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

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27. Admiral Ackbar

Admiral Ackbar

There are three little reasons why we love Admiral Ackbar. Three little reasons why we're quite prepared to ignore the fact that the leader of the Rebel Alliance's Endor attack fleet looks like the offspring of a fish and a turd (with the astoundingly inventive species name of Mon Calamari - tastes great with lemon juice), and overlook his initial cowardice during the Battle Of Endor. And those three little reasons are: "It's a trap!"

Those three words are barked by Ackbar - aka puppeteer Timothy J. Rose - as the fleet comes out of hyperspace towards the end of Return Of The Jedi, only to find they've been sold a pup. And it's those three words, more than anything else about the character, that have made him oddly iconic.

They've been endlessly referenced, not only in the Empire office where you can't mention Ackbar without having them yelled back at you, but also on websites such as Something Awful, YouTube and YTMND, where they've been immortalised in countless avatars, sound files and augmented and amended video clips.

Indeed, Ackbar is further proof that, despite its maligned reputation, Return Of The Jedi features the best and most inventive supporting cast in the saga. From Jabba lackey Bib Fortuna to mumbling Millennium Falcon co-pilot Nien Nunb, to Mon Mothma, banging on about those bloody Bothan spies, no other Star Wars film has as rich a background tapestry.

And at the forefront of that is our dear Admiral, blurting orders to the rest of the Fleet, zipping around in his neat rotating chair, and ultimately implementing a crazy-mo'fo' battle manoeuvre that saves the day, by attacking the Imperial Star Destroyers head-on. Curiously, at the end of the Battle, with the Rebel forces victorious, Ackbar slumps into his retro La-Z-boy, head bowed and looking somewhat disconsolate when he should be punching the air and raising the roof.

Some Star Wars scholars take this as proof that Ackbar is a pacifist at heart and that, even in the moment of ultimate triumph, with freedom restored to the galaxy, he mourns for the loss of innocent (and Ewok) life. There's a simpler explanation, though - Ackbar is celebrating, but the make-up of his fishy head (both as a species and as a prosthetic applicance) doesn't allow him to smile.

Interestingly, this problem could have been avoided if plans had proceeded to instead make Ackbar a blue humanoid. On second thoughts, though, it's really rather cool that the leader of the Rebel Forces is a fish/turd hybrid. After all, if nothing else, it shows that the Alliance is an equal opportunity employer... KIM NEWMAN

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Have Your Say
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Your Comments

1 WTF?
AS usual this list is screwy, how does Portmans stroppy bitch beat Windu? Windu chopped off Jango Fetts head and he gets stepped over by a fucking biker scout? A princess? Some red draped security guard from the Death Star? Probaly the greatest JEDI ever, and you miscreants piss on his eternal memory. Fuck all y' all ! More

Posted by DAVIDK on Wednesday June 19, 2013, 13:09

2
Dannybohy, if you stopped reading Empire in the 90s, what you still doing here? My Name is Legion, it's not the 30 most important characters but the 30 greatest characters! Sheesh! More

Posted by zeech1941 on Wednesday November 7, 2012, 19:18

3
Dannybohy, if you stopped reading Empire in the 90s, what you still doing here? My Name is Legion, it's not the 30 most important characters but the 30 greatest characters! Sheesh! More

Posted by zeech1941 on Wednesday November 7, 2012, 18:23

4 RE:
Empire haven't got a clue. This is exactly why I stopped buying the magazine religiously like i did in the mid 90s!, the fecking stupids lists!! everybody likes a list, but every damn issue and always complete and utter shite. More

Posted by Dannybohy on Wednesday November 7, 2012, 14:41

5
Yoda 'species indeterminate?' actually Yoda is a Whyll. Star wars.com says so? It's just a shame he never got to win a light saber fight, the chance to name a DVD chapter 'The Triumph ofvthe Whyll ' would have been hard to resist More

Posted by PaoloCorleone on Monday November 5, 2012, 14:37

6 Bad Mother Fucka
Mace Windu no 29??? Biatch please... More

Posted by JohnMcClane81 on Saturday November 3, 2012, 20:58

7 The Pilots
Where is Wedge Antilles, he survived both Deathstar runs. Where is Biggs Darklighter, he died that we might live. More

Posted by Avoid on Saturday November 3, 2012, 11:42

8 Interesting point by Legion!
Boba Fette is a cool character but Luke should surely be above him. Only other change would be Darth Vader at number 1. More

Posted by guysalisbury on Friday November 2, 2012, 13:30

9 Sam Jackson is great, but Mace Windu isn't
Anakin Skywalker, Mace Windu, Padme Amidala and Count Dooku were some of the worst written, one dimensional, no-depth characters ever to grace the big screen, they were definitely not great creations and should not be included in this list. More

Posted by Jamie_M on Friday November 2, 2012, 13:20

10
Oh yeah forgot too say...fck luke Skywalker, Han is the man More

Posted by UncleFknBully on Friday November 2, 2012, 11:58

11
Wtf...where is Salacious B.Crumb? More

Posted by UncleFknBully on Friday November 2, 2012, 11:55

12
Congratulations Empire on once again completely missing the point when it comes to what made Star Wars work. Luke Skywalker is the most important character. Why? Because he represents us, our longing to be somebody, to do something important, to escape from the mundane and grow as an individual. The binary sunset scene alone pisses all over the entire prequel trilogy. Yet you place him 7th, below Boba Fett! A nothing character when you actually look past all the fanboy shite. You didn't get it thirteen years ago, and you still don't get it now. More

Posted by My name is Legion on Friday November 2, 2012, 02:46

13 Excellent List
I agree with this list almost 100%, although I wouldn't have included some of the lame, one-dimensional prequel pseudo-characters like Mace Windu. (Actually, with the exception of Darth Maul, I probably would've left the prequels out entirely. Those movies, after all, don't feature characters so much as merchandising opportunities.) In Windu's place I would've added Grand Moff Tarkin, somewhere higher on the list. More

Posted by intelandroid on Thursday November 1, 2012, 23:45


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