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?