This week, the Radio Times (the middle-class T.V. guide in Britain) ran a poll, with its readers. To find the all time villains from the (growing) Star Wars franchise. The results of their poll weren’t really a shock. Especially the winner. But we’re not wholly in agreement. At least not with the entire list. The poll was of 10,000 readers. That’s a drop in the ocean, considering how many millions of Star Wars fans there are out there. And that’s only on Earth. So, not including all those who live in galaxies far, far away . . . Anyway, SciFiPulse has scaled down the list to five. Here’s our top five, along with why. Enjoy, and of course may the force be with you!
Five: Jabba The Hutt
We found it surprising that Jabba was so low down the list, on the poll by the Radio Times. Especially considering he’s an out and out villain. To be fair he shared two percent of the vote with five others. But we’d have him well above Kylo Ren/Ben Solo (Adam Driver) Definitely evil during his reign (and a pervert, too, for making Leah (Carrie Fisher) wear that bikini. Jabba was menacing, in his own way. And an important force in the franchise, too. Not just the arch-nemesis of Han Solo, but also a vital role in the criminal realm. We saw that in the Finale of The Mandalorian Season Two. His death was iconic, too. Jabba places lowest in our top five all time villains.
Four: Darth Maul
Ultimately, a huge let down. But no fault of actor, (Ray Park). Before Phantom Menace (1999) dropped Darth Maul was virtually the entire marketing strategy. It’s not hard to see why. He looked incredible. Truly evil. And vicious, too. As it happened, he was indeed dangerous. Certainly so for Qui-Gonn Jinn (Liam Neeson). Unfortunately, the villain was little more than a puppet. An unforgivable tragedy that he got so little screen time. But Darth Maul still managed to have one of the best live-action light saber duels of the franchise. His character was resurrected in the Clone Wars and Rebels animated series. Ray Park again played Maul in Solo (2018).
Three: Grand Admiral Thrawn
One for the hardcore fan base. Furthermore, it’s interesting that Grand Admiral Thrawn isn’t from the “live action” universe. At least he’s not yet . . . He is mentioned in season two of The Mandalorian. Considering he’s not force sensitive (so not a Sith), he’s a pretty high ranking villain. He’s got to where he is by strategy. A force to be reckoned with. It will be cool who will play him in his live action debut. Surely, that’s only a matter of time. It will definitely need to be someone with plenty of presence, as Thrawn is a serious Star Wars villain, and fan favourite. Enough to make number three on our list of all time villains within the Star Wars expanded universe.
Two: Emperor Palpatine
By the book, Darth Sidious should top all lists of all time villains within Star Wars. His return in Rise of Skywalker (2019) proved that. There were some who felt it needed explaining. Not really. In Phantom Menace he told Anakin (Hayden Christensen) about death being conquerable. However you feel, his presence absolutely elevated that film. And that was needed for the nine-movie arc finale.
Without a doubt the Dark Side’s Yoda. Palpatine’s path to power didn’t really help him to become iconic. The mystery of him did. In the original trilogy. The reason we’ve not classed him as the top villain is because there’s someone who’s more iconic. Yep, it’s him . . .
One: Darth Vader
The one. The Only. Unsurprisingly, Darth Vader has appeared on another of our all time villains lists. He’s in Fearsome Fiends: Five Favourites. Though, he didn’t top that. Because he isn’t a complete villain. If anything, he’s on a very slow path to redemption. That’s why he should really lose out to Palpatine. But he doesn’t. That’s due to him being the ultimate iconic villain from Star Wars. Even people who aren’t fans (yes, incredibly they do exist!) know who he is. Many of them also knew that he was originally played by Dave Prowse. Sadly, he passed away only last month. We paid tribute in our recent obituary feature, Dave Prose: Originating Darth Vader.
When you saw Darth Vader on screen you knew it meant danger. Before you knew he was Luke’s father he was pure menace. Learning about his psychological torment only added to his status. Another reason why he is and likely always will be number one in the all time villains within Star Wars. But mostly it’s because he had a cape. And his face was hidden. And he breathed heavily. And he force-choked people on his own side. Oh, and a red light saber! We could go on . . . Darth Vader wins because he was cooler than Palpatine. People tend to remember character traits, mostly. All these years later Darth Vader’s still the coolest baddie ever, probably.
It wouldn’t be right not to have a few honourable mentions, would it? Afterall, there’s been some awesome characters over the years.
A phenomenal creation. Not enough to make the top five. Or, change the film he was in from being average. But still, good character.
He gets a mention as a villain because he collaborated with The Empire in the capture of Han Solo (Harrison Ford). Anyone who does is at least part, bad guy. Them’s the rules! Again, sadly, the original actor who played Boba Fett recently passed away. We honoured him in Jeremy Bulloch Passes Away.
The late and wonderful Christopher Lee gave class to the character. Only right Count Dooku makes the honourable mention list
Grand Moff Tarkin
Another role by an iconic British actor. Peter Cushing was wonderful as the high ranking official of The Empire. No any doubt of his allegiance. That helped him get a mention in our all time villains list. But Cushing’s performance was what secured his place on it.