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The 30 Greatest Star Wars Characters
From Admiral Ackbar to... Yoda - we count down Lucas' best creations

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20. TIE FIGHTER PILOT

Back in 1977, along with the droids bickering in the desert, the only Star Wars clip ever to be shown on TV, be it on News At Ten or Screen Test, was the escape from the Death Star attack. And if one thing stuck in the mind of impressionable ten year-olds, beyond that hairy gorilla co-pilot thingee, the squat robot that put out a fire and the shaggy-haired kid in a judo suit, it was the image of a TIE fighter pilot sitting in a cauldron of a cockpit, stars rushing by in the background, moving in for the kill.

Looking like the offspring of a drunken one-night stand between Darth Vader and a stormtrooper, we now fully understand that the TIE fighter pilot is the epitome of sleek unknowable cool - especially compared to their Rebel counterparts. Where TIE pilots are bedecked in good-for-all-occasions black, the Rebels sport orange jumpsuits that would be garish for a CBeebies presenter; while the Rebel pilots witter on about "the size of that thing" and "Beggar's Canyon back home", TIE aces have a taciturn demeanour, talking only when necessary ("Yes, sir" and "Look out" is the extent of their dialogue in A New Hope), otherwise keeping schtum.

In a galaxy seemingly governed by incompetence - stormtroopers are not much better than the fey Rebels, banging their heads or shooting with a Stevie Wonder-esque precision - TIE fighter pilots are the model of clinical, efficient professionalism.

Featured almost fully-formed in a very early Ralph McQuarrie concept painting, TIE pilots also point to another joy of the SW universe: the level of detail and logic applied to even the smallest bit-part character. The helmet, bulkier than a stormtrooper's, suggests reinforced padding or an internal communication system, the connective tubes seemingly providing life-support gases.

Enhanced by such vivid minutiae, the TIE pilots have prevailed through their masked impenetrability, mysterious devotion to their cause and their almost kamikaze mentality. That and the action figure smelt like liquorice.

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Your Comments

1 RE: I Agree
To paraphrase Palpatine, likeable is a point of view. More

Posted by Litshttam on Wednesday July 9, 2014, 20:47

2 I don't agree.
'George Lucas's 30 worst creations'...? Nah, it's just going to be slagging him off, for the sake of it... AGAIN! Its really good to see more appreciation (and fairness) in articles towards George. Just check out 'The Guardian online', they take every opportunity to slag Star Wars off, including loads of unqualified opinions and non-truths. The film critic even started a recent post saying 'Star Wars isn't known for its creativity...' - its farcical. As a character from another space franchise said "...its easier to destroy than create". More

Posted by Funk_Knight on Thursday July 3, 2014, 10:17

3 I don't agree.
'George Lucas's 30 worst creations'...? Nah, it's just going to be slagging him off, for the sake of it... AGAIN! Its really good to see more appreciation (and fairness) in articles towards George. Just check out 'The Guardian online', they take every opportunity to slag Star Wars off, including loads of unqualified opinions and non-truths. The film critic even started a recent post saying 'Star Wars isn't known for its creativity...' - its farcical. As a character from another space franchise said "...its easier to destroy than create". More

Posted by Funk_Knight on Thursday July 3, 2014, 10:17

4 I Agree
A WORST Star Wars Characters list will be more interesting. Jar Jar obviously would be No. 1. Though I also agree he had a good character arc (But that doesn't make him likable) More

Posted by Darren47 on Wednesday July 2, 2014, 23:50

5 RE: Binks' Arc Is Actually One Of The Best In The Saga
Or Boris Johnson. Or Bush Jr. Take your pick, really. More

Posted by Litshttam on Wednesday July 2, 2014, 22:04

6 RE: Binks' Arc Is Actually One Of The Best In The Saga
L: Litshttam Jar Jar Binks starts off as mythic-archetype - the fool / jester the hero meets by the roadside - and becomes a commentary on the nepotism in politics; his befriending of Padmé Amidala in The Phantom Menace leads to his appointment as Gungan-representative in the senate by Attack Of The Clones. The unfit-for-purpose-but-sincere plonker inadvertently starts the Clone Wars, too, falling for the Hegelian-machinations of Palpatine hook, line and sinker. Sure, Yoda he ain't, but I like him. o, Jar Jar Binks is... Tony Blair? (How wude.) More

Posted by chris kilby on Wednesday July 2, 2014, 12:45

7 RE: Predictable...
L: GrizBe I'd much rather see the 30 worst / dumbest Star Wars characters. We all know Jar Jar would top that, but it'd be more fun then this. ax Rebo? Droopy McCool? More

Posted by chris kilby on Wednesday July 2, 2014, 12:44

8 30 Greatest Characters?
Loads of these were generic 'Stormtrooper', 'Scout Trooper', 'Jawa' etc, not actual characters. Also, Anakin/ Darth Vader, whether you like it or not, is the same dude! Also Ben and Obi-Wan. I've seen several top Star Wars character lists, this is the worst attempt I've seen. More

Posted by AyannaNyx on Wednesday July 2, 2014, 01:26

9 Binks' Arc Is Actually One Of The Best In The Saga
Jar Jar Binks starts off as mythic-archetype - the fool / jester the hero meets by the roadside - and becomes a commentary on the nepotism in politics; his befriending of Padmé Amidala in The Phantom Menace leads to his appointment as Gungan-representative in the senate by Attack Of The Clones. The unfit-for-purpose-but-sincere plonker inadvertently starts the Clone Wars, too, falling for the Hegelian-machinations of Palpatine hook, line and sinker. Sure, Yoda he ain't, but I like him. More

Posted by Litshttam on Tuesday July 1, 2014, 13:38

10 Predictable...
I'd much rather see the 30 worst / dumbest Star Wars characters. We all know Jar Jar would top that, but it'd be more fun then this. More

Posted by GrizBe on Tuesday July 1, 2014, 11:13

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