Okay, let me get this out of the way. I am a huge Star Wars geek. I grew up as a kid loving the movies. I saw them in the theater. I had the action figures, vehicles, storybooks, blasters, etc. etc. etc. Star Wars played a HUGE role in my childhood and over the years my love for it hasn’t waned. Heck, I even like episode 1 thru 3 although I fully acknowledge their inferiority to the originals. So I’m going to let my inner geek out and start sprinkling in a few Star Wars related Phenomenal 5 lists starting with the super cool villains. Star Wars has a number of great villains so I’m listing five of the coolest. Now obviously Darth Vader would top any list so I’m leaving him out. There are still many great ones in the Star Wars universe so I wouldn’t call this the definitive list. But I think you’ll agree that these five Star Wars villains are nothing short of phenomenal.
#5 – TUSKEN RAIDERS (Sand People)
I just can’t help it. I’ve always loved the Sand People. These nomadic desert savages live in the wastelands of Tatooine and will attack anyone. Armed with clubs, longshot rifles, and a distinct honking cry, the Tusken Raiders first appear in the original Star Wars when they attack Luke Skywalker. They get a brief but awesome cameo in Episode 1 as they shoot at passing pod racers. But perhaps their biggest contribution was in Episode 2 where by capturing and torturing Anakin’s mother they set the young Jedi into a rage – our first real sense of the darkness inside of him. Sure the Tusken Raiders aren’t big players in the Star Wars universe but I still love them.
#4 – CHANCELLOR PALPATINE (The Emperor)
Star Wars was known for a lot of things but brilliant acting was usually not what people thought of first. But there were those performances that always stood out to me. One is the work of Ian McDiarmid is the manipulative and conniving Palpatine who gains political power, triggers a war, and forms the galactic empire which he rules as the evil Emperor. But the root of who he is was shrouded in deception. While posing as a politician he hides his true identity as a Sith Lord with evil intentions guiding him. In the first three episodes we watch Palpatine’s rise to power and see how he became the pale, scarred Emperor. But his most memorable moments will always be in “Return of the Jedi”. He’s devious, arrogant, and powerful. He also has to be on any list like this.
#3 – STORMTROOPERS
I want you to notice that I chose Stormtroopers and not Clone Troopers. Now don’t misunderstand me, I have no problems with the Clone Troopers of Episodes 2 and 3. But they can’t hold a candle to the greatness of the classic Stormtroopers from the original trilogy. At risk of exposing how much of a Star Wars geek I am, I grew up as a kid wishing I had a set of Stormtrooper armor. I thought they were so cool. The bright white color, the full body armor, the super cool helmets. There was never a certain Stormtrooper that stood out or that had a significant role. They were simply soldiers of the Empire but they were ever so distinctive. There were Snowtroopers, Tie-Fighter Pilots, and Biker Scouts and they were all great. But it’s the classic Stormtroopers that still bring a smile to my face to this very day.
#2 – BOBA FETT
You have no idea how hard it was to put Boba Fett at #2 on this list. I absolutely love this character. Young Boba appears in Episode 2 but it’s in “The Empire Strikes Back” where he really leaves his mark. We first see him along with a group of fellow bounty hunters hired to find Luke Skywalker and his friends. We find out he’s also been hired by Jabba the Hutt to capture Han Solo. He tracks them to Cloud City and eventually takes the carbon frozen Solo away to Tatooine and his bounty. That takes us to “Return of the Jedi” and the showdown in that fabulous opening sequence. Sadly Boba Fett doesn’t last long in the final film but in that short time he is awesome. I’m still not crazy about young Boba and his angle, but grown up Boba will always be super cool to me.
#1 – DARTH MAUL
It would take someone extremely cool to knock Boba Fett out of the top spot on this list. Darth Maul was extremely cool. Appearing in only one film, Darth Maul was hands down the best thing about Episode 1. We first see the shrouded Sith apprentice in action during a brief failed attempt to capture Princess Padme. But the real showcase comes at the film’s end when Darth Maul throws down with Jedi Master Qui-Gin Jinn and apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi. The fight is spectacular – beautifully choreographed and intense all while John Williams’ brilliant “Duel of Fates” plays in the background. The great movie martial artist Ray Park played Darth Maul which is a key reason the showdown is so incredible. With a menacing look, a double-bladed lightsaber, and a butt-kicking fighting style, Darth Maul stole every scene he was in and in a short time was forever etched in Star Wars history as a truly great villain.
So there they are. What are your thoughts? Are you a Star Wars fan? Agree or disagree with my choices? I’d love to hear who would’ve made your list. Please take time to share your thoughts below.
Great list, Keith. I would switch Maul and Palpatine places on my list, though.
I can see why. The Emperor was a detestable villain and watching his political and personal manipulations in Episode 1-3 was a treat.
Great post Keith, been a while since I’ve given Star Wars some love! I like that Maul is number one, he’s definitely the best thing about Episode 1, even if he is a little underused.
Oh I know. Definitely underused. Then again I don’t think they ever imagined he would be so popular.
Love these list posts.
I agree for the most part. Even though they have an extremely minor part, I always liked the Imperial Guard.
Is it bad if we add George Lucas to this list?
LOL, I know Lucas has really turned off some but I really still appreciate him. Love the comment though.
And the Imperial Guards were really cool. Those deep red outfits and helmets. Loved them.
My list: 5- Poggle the Lesser…. He looks gross. 4- Nute Gunray… When he opened Episode one, I knew we were in trouble. 3-ewoks… They wanted to eat every one but C 3P0. And were just too allagos. 2-George Lucas…. Single handily ruined the original trilogy with useless CGI additions twenty years after their release and sticking in Hayden Christianson to the end of Return of the Jedi. 1- Jar Jar Binks…. Nuff Said!!!!
Thanks Claude. Poggle the paggleton is bye-r.
Nice list. While I didn’t like Episode 1, Darth Maul Made a great villain. I wished he had lived on for the next two movies, that would have made the new trilogy better.
Yes!!! His death was a disappointment. He was such a presence!
Very cool Keith! I’d think The Emperor is even more evil than Darth Vader. But yeah, Darth Maul is an awesome villain too, that fight w/ Qui-Gin Jinn & Obi Wan is quite epic!
Epic indeed! I still get chills when even those hanger bay doors open and a shrouded Darth Maul is standing there!!!
I also LOVE the music by John Williams that’s playing during that scene. It’s called Duel of the Fates I think, it’s perhaps one of my favorite score from Star Wars! I even used it for a video class assignment when I had to a trailer of an action movie. I use footage from Face/Off though, I wish I could still find that video!
Yes it is “Duel of Fates”. I thought I mentioned it in my section on Darth Maul. It is tremendous and it adds so much to the scene. Many of those chill bumps I mentioned can be attributed to Williams’ fantastic music.
Has to be The Emperor. Although, Darth Maul certainly had the score backing him up into evilness and the martial arts to make your head spin.
And Maul had a tremendously evil and devilish look. Such a great character.
Great list! Glad you put Darth Maul as No. 1, he was awesome.
It’s a shame they didn’t do more with him.
I know! I bet they never expected him to be received so positively.