The Coolest Star Wars Secondary Characters
The slightly more obscure stars of the Star Wars saga...
If there's one thing that's been proven time and again within the Star Wars universe, it's that a cool costume can do wonders in terms of popularity – even if a character is on screen for mere seconds. Case in point: Boba Fett, hands down the coolest guy to ever put on a beat-up helmet, has a total of four lines (word count: 27) in the whole of the Original Trilogy.
Here, several hardcore Star Wars fans tell us their favourite secondary characters and share some fond memories of seeing the saga for the first time on television...
FAVOURITE SECONDARY CHARACTER: R2-D2! He has the innocence of a child, bravery of a hero and is able to stand up for himself and make a difference when it matters while having a great sense of humour. Without R2 the other heroes would have failed in every movie and he saves all their lives at some point. He has all the cool toys and gadgets built-in and can fix any kind of ship, and he can talk to other computers. He is the Swiss Army knife of droids!
MOST UNDERRATED CHARACTER: The Jedi Master Luminara Unduli. She's graceful, refined, deadly, intelligent and respectful of cultures. She has a unique visual appearance, with tattoos that remind me of a Maori warrior's moko.
FIRST TIME YOU SAW A STAR WARS ON TV: It arrived on free-to-air TV in New Zealand in the '80s , and I was ready for it. Ever since I had seen Star Wars at the cinema in the late-'70s, the whole family had had to put up with years of me quoting the movie, drawing TIE Fighters and X-Wings, listening to the LP soundtrack and the story album on cassette and collecting the comics, story books and toys. I knew it was going to be on TV and it took me three days to convince everyone in my family we were going to watch it. I had to bargain by doing extra dishes to stay up late past my curfew. The whole family gathered around our first 38-inch colour TV. We had had dinner at 6pm, were showered and in our pjs and had made a bowl of popcorn and had crammed together on the couch for the 8.30pm start.
I was giddy to see it again after having waited years since seeing it at the movie theatre. In those days you had to wait five to six years between watching it at the cinema and seeing it on TV. I wanted to know if I would have the same special feeling I experienced when I saw it at the cinema. We switched off the lights in the lounge and turned up the sound. And then, after what seemed like forever, it began. The station made the announcement that tonight would be the nationwide premiere screening of Star Wars and the screen went blank and silent. Five panicked seconds later the fanfare played and the movie began. And as the music swelled, the same feelings I felt at the movies returned. I was home and was smiling. It was normal to take time during the commercials to go to the bathroom or to get a drink. I didn't move for the whole time. Then it was off to bed with dreams of X-Wings dancing in my head.
Image: Luminara Unduli
FAVOURITE SECONDARY CHARACTER: Boba Fett all the way. Not only is he a butt kicking bad guy, but his back story, the armour and weapon style and the Mandalorian Code is very interesting, thus why I became a Mandalorian Merc!
MOST UNDERRATED CHARCTER: Here is the Mando coming out in me again but I would say Jango Fett. We forget about him sometimes, always thinking of Boba first when 'bounty hunter' is mentioned, but he is the whole reason Boba Fett even existed, not to mention the clone army. He's the man that helped start it all!
FIRST TIME YOU SAW A STAR WARS FILM ON TV: I think the first time I saw a Star Wars movie was The Empire Strikes Back on TV. A friend's younger brother was watching it in another room and when we walked past we just got sucked in completely. We ended up sitting down with him and watching the whole movie in awe! After it finished we ran back to his room and hooked up the dial-up internet and searched random Star Wars information and pictures all night.
Image: Jango Fett
FAVOURITE SECONDARY CHARACTER: I'm a big fan of the Empire. I especially loved their look in Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back with the gloves and the new ranking system, especially for Admiral Ozzel.
But of all the Imperial officers featured in that film, General Veers was by far the coolest. I own a generic Imperial officer uniform and I still wear it. In fact my uniform is now 27 years old!
MOST UNDERRATED CHARACTER: Mon Mothma. She was instrumental in forming the Rebel Alliance and ensuring its continual growth and eventual victory.
FIRST TIME YOU SAW A STAR WARS FILM ON TV: I remember it vividly. I've seen Star Wars: Episode IV New Hope possibly 80-110 times. In fact I just watched it again this year!
Image: Mon Mothma
FAVOURITE SECONDARY CHARACTER: Bossk - I loved his snarky attitude towards those Imperial officers during his first appearance in Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back.
That first appearance of him in the Original Trilogy made me wish we got to see a lot more of him.
MOST UNDERRATED CHARACTER: Zam Wesell. When we first got introduced to this masked female trying to assassinate Padme in Star Wars: Episode II Attack Of The Clones, it was through a high speed chase.
The fact she was a species we had never seen before was another thing that caught my attention. And being a shapeshifter would be very handy in almost any situation!
FIRST TIME YOU SAW A STAR WARS FILM ON TV: I must have been about four when I saw my first ever Star Wars movie on TV. It was Episode I The Phantom Menace and it left a mark in my heart that made me become the Star Wars fan I am today. I can never forget that very moment in my life of just how epic that whole entire movie was - it made me beg my parents to let me watch all the movies from the Original Trilogy.
FAVOURITE SECONDARY CHARACTER: I’ve always really liked Amanaman, the head hunter seen in Jabba’s Palace. I think I was always intrigued by the character’s appearance and the mystery surrounding his staff. I was also a little grossed out by his carrying around one of his victim’s corpses!
MOST UNDERRATED CHARACTER: Nien Nunb could receive a little more love, mainly due to the significance of his role in the Battle of Endor. He may have in the Expanded Universe, but I may have missed it.
FIRST TIME YOU SAW A STAR WARS FILM ON TV: I was only two when the film was released but I have clearer memories of watching the Star Wars Holiday Special on a hot summer’s evening in ’78. I do know I almost wore out our Betamax copy of Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope and Episode V The Empire Strikes Back as a kid.
Image: Nien Nunb
FAVOURITE SECONDARY CHARACTER: I'd pick Darth Maul or Jango Fett in a heartbeat.
My reason for picking Darth Maul is he has to be one of the toughest and coolest Siths you could find - he battled both Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi at the same time!
Jango Fett; he is an excellent example of both a brilliant fighter and a caring father; he fought Obi-Wan and got away with it, and his first thought when Obi-Wan turned up was 'get my son out of harm's way'.
MOST UNDERRATED CHARACTER: People need to give Qui-Gon Jinn credit where it's due. Not only did he go so far as to defy a direct order from the Jedi Council, but he was a little bit rebellious when it came to most big decisions throughout the film. Plus, it's Liam Neeson - need I say more?
FIRST TIME YOU SAW A STAR WARS FILM ON TV: I would have probably been very young when I was introduced to Star Wars, but I was always a fan from that day on. I've seen those films more times than I can count. I can definitely remember the nights of sitting down to watch a movie with the family and thinking 'Yep, I'm feeling Star Wars tonight'.
Image: Darth Maul
FAVOURITE SECONDARY CHARACTER: It's old Ben 'Obi-Wan' Kenobi for me. Ben is mysterious, wise, has great poise and presence, is a warrior and a teacher of the Force to aspiring Jedi and can use a lightsaber!
MOST UNDERRATED CHARACTER: Chewbacca the Wookiee - because he can't communicate with others using words, he has to be an expert at conveying the exact emotion required. Chewbacca is also a hero and loyal to a fault and his background is interesting, given that he is over 200 years old in the Star Wars movies.
FIRST TIME YOU SAW STAR WARS ON TV: I think it was 1980, Channel 0 Melbourne. It was heavily promoted with a great Star Wars poster giveaway. I was able to host a party with a large analogue colour TV screen for its first TV showing (to great ratings I recall) and having some friends around made for a great, nerdy Star Wars night. I've seen it on TV about 18 times since – I'll always sit down and watch it if it comes on. I've also introduced family and friends to Star Wars movies by watching it with them on many occasions and (mostly) winning them over to the Dark Side!
FAVOURITE SECONDARY CHARACTER: Lando Calrissian has always been a very cool character in my eyes, torn between his success (and dealing with the Empire) and trying to help his friends. I think Lando is a great character as he's also a no good scoundrel!
MOST UNDERRATED CHARACTER: IG-88 as you don't really see what he has done within the films, his story would be very interesting to see.
FIRST TIME YOU SAW A STAR WARS FILM ON TV: I remember watching Star Wars with my dad, cuddled up in bed and just enjoying the movie and then once it was over my brother and I going to our rooms and pretending to have lightsaber fights!
Image: Lando Calrissian
FAVOURITE SECONDARY CHARACTER: Luminara Unduli - she looks mysterious and powerful. I have her LEGO mini-figure!
FIRST TIME YOU SAW A STAR WARS FILM ON TV: I found it exciting and scary! Regardless of how many times I've seen a Star Wars movie I'll sit down and watch it on TV if it comes on and in the past have introduced it to family and friends by watching it with them.
FAVOURITE SECONDARY CHARACTER: Some may dismiss the Ewoks as harmless teddy bears, but make no mistake: Ewoks are loco. Seriously: how many other species would be crazy enough to capture a Corellian, a Wookie and a Jedi and then try to eat them for dinner? Paploo might be the craziest of them all: he's the Ewok who brazenly stole a Speeder Bike from an Imperial Scout. Yub yub.
MOST UNDERRATED CHARACTER: Malakili, the beefy 'Rancor Keeper'. He may look like a dopey tough guy, but the sobbing that occurs once Luke Skywalker kills his beloved Rancor at Jabba’s palace reveals him to be a sensitive man in touch with his emotions. Bless.
FIRST TIME YOU SAW A STAR WARS FILM ON TV: 1980, when I was three. It was the premiere of Star Wars on TV, and it was a very big deal. I remember watching on a Friday night in bed with mum on one of those old TVs that weighed a tonne of bricks, and watching it made a huge impression on me. Back then, with ads, it felt like it went for about four hours, but unlike Mum I stayed awake to the very end!
YOU CAN SEE THESE CHARACTERS IN ACTION IN STAR WARS: EPISODES I-VI BEING SHOWN EACH SATURDAY NIGHT ON THE SEVEN NETWORK IN AUSTRALIA FROM OCTOBER 3 AND REPEATED ACROSS THE WEEK ON 7 MATE FROM NOVEMBER 8 -27. PLEASE CHECK YOUR LOCAL TELEVISION SCHEDULES AND GUIDES FOR MORE DETAILS.
James Jennings writes for the Australian editions of Empire and Rolling Stone and still has a substantial amount of vintage Star Wars toys stashed at his parents’ house, much to their chagrin. He takes great joy in using his Han Solo in Carbonite bottle opener and can be found on Twitter at @JJTron2000.