Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Nerd's Favorite Star Wars Characters

Between movies, comic books, novels, tv shows, video games, and any other format we can think up, Star Wars has many, many characters. Some everyone would be familiar with due to them being in the movie, while many more rest in obscurity, due to being introduced in the Extended Universe.

Here is my list of my favorite characters, spanning all formats.

1. Han Solo

I had to get this one out of the way quickly. Since everyone is familiar with this character (or damn well should be), I don't need to go into too much description here. I always love a good-hearted scoundrel, and Han was my first introduction to this archetype. Being played by Harrison Ford, there is nothing for me to not love about this character. He's cocky, good with a gun or ship, and wears the best outfits.

I suggest his origin novels, known as the Han Solo Trilogy.
Even his Bespin outfit is pretty awesome.

2. Darth Revan

Doesn't care for your republic.
Introduced in the game Knights of the Old Republic, Revan is another popular character many people may recognize. He was the big bad right before the game begins, and you spend your journey hearing about his achievements that nearly brought the galaxy to his knees. It almost seems a pity that his apprentice got uppity and shot him in the back... For those who've played the game, the plot twist is another big reason why I love this character.

Aside from the interesting story, Revan's Sith outfit is my favorite out of any character in the movies or EU. If I was to ever get into cosplay, my first project would be to make Revan's mask.

3. Dash Rendar

This character was released across multiple mediums at the same time, in the multimedia project titled Shadows of the Empire. I've talked about Shadows before, but want to reiterate that it also created one of my absolute favorite, yet still wildly under used, characters. Dash is a smuggler, like Han, but his heart of gold seems to have been plundered. There is no question that Dash always shoots first. He's Han if Han never matured or met Leia. He's a badass pilot and mercenary who will take on any mission for a price.

Currently, the character is still mostly found only in Shadows of the Empire material. There was a relatively recent novel, Shadow Games, that featured the rogue, but I didn't enjoy it overly much.
Ok, I hate his outfit. But he makes up for it!

Dash has two other points that work in his favor: a sassy robot sidekick, named Leebo, and his much-better-than-the-Falcon ship, the Outrider.

Being able to play the character in Shadows of the Empire went a long way to entrench this characters as a favorite, even if the game was light on the story elements.

4. Jaina Solo

This is one of Han and Leia's kids. If you're at all current in the Extended Universe, you'll know she's the only surviving one. Since the Young Jedi Knights series, she's been an interesting mix of a mechanic, like Chewbacca, and a Jedi, like her uncle Luke. I almost grew up with this character, being that I read the Young series when I was younger, and am still reading novels featuring her today (though I'm actually very behind on the Fate of the Jedi series).

Jaina Solo, solo.
She's had some of the more interesting twists and turns, trials and tribulations among the EU cast. And she's grown up to be both melancholic to some degree and a complete badass in others. It's a difficult balance, but both components I enjoy in literary characters -- the ability to be series and down to earth while still fighting the good fight.

She can be found in plenty of EU novels, not sure if she's ever branched out into the comics or not. The Legacy of the Force series, infamous for many reasons, has a her dealing with issues above and beyond what most would expect. And, unlike many EU characters, she rose to the challenge.

5. Corran Horn

Read it!
One of my favorite things about Star Wars was the dogfights. I love space battles in general. Therefore, interesting pilots always find a way into my heart. Throughout the (on my part) much beloved X-Wing series, Corran Horn is an interesting character that shows a lot of growth throughout the series. He's a member of Rogue Squadron and, appropriately, constantly giving the Empire/remnants a bad day. He's the star of the day many times, and makes down-to-the-wire situations still seem stressful -- most characters you can stay fairly safe knowing they'll make it through the day. The X-Wing series, and Corran's status as an EU-only character, didn't give him quite as much plot armor as other characters. This made him interesting.

Then, reading the novel I, Jedi, you learn more about his history as he eventually starts on the Jedi path. This novel is one of the most interesting EU novels I've read, simply because it spans a decent chunk of time and pulls in references to other big events as they occur. A lot of the EU feels as if it happens in a vacuum, where only one story is happening at a time, but I, Jedi actively interacted with the timelines it crossed, without seeming overly gimmicky.

There are more characters that I love, and I have to give an honorable mention to Wedge Antilles, but the above five are my absolute favorite from a universe that spans thousands of years and many different formats/genres. Are there any standouts for you? I've not included a single cartoon or comic character in this list, so I know I'm missing plenty!

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