Obsessing over fictional characters is one of my favorite things to do. Their sacrifices and heroism inspire me, and their mistakes teach other lessons while making me love them more because I can often relate to their weak moments. I like analyzing why they make the choices they do in order to understand them better, which also helps me empathize with other people. Sometimes I can easily tell who is going to be my favorite character as soon as I see them, other times it takes a while for them to grow on me. But once I decide I love a character, it’s not often I change my mind. My list of favorite characters is very long, so in this post, I will be limiting it to a few of my favorites from the Star Wars universe. And these are in no particular order of favorites because it is very hard for me to rank characters, other than Leia, Han, and Luke who are usually my top favorites.
Cassian is an odd character. At first, based on the extremely misleading Rogue One trailers, I thought he was going to be similar to Luke. A Rebel who was more lighthearted, who loved to help others no matter what. A few minutes into the movie and I was proved dead wrong. Cassian was an assassin who did the dirty work for the Rebellion we don’t really talk about. He was given a mission to assassinate Galen Erso, against the wishes of Mon Mothma. I was very upset by this. He was supposed to be helping Jyn, not deceiving her and Bodhi! But when the time came for him to pull the trigger, he couldn’t do it. He knew there was someone who still cared about Galen, that was hoping to find him. I saw that Cassian still did have a heart inside him, that he didn’t like killing people, that he did it for the Rebellion because he believed in the cause. He was one of the most dedicated Rebels, yet he was probably never honored or respected for it. I came to realize that, yes, there are people like Luke, Leia, Hera, and even Han in the Rebellion. But there are also people like Cassian. Assassins, saboteurs, and spies, who risk their lives for the cause in ways that we wouldn’t associate with a hero, but are necessary. They carry around a weight of guilt, and doubt that what they’re doing is worth it. Cassian didn’t let any of these discouragements stop him, he gave everything he had. He still cared for people on the inside, even if he had grown callused on the outside.
Leia is always my go-to answer if anyone asks me to name my favorite Star Wars character. Since the first Star Wars movies I watched were the Original Trilogy, those characters were the first ones I was influenced and inspired by, especially Leia. Finally, a princess who is courageous yet caring, and whose story isn’t all about romance (even if I was interested in where Han and Leia were going.) The way she stood up to Tarkin, holding her head high even as he informed her that she was to be terminated, the courage that she constantly shows and gives to others is what makes her a leader. She was – and still is – one of my favorite heroines, especially after seeing just how long she has continued to fight in this war and everything she’s gone through. Leia never ever gave up hope. One of the things I’ve learned from her that I’ve tried to copy in my own life is she never complains about anything. If there’s a problem, she either tries to find a way to fix it, or doesn’t say anything. She’s a little tough, but she still cares for and comforts others.
Now Plo isn’t one of my top five, or even top ten, favorite characters, but he is my favorite more-obscure Jedi. I didn’t want to just talk about main characters that most people love, so I thought it would be interesting to include him. Not having seen the Clone Wars, I have missed most of the story that he takes part in. I’m not even sure if I’ve ever heard him say anything. But I do know that he’s the one who found Ahsoka and brought her to the Jedi Order, which is awesome. That and the fact that he was very close with his group of Clones and called them the “Wolf Pack” makes me think he was a more friendly and a less uptight Jedi than others. I also happen to think he looks super cool, even though my mom insists that he is ugly.
Rey was another character whose arc took an unexpected turn for me. I wasn’t exactly sure what her role was before we found out that she was Force-sensitive. But even if she wasn’t the Jedi of the Sequel Trilogy, I would still admire how she didn’t let her tough life make her uncaring, or take away her joy and hope. She scavenged each day with others who wouldn’t hesitate to steal from one another and was treated unfairly by Unkar Plutt, yet she wasn’t bitter toward them, or others. When on the journey that would change her life forever, she was happy to see and experience new things – the green of Takkodana, flying and shooting in the Falcon, the rain on Ahch-To, and her new friendships. I think not being able to experience these things before helped her to value them more than others, and not take them for granted. In The Last Jedi, Rey discovered her parents were not anyone super special, and that her place in the story would be one she’d have to make herself. She has a vital role in this fight no matter who she is, or what her past was. What exactly that role is hasn’t been determined yet, but I think it’s an important thing for people to realize, that they are where they are for a reason and have a part to play. Rey also shows a better balance than other characters of being both kind and strong. Helping others doesn’t mean she can’t hold her own in a fight, but when she finds she’s slipping into the Dark Side, she’s able to step back and rethink her actions.
When I first heard that there was going to be a Resistance mechanic named Rose, I thought, “Oh neat, a new girl character!” But I knew I wouldn’t pick her as one of my favorites simply because she was a girl. She would have to have something that set her apart from other characters, and especially other girls. And for me, she does. As much as I love characters like Leia, Sabine, and Jyn, I’m not very similar to them. What I mean is, I haven’t had my homeworld blown up, my people killed by something I’ve created, or had to watch my parents be taken away. I haven’t been through the suffering and hardships that most characters in Star Wars experience. Not that Rose hasn’t had bad things happen to her. Her homeworld of Hays Minor was stripped of its resources, used to test First Order weapons, and had children stolen from it for the Stormtrooper Program. She lost her best friend and sister, but decided to keep going anyway. Rose has been through tough things, but comparing those to the losses of other characters, they seem less horrific, and therefore more relatable to me. Another thing, actually the first thing, that made me love her character, is when she tells Finn, “I don’t do… talking.” Most of my other favorite characters have either been trained to speak in the Senate or are (or come off as) completely confident and a bit snippy. Rose, though, is awkward and shyer, she doesn’t need the spotlight and doesn’t feel like she can be one of the heroes she’s always heard about. But she proves she is still passionate about the things that are important to her, and will defend them if necessary. Lastly, she is someone who has been through loss, but hasn’t allowed it to make her fight out of anger. After their fathier ride, Finn says was worth it to make the people of Canto Bight hurt. Rose releases the fathier, and says, “Now it’s worth it.” She knew that making people hurt wasn’t going to help fix all the evil that had been done. Even though she was angry at people’s choices, she didn’t want revenge, she just wanted there to be more good in the galaxy. Her line, “That’s how we’re gonna win – not fighting what we hate, saving what we love,” sums up her character perfectly. Many people take this line to mean that she was saying they shouldn’t fight evil, that they shouldn’t sacrifice themselves, but to me, it reminds me of the quote by G. K. Chesterton: “The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.” Fighting out of hate is not how we are going to beat the darkness, and Rose reminds people of that.
That ended up a bit longer than I intended, but people have been hating on her character and actress lately and I felt the need to defend her a little.
Kanan was not your typical Jedi. And I like that, at least after Hera convinced him to join the crew she was starting. One of my favorite things about Kanan is that he didn’t fall to pride, as many Jedi did, or were always at risk of because of their power. Kanan hadn’t completed his training and had given up the Jedi ways for years, so when he takes on Ezra as an apprentice he’s unsure of himself and his abilities. The way he trains Ezra is different from the way the Old Jedi Order worked. He encouraged Ezra when he made mistakes, he could tell when something was bothering him and would take him somewhere so they could talk. When he discovered Ezra was using a Sith Holocron, he took it away and helped him deal with it and learn from the consequences of using it, without becoming afraid or making Ezra feel like a failure for using it. Kanan was a Jedi who had attachments but handled them in the right way. He let them strengthen him, and push him to keep going, instead of letting them have control over him. In the end, he performed the greatest act any Jedi could, and died for those he loved. His sacrifice was completely selfless, instead of driven by fear and selfishness. Before he saved his space family, Kanan said, “People never pay enough attention to the world around them.” And that line has really stuck in my head since. Whether it’s my family and friends, a sunset, or our garden, I’ve been trying to make sure I don’t just ignore things or people because I see them often.
And the last character I wanted to talk about today is my favorite Mandalorian. My list of favorite characters would not be complete without her. The first thing that really drew me to her (no pun intended,) was her art and the way she used it. Her beautiful explosives and defiant illustrations helped spread hope through Imperial-controlled planets. Her being a Mandalorian also add to her being my favorite Ghost crewmember, because, before her, the only Mandos I had seen were Jango and Boba. I was under the impression that all Mandos were vicious killers who I was going to dislike. But this one had weaknesses, bright armor, and seemed to care for others, while still being a Mandalorian warrior. Throughout the show, I started loving her even more, especially when we got to explore her backstory. Sabine showed she had learned when fighting was needed, and when she needed to show mercy, which is a huge step in a hero’s life. Especially for a Mando, as their culture’s ways don’t leave room for much mercy. My favorite thing that Sabine exhibits though, is responsibility. After she created a devastating weapon used against her people, she took action to destroy it. She didn’t make excuses for why she did it, though there certainly were some, she owned her mistakes and found a way to make them right.
Photo Credit: All pictures are from StarWars.com.
Who are some of your favorite characters from Star Wars? Why do you like them? If you could pick one character who is the most similar to you, who would it be?