Why Princess Leia is the best Star Wars character ever
The Battle of Geonosis has nothing on the full-on war that erupted in the offices of Entertainment Weekly over our recent raking of the top 100 Star Wars characters ever. Words were exchanged and blasters were drawn as obsessives over all things taking place a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away argued over the merits of one Max Rebo when measured against the case for Malakili the Rancor Keeper.
Unlike in the Empire, however, democracy ultimately prevailed as votes were cast and coveted positions on the list were either won or lost in the process. Unsurprisingly, the fan base had a… let's call it strong reaction to our selections — something we should have seen coming. (Then again, the Jedi should have seen that Palpatine was actually Sidious, but we digress.)
Of course, many people disagreed with where their favorite characters ranked…
While some others were just happy to be invited to the party…
Some folks who actually starred in the movies had something to say, like K-2SO himself, Alan Tudyk!
Tudyk was most likely happier than actor Noah Segan, who played Resistance pilot Stomeroni Starck in The Last Jedi…
Star Wars voice actor Stephen Stanton (Admiral Raddus!) also weighed in…
Heck, even Star Wars itself felt compelled to offer comment…
Overall, the most angst came from fans of the Star Wars animated entries, even though there was a heaping helping of Clone Wars, Rebels, and yes, even Resistance characters in the top 100…
Of course, the most controversial pick of all (no matter who was selected) would be the owner of the top spot. Many names were discussed: Yoda for his wisdom. Darth Vader for his iconic badassery. Han Solo for being a scruffy nerf-herder. Obi-Wan! Luke! Jar Jar Binks! (Okay, not the last one.) But when all the lobbying had concluded and the votes had been tabulated, one character stood out: Princess Leia Organa.
EW's Devan Coggan laid out the argument for Leia at No. 1: "Star Wars has always been a story built on archetypes: the scoundrel, the farm boy, the grizzled wizard. But there's nothing typical about Carrie Fisher's Leia. From the moment we meet the princess of Alderaan — smuggling the Death Star plans and spitting insults at Grand Moff Tarkin — she's a new kind of heroine, a damsel in distress who happily hijacks her own rescue mission. (After all, somebody's gotta save our skins.) What makes Leia extraordinary is her complexity: She's a princess and a general, a daughter and a mother, a lover and a warrior. She's also deeply funny, and she can deliver a one-liner that would disarm even the most unflappable Imperial officer. The original trilogy and its sequels follow her as she evolves from fiery Rebel to Jedi-in-training to battle-hardened military leader, always anchored by Fisher's warm performance. Ultimately, Leia has endured through the decades because of what she represents, both within the galaxy and for generations of Star Wars fans: hope."
And in perhaps a first for Star Wars fandom, the reaction from the public was mostly… agreement?
Even current and former EW colleagues — and we as a general rule love to disagree about everything — concurred with the selection…
But perhaps, like John Nekrasov, you demand more…
Perhaps you, like a young Padawan, seek more knowledge — knowledge as to why certain characters were ranked where. Why Leia beat out others for the top spot. Why Cad Bane was so low. Why K-2SO was so high. Well, we have the knowledge you seek, and we are not going to make you mind-meld with Darth Maul and face the Nightsisters of Dathomir to get it. Because we're breaking down the top 100 list on the first episode of EW's new weekly Star Wars podcast, Dagobah Dispatch.
Devan Coggan, Lauren Morgan, and yours truly will go through the list and name the characters we each think were ranked too low or too high. And after that, you can enjoy our guest for the first episode, none other than Obi-Wan Kenobi himself, Ewan McGregor! Future episodes will feature more Star Wars luminaries and coverage from Star Wars Celebration as well as debate and discussion on all the movies, TV shows, books, toys, and more.
Listen to Dagobah Dispatch below, and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts to make sure you never miss an episode (and you won't want to miss some of the guests we have coming up). Also let us know who your No. 1 Star Wars character ever is, even if it's an Ewok or Gungan.
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