Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Top Ten Best and Worst Expanded Universe Characters

In keeping with the blog tradition of top ten lists, here is my take on the various expanded universe characters. You'll quickly notice that my preferences tend towards the 'old-school' universe, prior to the 1990's novel explosion. Also keep in mind that I've kept my choices limited to the movie timeline and not the Knights of the Old Republic era (otherwise, I'd be tempted to choose all the KotOR characters as my favorite...)


10. Garm Bel Iblis
The 'Commander Caine' of the Star Wars universe. A maverick senator who was responsible for forming the Rebel Alliance, but was so much of a rebel that he rebelled against that and made up his own organization. Gotta admire him for that. Plus, he added a bit more depth to the Alliance as a whole, helping to point out that even among the good guys there are differences of opinion. Plus? He's Corellian. They're cool.

9. Talon Karrde
A rather original crimelord figure—not flashy, just competent. Made a lot of sense to me for a crimelord to keep a low profile—and Karrde did. He seemed to have a bit of a 'good' streak in him, but it was never completely overshadowed by practicality or pragmatism. He remained a 'neutral', and that's rare in the black and white Star Wars galaxy.

8. Lumiya
Though she was never a major character in the Marvel comics, she made a big impression as one of the first 'bad guy' Force users other than Darth Vader. It didn't hurt that she wore a svelte costume and used a pair of energy-whips in place of lightsabers. Her duels with Luke Skywalker were epic.

7. Fey'lya
As much as I hated him while reading the books, the Game-Master part of me realized what a great foil he was. Much like Garm bel Iblis, he was a nice reminder of the fractious nature of the New Republic.

6. Danni
She was an over-sexed Zeltron babe with a crush on Luke Skywalker. She wore skimpy clothes and had a great figure. What's not to like? But seriously, the part of this character that really tickled me was that her infatuation with Luke was never requited—Luke was too embarrassed, flustered and/or too 'noble' to act on Danni's flirtations and come-ons—further cementing my concept of Luke as a character. He's not the 'different girl every week' kind of hero—he's the shy, 'old-fashioned' farmboy.

5. Tycho Celchu
I have to admit that my like of this character stems mostly from my playing him in Adren's RP campaign—but the personality I've developed for him comes from the Rogue Squadron comics, where Tycho is portrayed as a bit of a smart-ass hot-shot—a good balance and second in command for the calm and unassuming Wedge Antilles.

4. Skynx
A supporting character from one of the Han Solo novels (Han Solo and the lost legacy), Skynx was essentially a 'giant' caterpillar ('giant' meaning about 2 or 3 feet long). He was also a scholar of galactic history and a member of Han's expedition to find the lost treasure ship of Xim the Despot. Not only was this all a very original concept, but Skynx was great comic relief and an interesting character in his own rights. And I liked the 'twist' ending of the book, where the seemingly helpless scholar uses his brains to defeat the Galaxy's deadliest gunman (see below).

3. Gallandro
Aka Gallandro the Gunman. He appeared in a couple of the superb Han Solo novels. He was the Galaxy's best gunman. Period. He was smart, quick, dangerous and ultimately treacherous—a mercenary WITHOUT a heart of gold. He had an awesome showdown with Han Solo in one of the books and (surprisingly enough to me at the time) he won. Unfortunately, he underestimated a small caterpillar/sholar by the name of Skynx (see above)

2. Baron Fel
No doubt based on the 'Red Baron', the idea of a badass Imperial fighter-ace was a great idea. Throw an elite squadron behind him and pit him against Rogue Squadron? An even BETTER idea. The only drawback for me was the whole tacked on 'He's actually married to Wedge's long-lost sister' storyline. I didn't like that.

1. Bollux/BlueMax
No expanded universe character(s) have captured my affection as these two did. I lump them together for the simple reason that they are a 'duo' wouldn't be the same without the other. Bollux is a beat-up, drawl-speaking labor droid and Max is a tiny, hyperactive supercomputer (a box with an eye on it) housed in Bollux's chest. Both were introduced in the Han Solo novels and actually formed integral parts of the various stories. But they weren't just comic relief. On several occasions they showed their true heroic spirit, saving the day through dogged determination and smarts. In short, they weren't just stand-ins for Threepio and Artoo, they were original and interesting characters.


10. Dash Rendar
I guess I don't have anything against him personally, but.. c'mon. 'Dash Rendar'? One of the lamest names ever.

9. Prince Xisor
Again, I don't really dislike the character, but.. his name is  CHEESOR. It sounds like some horrible cheese-based supervillain who might be an arch nemesis of Mighty Mouse.

8. Mara Jade
She is low on this list for a reason. In her initial concept, I didn't completely dislike her. But she has since grown to ridiculous stature in the minds and libidos of fan-boys. Originally she was a mildly tolerable mary-sue character who was bogusly good at everything. But now she's the quintessential geek magnet—interchangeable with Lara Croft and that type—the cynical badass bitch. Meh.

7. Grand Admiral Thrawn
Again, he's relatively low on the list for a reason. Initially, I enjoyed his character in the Zahn novels. He actually did have some good tactical ideas. But his mystical 'Know the Art, Know the Psychology of an entire Race' philosophy rubbed me the wrong way. Being a student of art, I know first hand how full of crap most artists are. To make any generalizations about an entire species based on their art is just stupid. It might have been more believable if he had been a student of cultures in general instead of just art. And then there was the fan-boy explosion of popularity of the Chiss race—where all of them were just as badass as Thrawn. Annoying.

6. Thrackan Sal-Solo
Can't think of an interesting or original character? Just make them related to a more popular character! Overall, I just never liked the Corellian series of novels (what little I read of them) and this guy was an ass on top of that. And he continued to be an ass well into the New Jedi Order timeline, which I also disliked.

5. Jaxxon
Giant. Green. Rabbit-Man. The posterboy for the argument that Marvel comics Star Wars sucked. I don't think it did, but.. Jaxxon doesn't help my argument.

4. Corran Horn
He's Han Solo and Luke Skywalker all wrapped up into one! He's the bestest pilot in the whole Rogue Squadron! He's.. lame.

3. Kyp Durron
He's a punk kid who is responsible for destroying at least one (as I recall) planet- murdering millions of innocent people along with the bad-guy Imperials. I'm sorry, but...this kid should be in jail for the rest of his life. But he used the whole "Oh, I was under the effect of the Dark Side at the time..." that's B.S. People are still responsible for their actions. Period. Plus, for some reason, Han Solo loved this kid, making him something of a Mary-Sue sidekick. Distasteful.

2. Callista
She was (one of) Luke Skywalker's true love(s). Together, they would go hand in hand into the future, forever bound together by the strength of their emotions. Until the novel ended. Then they said. "Welp. Seeya." A truly forgettable Mary-Sue. Oh, and in case you haven't picked up on it yet? I don't really like Mary Sue's.

1. Starkiller
Bestest Jedi Evarrrrrrrr! Star of the Force Unleased Video Game! Yeah! He defeated Darth Vader.. then (after a five minute break) he defeated the Emperor! Wow! He's so cool! Oh, wait. No. Worst Character Evarrrr. See here for more of the bile I spewed at him.

1 comment:

  1. Awwww... on behalf of Jaxxon, I think that's a little harsh. :-)