me were pretty slow on the draw in realizing the clones were about to betray them. "Always emotion is the future" Yoda said, well since Clones don't have emotion (or almost anything else in the prequels short of boring, annoying and complaining) that could be why they didn't sense them. I just hope some comic or book doesn't explain that away. I like Star Wars, but nothing is more irritatin in hearing the fans explain bad movie writing away by pouring through comics and novels.
August 21, 2010
Frankly, I like the Order 66 scene more for the cinematic and dramatic effect (the combination of the soundtrack, visuals, and chilling off-screen deaths). I think the prequels built the Jedi up way too much, which then leaves the obvious plot whole of why were they so oblivious as to be slaughtered like lambs. I wouldn't try to justify that contradiction. The real problem is that the prequel Jedi were too powerful, almost omnipotent. By contrast, in the original trilogy, the Jedi and their abilities under the force were much more muted. One scholar of the Star Wars movies has described the original version of the Force as almost like a confidence booster (you can do it if you have faith, Luke). Vader, Obi-Wan, and Luke never jumped 50 feet in the air whilst swinging their lightsabers and juggling R2 units. Not everybody could shoot lightning out of their fingertips or lift starfighters with their mind. Yoda and the Emperor were supposed to be particularly awesome force adepts, but in the prequels those powers became almost blase. In my mind, the Order 66 scene is a return to that more limited vision of Jedi who are have special gifts, but have weaknesses as well. I frankly think it makes sense that Jedi who are in the midst of fighting would have blind spots and that only Super Yoda would be prescient enough to avoid extermination. I agree with you that I find it annoying when people try to come up with convoluted theories to describe plot holes. I'm strangely at peace with the notion that the Star Wars universe has plot holes, inconsistencies, and internal contradictions. I personally like to think that the earlier prequels are plot holes and Order 66 started to put the saga back on track.
August 21, 2010
I agree with you in reverse, I always thought that the OT made the Jedi the invincible people. When PM came around and you see Obi and Jinny slicing and dicing they're way through crappy droids, but then you see those SAME droids kill off Jedi by the handful in episode II and III with three having the clones do it.
August 21, 2010
I could see both actually - the Jedi were kind of selectively pathetic. If you're interested in this stuff, I highly recommend the "Secret History of Star Wars" by Michael Kaminski. He looks at a lot of the plot holes, changes with the various scripts, and other fascinating issues behind the development of the Star Wars plots. Oh, and it's not authorized by LucasFilm, so he's honest.
August 21, 2010
If I buy his book, will he send me a pizza roll?
August 21, 2010
Ha! That I don't know. I had a long flight to Hong Kong once and finished it entirely during the flight.
August 21, 2010
I'll leave a comment on his webzone when I go to learn more about the book and maybe he'll send me a pizza roll like Mr. Plinkett of RedletterMedia.com
August 21, 2010
Impressive list! This is a real piece of hard work. While I do see Star Wars as "Space Fantasy" and not entirely sci-fi--Yoda be proud.
August 21, 2010
You're right, and I thought about putting the list under the movies community, but somehow I thought it might get more attention here...
August 21, 2010
I apologize if I am running a little late with the promotion of the stuff in Movie Hype. Oh as far as attention goes, this list will get a lot of attention regardless what community you post it under, because it is just great!

You can unlock the Jedi badges though if you'd like in our Movie Hype community later by reviewing the Star Wars movies. May the force be with you...
August 21, 2010
Wow, I am very impressed. I do hope that this turns out to be the first in a long series of "Star Wars" lists. From one old school Jedi fan to another, "May the force be with you..."
August 21, 2010
Me too. In fact, I was a bit shocked to see that there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of Star Wars activity on Lunch...
August 21, 2010
There's actually quite a bit, but it's not organized or kept together in a very visible way. At some point, I'd like to review the original trilogy and compare it to the new films.
August 21, 2010
Hmm... Are you up for creating a Star Wars community? I might be interested in forming one and being moderator. I just don't know if that'd be redundant (given how many other forums for Star Wars are out there on the web).
August 21, 2010
well, there is a Star Trek community--so a Star Wars community is overdue; but you are correct, it can be redundant. Hm...choices. Star Trek does have more stuff than Star Wars--unless you count the mediocre animated series.
August 21, 2010
Sadly, I don't think I'd have the time to create and maintain another community since I have so many already. I'd join one in a second though.
August 21, 2010
I disagree Woo, "Star Wars" has comics, books, video games, more merchandising than any other franchise, multiple versions of four of the films, a rabid fan base, and a lot more that would be perfect fodder for a separate community.
August 21, 2010
Hm maybe. I didn't think of it that way, but you may be right. I guess I just see Star Wars as the films and anything with comics, books and movies. But as FreeDom4 says, it may be redundant.

@FreeDom4, perhaps you'd like to join this discussion? http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/Forums-WHAT_I...ICTION_-13-386-1-1.html
About the list creator
Dominic J Nardi ()
Ranked #77
I am a recent law school grad with an interest in Southeast Asia legal issues. Unfortunately for my checkbook, ever since high school I have been addicted to good books. I have eclectic tastes, although … more
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