Star Wars is one of the silver screen’s greatest success stories. The tales that come to us from a galaxy far, far away continue to inspire legions of fans 40 years after an opening scrawl first rolled across cinema screens. Science fiction changed the moment the text appeared and the fanfare sounded. Audiences had no idea they were about to discover a galaxy of wonder, adventure, and unforgettable characters.
Star Wars was an immediate multimedia phenomenon, with an onslaught of merchandise powering into childhood affections like the Millennium Falcon starting the Kessel Run. Spin-offs across TV, comics, and video games have continued to add new characters to support those introduced on the silver screen. We’ve met legendary heroes, hissable villains, and unmistakable icons that will last the ages, but not everyone’s been so popular. Not everyone can be a Han Solo.
Here are the 10 Star Wars characters the Force just is not with.
Life’s so unfair. They build a whole saga around the consequences of your actions, and you end up on this list. Of course, Anakin is a franchise paradox – simultaneously the most iconic character and one of the most reviled. But his biblical fall and adoption of a new Sith persona as he embraced the Dark Side and lost limbs gave his older self a big out.
For half his life, Anakin Skywalker was, at best, extremely annoying. He lacked the wonder and underdog charm of his son and the wisdom and sass of his daughter. It makes you wonder where the Skywalker twins inherited that. Star Wars would not be what it is without Darth Vader, but fans weren’t ready for the step back to sulky child-man.
Skywalker Sr. is a cursed role, with both Anakin actors Jake Lloyd and Hayden Christensen absorbing a considerable amount of abuse hurled at the Star Wars prequels. That was massively unfair on the actors, not least because of the material they were given, but we should have all seen it coming with this bad guy. Some characters are just so good their origins can not be.
Jar Jar Binks
Wesa waited so long and… there’s still no sign of a reappraisal for the prequel trilogy’s infamously annoying character. If the reputation of The Phantom Menace was to miraculously flip – it’s rising, but not stratospherically – Jar Jar would still be face down in Otoh Gunga.
The politics and strategic warfare of Episode I was a surprise, but one thing should not have been. The precious screen time that could have been packed with endless Darth Maul butterfly twists was spent with two austere Jedi, a racing brat, and an amphibious cartoon dinosaur. George Lucas may point out that Star Wars is primarily for kids, but Jar Jar’s comic relief was misplaced. Despite Ahmed Best’s lively performance – one of the most harassed actors in Star Wars history – the Gungan was reduced to a minor role and, rather meanly, given a pivotal role in the rise of the Empire.
Salacious B. Crumb
When The Mandolorian featured a couple of monkey lizards in its opening episode, it was difficult to tell if it was endorsing or trying to turn around the massive hatred fans have for Crumb. While one was, hold your breath, roasted in a Nevarro market, another sobbed in grief and fear from a cage. Gulp. But despite being one of the best-named muppets on the Outer Rim, Crumb only had himself to blame for the reception of his species.
Whatever morals sat between his bat-wing-like ears were abandoned when he became the resident jester at Jabba the Hutt’s palace. Even after he went down with the ship, or sail barge, in Return of the JediCrumb’s hideous laugh echoed in eternity.
The first Imperial officers we met may have smirked about the Force in the corridors of the Death Star, but at least they carried some respect under the hawkish gaze of Grand Moff Tarkin. Things had gone downhill when the New Order rose from the ashes. It’s inconceivable that this sniveling creep, the flipside to fellow tantrumy youth Kylo Ren, was elevated to his position by Snoke, or behind-the-scenes Palpatine.
Could Hux lead an assault on Hoth? Could he devise the incredible terror of a Death Star or Starkiller Base on his own? No, which is why he was hardly ever let out alone. Busted by a very 20th-century Earth phone joke in The Last Jedi, he was later revealed to have a lack of spine and dedication to his cause that must have left Tarkin spinning in the debris of the first Death Star. Young, ruthless, and useless. A bad guy that just wasn’t bad enough.
We’ll stop picking on Jabba’s crew soon. Fortuna was a slimy Twi’lek who acted as Jabba the Hutt’s major-domo during the original trilogy. The franchise has subsequently filled out his background and journey, and he groveled and schemed through every scene. Slimy, slippery, and even worse, a bureaucrat, his only saving grace was fierce loyalty – a trait sought out and exploited by Luke Skywalker – even if it was reserved for his Hutt master. There’s little sympathy in fandom for a slave-trader who sold out many of his species to slither to his criminal foothold. His ultimate fate? Replacing himself with a droid before Boba Fett came looking for vengeance.
The Phantom Menace was rightly called out for what was, at best, racial stereotyping. Watto was not the only example, but his broad character traits exacerbated the lack of appeal of this grotesque CGI cherub. He first appeared in The Phantom Menace as a vicious owner of slaves, Anakin Skywalker and his mother. The physical and social decline he experienced when we met him again in Attack of the Clones did not bring him any sympathy. It reinforced what an unlikeable and poorly characterized junk dealer he was.
In Star Wars, popularity is as inexplicable as the Force. It surrounds some characters but will not touch others. Some are unfairly abandoned, like Rose, who may be the best example of the unforgivable dysfunction of the Star Wars sequel trilogy. The good news? This list is not all George Lucas’ fault.
Whether you agreed with Rose’s addition to The Last Jedi or not, she represented Rian Johnson’s attempt to widen the saga’s scope and take unexpected risks. Poor flying, almost getting herself and Finn killed, then kissing him when overcome with schmaltz – she had a tricky start. But it got worse when JJ Abrams cut her role down to a tenth of the size in the sequel. Rose, very unfairly, became the sequel trilogy’s Jar Jar.
Wookies are like Dark Lords of the Sith – there’s no need to see them as kids. The Star Wars Holiday Special was a historic misstep that George Lucas hoped would disappear as quickly as awareness of the Force after the Great Jedi Purge. It did not, and the “hilarious” misadventures of Chewbacca’s family on Kashyyyk are still burned on the inside of some fan’s eyelids.
A family that almost derailed the most significant space opera of all time – no wonder Chewbacca kept to himself ever since.
One of the worst of the worst. The Viceroy of the Trade Federation was so pathetic that he could not even be considered a bad guy in his own right. Gunray was slippery, deceitful, and mind-blowingly dull but also nothing more than a tool for Darth Sidious to engineer the end of the Republic.
In The Phantom Menace, fans expected a bit more Maul and fewer trade blockades. When Gunray became a leading Separatist, he even failed to stay loyal to his disloyalty. The result was inevitable.
For many, Rey was the straw that broke the bantha’s back. Considering how recently The Force Awakens was released, it was astonishing her character was so exposed to accusations of being a Mary Sue. That’s a critical term leveled at characters a little too good to be true – what American scholar Camille Bacon-Smith has called, “The most universally denigrated genre in the entire canon of fan fiction.”
Everyone expected Rey to be the new Luke Skywalker. In the end, many found her too much of a new Skywalker. Rey trampled on the clan to seize the name – exceeding Leia, Luke, and Kylo Ren with little training. On the flip-side, other fans were furious that Dark Rey never materialized despite her apparent gifts in that direction. One of the most speculated-about characters in genre history, the hate is unnecessary. But it is difficult to think of a central Star Wars character set up to fail so badly.