The dashing matinee-idol flyboy in ‘The Force Awakens’, General Leia’s trusted emissary who flees the First Order, miraculously escapes death and returns to lead the X-Wing charge against Starkiller Base. Is mostly popular because he’s an old-school charmer, the rightful heir to Biggs Darklighter and Lando Calrissian – all he’s missing is a stylish little pencil moustache (let’s hope he grows one in time for the next movie). We’re still not sure how Poe escaped that TIE Fighter crash on Jakku (plotting isn’t exactly the strong point in ‘The Force Awakens’), but we’re glad he returned for the rousing finale, not to mention his smoking hot runway run-in with Finn. And lo, a meme was born
Despite Boba Fett doing almost nothing in the original trilogy, fans loved him anyway solely because of his armor. With that being said, his armor is spectacular, so much so that we’d love to see his story fleshed out more in a video game. Superficial? Yes. Inarguable? Yes. Boba Fett seemingly dies an unceremonious death in Return of the Jedi after being eaten by a Sarlacc Pitt, though in the Star Wars expanded universe it is revealed that he managed to escape from the belly of the monster and continues hunting bounties across several novels. However, the announcement that the expanded universe is no longer considered canonical means that, technically, Boba Fett is still dead.
While his partner frets, nags, and offers the occasional translation, our favorite compact, diminutive friend bloops and bleeps the gang out of sticky situations. Need a wingman in aerial dogfights against the Imperial Fleet? Bleep-bloop-bleep. Garbage compactor mere seconds away from crushing the heroes of the Rebel Alliance? Bleep-bloop-bloop-bleep. A disembodied, discombobulated C-3PO wriggling on the ground, in need of rescue — again? Bloop-bloop-whistle. R2-D2 gets it the fuck done. The droid can even be outfitted to serve drinks. Along with Yoda, he’s perhaps the only Star Wars character to be a paragon of excellence in both the prequels and the original trilogy, and the surest way out of a jam.
The hero, of course! Luke is the clean-livin’, hard-workin’, elders-respectin’, teeth-whitenin’, sister-kissin’ all-American boy from Tatooine whose adventures form the backbone of the original ‘Star Wars’ trilogy. Just a simple kid from a broken home, Luke pulls himself up by his own utility belt and goes on to win shiny medals, master the force and save the entire galaxy from evil (at least temporarily). Result! he’s the ultimate family-friendly adventure hero: kind to animals and droids, good at fighting, flying spaceships, swinging across chasms on ropes and doing the right thing, and just a teensy bit bland. There’s a lot in the films about Luke being tempted by the Dark Side, giving in to his hate and choosing the easy path, but never for a second do we believe he’s actually going to do it: hell, he even saves the universe’s most fearsome villain from himself. None of which is intended as a criticism: Mark Hamill’s performance is consistently intelligent, heartfelt and witty, and Luke never comes close to crossing that line between upstanding hero and annoying goody-goody. And if the final moments of ‘The Force Awakens’ are anything to go by, he may get the chance to flex his acting muscles a little further this time around
When studio heads pay lip service to the importance of creating “proactive” female protagonists for their blockbusters, it shows how far Hollywood remains behind Lucas’ conception of Princess Leia from almost 40 years ago. Luke and Han may be the central heroes of the original trilogy; it’s Leia, however, who provides its heart, which doesn’t mean she isn’t capable with a blaster. Carrie Fisher turns her every line of dialogue into a mocking jab, refusing to let the smart, spitfire character settle into simply being a Death Star damsel-in-distress.
A seven-foot walking carpet with natural furry flares, a resistance-chic bandolier and a vocal repertoire consisting of barks, rumbles and surprisingly-hard-to-imitate growls. Co-pilot of the Millennium Falcon, Chewie is another of those ‘Star Wars’ characters who inspires a deep devotion despite his inability to speak – in English, at least. He’s the ultimate man, despite being a Wookiee. Chewbacca is tall, hirsute, fashionable, tough, endlessly loyal, a bit of a joker, a crack shot with a crossbow, an expert driver, is great at spaceship DIY and we reckon he probably gives the best hugs in the universe. Every man would love to be his buddy, and what woman wouldn’t want a partner this hardworking, affectionate and dashing? Sure, those heart-to-heart chats might be slightly hard work, but perhaps this is what they mean by ‘sweet nothings’.
It’s the galaxy’s most notorious response to a proclamation of amore, but Han Solo is far more than a smug swashbuckler. The scoundrel-turned Rebel leader may not be George Lucas’s most unique creation, but the Falcon’s scrappy flyboy is the original trilogy’s most vital asset. Harrison Ford’s classic masculinity and lopsided grin, worn with the casual flair of a man utterly at ease in the galaxy, made him a premiere heartthrob and the lifeblood of the franchise’s holy trinity. Solo is the Western hero, the noir detective, and the hot-rodding rebel rolled into one. He’s a grand patchwork of every movie hero Lucas ever loved, assembled for a new audience.
We don’t think it’s going too far to suggest that here is the single most iconic screen villain of all time: his appearance is terrifying, his voice bone-chilling, his words pure, dripping evil. But what really turns Darth into the stuff of our childhood nightmares are his actions: from snapping necks left and right – both in person and remotely – to cutting off his own son’s hand (let’s just let that one sink in for a moment), this is a guy who really, really shouldn’t be trifled with. however much we love them, the movies are full of sarcastic space pilots, pistol-packing princesses, upstanding blonde heroes, robot sidekicks and wise old wizards, but there will only ever be one Darth Vader.
His backstory is perhaps problematic – the pre-teen Anakin is just a horrid little squirt, while Hayden Christensen’s grown-up incarnation can’t quite get beyond that terrible dialogue and fully engage as a character. That said, his descent into evil is carefully, convincingly handled, and the climactic battle between Anakin and Obi-Wan Kenobi is truly, operatically magnificent.