I was inspired to write this post from a Star Wars fan group I was scrolling through the other night. I often see the question “What are your top ten favorite Jedi?” or villains or pilots or whatever. But heroes in general? Nope. I had to think about it, because there are a lot of heroes in Star Wars, but how would I rank them and why? So after some thought, I came up with this list, in descending order:
I have to go with Ahsoka at the top of the list. Not only is she an incredible Jedi, but after Order 66 she worked as Fulcrum, the secret contact for the Rebellion during their fight against the Empire. Even after the defeat of the Empire it seems, from events in The Mandalorian, that she’s still working to help those in need, as well as possibly be looking for Ezra (through her search for Thrawn). Her battle against Maul at Mandalore is incredible, her compassion for Rex and the Clones during Order 66 (even though they were trying to kill her) is heartfelt and heartbreaking, and her confrontation with Vader in Rebels is unforgettable. I really can’t think of any flaw in her, lol. Nobody’s perfect, but she’s pretty close. Whether as a Jedi, a spy, or a friend, she’s a great hero.
Leia Organa is a true hero of the galaxy, whether as Princess of Alderaan, a Senator (both Imperial and New Republic), a soldier of the Rebellion, or a General of the Resistance. Leia was truly dedicated to helping the galaxy be a better place, whether she was on mercy missions as a young Senator, fighting the Empire in the Rebellion, passing important legislation in the New Republic, or gathering together those who would resist the First Order. Her bravery, her strength in the face of tragedy, and her commitment to the cause is unparalleled. Perhaps her most important act was sacrificing herself for her son Ben Solo, to bring him back to the light. So even as a Mom, Leia was truly heroic!
In every incarnation, whether in the Clone Wars, the prequels, Rebels, or A New Hope, Obi-Wan Kenobi is a hero. He was a holonet hero (along with Anakin) during the Clone Wars, he discovered the Clones on Kamino and defeated General Grievous in the prequels, defeated Maul in Rebels (and showed compassion to his old Nemesis as well), watched over Luke for what must have been a lonely twenty years on Tatooine, and sacrificed himself to Vader to save Luke in A New Hope. Even after death, his Force ghost was often there to advise Luke. Obi-Wan wasn’t perfect–he made some questionable decisions concerning Anakin when it mattered most–but he always loved him and did what he thought was best. Obi-Wan’s commitment to the Light never wavered, and his impact on the galaxy can’t be overstated.
There will be some who think Luke should be higher up in the list, and I get that. Luke is the original hero of Star Wars, after all. He blew up the first Death Star, was a hero of the Rebellion, saved his friend Han from Jabba the Hutt, confronted the Emperor, and brought his father, Darth Vader, back to the light. And don’t get me started on that hallway scene in the Mandalorian! Totally awesome. But, like all humans, Luke had flaws. Or rather, he made some mistakes–most glaringly, after his gaffe with Ben Solo, he retreated from the fight, and from the galaxy, cutting himself off from the Force. Not from cowardice, just regret, and shame, and a firm belief that the Jedi must end. Luckily, he got over that and helped the Resistance at Crait–sacrificing himself so they could get away, in the most Jedi-like way possible. Bravo, Luke.
Din Djarin was just your average bounty hunter (well, possibly an exceptional bounty hunter) until he met a little guy name Grogu, and then he became the Dadalorian. He formed a strong, yet tender, bond with this special child, and would do anything to protect him. Even if it meant giving him up, he would do what was best for Grogu. As most parents do–in the end, we have to let them go. Which isn’t heroic, just necessary, but Din was definitely heroic in his quest to protect Grogu from those who would harm/take him, and to get him where he ultimately belonged–with a Jedi. Not that we sobbed or anything when the time came for Grogo to go with Luke, lol. I’m eager to see what kind of hero he’ll be to the Mandalorians in future seasons of the show.
Rey is the hero of the sequel trilogy, becoming the last hope for the Jedi as the First Order grows in power. She joins the Resistance and becomes fast friends with Finn and Poe, as well as forming a strong bond with Leia, who takes her on as an apprentice. Rey is the only person, besides Leia herself, who believes Ben Solo can be turned back to the light. When she fatally injures him on Kef Bir, she instantly turns around and Force heals him, showing a compassion that defines her. On Exegol, she defeats Palpatine with the help of the Jedi who came before, nearly giving her life to do it. With Palpatine gone, the Sith Eternal and the First Order fall, freeing the galaxy from evil once again.
Despite his smuggler/scoundrel status, Han Solo early on becomes one of the bigger heroes of the galaxy. No matter how he might prefer to think of himself, he’s got a big heart and always ends up doing the right thing. He comes back at the last minute to help Luke blow up the first Death Star, becomes a General in the Rebellion and leads the attack on Endor, ultimately being successful in that mission, allowing the second Death Star to be destroyed. He helps free the Wookiees from the waning Empire on Kashyyyk. When the First Order threatens the galaxy, he plays his part to help, but loses his life in trying to bring his son back from the Dark. He begins the saga as a pilot for hire who’s in it for the money; he ends it with sacrificing himself for love.
Wherever Han Solo is, there is Chewbacca. Whenever we talk about loyalty in Star Wars, we must talk about Chewie. A copilot, a good shot with a bowcaster, a steadfast friend. When Han helped save him from the Imperials in Solo, he owed Han a life debt, and stood by his side for many years. Chewie helped his friends during the Rebellion, and then went back home for awhile to be with his newly freed family on Kashyyyk. He eventually found his way back to Han Solo, and once again stood against tyranny and fought the First Order.
Okay, so maybe R2 should be at the top of the list. Because without this little droid, our heroes wouldn’t have gotten very far. His very first act on screen is to get the Death Star plans from Princess Leia and get them off the Tantive IV, away from the Imperials and into the hands of Obi-Wan Kenobi on Tatooine. In every movie and in the Clone Wars, he’s always plugging into some data portal or other and gathering information, making doors open or close, distracting the enemy, and whatnot. In the sequel trilogy he’s largely absent, powered down since Luke disappeared, but he carries the last piece of the map to Luke’s location inside him. He’s a feisty, brave little astromech, with plenty of grit and attitude. He also has the patience (most of the time) to put up with Threepio’s insufferable complaining. Now that’s heroic.
Kanan Jarrus (and the entire Ghost crew).
Kanan Jarrus is one of my favorite Jedi, and he, along with the rest of the Ghost crew–Hera, Sabine, Zeb, Chopper, and of course, Ezra–belongs on this list of heroes. Kanan used to be Caleb Dume, a Jedi Padawan who survived Order 66. The experience haunted him, and at first, he tried to forget who and what he was in order to survive. But once he met up with Hera, he decided to help those in need, and then later, become an important part of the Rebellion against the Empire. He stumbled around at first in training Ezra, but eventually found his groove, and his own Padawan became a hero of Lothal–freeing that world from the Empire’s grip. Kanan sacrificed himself to save those he loved, and it’s one of the most painful deaths for me in Star Wars.
the entire Rogue One crew
Clone Wars Anakin Skywalker
Poe Dameron and Finn
I could go on and on. There’s so many great heroes in Star Wars, people doing what is necessary to make the galaxy a better place.
What about Yoda? He’s a great Jedi Master, and I do love him. But let’s face it, he was the head of the Jedi Order when it fell. He made mistakes. Instead of following the Force, he followed the “rules” of the Jedi. He got the Jedi involved in politics and in a pointless war. Yes, they were all duped and drawn in by Sidious, but come on. He was their leader, hundreds of years old and ostensibly “wise.” So I can’t call him a hero, at least not until he trains Luke, and at that point, any Jedi could have done it. His wisdom comes after the fact. But I still love the guy, lol.
Who are your favorite Star Wars heroes? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!
I forgot to put Solo and Rogue One into the timeline as I went along with my “Five Favorite Things” series. So here’s Solo: A Star Wars Story, a seriously underrated Star Wars movie, in my opinion.
The Train Heist Scene. This whole sequence is just exhilarating. Han and Chewie have wormed their way into the employ of Tobias Beckett and his crew (Val and Rio) to steal raw coaxium from the Empire. It’s being transported on a mag-train winding around a snowy mountaintop. Han, Chewie and Tobias jump onto the moving train to secure the coaxium as Rio pilots their stolen freighter above. Everything is going according to plan until Enfys Nest shows up–a gang of masked thieves that always seem to know the group’s next move. Things go down from there, Rio and Val are killed, Beckett is furious, and they lose the coaxium, putting them into the debt of Dryden Vos. Big pickle. But a really fun, exciting scene.
The Maw. There are no lightsaber duels in Solo, but there are plenty of battles and action scenes that I could choose from. All of them are terrific, but when the crew flee from Kessel with the hot coaxiam, they need to get it refined, like yesterday, before it blows them up. When the Imperials show up to make things worse, Han decides to go off the beaten path and find a shortcut through the Kessel Run. Not good, as they encounter a giant space monster (a summa-verminoth) and an enormous gravitational-sucking maw that wants to pull them into oblivion. They manage to survive, Han finishes the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs (yes, distance, not time–finally figured that out), and they get the coaxium to the refinery in time. The Falcon is pretty banged up in the process, though, which leads to…
Lando: “I hate you.” Han: “I know.” This is a great twist on the famous “I love you, I know” lines from Han and Leia in Empire. I also love when Han says, “I have a really good feeling about this,” on the Falcon during the Maw crisis, another twist on a famous line. It’s nice to have good feelings for a change, rather than bad ones, lol.
There are SO many funny moments and lines in this movie, it’s almost impossible to pick just one. From nearly everything that comes out of L3-37’s mouth, to the way Lando deliberately mispronounces Han’s name, the chuckles are frequent and delightful.
Most Impactful Character
Han Solo. The movie is called “Solo,” so of course it’s all about Han Solo. The movie is about what made Han into the man we meet in A New Hope, an older, cynical man who nevertheless has a heart in there somewhere. Q’ira sees this in him when she tells Han he’s “the good guy,” while he blusters about being an outlaw. Q’ira is also the one who breaks his heart and sours him on love (until he meets a certain princess). The movie is filled with the people who influenced Han in his youth: not just Q’ira, but Tobias, who turns into a mentor and cautions him to not trust anyone; Lando, who loses the Falcon to Han and becomes a kind of frenemy until the events of the OT solidify their friendship; and of course Chewbacca, a lifelong and dedicated friend, and the only one Han trusts (despite what Tobias says). So yes, the movie centers on Han, but all the supporting players impact him in so many important ways.
There are so many things I love about this movie. The cast is excellent–Paul Bettany as the Crimson Dawn villain Dryden Vos is particularly wonderful, and Donald Glover as Lando is just a joy to watch. The movie is fast-paced and fun, and I think Alden Ehrenreich did a great job as young Han, capturing his youthful zeal, ambition, and devil-may-care attitude. For a Star Wars movie with no Jedi or lightsabers (the closest thing is Maul’s brief appearance at the end) I just love this movie.
What did you like about Solo: A Star Wars Story? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!
So we’ve come to the last film of the sequel trilogy (and of the Skywalker Saga) and I had to pick out my five favorite moments of The Rise of Skywalker. (Solo and Rogue One will come next, as I forgot to put them in the proper timeline, lol). Here are my picks:
“Dad..”” I know.” This scene was incredible in several different ways. First, I never thought Han Solo would make any kind of reappearance in Star Wars again, and yet here he is. And it wasn’t just for nostalgia’s sake; it was a very important thread of Ben Solo’s redemption. I’ve seen some fans comment that it should have been Anakin’s ghost he talked to–No. No, no, no. That WOULD have just been for nostalgia’s sake. It had to be his father. Ben never knew Anakin, and misguidedly worshipped Vader. The conflict and crux of his dilemma had always been his father, and it needed resolution. One of the other ways this scene is amazing is the way it was done. Obviously, Han is not a Force ghost. It’s a projection of Ben’s memory of his father. Maybe it’s so vivid because of his connection to the Force, I don’t know, but it was a way for Ben to seek his father’s forgiveness so he could do what he had to do next. It was also a clever reverse on the dialogue between the two when Kylo killed Han. Maybe it’s Ben’s way of “correcting” that scene. That’s my take on it, anyway. However you interpret it, it’s a powerful scene, possibly the most moving scene (for me) in all of Star Wars.
Kylo vs. Rey on Kef Bir. Kylo and Rey had a confrontation on Kijimi, which was interesting in its own way (Kylo doesn’t want to kill her; he’s still trying to lure her in), but this one on the Endor moon is epic. At this point, Kylo is trying to kill her, as she’s proving quite stubborn in not joining him. That makes him, well, mad. She’s also furious at him for destroying the Wayfinder they all worked so hard to find. They battle out their rage at each other on the wreckage of the second Death Star, with huge swells of water crashing down around them. They’re both equally skilled, but Kylo is obviously physically stronger, and Rey is still a bit drained from healing the Vexis. It comes down to Kylo nearly killing Rey, until Leia reaches out to Ben. He hesitates, and Rey takes the opportunity to stab him with his own lightsaber. She then heals him, when she could have left him for dead. The water imagery really comes into play here, as it serves as a kind of baptism for Kylo: he’s reborn as Ben Solo again, all the hate and anger and bitterness is washed away, leading up to the scene with Han. The whole thing is quite visually stunning, as well as emotionally satisfying.
“I am all the Jedi.” This is a great line as a counter to Palpatine’s claim that he is all the Sith; it also happens to be true, as all the prior Jedi spoke to Rey and gave her the strength to get up and face Palpatine again. They’re with her. It’s also the culmination of Rey’s character arc, as she accepts who she is, gains confidence from that, and defeats Palpy once and for all.
C-3PO: They fly now! Finn: They fly now?! Poe: They fly now!
Most Impactful Character
ReySkywalker. Yes, Rey Skywalker. Some people took issue with her choosing the Skywalker name, but those people are the ones who generally dislike the sequels, and Rey in particular. I don’t really care which name she chose (Skywalker, Palpatine, Solo, Organa); it’s the fact that she chose it. Throughout the entire sequel trilogy, Rey is on a mission of identity–we don’t know who she is, or where she comes from, and neither does she. It agonizes her. “Who are you?” Luke queries her on Ach-To, and the question burns in her. Everyone wants to put labels on her: Kylo claims they are a dyad, and she’s meant to join him in the dark side, even though she’s “nothing”; Palpatine claims her as his granddaughter and heir, the Empress; even Finn, her good friend, thinks he knows her: “Rey, that doesn’t sound like you.” To which she replies angrily, “Everyone thinks they know me. I’m afraid no one does.” This is after she learns of her Palpatine heritage, and now, after finally learning who she is and where she comes from, it’s almost worse than not knowing. By the end of the film, however, after claiming “I am all the Jedi,” she’s come to accept who she is: she is all of these things. Part of a dyad, a Jedi, a friend, a Palpatine (though she ultimately rejects it), and someone who chooses her own destiny. And her own name. You can’t choose your blood family, but you can choose who you identify with, who you honor, and who you love. For Rey, that’s the Skywalker family. And oh yeah, she saved the galaxy and stuff.
What are your favorite moments of The Rise of Skywalker? Comment below and we’ll talk about it!
Having gone through the prequel and original trilogies, it’s now time to check out my five favorite things about the sequel trilogy films. So let’s get right to it with The Force Awakens:
Chewie, We’re Home. I think this was the most anticipated scene in the movie. We hadn’t seen Han Solo and Chewbacca onscreen together in about 30 years. It was beyond exciting. Sure, Rey and Finn are cool, and BB-8 is adorable, but we know who we really want to see: the “Legacy” characters. And these two were the first to make an appearance in the sequel trilogy (unless you count the Falcon, which is kind of a character in its own right). But reuniting these two with the Falcon, leading to the iconic line “Chewie, we’re home,” signalled to us fans that we, too, were home.
Rey and Kylo Ren at Starkiller Base. Again, not many lightsaber duels in this film, unless you want to count the short confrontation between Finn and Kylo just prior to this. The fact that Rey held her own in this battle–and won (probably because Kylo was an injured, emotional mess, but even so)–shows that there indeed is something special about Rey. The mystery of her, of who she is and where she comes from, intensifies. And the fact that Kylo even survived Chewie’s blaster bolt and can still fight is amazing. The way he pounds at his wound with his fist is disturbing and chilling–drawing upon his pain and rage for his power. Apart from the emotions going on in the battle, I loved the look of it: the red and blue blades glowing against the whiteness of the snow in the darkening gloam. The visuals are just stunning in this scene.
Hearing Han Solo admit to the reality of the Force in a serious way is surprising, and alerts us to how much he’s changed over the course of 30 years; and our next thought is, Wow, shit must have gone down, and in a real personal way for him. I think this is before we learn that Kylo Ren is his son, so it’s a foreshadowing that Han has had some heartbreaking experience with all this mystical stuff, especially since he’s clearly not with Leia anymore.
I thought the little scene with Han Solo and Finn on the Falcon was pretty funny. When Finn calls Han “Solo”, and Han just looks at him and says, “Did you just call me Solo?” Then when Finn refers to himself as a “big deal” in the Resistance, Han says, “Listen Big Deal, you’ve got a bigger problem. Women always figure out the truth. Always.” I just loved that, lol.
Most Impactful Character
Kylo Ren. When we first meet Kylo Ren striding down the ramp of the shuttle to confront Lor San Tekka, he seriously gave me the creeps. His distorted voice behind the mask didn’t help much. Who is this guy? I thought. When later in the movie we learn he is the son of Han Solo and Leia Organa, I was genuinely shocked. I hadn’t seen that coming at all. And it truly broke my heart, for I had imagined the child(ren) of Han and Leia to be the Child(ren) of Light or something, heroes in their own right. But no. This dark, rageful, emo being. And the moment he betrayed his own father, speared him with that unholy lightsaber, and let him fall into the abyss like so much meat, I hated him. HATED him. Intellectually, I knew his character’s arc was probably meant for redemption over the course of the trilogy, but I didn’t care. I hated him. I would never forgive him. Do you here me? Never!! And then of course proceeded to understand his character a bit better in The Last Jedi (a softer, kinder Kylo, at least in his relationship with Rey), and the return of Ben Solo in TROS, and by then I was cheering him on. But in this film? The quintessential, irredeemable villain.
What are your favorite things about The Force Awakens? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!
So I realized that after I posted My Five Favorite Things About A New Hope that I totally forgot about Solo and Rogue One, lol. I had planned on doing them in chronological order, but now it would just be weird to go back and do them. So I’ll continue on with the main trilogies, and then at the end do Solo and Rogue One.
Anyway, here’s my five favorite things about The Empire Strikes Back.
I’m going to say pretty much all the scenes between Han and Leia. I simply can’t pick just one, because they’re all delightful. The arguing, the banter, the chemistry and sexual tension, the tenderness–it’s all great. The kissing scene in the Falcon, culminating in the “I love you, I know” scene in the carbonation chamber makes up the best love story in all of Star Wars, in my opinion. When I was a kid and first saw Empire, it was about Han and Leia first, lol, and then Luke and Vader.
Again, there’s only one duel of note in this movie (besides Luke’s confrontation with Vader in the dark side cave on Dagobah, which is symbolic), and it’s between Darth Vader and Luke in Cloud City on Bespin (which is for reals). And it’s probably my favorite duel out of all the films in many ways. It’s kind of a game of cat and mouse, as they clash, each disappearing and reappearing, pouncing on each other suddenly and violently. Everything about this duel is epic: the part where Vader uses Luke as target practice and Luke smashes through a window and falls; the savage confrontation on the catwalk and the loss of Luke’s hand; Vader’s shocking revelation and offer; Luke’s decision to step off the catwalk and fall into oblivion rather than join his evil father in ruling the galaxy. So much going on here, and we get some insight into each character: Vader is willing to betray his master the Emperor and overthrow him (which is basically what the Sith do, but we wonder if he’s got a soft spot for his son, and therefore a bit of light left? Maybe?); and we see Luke’s total commitment to the Light and choosing to die rather than join evil. Later, in ROTJ, that commitment will be tested, but right now, there’s no question of going down that shaft.
You know, up until very recently, this line confused the hell out of me. What does it even mean? I’ve come to realize that what Yoda was getting at is how you go about doing something–if you go into it “trying” then you’re letting in doubt about succeeding. Perhaps you don’t fully believe in yourself, and believe that you may fail. Once doubt sets in, I think Yoda is saying, then you’re doomed to fail. If Luke doesn’t believe in himself, then he doesn’t believe the Force will help him, and the Force won’t believe in him–it won’t work with him to move that darn X-Wing. A Jedi needs confidence and faith, in himself and the Force. Anyway, that’s how I’ve come to see it. A lot of philosophy in those few words, lol.
More classic Han Solo:
Most Impactful Character
Yoda. Yoda is the mysterious center of the film–force ghost Obi-Wan exhorts dying Luke to find Yoda and train to be a Jedi with him. Once on Dagobah, Luke finds not a “great warrior,” but a little wizened green guy with big ears, who makes a mess of his camp and plays tug-of-war with Artoo. But everything Yoda does is a lesson: he wants to gauge Luke’s response to him before he reveals himself. And of course, he finds that Luke takes things at face value, as most of us do sometimes. The lessons begin immediately, and he shows Luke that he has a lot to learn. He has misgivings, but trains Luke anyway–brave, considering he did the same thing with Anakin. Or perhaps he senses something in Luke, the strength of the Light in him. Either way, he has a lot to do with the Jedi Luke becomes. Wars not make one great, but Yoda is definitely a great Jedi Master.
What are your favorite things about The Empire Strikes Back? Comment below and we’ll talk about it!
Han Solo was my first favorite Star Wars character. When I was a kid, everybody loved the hero Luke and his cool lightsaber. Me? I loved the scoundrel. Still do. Here’s an ode to the smuggler-turned-Rebel (I don’t own any of the following; all rights belong to the individual artists):
Rarely did I find any art of Han without his trusty blaster at his side.