Star Wars-ing: My Favorite Villains from the Saga

While we all root for the heroes of Star Wars, we all really think the bad guys are cooler. Think about Vader’s scene in Rogue One. It’s a horrible massacre of men fighting for the good of the galaxy.

And we all loved it.

Before I list some of my favorite villains from the saga, let me reiterate the same rules from yesterday’s heroes piece. No characters introduced in The Force Awakens will be listed.  We don’t know their fate so they may not stay good. Second, I include any Star Wars I’ve seen or read.  I  have not read all of the EU nor have I read all of the new canons, so this list is not pretending to be definitive. Not in the slightest.  Also, this list is not in any type of order.

Darth Vader: Ok, this one is the top villain. He was the perfect version of evil for my young brain (I was born in late 1973). When he is evil, he is impressive, most impressive.  When he turns good, he becomes our hero.  And as amazing as he is in the films, he really gets some moments in the comics.  IF you haven’t read Vader Down, stop reading this and go read it.

Darth Maul: Darth Maul in the Phantom Menace is a great action, bad guy.  In the comics and especially in the Clone Wars, he is genuinely terrifying.

Palpatine – Overrated: Emporer Palpatine as an evil character.  Underrated: His time before becoming emperor. He outwits and outmaneuvers the entire Senate and Jedi Council.  As a Sith and a politician he indeed is the personification of evil in the saga.

Orson Krennic: Krennic is a different kind of bad guy. He is that guy in the office that you pray to god doesn’t become your boss.  He can do the job, but he isn’t overly talented at it.  In fact, he knows how to take credit for your work.  He really wants to be in charge, and he will entirely forget the help he received to get there. In other words, he is the most real-world version of evil.

Barriss Offee: She is almost a forgivable form of evil. Her motivation is reasonable in that the Jedi Council seems to make every wrong decision leading to what appears as an unending war.

Thrawn:  So methodical in his work. In fact, he is not necessarily evil.  He just works for the bad guys, and is better at his job than practically everyone else.

Mother Talzan: From a certain point of view, this character is not always on the wrong side. In fact, there are storylines in which you might root for her since she is going up against someone worse. While we can argue if she is pure evil or not, I think we can all agree she always interesting.

Count Dooku:  I wasn’t sure if I wanted to put him on here, but he does have great storylines in The Clone Wars and especially in Dark Disciple.

There are some that aren’t on this list that I’m going to get flack for.  I don’t find Tarkin very interesting in the movies and in the animated series, but I like him more as a villain in Catalyst. (Edit: Ok Tarkin definitely belongs on the list and maybe near the top as far as evil goes. He blows up an entire planet, and there is no proof that the order comes from anyone else but him – at least in the movies).  Also, for the love of all things Star Wars, I do not get the Boba Fett worship. There are a few others that I like but I don’t feel like we got enough of to put on a list (such as the Inquisitor).

So who are your favorite villains from Star Wars?


Star Wars: My Favorite Heroes from the Saga

Star Wars is, in its purest form, a story of heroes and villains.  That’s one of the reasons why Joseph Campbell was so attracted to it and wrote about it in the Power of the Myth.

Since this week is the release of the Last Jedi, I decided to list my favorite heroes and villains from Star Wars. Today, I will list my favorite heroes.

But first some explanations.  No characters introduced in The Force Awakens will be listed.  We don’t know their fate so they may not stay good. Second, I include any Star Wars I’ve seen or read.  I  have not read all of the EU nor have I read all of the new canons, so this list is not pretending to be definitive. Not in the slightest.  Also, this list is not in any type of order.

Cut Lawquane:  Yes, he is a deserter.  No, that doesn’t mean he is not a hero.  He was made to be a soldier, but decided not to be.  More importantly, he decided to have a family, and to them, he was their protector and his hero.  So from a certain point of view, he does have a heroes story to tell. It is also one of the most compelling one-offs in all of Star Wars.

Hera Syndulla:  To me, she is the best leader in the Star Wars saga.  She cares for her people, but she sees the bigger picture.  If someone were to write a leadership book from her point of view, I would buy it in a second.

R2D2:  If being a hero is putting others before yourself than R2D2 qualifies.  Far too many times, R2 risks personal injury, and annihilation, to save his friends and the republic.  He is fearless, but he does have a heart of gold.

Leia: Leia is THE leader in the Star Wars saga.  She was born and raised to do this.  She accepted the role long before we met her and handled it maturely.  She is the same age as Luke, but her experience has made her far wiser. Unlike most people on this list, her heroes journey started as a child. The fact that she never has wavered makes her one of the greatest in the saga.

Han Solo:  He is the reluctant hero.  He doesn’t want to be the hero; he just can’t help himself. And he probably never does it for the bigger cause.  Being heroic for his friends is good enough. When you think about it, he is a poor scoundrel.

Luke:  Luke is THE hero of the saga.  So far, the story has been about him or the coming of him.  The fact that this was thrust upon him and that eventually gets control of his power is a testament to the type of hero he wanted to become.  Sure he is whiney, but he is one of the most powerful people in the galaxy with no understanding of why he is or how he can control it. Even in Jedi, when he comes to grips with it, he acts as if he is in control, but he knows what he is doing is risky.  In Jedi, he wants to be the hero, but he isn’t completely sold on the outcome.  I can’t wait for Thursday night to see where his journey goes next.

Obi-Wan:  He is the perfect Jedi, in that he does have faults.  He would have left the Jedi for a woman if she wished.  He shows favor and sometimes a blind eye towards his friends. Yet, he always attempts to do the right thing.  Sometimes this means for the greater good; other times it could be to save just one Jedi’s soul.

Asajj Ventress:  Sometimes the hero’s journey takes a long route through the villain’s timeline.  But if you don’t believe Ventress belongs on this list, read Christie Golden’s Dark Disciple.  Golden creates a multi-layered story of a multi-layered character.  It’s the best Star Wars book I’ve read yet.

Ashoka:  Ashoka, more than any other character on this list, learns.  She learns from her mistakes.  She learns from the mistakes of others.  She understands there are rules and that sometimes laws are worthless if they mean losing your soul to abide by them.  Throughout the Clone Wars, she has tremendous growth.  She went from being my least favorite character to my favorite.

Yes, there are people I left off the list.  Yoda for instance.  I’m not saying he isn’t a hero. I’m saying he is not one of my favorites. He too often gets caught up in what a Jedi should be he forgets what they actually are individual. Others have moments, and some characters are heroic but not truly heroes (this is how I classify Lando).

So…who are your favorite heroes from the saga?


StarWars-ing: In Defense of Star Wars Rebels

KananCrew.pngOf course, this week is the release of Star Wars The Last Jedi.  We won’t have any thoughts on that front until we see the movie, but we still want to talk Star Wars so let’s talk about Rebels.

In the past, I’ve done some episode by episode recaps of both The Clone Wars and Rebels.  (I really should continue that).

I can unequivocally state that The Clone Wars is far superior to Rebels.  The Clone Wars, as a friend of mine pointed out, makes the prequels means something.  They are that good.

Rebels will never get to those heights. Many a fan has said so on various social media. In fact, many Star Wars fans that whose opinion I completely respect have given up on it.

I understand.  The lead character can be annoying.  Sometimes the force works in very illogical ways on the show and considering the force is something that doesn’t have to play by the rules of logic says something about the liberties taken with the force.  The show often finds a groove and then completely takes itself out of that groove (something Clone Wars did as well but it seems to happen more regularly with Rebels). Most egregiously, Rebels kills off a major Star Wars character even though the show hasn’t really earned that honor.

Yet, even with all of its flaws, I love the show.

Ezra is annoying but so was Luke and Anakin.  I’m not elevating him to their status, but he does follow their tradition.  If you were basically an all-powerful being as a teenager you would have a hard time coming to grips with authority – good or bad.  However, he does have a slight charm to him and you do worry about him.  Because he isn’t Luke or Anakin, you have no real idea of where he is going in the story.  He can die a hero or wait long enough to see himself become a villain.  Or just stay a hero.

What really helps Rebels is that the rest of the characters are fantastic.  Kanan has just the right amount of brooding and hope in his voice that you root for him.  Hera might be my favorite leader (she cares but sees the bigger picture) in all of Star Wars and if I was in a tight situation in space, it’s her I want piloting the ship. Zeb provides just enough comic relief without becoming campy, and Chopper is a perfect droid.  If I did have a complaint it would be about Sabine.  Not that her character is bad; I would actually rather the show have split and watched her lead her on show in which she leads the fight for Mandalore.

The animation is very good and sometimes great. Thrawn is a great villain as was the Inquisitor, Seventh Sister, and Fifth Brother. Introducing The Bendu, voiced by the great Tom Baker, brought another dimension to the legend of the Jedi. Having a member of the Empire turn and become part of the rebellion was also a great plot addition.

Again, I think the showrunning lacks some consistency, but Rebels is a great piece of the Star Wars canon. The Clone Wars will be the gold leader for Star Wars animation, but the Rebels provide a great backstory to other cells of the rebellion. Its function is to flesh out the universe of Star Wars and it does it very well. And for the most part, it’s just fun. Star Wars is at it greatest when it is at its darkest; however, fun Star Wars can also be great Star Wars.

That being said, I also have no problem with people skipping it.  I am a firm believer in make your own canon.

StarWars-ing: Episode VIII Breaks A Weird Streak For Me

We have our tickets for Thursday all lined up.  We are doing the special six o’clock thing at one of the local movie chains.  We have been doing our best to steer clear of spoilers.


And seeing the second installment of a Star Wars group of three is a first for me.

I saw A New Hope and Return of the Jedi in their original runs. I saw The Phantom Menace and Revenge of the Sith in their initial runs. I missed Empire Strikes Back and Attack of the Clones in the theaters on their original runs.  I did see Empire in the 90s.

I remember learning about the plot of Empire from one of those read along 45 rpm record storybooks.  I also remember grilling my friend on it on the drive from our small town to the theater.  He handled my twenty-minute interrogation well. Attack was a little different, in that I did get to see it before Sith thanks to the DVD.

The reasons for missing those installments was basically me putting other people ahead of myself even if it was begrudgingly.  The one time we did go to the movies during the Empire run we saw Airplane instead.  Now, Airplane is a classic, and it’s what a sick relative wanted to see.  I don’t regret going see it.  I just wish my mom would have trusted me to go see Empire alone (I was 6 going on 7). I could actually hear the sounds of the Empire attacking Hoth through the small twin cinema walls. And there is only one scene I actually remembered from Airplane because it was very impressionable on a young lad.


In 2014, we attended the London Comic Con during a break in a study hall in Edinburgh.  I got to meet Robert Hayes, the star of Airplane.  I told him the above story.  He responded with, “I bet the only scene you remembered was the boobs jiggling across the screen.”  We both then just laughed, and he signed my photo and took a picture with me.

I really wish I had a cool story for Attack, but I don’t.  In fact, like the film, the story is best left untold.



Star Wars: Reactions to this Week in Star Wars

Ok, since we haven’t done this one in awhile, it might go further back than a week.

Welcome Back, JJ: JJ Abrams is back to direct Episode IX.  I had no feeling either way on the previously attached director, Colin Trevorrow. I did hope they would get Patty Jenkins mainly because I would love the see a certain selection of Star Wars fandom lose their collective minds over a woman directing.  Still, I love The Force Awakens and I have no doubt he will do a great job again. Of course, there are petitions to fire him already.

The Last Jedi is Wrapped: According to Rian Johnson’s Instagram, the work on The Last Jedi is done. Hopefully, a trailer will be coming soon to whet our appetites.

Rebels Will Take a Long Break: Rebels will start October 16, but Disney XD will be showing two episodes. In fact, every weekend until November 13 will be back to back episodes leading to a long midseason break.  Don’t know how I feel about this.



Star Wars-ing: Find the Force this Weekend

Even though The Last Jedi doesn’t come out until December, that doesn’t mean we all can’t experience the force this weekend. On September 1, Force Friday II will take place. This is when the first merchandise for the movies will be released, providing clues to the movie.

LucasFilm will also be releasing Find the Force, an augmented reality app, to be used while shopping for new merchandise. This app will be a treasure hunt that will allow you activate old and new characters from The Last Jedi.

Star Wars-ing: The EW Article We Didn’t Read

We have a subscription to EW. We read it often.  Except for this week.

It’s hard doing a Star Wars weekly feature when we don’t want to know anything about The Last Jedi.  There is some great stuff out there that do give spoilers.  I love the Making Star Wars site, but only go back and read it after the movie is out.

For us, we like to know nothing but what the trailers and toys tell us going into a movie. It’s kind of hard to escape the toys.

At first, I was going to read the EW article, but then I noticed that quite a few podcasts decided to talk about the feature. This makes me wonder if there is more than what I want to know.,

We want to go the movie with as little knowledge as possible so we can be wowed or disappointed. I truly believe that if you know too much about a movie, particularly a Star Wars movie, you can become a little cynical. It can make you wish things were different.

I know this makes us weird for a Star Wars/nerd site that writes news features, but hey, we are fans first. And we want to do fandom our way.