Ask the average Star Wars fan to talk about their favorite characters from the franchise and you’ll most hear names like Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Han Solo, a.k.a. the most popular and important figures Star Wars has to offer. While names like Skywalker and Vader have dominated Star Wars fandom for four decades now, it’s important to remember that there are hundreds of other characters within the Star Wars universe.
Although many of them are forgettable, quite a few are arguably just as important as the names mentioned above, at least in terms of the impact they’ve had on the larger Star Wars mythos. While you’ve almost certainly heard of a few names on this list, these are some of the lesser known Star Wars characters who are actually really important and have been significant in their own way to the overall story.
Note: quite a bit of this covers stuff from the Extended Universe, which in many cases isn’t technically canon anymore. That being said, until Disney offers us alternative histories for these characters, I’m just going to go ahead and accept the versions that do exist.
14. Barriss Offee
A Jedi Padawan who fought in the Battle of Geonosis, Barriss Offee is a notable Star Wars character because she eventually betrays the Jedi Order and it’s this betrayal that helps pave the way for the Order’s eventual fall to Darth Sidious. Initially, Offee was a loyal and studious Padawan, and was also close friends with Ahsoka Tano, the Padawan of Anakin Skywalker. However, Offee eventually becomes disillusioned with the Jedi, believing that they had lost their way and no longer stood for the principles they were supposed to uphold.
She later carries out a bombing attack on the Jedi Temple in an effort to sow further public distrust of the Jedi and frames her friend Ahsoka in the process. Eventually, Ahsoka is found innocent, but does admit that her former friend had legitimate points about the Jedi and that if they had listened to her concerns, they may have been able to avoid their downfall.
13. Darth Maul
Darth Sidious’ demon-like Sith apprentice Darth Maul was easily one of the few bright spots in the otherwise abysmal Episode I: The Phantom Menace, and many Star Wars fans were none too happy with the way he went out: cut in half by Obi-Wan Kenobi and sent tumbling down a reactor shaft. While Maul’s time in the cinematic portion of the Star Wars universe was (literally) cut short far too soon, he proved to be such a fan favorite character that he was retconned back into the larger narrative, with it later being revealed that he survived being cut in half through his hatred of Kenobi and sheer will to survive. That’s an impressive accomplishment in itself — and only enhances Maul’s status as one of Star Wars’ most badass characters — but what some may not realize is that Maul not only lives, but thrives after the events of The Phantom Menace.
Firstly, Maul goes on to become one of Obi-Wan’s most formidable adversaries, driven by revenge against the young Jedi. Not only that, but Maul’s quest for vengeance extends far beyond one single Jedi, as he even turns against his former master and his new apprentice Count Dooku, infuriated by the knowledge that the Sith moved on without him during his time in recovery/exile. While many Star Wars fans remember Darth Maul as the cool-looking villain who loses the climactic lightsaber battle in the first prequel film, he is actually one of the franchise’s greatest and more complex villains, even siding with the Jedi when necessary to achieve his goals.
12. General Grevious
Prior to the release of Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, there was a lot of buzz surrounding one of the film’s new villains, General Grevious. As the Supreme Commander of the Droid Army and a Kaleesh warrior with cybernetic implants, Grevious, with his collection of lightsabers from fallen Jedi he had defeated in combat, seemed like quite the formidable opponent. Disappointingly, his characterization in Revenge of the Sith made Grevious out to be more of a buffoon than a fearsome villain and for all his fan fare, he ends up being defeated by Obi-Wan Kenobi rather quickly.
Fortunately, the Grevious of the Clone Wars TV series and other ancillary material is much more in line with those early promises, as he is one of the biggest threats the Jedi face during the Clone Wars and it’s revealed that he and Obi-Wan have clashed on multiple occasions prior to their final battle in Revenge of the Sith. He was also a wise military tactician, leading his Droid Army to many victories over the Republic. He even forced Darth Maul himself to retreat after the latter Sith Lord reemerged to seek vengeance against Darth Sidious. Basically, if you set aside the bumbling, coughing Grevious we meet in Episode III and focus on his many other appearances throughout the franchise, it becomes clear rather quick that he is one of the better and more significant Star Wars villains, especially in the Clone War/prequel era.
11. Bail Organa
Princess Leia’s adoptive father is one of the unsung heroes of the Star Wars universe, having been one of the founding members of the Rebel Alliance that would eventually topple the Galactic Empire, and also helped shape Leia into the fierce and capable commander who would help lead those same Rebels to victory. A member of the royal family of Alderaan, Bail Organa got into politics at a young age and eventually came to represent his home planet in the Senate of the Galactic Republic.
After the Clone Army began exterminating the Jedi Order, Bail remained loyal to the Jedi and the Republic, helping Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi safely reach exile. Of course, he also took it upon himself to raise Anakin Skywalker’s (now Darth Vader) daughter Leia as his own, an extremely risky move that would have resulted in death had Vader ever found out. Although Bail died tragically alongside his wife and millions of his people when Alderaan was destroyed by the Death Star, his legacy lived on, to the point where his philosophical views were referenced heavily in the formation of post-imperial politics.
10. Finis Valorum
Played by Terence Stamp (General Zod in Superman II) in Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Finis Valorum is best remembered as the Supreme Chancellor of the Galactic Republic, whose gross incompetence allows Sheev Palpatine to take his place and eventually form the Galactic Empire. While Valorum’s actions (or rather, inaction) play a significant role in allowing the Sith to take over the Galaxy, he is also directly responsible for a lesser known act that allows yet another villainous figure attain a powerful position.
During his early political years, Valorum was a leading opponent of the Militarist movement, which was led by Ranulph Tarkin — a cousin of Grand Moff Tarkin — but ended up backing down from his critical views when it came time to run for political office. Tarkin promised to back Valorum for the Supreme Chancellorship, but only on the condition that he declare Tarkin the “Hero of Troiken,” a decisive battle that helped end the Stark Hyperspace War. This resulted in increased public support for militarism and established Valorum as a politician who could be bought and easily controlled, while also helping the Tarkins gain further influence — the millions of dead citizens of Alderaan can attest, was not a good thing for the galaxy.
9. Lor San Tekka
Seen briefly at the beginning of The Force Awakens before being struck down by Kylo Ren, Lor San Tekka was an important Rebel ally during the Galactic Empire’s reign and was an invaluable adviser to the New Republic in the years following their victory over the Empire at the Battle of Endor. A member of the Church of the Force, Tekka helped keep the beliefs and vast knowledge of the Jedi Order alive after most of its members were wiped out by Darth Vader and the Clone army.
Despite not being Force-sensitive himself, Tekka was knowledgeable in the ways of the Force and even helped Luke Skywalker discover Jedi lore that the Empire had previously attempted to destroy. In addition, Tekka also discovered a map that revealed the location of the first Jedi Temple and it’s this map that he gives to Poe Dameron, eventually leading Rey to Luke at the end of The Force Awakens. Basically, without Lor San Tekka, our heroes would still be searching for Luke, and that’s a scenario we could do without.
8. Mas Amedda
If you ever wondered who the blue guy with the devil horns frequently seen standing behind Supreme Chancellors Vallorum and later Palpatine was, his name is Mas Amedda and he’s actually more significant than his background role in the prequel trilogy would suggest. Serving as Vice Chair under both Supreme Chancellors, Amedda was a key ally to Palpatine in particular and was one of the few who knew some of his deepest, darkest secrets.
After the Republic was dissolved and became the Galactic Empire, Amedda occupied pretty much the same role he had previously, which means that he is perhaps the only character to occupy the same position across all six Star Wars movies, excluding The Force Awakens. Tasked with keeping the Empire together in the wake of Palpatine’s death, Amedda is responsible for helping bring an end to the Empire, as he eventually agrees to sign the Galactic Accordance, which transferred power over to the New Republic.
7. Poggle the Lesser
The Archduke of Geonosis before and during the Clone Wars, Poggle the Lesser’s main contribution to the Star Wars canon is quite significant, in that he essentially invented what would become the Death Star. Poggle was contracted by the Separtists to build an ultimate weapon and he worked in secret on plans for a powerful battle station.
During the Battle of Geonosis, Poggle turns over his weapon plans to Count Dooku and erased all data from his computers, thus ensuring that his grand creation would find its way into the hands of Palpatine. While watching Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which details how the Empire built the Death Star, take a moment to remember that it all started with a seemingly throwaway character from Episode II: Attack of the Clones.
6. Ric Olie
A skilled starfighter pilot who served in the Royal Naboo Security Forces, Ric Olie is best known for being Queen Amidala’s personal pilot; an important job, sure, but not something that would make him particularly significant among other Star Wars characters. However, Ric Olie’s real claim to fame — and something that always seems to be overlooked — is that he is the one who first teaches Anakin Skywalker how to pilot a starship.
The brief scene shared between Olie and a young Anakin in The Phantom Menace is actually more significant than you may have realized, as the skills Anakin picks up from Olie allow him to successfully pilot a Naboo fighter later in the film and destroy the Separtist droid control ship. Way to go, Ric!
You probably recognize Bossk as one of the bounty hunters Darth Vader tasks with hunting down Han Solo and the Millennium Falcon in The Empire Strikes Back. Unfortunately, Boba Fett is the only member of the group who gets to make any sort of impression, as his fellow bounty hunters aren’t seen on screen again after this brief scene. It turns out that at least one of those bounty hunters, the Trandoshan known as Bossk, has a very interesting backstory and has close ties with Boba Fett. Bossk is the son of another bounty hunter named Cradossk, who specialized in hunting Wookies. While Bossk didn’t get up to anything as badass as his father during his own bounty hunting days, he did take a young, orphaned Boba Fett under his wing during the Clone Wars and became his mentor.
In fact, Bossk helped Fett try and get revenge on the Jedi Mace Windu for killing Fett’s father, which ultimately failed and got the pair thrown in prison. Despite his fearsome appearance, Bossk had a reputation as a professional, was a fair and honest combatant. and arguably one of the coolest minor Star Wars characters to ever make an appearance in the films. Fortunately, he had a sizable role in The Clone Wars TV series, so you can always seek him out there.
4. Wedge Antilles
Although Wedge is perhaps the most well known X-Wing pilot next to Luke Skywalker, he’s still a surprisingly underdeveloped character in the movies given how much screen time he receives. As a member of Rogue Squadron, Antilles played a key role in several of the Rebellion’s most important battles, including the Battle of Yavin, the Battle of Hoth, and the Battle of Endor. What you may not know is that Antilles was originally a TIE Fighter pilot within the Imperial Navy, but eventually defected to the Rebellion after witnessing Imperial soldiers massacring the surrendering crew of a Rebel transport.
Wedge would go on to play an important role in the New Republic’s navy and became such a legendary pilot within its ranks that a maneuver called the Antilles Intercept would eventually be taught to pilots of the Resistance over thirty years after the Battle of Endor. Wedge was also arguably the best pilot to serve in the Rebellion next to Luke Skywalker, who was the only pilot to post a better score in the Rebels’ flight simulator.
3. Biggs Darklighter
A close of friend of Luke Skywalker’s while growing up on Tatooine, Biggs Darklighter sadly never made it past the first movie, as he was killed by Darth Vader during the Battle of Yavin. While Biggs certainly played a very minor role in the film, he was actually more important than his short screen time would suggest, as there were a few scenes involving him and Luke interacting on Tatooine that were cut from the film. One could argue that Biggs plays a significant role in convincing Luke to join the Rebellion, as he was able to leave home first and gave Luke something to aspire to.
Biggs graduated from the Imperial Academy but it was only after returning to Tatooine to visit his old friend that he reveals to Luke his plan to join the Rebellion and tells him that he will look out for Luke if he ever decides to join up too. True to his word, Biggs gives his friend a warm greeting when Luke arrives later on Yavin IV and convinces his superior to let Luke participate in the Death Star attack. If you want to dig a little deeper, you could even argue that Biggs’ death and sacrifice plays just as important a role as Obi-Wan in giving Luke the confidence to tap into the Force and land the shot that destroys the Death Star. Thanks Biggs!
2. Mon Mothma
Although she doesn’t arrive on the scene until Return of the Jedi, Mon Mothma is one of the most important political figures to serve in the Rebellion and her achievements date all the way back to the time of the Clone Wars. Mothma worked alongside important figures like Padme Amidala and Bail Organa to try and negotiate peace between the Republic and the Separatists, and was also a vocal critic of Supreme Chancellor Palpatine’s executive wartime powers (thanks a lot Jar-Jar). Naturally, this led to Mothma being one of the founders of the Rebellion, where she served as its primary political leader.
After the Battle of Endor, Mothma became the first Chancellor of the New Republic and fought for demilitarization, hoping to cut the Republic fleet by ninety percent. In fact, Mothma was such an important and stabilizing political figure that her retirement from political life can be at least partially to blame for the rise of the First Order, which gained power in the wake of Mothma’s absence. Mon Mothma will be returning for Rogue One, where she will once again be a quietly important character who doesn’t get much screen time.
Okay okay, Chewbacca definitely doesn’t qualify as a ‘minor’ Star Wars character, but I think you’ll agree that he doesn’t get as much recognition as he deserves, especially compared to his roguish best buddy Han. Although Chewie largely occupies a sidekick role throughout the Star Wars saga, he is actually one of its biggest heroes, having saved the lives of pretty much every major character at one point or another … and he’s been doing it for a pretty long time.
Long before meeting Han and becoming the co-pilot of the Millennium Falcon, Chewbacca helps lead his fellow Wookies to victory over the Separatists’ Droid army during the Battle of Kashyyyk. Not only that, but he also saves the life of one of the most important Star Wars characters ever – Jedi Master Yoda himself — leading him to safety after their former Clone allies receive orders to execute all Jedi.
In the original trilogy, Chewie also plays an important role and actually helps get the plot moving along by introducing Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker to Han Solo. He’s also the only character who seems to give a damn about C-3PO, going out of his way to repair the fussy droid in Cloud City while Leia and Han are seemingly content to just lose their trust protocol droid forever. Then, during the decisive Battle of Endor, Chewie helps turn the tide in the Rebellion’s favor by highjacking an AT-ST (with the help of a few trusty Ewok buddies, of course) and rescues Han and Leia from the 501st Legion.
Not convinced that Chewie is the real hero of Star Wars yet? There’s more…
1.2 Chewbacca Is The Real Hero Of ‘The Force Awakens’
He takes a blaster shot for Han and later takes on an entire squad of Stormtroopers, not to mention Kylo Ren, in retaliation for his best friend’s death. He single-handedly captures Captain Phasma, a.k.a. the most badass Stormtrooper who ever lived, and doesn’t complain when Finn pretty much takes all of the credit. Oh and that well-aimed bowcaster shot he hits Kylo Ren with essentially ensures that Finn and to a lesser extent Rey aren’t immediately killed in lightsaber combat mere minutes later.
As if that wasn’t enough, he then finds his way back to the Millenium Falcon and manages to pick up Finn and Rey before they get swallowed up by the imploding Starkiller Base. Hell, he even sits back and lets Rey take command of the Falcon and joins her on her quest to find Luke because he’s a selfless hero and arguably the number one Star Wars character who doesn’t get enough recognition for what he actually accomplishes. Don’t worry Chewie, we know how important you are.