Star Wars: The Top 10 Most Memorable Characters of the Modern Era
The Disney era of Star Wars has been highly divisive, to say the least. However, whatever your opinions are on the films, there’s no denying that we were given some incredible new characters. From the sequel trilogy, to the comic books, to Rebels, we are counting the Top Ten Star Wars characters from this new era.
Check out the list below:
10. The Mandalorian (Dyn Jarren)
Star Wars fans lost their collective minds over the announcement The Mandalorian. Not only, did the streaming series deliver, it introduced us to a character who wouldn’t reveal his face, yet managed to express so much emotion. The voiceover performance of Pedro Pascal was mesmerizing. He effortlessly demonstrated the passion Dyn Jarren has for his people, while still showing conflicted feelings for “The Child.”
Dyn is that classic gunslinger with a heart of gold; able to single-handedly take down a squad of Trandoshans, while also rescuing a small town from their oppressors. This is the kind of character that takes us back to George Lucas’s inspiration of Samurai films and old Westerns. A bounty hunter series could only work with a compelling protagonist, and that is exactly what we have in Jarren. I, for one, can’t wait for more adventures with this character.
There was so much anticipation surrounding The Force Awakens, so when they dropped that first teaser it felt like a genuine moment. The first character we see in that teaser is Finn, a stormtrooper who defected from the First Order after witnessing their horrid actions. John Boyega was a relatively unknown actor (unless you are a massive Attack the Block fan, like me) so audiences weren’t sure what to expect. What we received is the incredible heart and charisma from a former stormtrooper who had a role to play in this battle against oppression.
Finn evolved over all three films into a General of the Resistance, who inspires other defectors like Jannah (Naomi Ackie) to join the fight against the dangerous First Order. He contributes more than just feeding inside information, he is a leader. When Poe felt the weight of General Leia’s mantle, he chose Finn to help carry the burden.
8. Cassian Andor
Rogue One was the first Star Wars movie to stray away from the “Skywalker saga.” This meant we were introduced to a variety of new characters that felt familiar to the Star Wars universe and others that brought in a new energy. The biggest standout of the film was Captain Cassian Andor, a rebel fighter willing to get his hands dirty if it benefited the Rebellion.
Diego Luna brought in a refreshing take to a Star Wars character by delivering a dynamic performance which showcased the swagger of a veteran soldier, with the unwavering passion of a guerrilla fighter. Andor grapples with the moral ambiguity of war, and his role as a contributor to so much death. Rogue One was an attempt to show the murkier side of the Star Wars universe and no character embodies that better than Cassian Andor.
7. Hera Syndulla
The captain of the “Ghost” and leader of our beloved Rebels squad, Hera Syndulla has a lot on her plate. Not only is she the moral compass of the crew, she is also responsible for everyone’s safety. The manner in which Hera takes on her leadership role is unmatched by any Star Wars character. She is able to delegate responsibilities to the right members at the perfect time.
She has a mind for strategizing, but also managing personalities which is crucial to the success of every mission. On top of all this, she also happens to be the best pilot in the whole galaxy! Hera’s flying skills are legendary, even getting recognition from Grand Admiral Thrawn. At almost every point the “Ghost” is about to be captured, Hera finds a way to escape. Every mission the crew has ever gone on is influenced by Hera. Her intelligence, integrity, and passion, make her a timeless character inside the Star Wars universe.
6. Doctor Aphra (Chelli Lona Aphra)
Star Wars has their very own Indiana Jones style character, and it’s amazing! First introduced in the “Star Wars: Darth Vader” comic series, Aphra is an archaeologist with a keen eye for Jedi artifacts. What makes her such a great character is the manner in which she follows her own path. Fans have always loved scoundrels, like Han Solo and Lando Calrissian, but Doctor Aphra stands apart.
Her “morally grey” decisions make for an exciting protagonist in a comic series. Not only that, but her confidence and intellect are incredibly refreshing! She has the boldness of a smuggler with the brains of a scientist. Thankfully, Star Wars realized the gold mine they were standing on and gave Aphra her own comic series. This is a character I would love to see on the big screen one day.
5. Kanan Jarrus
As a Jedi who survived “Order 66,” Kanan has a lot emotional baggage to deal with. On top of that, Kanan is thrust into the role of mentor to a force-sensitive young kid, Ezra, looking to him for guidance. All this makes for the beginnings of a compelling and complex character whom Star Wars fans have fallen in love with.
Kanan struggles with his leadership role, as much as Ezra struggles with his connection to the Force. The more Kanan learns and comes to terms with the loss of the Jedi, the more knowledge he’s able to pass on to Ezra. Kanan develops into one of the greatest Jedi we know. We witness his growth as a master throughout all four seasons of Rebels. Fans of the show are lucky enough to experience one of the best examples of a master and apprentice relationship from any television series. Kanan is willing to learn and grow, while still adhering to the Jedi way.
4. Enfys Nest
We first see Enfys Nest as the intimidating leader of the Cloud-Riders gang in Solo: A Star Wars Story where she attempts to steal the coaxium from Beckett’s crew. Her theme, “Marauders Arrive”, roars as she barks orders in her heavily modulated voice. From her speeder, to her unique look, fans quickly realized they were being introduced to an incredible new character. Later in the film, when she removes her helmet and reveals to be a young woman, we discover her true intentions as a pirate.
She tells the story of the oppressive crime syndicates and their deal with the Empire. Enfys plans on taking on the cruelty she witnesses and has garnered a following who also refuse to stand by. Enfys Nest is a young leader, yet commands so much respect. Her determination and passion inspire people of all species and ages to join her in this fight. Enfys Nest demonstrates qualities that are inspiring to her people, but terrifying to her enemies. This is the kind of leader you want on your side.
3. Sabine Wren
Sabine is a Mandalorian of Clan Wren, meaning she has all the training and skills of an elite warrior, while also possessing a special insight on technologically advanced weaponry. Beyond that, she is an artist, which she uses as way to express herself and inspire others. Sabine Wren is unlike any Star Wars character we’ve seen. Although she is exceptional at combat and battle tactics, that is not what defines her.
Her character evolves into a symbol for her people. A Mandalorian who chose her own path and defied the Empire. By the final season of Rebels, we see the transformation that Sabine has gone through, and how she leads the Mandalorians down a new path. Sabine Wren breaks the uniformity of the strictest culture we know in the Star Wars universe and rises beyond any other. Her epilogue at the end of Rebels shows how she is more than just a Mandalorian, she is who she wants to be.
2. Kylo Ren / Ben Solo
As much as us Star Wars fans love the Jedi, we’ve always had a fascination with the Dark Side. Dark force users always seem to have such an interesting back story. Kylo Ren presented a new dynamic to that allure, as he is the son of our beloved, Han Solo and Princess Leia. Throughout the sequel trilogy we discover more behind his motivations. Adam Driver gives his all in one of the best performances inside any Star Wars film; showcasing the clash between Ben Solo and his alter ego, Kylo Ren.
In The Last Jedi, Kylo embraces his role as the Supreme Leader of the First Order and uses that power to gain more knowledge about the Force. However, what works best about Ren is his bond with Rey. Every scene with Rey and Kylo is worth the price of admission. Their push and pull between the Light and Dark sides of the Force may be the best example we’ve seen, since Clone Wars. The sequel trilogy thrives with the compelling story of Kylo Ren. His character single-handedly brings all the trilogies together.
Abandoned on the junkyard planet of Jakku, Rey had always been looking for someone to tell her who she is. However, throughout all the films, she discovers that for herself. The Light to balance the dark, the legacy of the Jedi, and a friend to those in need – Rey is all those things. I mentioned Adam Driver’s incredible performance as Kylo Ren and I have to echo that with Daisy Ridley. The casting of Daisy may be the biggest Star Wars victory in recent memory.
Daisy exemplifies each of Rey’s captivating qualities, while also showcasing her struggle of self-identity. The range of emotions Rey goes through in the sequel trilogy is monumental. She discovers her role in the galactic war in The Force Awakens, learns about the failures of heroes in The Last Jedi and carries the weight of the universe in Rise of Skywalker. Rey overcomes a lot. She’s powerful but flawed, smart yet vulnerable. She thrives to be better, but never demeans anyone around her. Rey is the embodiment of a true Jedi and one of the best Star Wars characters.