Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Top Ten "Coolest" Star Wars Characters

As with all top ten lists, this one is highly subjective. And when I say 'cool', I don't mean entirely in a 'Fonzie' kind of way (as you will see from the list below). Rather, I take 'cool' in this case by the more dictionary definition of: "characterized by great facility; highly skilled or clever" as well as other intangible things that appeal most to me. So without further ado... (drumroll)

10. Cad Bane.
Okay, this surprised me, too. A newly introduced character from the animated series? I mean, a year ago I pretty much hated that show, but now? It's growing on me—and Cad Bane is one of the reasons why. He's a badass bounty hunter who cuts a classic 'cowboy' figure without looking stupid. That he was modeled after classic western bad man Lee Van Cleef is, in retrospect, obvious—and again surprisingly cool. It helps that he's incredibly clever and dangerous—a gunman who can outsmart and often outfight even multiple Jedi. No small feat. It does my heart good that here we see an example of what a good Jedi foil is. It helps stick a pin in the arguments of all those 'Jedi are invincible' types.

9. Bollux/Blue-Max
Something of a cop-out, since they're two different characters, but on the other hand, one of them is actually housed in the chest of the other. This droid duo was introduced in the Han Solo trilogy (no, not the lame 'Corellian' trilogy). They were THE droids of that Saga, taking the place of R2 and 3PO and doing a good job of being both comic relief and indomitable allies. They played off each other very well, with Bollux as the drawling, old, beat-up working-class labor droid and Max as the young, enthusiastic, top-of-the-line micro-computer hacker. In what could have been a 'disposable' role as the sidekicks of Han Solo, they turned out to be awesome and memorable characters in their own right.

8. Darth Revan
This one was actually a difficult call—because Revan is a video game character who's personality (and even sex!) varies depending upon who plays him (or her!). That having been said, I was completely enthralled with the character concept—and caught wonderfully off-guard when it is revealed in the game that the 'my' character used to be THE Dark Lord of the Sith, and was now suffering from amnesia. That's just... cool. Very cool. Not that I ever have (or ever would) play a 'bad' character, but to suddenly have this 'dark past' thrown into your character concept was such a memorable thing. And then there are the dialogue choices you can make in the game. I don't know about anyone else, by my Revan was kind of a smart-ass, and I loved that.

7. General Veers
I've spoken about his coolness in a separate post. He's probably the only competent Imperial officer we see in the original series. But it goes beyond just that. He freaking leads the assault personally, and even as his walker was being fired on (and others of his walkers were being destroyed), he was all calm and badass and confident. "The shield will be down in moments. You may start your landing."

6. Baron Fel
The first (but not only) Corellian on this list. He's the Empire's top fighter ace, leading his wing of elite TIE Interceptor pilots. Obviously modeled after the Red Baron, Fel cuts a kind of tragic figure, being clever enough to realize that the Empire is evil, and yet stubborn enough to think that may change (at least, that was my impression of him). I never cared for his whole 'married to the long-lost sister of Wedge Antilles' plotline, but it didn't stop me from enjoying the character.

5. Mira
I generally don't like the 'cliche bad girl' type (you know, the Mara Jade, tough, good at everything, cynical, yadda yadda), but for some reason, Mira (from the video game Knights of the Old Republic II) was different. She WAS tough, and cynical and a Mandalorian to boot. By all rights, she should have annoyed me. But.. she didn't because there was something appealing about her (I mean besides the fact she was a smoking hot redhead). She was honest (bluntly so) and even personable once you got to know her. I think I liked the fact that she was 'grounded'—she didn't have all the 'baggage' or drama of the Handmaiden or Visas Marr (the other ladies in that game). And if I'd had my druthers, she would have been the top choice for romance. But alas, twas not to be. Mira put it best when she said. "I'd break you, old man."

4. HK-47
You're going to find a lot of KotOR characters on this list—and for good reason. They are some of the most unique, funny and best written characters in the Star Wars universe. HK-47 is a prime example of this—and goes completely against the type of character I would normally like. He's an a-moral, bloodthirsty assassin droid who hates all 'meatbag' life forms. And yet he is hilarious and endearing in his own right. He had me laughing out loud on many occasions, but at the same time, he wasn't just comic relief. He was a badass, too.

3. Jolee Bindo
The last (and top) KotOR character on the list. Jolee was a cantankerous old Jedi who, after an adventurous youth, had a falling out with the Jedi order and turned hermit. I love him because he was a maverick. He was a Jedi who actually DID something. He became a smuggler to aid those in need (and ignored by galactic politicians). He fell in love and took a wife—completely against Jedi tradition. He was a HUMAN, not just a Jedi. And yeah, that eventually got him into trouble—the whole tragedy with his wife turning to the Dark Side. But that only gives him more pathos—and wisdom. Of all the characters in KotOR, I found myself really 'feeling' for Jolee and wanting his 'approval' as a kind of father figure. His whole take on love and emotion versus the Jedi code was truly awesome, too: "Love doesn't lead to the darkside. Passion can lead to rage and fear, and can be controlled, but passion is not the same thing as love. Controlling your passions while being in love, that's what they should teach you to beware, but love itself will save, not condemn you." When you add some really cool wisdom like this to the humor Jolee always produced you have one really, really cool character.

2. Wedge Antilles
Again, I have spoke at length about why I find wedge to be awesome. It may surprise my friends that Wedge is only number 2 on this list. But when you see number 1, you'll realize why. Oh, and by the way? Another Corellian.

1. Han Solo
Though Luke Skywalker has always been (and will always be) my personal hero, there is no denying that Han Solo is, by far, the coolest character in the Star Wars universe. From the name to the ship to the awesome lines, there are none greater. I don't know what else I can say that everyone doesn't already know. Oh, and he gets the girl, too. The one in the hot gold bikini. Awesome.

Honorable Mentions
As spunky and downright useful as this guy is, it was a hard choice not to have him on the top ten. But in the end, I had to make the cut. But consider him number 11!

Gallandro the Gunman
A villain in the Han Solo novels, he only missed the top-ten because of his goofy moustache (come on, he wore it with little beads tied into it? Lame).

Emperor Palpatine
You have to give it to him. He was smart as well as evil. In fact, I loved seeing his plan unfold in the prequels. It was one of the best things about those movies.

The Jedi Exile
From KotOR II. I didn't find the character quite as compelling as Revan, but the way he/she told the Jedi council to STICK IT (by jamming his/her lightsaber into a stone pillar and then walking out) was awesome. Because my GOD, did the council in that game NEED to be smacked. Bunch of self-righteous windbags.

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