Friday, March 15, 2013

My Top 11 Favorite Star Wars Characters of All Time (Part 2)

(Originally written for Jedi News)

Sorry to keep you guys waiting for a week, though I guess technically you could have scoured my blog for spoilers...

Still, before we move on, I wanted to say that as much as the activism stuff is important to me, especially when the negative voices might have a small shot at influencing the future of the Saga, this whole thing really goes back to me just absolutely loving Star Wars and everything about it (well, almost everything, but that’s another article entirely). That’s why I love it when I can just take a step back and do something as monumentally geeky as just talk about who my favorite characters are. I also know that my list is very different from a lot of peoples, but that’s okay too. In fact, I like it that way.

Well, I’ve stalled long enough. Now, the conclusion to…My Top 11 Favorite Star Wars Characters OF ALL TIME….PART DEUX!!!

Wasn’t that far more fanfare than it needed?

5. General Grievous

Oh man, the good General is Such. A. Scream! Yeah, he’s got a cool design. Yeah, he looks positively terrifying when he’s got all four lightsabers windmilling in your general direction. But the best part about Grievous, the reason why he’s here, is his personality.

I mean, wow. Just put a top hat and a moustache on him, and he’s Snidely Whiplash. You can totally picture him tying a damsel to some railroad tracks. I know that may sound derogatory, but I assure you it’s not. I freaking LOVE that. And it fits so well into the Star Wars universe, ‘30s throwback that it is. His Dracula-on-Steroids voice provided by Matthew Wood seals the deal, especially the way he says “Army or not, you must realize….you. are. doomed…” Oooh, I bet that scenery was delicious. I know that reading was.

4. Jar Jar Binks

Dear lord, what haven’t I said about this guy already? He’s funny, he’s pathetic, he’s goofy, he’s relatable…what more can you ask for in an everyman? Or, every-Gungan? I just want to give him a big hug (although, knowing his luck, it might be the last thing I ever do).

Plus, again, that character design is killer. I think one of the reasons I love Phantom Menace so much is the designs.

But hey! A design only carries you as far as what you do with it. So, please, give Ahmed Best some more work. He really deserves it, because that man is brimming with talent.

3. Sebulba


Speaking of designs…

This is, without a doubt, the absolute coolest alien design in all of Star Wars or, indeed, the world.

But that’s just my opinion.

That’s not the only reason he’s on this list, though it is the reason he’s this high. He’s got a very stereotypical character type, but so do a lot of the characters in the Saga, since that’s the kind of movies these are. Plus, it’s still a classic character type. It’s ironic that I compared Grievous to Snidely Whiplash above because it’s Sebulba who actually has a true moustache-twirling moment on screen. It is a classic exchange of trash talk, albeit in Huttese. And he drives the coolest vehicle design in the Saga (again, my opinion).

Lewis Macleod’s voice serves the character, though it’s a little uneven – he sounds like Dr. Claw outside the race but Alice Cooper during. Still, it’s recognizable and fun. I’ll always bet heavily on Sebulba because, to me, he always wins.

2. Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader

This might be hard to believe, but I’ve heard rumors that there are some crazy people out there who actually try to keep I-III and IV-VI separate from each other for some reason. Can you imagine? This is a perfect example of why that just doesn’t work.

Take Anakin alone, and you just have a guy who kept struggling with his feelings and had pretty sad end. Take Vader alone, and you’ve got a typical evil grunt with a cool costume and a sad backstory.

Put them together, like you’re supposed to, and you have one of the most emotional, interesting, and satisfying character arcs in the history of fiction.

It’s not hard to see why George Lucas says that Star Wars is Anakin’s story. He is the character, more than anyone else except possibly Palpatine, who moves the narrative on its course. Plus, even when he’s being not the nicest man in the galaxy, he’s just fascinating to watch. I say kudos to all the performers bringing him to life. Praise Jake Lloyd! Praise Hayden Christensen! Praise David Prowse! Praise Sebastian Shaw! But I’d be lying if I said that most of the praise didn’t really belong to James Earl Jones’ iconic voice for the fully entombed Darth Vader. That is what really chews into your brain and stays there.

Although, out of all the rest I mentioned, Christensen is the close second here. Vader was always interesting to look at in the costume, but Hayden made him interesting to look at outside. No, not in the way a lot of the female fans mean. Just…when you really study what he’s doing, his subtle expressions, even that hey-I’m-trying-to-sound-like-James-Earl-Jones-without-obviously-trying-to-sound-like-James-Earl-Jones voice…well, it becomes very hard to look away. And that’s a good thing.


But I shouldn’t be picky. Everyone I just mentioned should be given dues for creating a cohesive performance, and George Lucas should be given dues for giving us such a fully rounded character.

He is the Chosen One.

And my Number One Favorite Star Wars Character of All Time is…

1. Yoda


Become Grand Master of the Jedi Order, one does not, without earning it.

Yes, keep writing this entry in his voice I will. My favorite character he is. Bite me you can.

Raised around Martial Arts have I been. The discipline to learn, I have not, but know I do the atmosphere and tropes surrounding it. Yoda fits perfectly in all aspects of the Grand Master. Daft he is, but miss a trick he does not. Powerful he is in presence, in combat, and in wisdom. Yet mistakes he does make, for stubborn he is. When 900 years old you reach, set in ways you become. Still, wise enough is he to learn from those same mistakes.

If Palpatine, the Big Bad is, then Yoda, the Big Good is.

Plus, fun his Frank Oz backward talk is. Admit it you must.

While thankful I am that allow him to reach his potential, CGI has, a soft spot for the puppet from “Empire” and “Jedi” there will always be. Holds up well today, it almost certainly does.

Also, one of the few surviving true mysteries in Star Wars he is. Revealed his species George Lucas has not, nor probably ever will he. Though speculate we always can. Goblin, my guess is. That is what I call him. Always liked goblins, I have.

Always love Yoda most of all, I will.

If comments you have, below you must write. Share with me your own lists. The love we must spread. Next week will I see you, and may the Force be with you.


  1. "Take Vader alone, and you’ve got a typical evil grunt with a cool costume and a sad backstory."

    Um, that's really not true. Vader as presented in the original trilogy is enormously complex, with or without the knowledge of the prequels (granted, this is mostly due to Empire and Jedi, but what's painted there is still a complex and nuanced portrait).

    1. Well I exaggerated a little. Each side is adequately complex, but seeing both sides together resonates more than either side alone.

    2. Well, yes and no. I find there's a lot of dissonance between the two trilogies in terms of aesthetics and interpretation (which is basically inevitable when they're separated by about 20 years) that it's more beneficial to each set of films to treat them as two separate parts of a basic story, rather than one unifying whole (it's a subtle difference, but an important one).

      To compare, it'd be like taking the Ender's Shadow series of books and arguing that the Ender's Game series *must* be taken in accordance with them for each story to work properly.

    3. I only ever read Game, and I still don't know how I feel about it.

      The only difference I see aesthetically are the age of the film and the ease of which modern SFX are integrated (naturally they look more at home in the more recent films that accounted for them from day one).

    4. The Speaker series is fantastic, but goes off the rails with Children of the Mind- nonetheless, I highly recommend them (Speaker for the Dead is actually my favorite book of all-time).

      The Shadow series It's certainly good, but suffers from a lot of moral problems (particularly some nasty sexism and heteronormativity) and doesn't have the complexity of the Speaker stuff.

    5. That's kind of why I'm ambivalent about "Game." Card has said some pretty horrible stuff, and the fact that you can feel the influence of those thoughts brings down what is otherwise an incredibly well-written and engaging story.

    6. Yeah, I know. Card's beliefs are downright sickening, and really disheartening to see (especially when he is clearly a very intelligent man with a great skill at writing).

      However, I think it's safe to say most of those issues are nearly absent in Speaker, which is extremely complex and preaches a message of love, forgiveness, and understanding...surprising given the man who wrote it.

    7. Maybe I'll check it out at the library someday.

    8. If you can stand audiobooks, they're definitely the best way to experience the Ender books- Card's prose takes after a theatrical tradition that translates well to audio and the presentation of the Ender series is just fantastic. Absolutely lovely readers, too- Stefan Rudnicki and David Birney.

    9. Ack- "Stefan Rudnicki and David Birney *especially*", I meant to say. There are other readers, too, after all...

  2. Great post (both parts) I love your picks for favorite characters.

    This is off topic but still worth bringing up:

    THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME just came out on Blu-Ray!!! Go pick up and clear some shelf space and own the greatness of that film on Blu-Ray.

    (As long as you don't mind it sharing space with it's sequel)

    1. I do mind it sharing space, but that's me.

      And glad you liked my picks.