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!
IGN ranks Grand Admiral Thrawn at #10, and I wholeheartedly agree. He is not just the only Expanded Universe character to make the top 10, but also the only non-principal character (the rest of the top 10 consists of Luke, Han, etc.). Thrawn was the creation of Timothy Zahn, whose Heir to the Empire series launched the entire EU. So why is he so cool? Well, the Star Wars universe is littered with plots that are centered around "superweapons" (the Death Star is only the most obvious). After a while, this gets pretty boring. With Thrawn, his mind was the superweapon. He used a variety of ingenious tricks to bring the New Republic to its knees. He was also ruthless but just. Thrawn notably killed one officer who made a mistake, but promoted another who explained that tractor beam technology was inadequate for the mission. If you read no other Star Wars novels, make sure to read the Thrawn trilogy and duology.
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.
If you don't follow the Expanded Universe, you'll be forgiven for not recognizing Borsk Fey'lya. In Return of the Jedi, when Mon Mothma mentioned Bothans (as in: "many Bothans died to bring us this information."), she was referring to his species. Senator Borsk Fey'lya was created by Zahn to introduce a level of political intrigue to New Republic politics (frankly, I wish the prequel politicians took a point or two from him). Borsk Fey'lya himself is a rarity in the Star Wars universe on two counts. First, he's a man of bureaucracy rather than action. Second, he's morally ambiguous. While he isn't a villain, he's often suspicious of our heros, particularly Leia. In fact, he tried to impeach Ackbar. However, as in real life, politicians on the same side often find themselves embroiled in dirty fights. For these reasons, I was shocked to see that Borsk Fey'lya didn't even make IGN's list.
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.
Admittedly, Admiral Firmus Piett isn't a crucial character in the Star Wars movies, but, hey, at least he was named on screen (as in: "You are in command now Admiral Piett.") and was in two movies (Empire and Jedi). Moreover, Piet served as a representative of younger imperial officers. Unlike Grand Moff Tarkin, Piett can't stand toe-to-toe with Vader. Indeed, he reeks of fear. Piett also stands out because, as the actor who portrayed him (Kenneth Colley) noted, he's more than just a uniform and actually seems like a real human being. Amongst imperial officers, Piett is something of a fan favorite. I suspect his popularity was limited by his untimely death at the Battle of Endor and the fact that he hasn't appeared in much of the Expanded Universe. But, wow, what a death - going down in Vader's Super Star Destroyer after an A-Wing crashed into the bridge - arguably the greatest death scene in all of Star Wars.
In fact, My best friend said one of the worst parts of Attack of the Clones was the Geonosis arena precisely because the Jedi looked so goofy. Kit Fisto is the primary culprit for that fiasco. I'm sorry, but this guy looks like a clown, especially with that annoying grin. Moreover, in Revenge of the Sith, Darth Sidious killed him so quickly you'd think Kit Fisto had slept through all of Yoda's classes. I can't for the life of me understand how Kit Fisto made #41 on IGN's list. I guess he does have one redeeming quality - he is going out with Aayla Secura, the hot blue Jedi babe.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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