Star Wars Characters That Definitely Deserved Better

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It’s hard to believe it’s been 47 years since we first witnessed the adventures of Luke Skywalker in Star Wars, but across the nine-movie Skywalker saga, two standalone movies, a multitude of TV series, and one questionable Holiday Special, we’ve learned it’s a big ol’ galaxy out there. With enough characters to fill a Death Star, it’s inevitable that not every player in this grand space opera would get the same attention as Luke, Han, and Leia. 

In fact, the franchise has allowed a few characters to slip to the sidelines. From major players who were discarded into the trash compactor to those who didn’t resonate with fans and were quietly pushed to the side, here are 12 Star Wars characters who deserved better. 

Rose Tico

Kelly Marie Tran was a fantastic addition to the Sequel Trilogy in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, but while she quickly settled in alongside Rey, Finn, and Poe, all of that was undone in The Rise of Skywalker. Teaming up with Finn (John Boyega), Rose was an integral part of the Resistance’s stand on Crait and even looked like a love interest for Boyega’s hero. We find ourselves asking if she’d have fared any better if she’d been introduced in Episode VII

Episode IX was a chance to champion Rose against toxic fans who ignorantly rose against the character, but instead of giving Rose a real arc, there’s a distinct feeling that her part was given to Dominic Monaghan’s Resistance fighter, Beaumont Kin (we had to Google him too). There are a lot of problems with Episode IX, but Rose getting just 76 seconds of screen time is one of the biggest travesties. Whether due to the fan backlash that Tran faced or a decision from above, Rose hardly bloomed in the Sequels and it’s a shame.

Biggs Darklighter

Going way back to A New Hope, the character of Biggs Darklighter has become something of a legend. The blink-and-you’ll-miss-it appearance of Garrick Hagon’s Biggs Darklighter in Episode IV means only diehard fans will know who he is. Luke Skywalker’s boyhood pal left Tatooine to join the Imperial Academy but later defected to join the Rebel Alliance. It all sounds pretty gripping…if only that were told on screen.

An early draft of Star Wars pitched Biggs as the brother of Princess Leia Organa, while a second script made him Luke Skywalker’s younger brother. Darklighter was sidelined for the finished product, Hagon is only listed as “Red Three” in the credits, and scenes of him at the fabled Tosche Station were cut. Star Wars Rebels was supposed to show Darklighter defecting from the Empire, but already facing continuity problems, he was swapped out for Wedge Antilles (more on him later). 

The Knights of Ren

While most agree that Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren is a well-rounded villain worthy of his legacy as Darth Vader’s grandson, his companions aren’t as fleshed out as he is. There are plenty of gaps on screen between when Ben Skywalker became the outcast protégé of Luke Skywalker and when he joined the Knights of Ren. What’s more, unless you’ve read tie-in comics, you likely won’t know the Knights of Ren even have ties to Solo’s Qi’ra. 

Led to a predictable fight with Kylo Ren in Episode IX, the Knights of Ren are just a poor man’s Praetorian Guards but bogged down with backstory you never get to see on screen. The fact that the movies failed to explain the Knights of Ren are dark side users that aren’t Sith proves exactly what went wrong with the shadowy cabal. 

General Grievous 

Given the prominence of General Grievous in Revenge of the Sith, it feels like the wheezing bucket of bolts was around much longer than his screentime in the Prequel Trilogy closer. The Kaleesh cyborg remains a cool concept that ultimately went down in a blaze of mediocrity. Aside from his climactic showdown with Ewan McGregor’s Obi-Wan Kenobi, General Grievous didn’t do much in Episode III

Despite Christopher Lee’s Count Dooku being similarly wasted when introduced in Attack of the Clones, he’s largely been redeemed by expanded stories in The Clone Wars and Tales of the Jedi. General Grievous also had something of a reprieve in The Clone Wars, but thinking of what could’ve been, we’re disappointed that George Lucas didn’t go with his original idea of having Grievous revealed as a disguised Darth Maul during the Clone Wars.

Jocasta Nu 

It’s become a running joke that Order 66 wasn’t as successful as Emperor Palpatine might’ve hoped in terms of eradicating the Jedi. Among the survivors of the Jedi Purge are Grogu, Cal Kestis, and Ahsoka Tano, who make sense for massive arcs that are ongoing, but what about Jocasta Nu – the Chief Librarian of the Jedi Archive whom Alethea McGrath briefly played in Attack of the Clones?

2017’s Darth Vader comic confirmed Jocasta Nu’s fate, and although she seemed like a major player who knew Lord Vader was actually Anakin, he quickly cut her down. It’s unlikely we’ll revisit Jocasta Nu’s story in live-action, but as another tease of what could’ve been, McGrath told Star Wars Insider #75 how much of her Episode II backstory was cut, including the reveal that she and Dooku had been lovers in the Clone Wars…

Admiral Ackbar

Few Star Wars memes are as iconic as Admiral Ackbar’s “It’s a trap,” and with that, you’d expect the character that said it to be in the franchise’s history books. After proving himself as the Rebel Alliance’s foremost military commander in Return of the Jedi, the return of Admiral Gial Ackbar for the Sequel Trilogy was something of a big deal. Ackbar had retired from active duty, but having been lured out of retirement to fight the First Order makes his fate even more tragic.

Worse than being overshadowed by someone else’s death, Ackbar’s was overshadowed by Princess Leia not dying – giving us one of the franchise’s most divisive twists in The Last Jedi. Fans aren’t alone in their hatred for the mishandling of an iconic legacy character, with Admiral Ackbar puppeteer Tim Rose telling Jamie Stangroom he was in “tears” when he read the character’s underwhelming swansong. Fans of the Mon Calamari hero can always check out his much more fleshed-out Legends expanded universe adventures, though.

Captain Phasma

Being the only character to have not one but two botched chances to shine, the chrome-domed Captain Phasma was hardly the badass First Order henchwoman she could’ve been. Seemingly trying to recapture the success of the stoic Boba Fett for a new generation, Captain Phasma was the antagonistic commander who constantly butt heads with Finn.

Giving a nod to A New Hope, Phasma apparently met a grisly demise when thrown into the trash compactor in The Force Awakens. Rian Johnson tried to redeem her for The Last Jedi, but sadly, it was more of the same. Game of Thrones’ Gwendoline Christie was marketed as a main character, but with just two minutes of screen time in Episode VII and appearing in a single scene for Episode VIII, we barely had time to care about Captain Phasma, let alone dislike her. 

Wedge Antilles

Being one of the few characters to appear in the Original Trilogy and make it through until the end credits is quite an achievement, and yet, where’s Wedge Antilles’ medal? Played by Denis Lawson, Wedge Antilles flew under the call sign of Red Two, helped take out the original Death Star, flew in the Battle of Hoth, and even saw the second Death Star kick the bucket.

The Rise of Skywalker was something of a kitchen-sink movie that threw everyone and everything at nostalgic theater audiences, including a last-minute cameo for Lawson. But unless you’re an expert, you likely missed Antilles in the Millennium Falcon’s gunner seat. With Patty Jenkins’ Rogue Squadron movie shelved, our hopes of seeing Wedge again in a more prominent role have taken another hit. In a tantalizing tease, Lawson was reportedly offered a return in The Force Awakens, but due to scheduling conflicts, couldn’t accept. 

Padmé Amidala

As the MIA mother of Luke and Leia, the writing was already on the wall for Natalie Portman’s Padmé Amidala even before Revenge of the Sith. Making her debut in The Phantom Menace as the no-nonsense Queen of Naboo, it was clear Padmé was supposed to be the Leia of the Prequels. Instead, she was essentially fridged just to catapult Anakin to the Dark Side.

Presumably to avoid robbing Padmé of her tragic demise at the end of Episode III, she’s been used sparingly in the cartoons. It’s also noticeable that, while Hayden Christensen has been given his redemption, Portman has yet to return to Star Wars. The star said she’s open to reprising the role but claims “no one has asked.” Aside from an emotional reference in Obi-Wan, Padmé has largely been resigned to being remembered as Anakin’s love interest. At least the recent Darth Vader comics from Marvel have found interesting things to do with Padmé’s handmaidens.

Snoke

Billed as the “new” Emperor Palpatine, Andy Serkis’ Supreme Leader Snoke had all the makings of a big bad for the ages. Instead, this withered villain failed to live up to the legacy of the Emperor and was quickly offed in The Last Jedi. To be fair to Rian Johnson, the twist of Kylo Ren betraying Snoke and the whole throne room fight is a highlight of the Sequels.

Things only get worse when you realize the franchise is still trying to make Snoke happen. As well as a tease of underdeveloped Snoke clones in The Rise of Skywalker, the mystery of Snoke’s creation has also continued to be hinted at throughout The Mandalorian and The Bad Batch. But whatever the original plan for Snoke was supposed to be, you’ll find that fans have lost any interest in the character. 

Jar Jar Binks 

Most were glad to largely see the back of Jar Jar Binks after The Phantom Menace, with the gibbering Gungan hardly being the marketing ploy George Lucas was aiming for. Instead of being a lovable critter akin to Yoda, this CGI monstrosity was pure annoyance. Jar Jar returned briefly for Attack of the Clones, but by the time we got to Revenge of the Sith, he was confined to a cameo at Padmé’s funeral.

Even though we understand why Jar Jar was pushed into the background, there should’ve been at least some attempt to turn his reputation around. (We think Lucasfilm is sleeping on the theory that Jar Jar is actually a Sith mastermind.) Ahmed Best unfairly faced a lot of abuse for his portrayal, and even though he’s had something of a reprieve thanks to his return as Kelleran Beq, Jar Jar still deserves more than ending up as a street jester in the Aftermath books.

Finn 

The concept of a former Stormtrooper turning good might sound like a promising premise, but then you remember Star Wars gave us John Boyega’s Finn. In a scathing 2020 interview with GQ, Boyega says he was the only actor whose experience was based on their race and accused Disney of marketing black characters before pushing them “aside.” 

Instead of allowing the character to step out on his own, Lucasfilm latched Finn latched to Poe and Rey by the end of the trilogy, failing to develop much of his character beyond what we already knew about him in The Force Awakens. Don’t even get us started on The Rise of Skywalker‘s feeble attempts to keep Finn relevant to Rey’s story by hinting at but never actually resolving where he came from or his potential as a future Jedi. At least Boyega has since had a change of heart about his role in Star Wars, telling TechRadar he’d happily come back. Perhaps the Daisy Ridley Rey sequel would be a good time reintroduce Finn and give him so actual space to develop.

The post Star Wars Characters That Definitely Deserved Better appeared first on Den of Geek.

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