'Star Wars' character bracket: Who's the coolest?
It’s been literally days since the last bit of Star Wars franchise news was cast into the pit of the Internet, the nesting place of the all-powerful Fanboy, who slowly digests every new piece of Star Wars information over a thousand years, like some kind of purely theoretical pit-dwelling epicurean tentacled arthropod. Fortunately, the good people at the LucasFilm/Disney/Sheinhardt empire have saved us from boredom by launching a new Star Wars Character Tournament. You guessed it: It’s bracket time! The tournament lets you vote for 32 of your favorite Star Wars characters in a whole series of one-on-one matchups, beginning on Monday. Read on as we boldly call every single match in the bracket. (Check out the full bracket here.)
Round One: The Light Side
Han Solo vs. Lando Calrissian: A ridiculously high-powered opening round match-up that immediately calls the layout of this whole bracket into question. Who seeded this tournament? Are they aware that Lando Calrissian stole the Mindharp of Sharu, navigated the Flamewind of Oseon, spelunked in the Starcave of ThonBoka, and then successfully transformed himself from a dashing smuggler into a successful sky-politician? He’s like Sir Francis Drake with better facial hair. Unfortunately, he’s getting kicked out of this bracket by the same man who kicked him out of the Millennium Falcon. Because Han Solo is the coolest man in the galaxy. Winner: Solo.
Obi-Wan Kenobi vs. Qui-Gon Jinn: Please. Winner: Kenobi.
Luke Skywalker vs. Wedge Antilles: Luke Skywalker was whiny but kinda cool in New Hope, was tortured and legit cool in Empire, and then turned into a sexless monk in Jedi. Wedge, meanwhile, was an essential wingman who gave good cockpit in two movies before leading his own private Top Gun ring of badasses in various Rogue Squadron tie-in books, comics, and videogames. But his name ain’t Skywalker. Winner: Luke Skywalker.
Yoda vs. Mace Windu: Yoda is one of the most beloved characters in the last 40 years of imagination, his very name synonymous with “wit, wisdom, and cool puppetry.” And if you were born after 1997, he’s your favorite lightsaber-swinging ninja acrobat. But Mace Windu is played by Samuel L. Jackson. Tough call. Well, not really. Winner: Yoda.
R2-D2 vs. C-3PO: A showdown between two longtime companions. I feel like C-3PO is perpetually underrated, since his wry British-butler humor adds a lot of charm and depth to the franchise. But nobody wants to hang out with C-3PO, whereas every kid dreams of having their own astromech droid. Winner: R2.
Princess Leia vs. Padmé Amidala: Thanks to the curious decision to pair off the only two primary female characters in the Star Wars movie franchise, we are witness to an old-fashioned mother-daughter battle. Princess Leia has the advantage of being an inspiration to generations of geek girls. Padmé Amidala has the advantage of… wait, sorry, I still can’t get over the fact that her name is Padmé Amidala. Note the accent, because on top of the fact that people from Naboo live in a constitutional monarchy where they elect a new teenaged world-empress every few years, they are also apparently French. No contest. Winner: Organa.
Chewbacca vs. Wicket: Wicket starred in Caravan of Courage. Chewbacca could rip your arm off and beat you to death with the arm he ripped off. Winner: Chewie.
Ahsoka Tano vs. Captain Rex: Here’s one for fans grieving over The Clone Wars. Rex gets a serious vote-bump because of his lineage: He’s technically a member of the Fett family. But Ahsoka is a cool lady with a lightsaber. Winner: Tano.
Round Two: The Dark Side
Darth Vader vs. General Grievous: Notice how they’re calling him “Darth Vader” and not “Anakin Skywalker”? That’s because cool helmets and James Earl Jones sell better than rat-tails and Hayden Christensen. Anyhow, this one’s easy. Winner: Vader.
Darth Maul vs. Asaji Ventress: Casual Star Wars fans will vote Maul because they remember how cool he looked in the Phantom Menace trailers, and also because the name “Asaji Ventress” looks like a sneeze their brain vomited. But deep Clone Wars fans know Darth Maul is an overrated non-entity. I’m calling an upset: The fans will come out strong for the Nightsister. Full disclosure: I don’t even know what a Nightsister is. Winner: A$aji Ventdress.
Jabba the Hutt vs. Salacious Crumb: Salacious Crumb? The little rodent guy with the name that sounds like a thief in a Charles Dickens novel? He’s on the list? Seriously, where’s this coming from? Did somebody at Star Wars HQ just grab a few action figures out of the closest Darth Vader Action Figure Carrying Case and plop them down in a row? Where’s Bib Fortuna? Where’s Max Rebo? Where’s the freaking Sarlacc Pit? Not that it matters, because Jabba has this all sewn up. He will quite literally devour his competition. Winner: Mr. The Hutt.
Cad Bane vs. Hondo Ohnaka: Another one for Clone Wars fans. At least, I assume so, since I have no idea who either of these people are. No, I’m just kidding, I know all about Bad Cane and Rondo McDohnaka. [Checks Wookiepedia, goes down internet rabbit hole which includes the discovery of a character named “Pooja Naberrie.”] Well, Hondo is a Weequay, and no matter how often people have tried to make Weequay happen, they just won’t happen. Also, Dalton Ross tells me his kids love Cad Bane. Winner: Sad Cane or whatever.
Boba Fett vs. Dengar: Listen, I’m a total nerd for the Bounty Hunters, and even I can barely tell you anything about Dengar, except that he looks like his clothes are made out of a trash can and a hospital. If Dengar faced off against Boba Fett’s jetpack, he would lose. Winner: Boba Fett’s Jetpack.
Jango Fett vs. Bossk: Now, conversely, Bossk is a total hunter-killer badass reptile man. But do kids even know about Bossk today? And anyhow, doesn’t just the fact that Jango Fett’s last name is “Fett” basically mean he can defeat everyone whose name isn’t Fett? Winner: Jango Fett’s decapitated head.
Count Dooku vs. Grand Moff Tarkin: Well, Count Dooku was useless, but he has the advantage of A) having a lightsaber and B) being played by Christopher Lee, along with C) the fact that he’s appeared in every medium of the expanded Star Wars universe, movie and book and TV show and game, each time being more useless than the last time. Whereas Tarkin just owned New Hope and then dropped the mic and walked away, never to be seen again except for that terrifying Livia Soprano zombie cameo in Revenge of the Sith. You can’t do just one good movie nowadays, Tarkin baby, now it’s all about diversifying. Winner: Dooku.
Emperor Palpatine vs. IG-88: Do people really like Palpatine? Or even like to hate him? He spent Return of the Jedi sitting in a throne looking like your scary grandma who always baked you pies that totally could have been made out of little children for all you know. Then he spent the prequels being all like, “Look at me, I’m not evil, doot-doot-de-doot-doot” before suddenly being all like “TWIST I’M EVIL LOSERZ!” Then there’s IG-88, technically a whole series of badass killer bounty hunter droids. One of them was the hardest boss in Shadows of the Empire. Screw it, I’m calling an upset, not that it’ll matter in two rounds anyways. Winner: 88.
Round Two: The Light Side
Han Solo vs. Obi-Wan Kenobi: This one’s all about demographics. The internet is the opposite of the real world, in that more young people vote on the internet. And young people probably know way more about Kenobi than about Han Solo. Heck, Kenobi was basically the Han Solo of the prequels, in that Ewan McGregor was the one actor who didn’t look lobotomized. But Han Solo is the trump card. Do you know how many parsecs it took him to make the Kessel Run? Twelve. TWELVE. Winner: The Han Solo Spinoff, coming soon from LucasFilm/Disney/Marvel/Barnes & Noble/Massive Dynamic.
Luke Skywalker vs. Yoda McYoda: Luke might be annoying sometimes. But Luke is also the embodiment of youthful innocence shading into noble experience. Also, he never said anything as stupid as “Begun, the Clone War has.” Except maybe when he was whining about Tosche Station. Winner: Luke Skywalker’s Power Converters.
R2-D2 vs. Princess Leia: Things R2-D2 never did: Engage in an ongoing flirtation with the coolest man in the galaxy; wear a gold bikini; have a weird semi-English accent in one movie and then just talk normally in the other movies; write a hilarious memoir about drug addiction; set fashion trends. Winner: Leia.
Chewbacca vs. Ahsoka Tano: I mean, listen people, I love Chewbacca as much as the next person, but I dunno if I would describe him as a “character” with “traits” so much as a “cool thing” with a “cool name.” People seem to dig that Ahsoka. Is it racist if I admit that I have no idea how to pronounce Ahsoka? Can you be racist against species that don’t exist? Man, those Togrutas sure are lazy, amiright? Whatever, I’m calling an upset. Ahsoka never subjected us to five minutes with her lame wookie family. Winner: Tano.
Round Two: The Dark Side
Darth Vader vs. Astronomy Empress: Astroji Wentress? Asnonji Egress? Cad Bane? Whatever. This is an easy one. Winner: Vader.
Jabba the Hutt vs. Cad Bane: Jabba the Hutt is practically a stand-in for every evil rich crime lord of the last 30 years! Also, he can go mobile! Winner: Jabba.
Boba Fett vs. Jango Fett: Take everything cool and mysterious about Boba Fett. Then replace all that cool mystery with whatever the opposite of cool mystery is. Presto Jango! Anyhow, sonny boy wins this one. Winner: Boba.
Count Dooku vs. IG-88: Christopher Lee is one of the great actors of genre cinema. But haven’t you ever wondered how much better the world would be if IG-88 had played all of Christopher Lee’s roles? Can’t you see IG-88 as Scaramanga in The Man with the Golden Gun, or essaying the role of Saruman in Lord of the Rings? What, you’re saying that’s silly? Is that just because IG-88 is a droid? Are you saying Droids can’t play Human roles? Don’t be a space-racist, you racist. Winner: IG-88.
Round Three: The Light Side:
Han Solo vs. Luke Skywalker: I know, I know, Luke is the star of the original trilogy and the guiding light of the expanded universe. But there’s a reason why they’re planning to make a spinoff about the other guy. You know, the stuck-up half-witted scruffy-looking nerf herder. That’s because Han Solo is the embodiment of charming space-badassery. Imagine how much better the prequels would have been if they had been a trilogy about Han Solo growing up on the streets of Corellia Town. It would’ve been like Mean Streets meets Blade Runner meets Oliver Twist. Winner: Solo.
Princess Leia vs. Ahsoka Tano: Ahsoka, you made it further than any of your prequel-era colleagues. Kudos. Now it’s time to die. Or rather, it’s time to get framed, be put on trial, get saved from a guilty verdict at the last second, and then walk off into the sunset so that you can avoid getting killed. Leia trumps all. Winner: Leia.
Round Three: The Dark Side:
Darth Vader vs. Jabba the Hutt: I want to say Jabba. I’d love to say Jabba. Jabba the Hutt represents everything that used to be fun about Star Wars, and that maybe will be fun again. He’s just a grotesque, ridiculously cartoonish, down-and-dirty disgusting being. He looks like what would happen if Sydney Greenstreet lived for a hundred years in a hundred dive bars and ate a couple sewer systems and then declared himself a criminal emperor. But Darth Vader has it all. He’s a terrifying villain and an emotionally distant father, a vicious warlord and a troubled evil-addict with a redemption arc. Winner: Vader.
Boba Fett vs. IG-88: Nope. Winner: Boba Motherf—ing Fett.
Han Solo vs. Princess Leia: If only we could get Lawrence Kasdan to script this showdown! I see insults being hurled back and forth, as Leia points out that Han is a shiftless do-nothing gambling addict, a cocky flyboy, an emotional adolescent whose best friend is a big hairy jock who can only speak in grunts and assertive growls, and… and.. and… but it’s too late, because Leia has given in to Han’s impossible powers of charm, and now they are kissing, and Leia says, “Oh, Han, hold me like you did by that lake in Naboo” and Han says “Man, you princesses sure talk funny.” And then C-3Po runs in and is all like “Sir! Sir! I’ve isolated the reverse, power flux coupling!” Winner: Solo.
Darth Vader vs. Boba Fett: Yes, the two Star Wars trilogies are — according to the franchise’s creator — the story of the fall and rise of Darth Vader. Yes, Darth Vader is an awesome villain who became the subject of one of the best twists in movie history. Yes,he is still cool after all these years, no matter how many more times he screams some variation of “Nooooooo!” But does he fly around in a spaceship that starts on the horizontal axis and then flips vertical? Does he have a jetpack? Was he able to inspire a decade and a half of fandom out of like 10 minutes of screentime? Winner: Boba Fett.
The Grand Finale:
Han Solo vs. Boba Fett: And so they meet again, these old enemies, for the first time, for the last time, in the rematch we’ve all been waiting for since The Star Wars Holiday Special. Again, it’ll all come back to demographics. Everyone who knows Star Wars from the old days will roll with Mr. Solo. But Fett has the better PR campaign. Not only is he a part of the prequel-era franchise; thanks to his father Jango, his sorta-brother Captain Rex, and every freaking clone trooper, the Fett mini-franchise has spread throughout the galaxy. Kids can’t get enough of that Fett! Winner: The Boba Fett Spinoff, coming soon from LucasFilm/Disney/Marvel/Glob-Chem/Nike/Tyrell Corporation/LexCorp.
UPDATE: Due to the fact that I can’t read good, I misread the Final Four match-up in the Star Wars bracket. It will actually be Boba Fett vs. Princess Leia and Han Solo vs. Darth Vader. That changes things a bit, mainly because I’m betting the Han/Vader showdown will be close. But I also think Solo trumps Vader. I want to believe that the young people voting on the internet haven’t forgotten about the Corellian smuggler with the coolest spaceship in history. I hope that long years of living with the idea of Anakin Skywalker as a whiny twenty-something ninja monk haven’t convinced them that Hayden Christensen is even in the ballpark of Harrison Ford. I hope that actual three-dimensional character traits trump a collection of wiki-worthy “events” where Anakin Skywalker showed up and swung his lightsaber around. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams. I hope.
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