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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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... 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 ...
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18. TUSKAN RAIDERS

Tuskan Raiders

If you want to pick a moment that perfectly encapsulates the genius of the Tusken Raiders, head on over to The Phantom Menace. As the Podracers hare around the windy caverns of Tatooine, a band of pesky Tusken Raiders perch high above the race course and revel in taking pot shots at the drivers. They do this not to survive or protect. They do this because it's fun.

For Tusken Raiders - it should always be Tusken Raiders; Sandpeople is a far too prosaic and limp nomenclature to convey their magnificent malevolence - are the ASBOs of the Star Wars universe, preying on wayward farm boys, smart enough to ride single-file to hide their numbers, dumb enough to be scared off by a pensioner making weird moaning noises.

Interestingly, after rummaging through Luke's landspeeder, they don't actually steal anything. As they raise their gaffi sticks and hoot in mindless glee (or in reality electronically modulated donkey brays), they are mugging people just for the thrill of it. It's only a matter of time before they discover happy slapping.

Astonishingly for such legendary creations, the Tusken Raiders didn't appear in Lucas' screenwriting process until the third draft. In this version, Luke is taken prisoner and rotated on an electronic windmill until Artoo frees him. While that idea was culled during budget slashes, the Tuskens still pack a magnificent punch. Stuntman Peter Diamond, wearing the Tusken mask, couldn't actually see Mark Hamill during combat, which gives the moment a real frisson of danger and raw ferocity. That Lucas smartly shoots them from below only enhances their mythic status.

The Tusken Raiders also sum up Star Wars' lo-fi, homespun simplicity. Here are creatures crafted from beige bandages, sackcloth and loo-rolls-painted-silver-for-eyes, yet they still manage to be far more effective than a thousand pixels. That such iconic creations get an ignominious end at the hands of Anakin Skywalker is too sad for words. Or electronically modulated donkey brays.

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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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