Star Wars Greatest Villains
The galaxy of the Star Wars Universe is filled with darkness and danger, and it is largely thanks to the iconic baddies of this famed franchise. For over four decades, Star Wars has given fans an epic battle between good and evil and in the process made evil so cool at times that you saw the appeal. Sure we all like the likes of; Rey, Han Solo, and Chewbacca; but there is something appealing about the baddies of the series. So here are the greatest villains of the Star Wars franchise.
Moff Gideon: Only appearing in at the climax of the hit series the Mandalorian was enough to earn this Imperial veteran a spot on this list. Using “the Client” as his emissary, Moff Gideon finally made his presence known in the penultimate episode of Season 1. With an army of at his command he takes the fight to the Mandalorian and his allies over an adorable child of great importance. He utilizes the forces at his command like a hammer, overwhelming those who oppose him, yet he is still cerebral enough to know his enemy’s weaknesses. Of course at the end of the first season we were surprised to see this former member of Imperial Security wield the fabled weapon, the Darksaber, intriguing viewers as to what secrets lie in his past.
Admiral Piett: The Galactic Empire is full of ruthless people dedicated to enforcing the Emperor’s will on the galaxy. Then there are those like Admiral Piett who are regular people who have just happened to find their niche serving evil. He seems to be one of the few high-ranking officers smart enough to not raise his voice or talk-back to Darth Vader and instead just keeps his head down and competently does his work. As a reward he gets to move through the ranks. He begins as a captain in the Empire Strikes Back he gets promoted to admiral after the Battle of Hoth. He is seen again in Return of the Jedi where he is given personal orders from the Emperor to implement the ill-fated plan to snuff out the Rebellion once and for all.
Jabba the Hutt: A wise philosopher once said “it’s good to be a gangster”; and nobody in a galaxy far, far away knows that better than Jabba the Hutt. With an arrogance only someone at the peak of their power can feel, he lounges slothfully in his palace while everyone in his court tries to appease him. In fact, he is so powerful, Jabba is confident in laughing off the threat presented by a full-fledged Jedi threatening him. For this Tatooine-based gangster finally capturing Han Solo was not enough, he also subjugated the smuggler’s friends when they came to rescue him. Like all gangsters his ego once he makes it to the top proves to be his downfall but making there was worth it.
Darth Maul: Flashback to the late 90s and we are all anxiously watching the trailer for the first new Star Wars movie in 16 years. Amid everything else, one image sears itself into everyone’s memory: a demonic-looking Sith lord wielding a double-bladed lightsaber!!! Immediately Darth Maul became an icon of the prequel trilogy. With a deadly efficiency he serves his master Darth Sidious tracking down the Queen of Naboo and the Jedi who protect her. He even manages to kill a full-fledged Jedi Master before seemingly being killed himself. During the Clone Wars, the former Sith Lord would reemerge shedding his Darth label having become disillusioned with this path in life but still just as dangerous.
Grand Admiral Thrawn: In 1991, the book Heir to the Empire revealed to Star Wars fans that the Empire was far from gone, and in fact was now in the more than capable hands of one of Palpatine’s most respected military minds. Despite being a member of the Chiss race Grand Admiral Thrawn rose through the ranks of the notoriously human Imperial Navy, thanks to his creative strategies and tactical brilliance. Many feared that once Disney wiped away the “Legends” timeline upon their purchase of Lucasfilm, but you can not keep a good villain down and Thrawn reemerged in the Star Wars Rebels cartoon series. There he posed a new and unexpected threat to the rag tag crew of the Ghost.
Boba Fett: With only a few scenes across two movies and a forgotten special, this Mandalorian bounty hunter became a favorite among fans. When the cleverness of Han Solo proves to be more than the Empire expected, bounty hunters are turned to in order to find the Millennium Falcon. Amid this bunch of cutthroats and killers, there is one Vader himself singles out as being particularly dangerous. Boba Fett seemingly has history with the charming smuggler and is the one who ultimately tracks him down. While the following movie gives him an unceremonious death, Boba Fett caught on with fans and became a breakout character of the franchise.
Count Dooku: To be perfectly honest this care earns points simply by being portrayed by the legendary Sir Christopher Lee. Having played numerous villains in his career from Count Dracula to Saruman, Lee brought gravitas to the role of Dooku few could hope to match. We learn from conversations between the Jedi that he was once a member of their noble ranks. But the cause of Darth Sidious must have intrigued him as he turned to the side of the Sith taking on the name Darth Tyranus. He took on the leadership of the Separatists during the Clone Wars until he had finally outlived his usefulness to Sidious who had him killed to further the overall grand scheme.
Grand Moff Tarkin: Being an icon of the Hammer Horrors meant that Peter Cushing knew a thing or two about being evil onscreen. When the Empire completed construction of something as powerful of the Death Star someone equally powerful had to be in command of it. Through cunning and ruthlessness Tarkin became that someone. Somehow able to keep even Darth Vader in line, this Imperial official had no problem destroying entire worlds to simply prove a point or punish his enemies. His ego ultimately led to his downfall, but he left a legacy of evil in the galaxy which will not be forgotten.
Kylo Ren: Following in the footsteps of his grandfather, Ben Solo walked away from his tutelage under Luke Skywalker and followed the path of the Dark Side. What separates him from so many other villains of his ilk is that he is not fully composed or in control which makes him even more dangerous. Kylo Ren is a Force-empowered time bomb waiting to explode. The broken and volatile lightsaber he wields serves as a reflection of a young man consumed by anger though his better nature lingers in his soul conflicting him from what he wants. This forces Kylo Ren to act out in even more dangerous ways in an effort to prove his allegiance. To this end, he even killed his own father after lulling him into a false sense of security.
Emperor Palpatine: The mastermind behind everything across three trilogies of films. The likes of Vader, Maul, and Kylo Ren may have been the scalpels who sliced through the peace of the galaxy, but he was the surgeon’s hand wielding the tools. After an ominous glimpse in Empire Strikes Back, the ruler of the Galactic Empire makes his presence known in Return of the Jedi where we see people are more fearful of him than Darth Vader. Credit to Ian McDiarmid who returned to the role for the prequels and gave audiences a completely new side to the power mad ruler. While he was charming and clever we knew there was a darkness he was keeping just out of view that would surface every so often as Darth Sidious. In the Disney trilogy of films, this Sith Lord was haphazardly returned to fray when a villain was needed to truly bring stakes to the conflict.
Darth Vader: The undisputed icon of the Star Wars franchise. From the moment this black clad, heavy breathing villain emerged from the smoke upon capturing the Rebel ship, he commands everyone’s fear and respect. Stunt man David Prowse’s large frame made him physically intimidating and James Earl Jones gave him his booming voice thus creating one of the most memorable characters in cinema. The saga of Anakin Skywalker’s descent into darkness is a tragic tale wherein a young Jedi hoping to save what he cares about ends up losing everything. Trapped in mechanical suit and stripped of humanity, Darth Vader ruthlessly enforces order in the galaxy. Though he is ultimately redeemed it comes at the cost of his very life.