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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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7. LUKE SKYWALKER

Luke Skywalker

Who among us could ever forget Luke's iconic first appearance in the Star Wars saga? As Padme Amidala, struck down for reasons beyond human ken, gasps her last breath, we are granted our first glimpse of the great redeemer, the elder twin, the son... oh, wait. No, sorry. You're right. That wasn't it. What we actually meant was the bit on Tatooine with the twin suns.

It is, of course, typical of Luke's luck that his semi-classic screen entrance - sullenly dragging his feet over desert floor to answer a nagging aunt's summons - should be somewhat sullied by Sith's climactic loose-end gathering. Luke, a heroic figure so expertly drafted that if he didn't exist mythologist Joseph Campbell would have to crack open a new archetype to capture him, never could catch a break.

While three decades of fickle fandom have seen hokey religions coalesce around costumed extras, Luke, the original saga's original starkiller, is enduringly cast as a punchline, perpetually pining for the golden summer of '77. These days even shouty squid-fish alien things and dead-meat TIE fighter pilots can become cover stars (crazy world!), and yet the only instance of cult cred to embellish Luke's CV recently is that Simpsons episode where Mark Hamill told Homer to "use the fork".

It was also Hamill's peculiar misfortune to settle down at a back table in a Mos Eisley dive bar and find himself face-to-face with a superstar in the making. Who knew? From the moment Han shoots first (first!), Star Wars is such a Solo affair that by 1978 George Lucas would re-dub his middle episode A New Hope in order to remind the cheap seats that it is, duh, about Luke.

All of which is, of course, grossly unfair. It's not so much that he's the character closest to Lucas himself (Luke... Lucas... think about it), rather that, quite simply, he has the best story arc, the best fight scenes (until the prequels he's the only hero to engage in proper, full-on lightsaber duels) and even the greatest scene of the entire saga.

Sure, Han's carbonite farewell in Empire has crushing emotional oomph, but it's the Vader/Skywalker showdown, with its climactic megaton-bombshell revelation, that stands as the entire canon's single most memorable, most iconic, most numbingly impactful moment. And it's Luke who sells it, screaming his soul-riven disbelief into the tornado; then, once he's shattered, choosing to fall despondently down that giant air duct rather than take his pop's metallic hand.

Unlike everyone else, Luke is allowed to grow up. He completes his Jedi training (back when that was a cool thing to do) and even gets his revenge on Han ol' buddy by skipping out to face down the Emperor while Solo is teamed with the teddy-bear army. Ultimately, Luke finds closure, for us as much as himself, and we are with him all the way.

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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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