Top Ten Star Wars Characters That Debuted in Television Shows

Ask anyone who their favorite Star Wars characters are and you’ll get much of the same answers. Who’s usually number one? Darth Vader, Han Solo, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Luke Skywalker, Chewie, or even R2-D2. Any casual Star Wars fan can tell you who the big names are, but what about the characters that didn’t appear in the movies? If you ask me, they don’t get enough love, and that’s a crying shame. With legions of Star Wars fans losing interest in the movies, I think it would be prudent to discuss the significance of the Star Wars shows. That includes the animated shows, like The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels, and of course, the recently beloved Mandalorian show on DisneyPlus.

In my opinion, these shows are succeeding in where the movies failed. They took the time to properly flush out their characters so we can actually care about them as they continued to develop. Now that Rebels has ended, The Clone Wars is on its final season, and the second season of The Mandalorian is coming, I’d like to break down some of the finest characters those shows have given us. And yes, these are Star Wars characters that debuted in the shows only, so no popular Sith lords, Jedi Masters, or loud-mouthed Gungans allowed.

May the force be with me.

10. Pong Krell

Anyone remember Dex, the diner owner and Obi-Wan’s pal from Attack of the Clones? Ever imagine what he would look like as a Jedi? The fourth season of The Clone Wars showed us exactly what that would look like. Jedi Master Pong Krell took over for Anakin Skywalker as field commander during the battle of Umbara. The difference between him and other Jedi generals is that he had little to no respect for his clone troopers. As a leader, he cared only about results and was willing to sacrifice many clones to achieve victory. In the beginning, he appeared to be just an “ends justify the means” type of Jedi, but he was concealing a much more sinister agenda.

Krell ordered his Clones to charge head-on in the heat of battle in hopes of killing as many as possible. He was deliberately trying to undermine the efforts of the Republic and the Jedi with the hopes of becoming Count Dooku’s apprentice. With his four-arm physiology making it easy for him to dual-wield two double-bladed lightsabers, Krell was a formidable opponent. His worst act by far was tricking the Clones into killing each other, which eventually led to his much-deserved death. What made him most interesting was that it actually made me want to root for the Clones to actually kill a Jedi. Talk about surprises.

9. Hondo Ohnaka

A fictional universe wouldn’t be complete without a pirate. In this case, a space pirate is what we needed. Hondo Ohnaka is all kinds of charismatic, while also being a total scoundrel. He’s an adversary and sometimes-ally to Obi-Wan and Anakin, and eventually an occurring ally to Ezra Bridger. Out of all the Star Wars characters who ever lived, Hondo lived through the Clone Wars, the Galactic Civil War, and the First Order-Resistance War. As the Jack Sparrow of Star Wars, Hondo is the type of character you just love to hate, but also hate to love all at once. His best moment was saving the younglings from Grievous and gave youngling Katooni a nod of approval before boarding his ship. Who said pirates can’t have a heart?

8. Pre Vizsla

If you watch The Mandalorian, you’ll dig Pre Vizsla. A Mandalorian extremist, Vizsla is the leader of the terrorist group known as Death Watch. Their goal is to overthrow the pacifist regime of Duchess Satine Kryze and restore Mandalore to its warrior past. He believes in what he’s doing and will kill anyone for his radical cause, making him a more realistic villain in the Star Wars universe. His armor is like Boba Fett’s, but much cooler, and wields a Darksaber, which he used to duel Obi-Wan and Darth Maul. Let me emphasize on that a bit more, he had the nads to take on Darth Maul in a saber duel. He was a villain, but despite that, he accepted his death like a warrior. Oh, and in case you didn’t know, he’s voiced by Jon Favreau. No wonder he wanted to do a show about Mandalorians.

7. Cad Bane

The Clones Wars needed a Jango Fett, so which bounty hunter could replace him? Since Boba was too young, the show brought on a new bounty hunter by the name of Cad Bane. He didn’t wear awesome armor like the Fetts, but he had more than enough weapons to get the job done. Bane dual-wields blasters, like Jango, had gauntlets on both of his wrists, like Jango, and wore a wide-brimmed hat. He resembled a cowboy in a science fiction universe and was capable of taking on Jedi. What made Bane so cool was his cunning, as he successfully infiltrated the Jedi Temple and stole a holocron, not to mention outwitting Obi-Wan and Quinlan Vos. How many other bounty hunters can be suck a pain in the neck for the Jedi?

6. Cara Dune

How awesome is it that Gina Carano is officially a part of the Star Wars universe? Her character is Cara Dune, a former rebel shock trooper from Alderaan, the first planet the Empire destroyed with the Death Star. That alone sounds like a character who’s out for payback, but Dune just enjoys fighting. She can beat up men twice her size and is every Imperial’s worst nightmare. If girls want to search Star Wars for a feminine role model, look at Cara Dune. I can’t stress how important Gina Carano’s casting was, because as a former professional fighter, she brings the best commitment for the physicality of the character and that’s why she’s believable. I can’t wait to see her kick more butt in the second season of The Mandalorian.

5. Savage Opress

Did anyone ever think it was possible to get a much bigger, scarier version of Darth Maul? Watch The Clone Wars show and you’ll find your answer in Savage Opress. Originally shown as a member of the Nightbrothers, Savage was tested by Asajj Ventress, along with his brother, Feral. He showed fierce loyalty to his brother and protected him from Asajj’s wrath, but unfortunately for him, he was chosen to be her spy. Transformed by the Nightsisters into a remorseless killing machine, Savage murdered Feral, and was sent to act as Count Dooku’s apprentice. Savage, however, realized he was being used, and turned on both Dooku and Ventress.

The best part of his development was his relationship with his other brother, Darth Maul. It was Savage who discovered him, brought him back to civilization, and aspired to be his apprentice. As a fighter, he was all rage and brutality, wielding a double-bladed lightsaber, like Darth Maul. He was a battering ram of a villain that really scared us, but his greatest contribution to the Clone Wars show was that awesome tag team fight with his brother against Darth Sidious. It was cool, it was fun, and it led to his death, which devastated Maul. I always liked seeing brotherly duos in movies and shows, but who would think Darth Maul was capable of loving someone? When you root for the bad guys, you know they’re awesome.

4. Kanan Jarrus

Dave Filioni described Kanan Jarrus as a “cowboy Jedi.” That sounds cool on paper, but on Star Wars Rebels, it was even cooler. Kanan was a young Padawan when Order 66 was executed, and thanks to the sacrifice of his Jedi Master, he managed to escape death. Years later, he was revealed to be the leader of the Ghost crew, a team of misfit smugglers.

What makes Kanan such intriguing is that he’s not your traditional Jedi like Obi-Wan. He’s got an attitude and lacks patience, not the kind of Jedi to take on a Padawan. Well, he does exactly that when he comes across Ezra Bridger. Seeing him be a mentor is interesting, because he’s actually unqualified to teach Ezra, something he is aware of. However, he realizes that the world he now lives won’t allow for Ezra to find a better master, so he does his best to work with what he’s given. Kanan later becomes blinded in the series, which actually makes him cooler. Throughout the series, we see him become a wiser, more skilled Jedi even with the Jedi Order’s destruction.

3. Captain Rex

Did you know that a Clone fought in the Battle of Endor? Yes, Captain Rex is one of the few Clones to disobey Order 66 and fight against the Empire. Now, I realize he debuted in the 2008 Clone Wars “movie” but I don’t consider that a movie. It’s really an extended pilot for The Clone Wars show and its greatest achievement was introducing the best Clone trooper. Rex is the Clone that other Clones would follow anywhere and aspired to be. He stood up to Pong Krell, served alongside Anakin and Ahsoka Tano, and later became an ally to the Ghost crew. What separates Rex from the other Clones is his undying loyalty to those he considers friends.

His speech to the Clones about how they weren’t programmed and could make their own decisions is what makes him the greatest Clone. He inspired others to be greater than what was expected of them, even the Jedi. Rex was also one of the few Clones to remove his inhibitor chip, so when Order 66 was executed, he was able to refuse and decided to join Ahsoka. For being a Clone, Rex is one of a kind.

2. The Mandalorian

Boba Fett is one of those Star Wars characters everyone loves because he looks cool. While he does have an iconic look, he didn’t exactly do much. The Mandalorian, or Din Djarin, embodies everything Boba Fett is on the outside: a really tough bounty hunter who everyone fears. The difference between them is that The Mandalorian became the hero. We’ve never seen a bounty hunter in Star Wars be the good guy before, and I didn’t really expect that in this show. The Mandalorian starts out as exactly what you would expect he’d be, but once Baby Yoda is found, he takes an unexpected turn.

A hero in Star Wars who isn’t a Jedi is a fresh new chapter in the Star Wars franchise. This bounty hunter goes to great lengths to keep Baby Yoda safe, and that includes killing. He’s cool, he’s tough, and you know what? He’s cooler than Boba Fett, there I said it.

1. Asajj Ventress

Asajj Ventress is a Dark Jedi who debuted in the 2003 Clone Wars series. She became Count Dooku’s disciple and had a great fight scene with Anakin. Unfortunately, that series is no longer canon, but her story thankfully didn’t end there. Ventress returned in the Clone Wars cartoon once again as Dooku’s disciple and head assassin. Under Sidious’ orders, Dooku betrayed her, leaving her on a path of vengeance. She went to the Nightsisters, recruited Savage Opress, and when she failed to take her revenge, she moved on. Ventress spent the rest of the Clone Wars being a bounty hunter, taking a job with a teenage Boba Fett and even helping Ahsoka when she became a fugitive.

Asajj Ventress is my number one choice, because she is worthy enough to have her own movie. Before she was Dooku’s disciple, she was a Jedi. After her master was killed, she became disillusioned with the Order and desired to destroy them. Dooku’s betrayal nearly broke her, but she changed for the better as a result. Ventress became one of the best antiheroes in Star Wars and that can serve for a good standalone movie. I’m always up for a good redemption story, and finally seeing Ventress on the big-screen would be cool to see.

That’s it, that best Star Wars characters not from the movies. With characters like these, it’s hard  to not love the shows even more than the films. If we’re patient enough, maybe some of these characters will appear in future movies.

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