Ranking The Mandalorian vs. best Star Wars characters
How does The Mandalorian‘s titular protagonist stack up with the best characters in the Star Wars universe after one season on Disney+?
Although Mando has had limited time to strut his stuff, he’s already made quite an impression. We’ll go through the top 25 characters and see where he falls.
For this list, we’re only going with characters who’ve made on-screen appearances in live-action Star Wars — and this includes supporting players from The Mandalorian!
1) Luke Skywalker
It’d have been fine to be safe, and in Episode VIII for Rey to just get him off Ahch-To and say, “Come back!” Then, Luke could use epic Force powers and save the day.
That’s basically what happened, but The Last Jedi writer-director Rian Johnson took Luke into some exciting, surprising places. He’s cynical and ashamed of losing Ben Solo to the dark side.
Luke’s Force projection move and refusal to engage Kylo in a real duel is the ultimate power Jedi move. It adds layers to an already phenomenal character arc from the original trilogy.
Some of the most quotable dialogue in Star Wars comes from our little green friend. Yoda gave us some great lightsaber action in the prequels, but before that, he was the unlikeliest Jedi Master in The Empire Strikes Back.
So much of what makes that movie work is thanks to Frank Oz’s performance as Yoda. Also, much of the intrigue around The Mandalorian has to do with Yoda, as opposed to the show’s other characters.
3) Han Solo
Unlike some, I believe Alden Ehrenreich did an excellent job in Solo: A Star Wars Story. But this ain’t about him. This is all about Harrison Ford.
4) Anakin Skywalker / Darth Vader
An interesting case, because you won’t find a more iconic baddie than Vader. His hallway sequence in Rogue One only bolstered the legend.
Clunky writing in the prequels kind of knocks this character down a peg or two. At least he does the right thing in the end by saving his son from the Emperor.
5) Obi-Wan Kenobi
The biggest strength of the prequels had to be Ewan McGregor’s portrayal of Obi-Wan. We first see him as Old Ben, though, in an Oscar-nominated turn by Alec Guinness.
6) Kylo Ren / Ben Solo
The best character in the sequel trilogy, brilliantly portrayed by Adam Driver, he’s the ultimate heir. He’s got that Solo swagger and Skywalker blood in him, but it all goes terribly wrong.
That is, until his epic — albeit brief — redemption in The Rise of Skywalker. Give us more Ben Solo! As it stands, though, Kylo was the most three-dimensional Star Wars villain to date.
7) Leia Organa
The Princess of Alderaan lost more than anyone in Star Wars, yet soldiered on as a brave fighter in the rebellion. She’s also revealed to have been a trained Jedi in the sequel trilogy, which just makes Leia more badass.
Carrie Fisher was gone too soon, but her legacy will always endure. Her storyline in Episode IX sent her off on a high note, too.
Let’s take a bit of extra time to put this “Rey is a Mary Sue” thing to bed. It’s been a point of debate since The Force Awakens.
In that film, Rey scavenges for food. She gets punched in the face in the Jakku marketplace. A TIE fighter blast nearly kills her. Kylo Ren probes her mind, and later, launches her into a tree and knocks her unconscious. She’s constantly retreating during their lightsaber duel.
By the end of The Rise of Skywalker, Rey chooses her destiny in the light despite descending from the galaxy’s epitome of evil. In a lesser actor’s hands, this character wouldn’t be as compelling. Daisy Ridley is just that good in the role.
9) Darth Sidious / Sheev Palpatine
The big bad in the entire nine-film Skywalker saga. Palpatine is pure evil. He wasn’t fully realized until his non-hologram appearance in Return of the Jedi. The prequels actually aided his character development.
One of The Rise of Skywalker‘s bright spots was how much 3PO got to do. He’s appeared in every live-action film, so maybe we’ll see him pop up in The Mandalorian or another Disney+ series.
11) The Mandalorian
Mando Mando Mando! He checks in just outside the top 10 for now. It’s impressive he’s gotten this high after only one season, and we know a sophomore effort is coming in Fall 2020 to Disney+.
Despite being part of the Mandalore creed, he’s not the best fighter. He’s vulnerable, with a tragic backstory and juggles his bounty hunting duties with parenting Baby Yoda. Can’t wait to see what’s in store later this year!
12) Lando Calrissian
“Hello, what have we here?” Could we get a grizzled-up Donald Glover to reprise his Lando role and be one of the supporting characters in a future season of The Mandalorian?
That’d be cool, but Billy Dee Williams’ turn in Episode IX would be an excellent way to say goodbye for good. His friendship with Han and moral ambiguity make Lando a fun guy to follow.
13) Poe Dameron
After being simply a charismatic, valorous pilot in Episode VII, Poe gets challenged in The Last Jedi. Those trials at the hands primarily of Admiral Holdo help him evolve into a better leader.
By the time the Skywalker saga finale rolls around, Poe is ready to lead the Resistance in Leia’s stead. Oh, and he’s still probably the most fun sequel trilogy character to spend time with!
Hard to put the ever-present droid this low, but 3PO actually speaks, which helps elevate him. It’s a testament to how awesome R2 is that he can be this high without any real dialogue.
15) Baby Yoda
Oh yes. The little one that could is climbing the rankings already. Baby Yoda is The Mandalorian‘s most intriguing character. He’s a powerful Force user with unknown origins and incredible cuteness, and we can’t get enough!
16) Jyn Erso
The hero who delivered the Death Star plans to the rebel alliance, Jyn is the main hero in Rogue One. She’s self-sufficient, a skilled fighter and has incredible bravery in almost every action she takes. Well done!
Whatever anyone’s thoughts are about the sequel trilogy, one obvious bright spot is BB-8. His “thumbs up” lighter gesture to Finn on the Millennium Falcon was one of the funniest moments in Star Wars history.
Can’t leave out Chewie! Han’s perpetual co-pilot, the loyal rebel Wookie has an awesome bowcaster weapon and can definitely hold his own in the cockpit when left to his own devices.
19) Supreme Leader Snoke
Despite his untimely demise in The Last Jedi and glossed-over origins explanation in the followup film, Snoke was such a delicious overlord.
I have more fun speculating about the specifics of his origins as opposed to being told. That’s a surprise upon repeat Episode IX viewing.
“I have spoken.” Easily one of the best catchphrases already in a galaxy far, far away. Portrayed in The Mandalorian by Nick Nolte, Kuiil helps Mando and Baby Yoda, adding some levity and humor to boot.
Without spoiling anything about the show, let’s just say Kuiil makes the most of his limited involvement.
21) Grand Moff Tarkin
With a new appearance in Rogue One coupled with Peter Cushing’s excellent part in the O.G. from 1977, Tarkin is the embodiment of Imperial evil. “You may fire when ready.” COLD. BLOODED.
Even garnering the respect of Vader to the point that the Sith lord obeys his commands, there’s no denying Tarkin wields great authority.
22) Cassian Andor
His shocking betrayal of a fellow rebel near the top of Rogue One made Cassian complex. Due to the nature of an ensemble cast, we didn’t get to know Cassian very well before his demise.
I guess that’s what a live-action Disney+ TV series is for! Thus, Cassian could rise up this list in due time.
Really, the setup of his character in Episode VII was the most exciting part. Finn’s humor doesn’t land as well in the next two films, and it’d have been great to see him be a First Order spy or lead a stormtrooper revolt.
24) Chirrut Imwe
He’s not a Jedi. Technically. Chirrut gives us some of the best hand-to-hand combat in all of Star Wars. He could definitely take Rey with a staff.
Chirrut is a true believer in the light side of the Force. Despite his lack of Jedi cred, he’s a virtuous, likeable character who’s easy to root for.
He’s among the least likeable characters at least after the pilot of The Mandalorian. However, there’s a reason the Season 1 finale is titled, “Redemption” — and it has to do with IG-11.
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