Every Star Wars Movie Villain Ranked From Worst to Best

share to other networks share to twitter share to facebook

Although we love our scrappy rebels and wise Jedi, Star Wars wouldn’t be much of a story without its villains. It is called Star Wars after all, which implies a conflict between two sides. It wouldn’t be much of a war if everyone got along and was nice to each other. We need some epic protagonists in the galaxy to keep things a little bit more interesting. The Empire and the Sith generate conflict and therefore the drama of the Star Wars Universe. Of course, the Star Wars universe is wider than just the Rebellion vs. the Empire or even Jedi vs. Sith. There are bounty hunters, gangsters, and jerks in bars. The result is a villains gallery, colorful and wicked enough to challenge most superheroes’ casts of villains. We’re going to rank these diabolical schemers and low-lifes from Jabba’s minions to the most powerful Sith in the galaxy. Enjoy the list!

  1. The Gamorrean Guards

    Like most creatures in the Star Wars universe, these guys have a pretty cool design. They’re giant walking green boars with pointy sticks! They’re exactly the kind of alien you would want as your enforcers, and they look great in Jabba’s palace during Return of the Jedi. But they commit the greatest sin of any villain; they don’t do anything! They don’t even get to fight when Luke and the gang begin the fight on Jabba’s barge. Oh well, at least they’re fun to beat up in the Knights of the Old Republic games.

    Advertisement
  2. Conan Antonio Motti

    You might remember Conan Antonio Motti as “that guy Vader choked during a staff meeting.” He’s a slimy little guy who only exist in the film to show what a badass Vader is. Granted, if he had done something besides run his big mouth, it would have been distracting from the more important things in the scene. The scene needed to establish the fact that Vader is a badass and that the Death Star is very dangerous. Motti died in the Death Star explosion without the movie even noting his passing.  

  3. Nute Gunray and the Trade Federation

    Honestly, not even The Clone Wars cartoon could make these guys menacing or notable. Does anyone remember what they did or what they accomplished? They failed to invade Naboo, their armies were stopped by a nine-year-old and freaking Jar-Jar Binks. In Revenge of the Sith they are fodder for Anakin’s Dark Side rampage and he cuts them down. To top it all off, they have stereotypical and cringe-inducing “Asian” accents. Nute Gunray and his Trade Federation were ill-conceived and their villany falls flat on it’s face.

  4. Kendal Ozzel

    Darth Vader once said of Kendal Ozzel, “He is as clumsy as he is stupid.” And his actions corroborate Vader’s assessment. Ozzel managed to find the Rebel’s base on Hoth at the beginning of Empire Strikes Back, but made the mistake of emerging from hyperspace directly above the planet. This alerted the Rebels and gave them time to activate their shields, and prepare their escape. Vader strangled Ozzel for his incompetence and promoted Admiral Piett, who is later down the list.  

  5. Ponda Baba and Cornelius Evazan

    You know these guys better as “those two jerks in the Mos Eisley cantina.” They picked a fight with Luke in A New Hope, not knowing that he was accompanied by a Jedi, who proceeded to slice these guys up. You can see them in Rogue One on Jedha, bumping into Jyn Erso and going on their way. We don’t know how these guys escaped the Death Star attack on Jedha and found their way to Tatooine. Supplemental materials will probably reveal the answer soon.  

  6. Moff Jerjerrod

    Here’s another cog in the Imperial machine. Jerjerrod was put in charge of the second Death Star’s construction. Considering the Rebels stole the plans for the first Death Star and the Empire blew up their own backup copies, he had a hell of a job. Vader bullying him over his lack of progress didn’t help either. Unfortunately for him, the Rebels blew up all of his hard work. Sucks to be him. 

  7. Maximilian Veers

    Maximilian Veers lead the ground troops on the assault against the Rebel base on Hoth during the beginning of Empire Strikes Back. Unlike Ozzel, Veers was competent during the battle, forcing the Rebels to flee and scatter. But competence doesn’t necessarily lead to screentime, and the movies reveal very little about Veers.  

  8. The Knights of Ren

    The Knights of Ren are the group of force-users lead by Kylo Ren. They look like Sith, but aren’t quite. They were probably responsible for the destruction of Luke’s Jedi Academy. Probably. They look cool and The Force Awakens Visual Dictionary offers a little bit more about them. But ultimately, we don’t know who they are and all the bad things they were done have been committed off-screen. Let’s hope we get to see them do something badass in the next episodes.

  9. The Rathtars

    Han Solo hauls these monstrosities in The Force Awakens, scraping by borrowing money to do so. Finn says they were involved in something called the Tilla Massacre and that it’s a good thing that Rey doesn’t know about the event. Rey accidently unleashes them on the freighter she, Finn, Han and the gangs Han owed money to were on. Luckily, the Rathtars only ate the aggressive gangs, and weren’t able to grab our heroes. It’s doubtful we’ll see these creatures again, since they’re floating around in space on an unmanned freighter. But it was fun to see them while they were on screen!

  10. Zam Wesell

    This bounty hunter worked with Jango Fett to attempt to assassinate Padme, using her shapeshifting abilities to avoid detection. The fact that this character exists opens up a whole new realm of possibility for Star Wars. Enemies that can change their face would add a whole new layer of intrigue and distrust to the movies. But his angle is never followed up. No one uses the technology Wesell has to blend in, disguise themselves, impersonate others or anything! The character and her abilities were completely wasted.

  11. The Geonosians

    These insectoid aliens were instrumental during the Clone Wars. They created the droid army for the Separatist Confederacy and lead the battle against the Jedi and Republic Forces on their home planet of Geonosis. A battle which they lost. Originally, they were supposed to look like the battle droids which they created. But termites infested George Lucas’ home leading to a more insect-like design. The battle they lead in Attack of the Clones is probably the coolest sequence in the film, hence the high placement on the list for such underdeveloped villains. Fortunately, the Clone Wars cartoon and other supplemental materials flesh out their biology and culture.

  12. The Battle Droids

    We first see the battle droids in The Phantom Menace and from start to finish they’ve been nothing but cannon fodder with an annoying catch phrase, “Roger, roger.” (The Clone Wars does a better job making them a threat, but we’re talking about the movies here). Only one really has a name, 1138, a shout out to George Lucas’ film THX-1138. He gets knocked over by Jar-Jar Binks during the battle in the final act of The Phantom Menace.

  13. Bazine Netal

    We see this bounty hunter clad in black and white sitting in Maz Katana’s castle. At first she blends in amongst the creatures and aliens that hang out at Maz’s place. She’s just another extraordinary person in a tavern full of colorful characters. Then she leaves her companion and reports to the First Order that she’s seen our band of heroes! And that’s it. She disappears from the film and we never see her again. At least the costume is cool.

  14. IG-88, Dengar, Bossak and 4-LOM

    These four are the bounty hunters Darth Vader hired in Empire Strikes Back. Their purpose in the film was to look cool and add a sense of danger. All of them are unsuccessful in their mission to capture Han, and it’s a bit of a waste of cool design. But only one bounty hunter did succeed on his search and we’ll get to him later. The non-canon Expanded Universe explores their characters and the adventures they went on to earn their reputation as “galaxy’s most badass bounty hunters.”

  15. Jango Fett

    Speaking of bounty hunters, Jango Fett deserved a better shake. He’s built up to be this badass assassin, mercenary and bounty hunter. But we never get to see the full extent of his skills. He fails to assassinate anyone over the course of the films, though he does give Obi-Wan Kenobi a tough fight. Once again, supplemental materials come to the rescue and flesh out Jango and his relationship with his son, the infamous Boba Fett. But in the movies, he’s just another flat villain to be taken out by a side character.

  16. Kanjiklub and The Guavian Death Gang

    Supplemental materials reveal that these two gangs are bitter rivals. The Guavian Death Gang prefers the high tech approach while Kanju Club are the brawlers. They differ on a fundamental level when it comes to crime. But they agree on one thing, screw Han Solo, he owes us money! We see them team up in The Force Awakens to get their money back from Solo, who blew it all smuggling on rathars. Probably. That’s what Han said he did. The gangs pose a threat for a few minutes, then Rey accidently unleashes the rathars from their containment units. Then they meet the ignominious end, eaten by space octopi with very sharp teeth.

  17. Greedo

    Ah Greedo. He had the bad luck of being a villain whose sole purpose was to make Han Solo look cool. He confronts Han in the Mos Eisley cantina, pointing a gun to Han’s chest and asking “Going somewhere, Solo?” This confrontation ends with a blaster bolt in Greedo’s chest. The most notable thing about Greedo is that he was at the center of the “Han Shot First” debate. The 1997 Special Edition of Star Wars showed Greedo shooting first in the fatal confrontation. Fans took umbrage to this as it softened Han’s character. There has yet to be a new edition of Star Wars that fixes this error. Hopefully, Disney will release a restored edition soon.

  18. The Sarlacc

    Jabba the Hutt, with C-3PO translating said it best, “In [the Sarlacc’s] belly, you will find a new definition of pain and suffering as you are slowly digested over a…thousand years." Ouch. The Sarlacc lay at the bottom of the pit waiting to devour our heroes as they battled for their freedom. A few other baddies got kicked into the Sarlacc pit. Boba Fett got kicked into the Sarlacc pit by a blind Han Solo. The sounds of the Sarlacc came from a surprising place. The crew used the sounds of alligator hisses which does make sense. But to make the digestive gurgle, they recorded the sounds of their own stomachs digesting pizza!

  19. Supreme Leader Snoke

    Snoke should be higher on the list. We know he has considerable power. He commands the First Order, is a powerful enough Sith to coax Ben Solo into becoming Kylo Ren. The hologram form we see him in is impressive and reminiscent of the Emperor's hologram in The Empire Strikes Back. But we never see him do anything cool. He just bosses Hux and Kylo Ren around. And his grand plan for galactic domination? Build another planet killer. Which worked so well before. We know he wants to recreate the glory of the Empire, but does that mean repeated the Empire’s mistakes? Maybe as the rest of the trilogy plays out, he’ll perform more effective villainy and rank higher on internet lists.

  20. Commander Cody and the Clone Troopers

    At first the Clone Troopers weren’t the bad guys. When we first see them in Attack of the Clones, we see them fighting alongside the Jedi. But in Revenge of the Sith, they receive Order 66. They turn against the Jedi and massacre the people they had once fought beside. Commander Cody’s betrayal hits particularly hard since he fought alongside Obi-Wan Kenobi, and was probably the most distinct trooper in the films. The films didn’t have time to develop the relationship between the Jedi and the clone troopers, so this betrayal does not emotionally hit as hard as it should. The Clone Wars cartoon gives more context and heartbreak for this betrayal, and it’s recommended you watch it to get the full story.

  21. Captain Phasma

    If The Force Awakens has a flaw, it’s that the best designed character has nothing to do. Gwendoline Christine fills out the armor amazingly, giving Captain Phasma a commanding presence with what little screen time she has. But Phasma never fights during the movie. She gets taken out by Han and Finn, who literally dump her in the garbage after they get the codes they need from her. Gwendoline Christie has confirmed that she will return for Episode VIII, but she hasn’t promised the Phasma will have more to do. We all hope that she does.

  22. The Royal Guard

    These guys have plenty of mystery to them. Who are they? Why does Palpatine need a guard if he’s a powerful Sith Lord? Why are they called the Royal Guard instead of the Imperial Guard? Where did those cool, red outfits? Unfortunately, none of these questions are answered in the films. They’re part of the background mystery of Star Wars. But, like Phasma, despite their cool appearance, they never get to do anything. They get knocked aside by Yoda in Revenge of the Sith. If you want to know more about the Royal Guard, give Star Wars: The Crimson Empire Saga by Mike Richardson Randy Stradley and Paul Gulacy a shot. This comic is no longer canon, but it’s still an informative, fun read.

  23. General Grievous

    The cyborg general of the Separatist Army participated in one of the best battles in the Star Wars saga. His duel with Obi-Wan Kenobi with the multiple lightsabers in utterly unforgettable. The way he moves, almost like a mechanical spider, adds a new element to the lightsaber duels we’ve seen before. His rasping voice doesn’t quite match the levels of Darth Vader’s iconic baritone, but it still leaves an impression. If there’s one complaint to be made about Grievous is that he’s too much like Vader. The rasping voice, the cybernetic limbs, the ruthlessness are features that the two share. But Grievous never quite reaches Vader’s iconic status. Maybe if we had seen something new with the character, he wouldn’t come off as a Vader rip off.

  24. Tuskan Raiders

    When it comes to threats on Tatooine, the Tusken Raiders are second only to Jabba the Hutt. They menace the people of Tatooine in A New Hope and in Attack of the Clones. In the former, they manage to knock out Luke Skywalker. The only reason Luke makes it out alive is that Obi-Wan scares them off. But their biggest impact on the movies was probably the killing of Shmi Skywalker, Anakin’s mother. The death of Shimi sets Anakin on his path to the Dark Side. His anger and fear of losing his loved one fuels his path to becoming Darth Vader.

  25. General Hux

    Hux has little screen time in The Force Awakens, but he left quite an impression. He commands the troops of the First Order with ruthlessness and efficiency. He orders the destruction of the Republic without a second thought. The speech he gives before this destruction leaves the audience with chills. His presence and impact on the film’s plot left quite an impression on fans. Novels of fanfiction about Hux can be found on Archive of our Own, fanfiction.net and other fanfiction sites. On Archive of Our Own, he is the most written about Star Wars character, beating out Kylo Ren, Finn, Poe and even Han Solo. We don’t know what his popularity means for the upcoming movies. Will we see more of Hux and learn his of his backstory? Or will the filmmakers continue with the less is more approach and leave it to fanfic writers to fill in the background details of the character?

  26. Director Krennic

    This is the new kid on the block when it comes to Star Wars villains. But he quickly establishes himself as efficient and ruthless. He has Lyra Erso murdered before her husband and daughter’s eyes. He orders the death of thousands on Jedha to test out his new superweapon. But he can never quite get to the top of the Empire’s food chain. Tarkin and Vader push him around like he pushed Galan Erso around, and refuse to give him credit for building the Death Star. All his work eventually leads to his death on Scarif, lying on the ground, the Death Star’s laser pointed straight at him.

  27. Darth Maul

    It is kind of a backhanded compliment to say that Darth Maul is the best part of The Phantom Menace since The Phantom Menace is one of the worst Star Wars movies. But the design, the double-bladed lightsaber, the background music that plays during the duel are just so cool and stand out in the mediocrity that is The Phantom Menace. But Darth Maul falls to the Star Wars movie villain problem. He looks amazing, but he’s gets nothing to do! Sure, The Clone Wars and supplemental materials reveal more about him, but it would have been nice to see such a cool looking character do something besides stand menacingly and lose a lightsaber duel.    

  28. Boba Fett

    Speaking of characters that look cool, but do nothing, Boba Fett is the ultimate victim of this phenomena. His beat-up Mandalorian armor looks amazing on screen and he makes an awesome action figure. But it’s Darth Vader who coceres Lando into betraying Han and Leia and ultimately captures them. In Return of the Jedi Han kicks him into the Sarlacc Pit on accident! There’s not even a big show down between the two. Not for the last time, supplemental materials come to the rescue. The exploits of this bounty hunter can be found in books, comics and even cartoons.

  29. Jabba the Hutt

    The crime lord’s shadow falls wide over the Original Trilogy. Han is indebted to him right from the start, and spend most of Empire Strikes Back on the run from that debt. He creates an intimidating presence and he doesn’t even need to show up! Of course, George Lucas had to spoil that by adding a scene of Jabba in the special edition of A New Hope. It makes the reveal of Jabba’s appearance less impressive in Return of the Jedi. And what an appearance it is. Who can forget the sight of the huge slug surveying his court like a king?

  30. Stormtroopers

    For all our complaints about how Stormtroopers can’t hit the broadside of a barn, we love these guys. Their design is sleek and iconic and shows us the efficiency and power of the Empire. The helmets make them seem more like machines than men. And we cannot get enough of them. There’s videos of Stormtroopers dancing, participating in the latest viral crazes or just being goofy. Thousands participate in 501st Legion, dressing up as Troopers and participating in charity events. Despite their ineffectiveness during the movies, we love these guys and we love seeing them onscreen and real life!

  31. FN-2199 aka TR-8R

    This guy is probably the most badass Stormtrooper shown in the films. Most troopers get mowed down by our heroes, no problem. But this guy whips out a riot control baton and goes hand-to-hand with Finn, who’s wielding the most powerful weapon in the franchise, a lightsaber. FN-2199 did pretty well for himself, even getting the upper hand on Finn, but was shot by Han Solo. After the film was released, fans gave FN-2199 the nickname TR-8R, after his should of “Traitor!” at Finn. Maybe Lucasfilm will put the nickname on some merchandise.

  32. Unkar Platt

    This junkyard dealer played by Simon Pegg is utterly loathsome. And it’s not just his appearance. He controls Rey’s food supply, forcing her to scavenge for parts in exchange for something to eat. We hear him during Rey’s flashback sequence saying, “Come along, girl,” as she screams for her family to “come back.” And he’s the one who tempted Rey to sell her new friend BB-8 for food! He’s cruel, greedy and treats Rey badly. Seriously, screw this guy, Rey is well rid of him.  

  33. Count Dooku

    Without a doubt, the reason we remember Count Dooku because of his actor, the late, great Christopher Lee. Lee brought poise and dignity to the role. And with a name like Dooku, the role needed all the dignity it could get. With his deep voice and height of six feet, five inches, he made Dooku a formidable presence. We believed every second that Lee was on screen that he was a threat. The badass cape he go only made him more believable. Dooku took down Obi-Wan and Anakin single handedly. It took Yoda, the oldest and wisest of Jedi to even make him run. But by the time Revenge of the Sith came around, Anakin had grown in power and was able to defeat Dooku. It’s just too bad the Dooku’s death had to come so early in the film. If there was one thing Revenge of the Sith needed, it was more Christopher Lee.

  34. Grand Moff Tarkin

    In A New Hope, Tarkin was the face of the Empire. He’s the one that gives Vader orders and he commands the entire Death Star. He probably commits the most atrocious act in the entire franchise by ordering the destruction of Alderaan. Peter Cushing plays the part with poise, an even temper and an evil dignity. He’s not a cackling mustache twirler or a dark figure in a black cloak. He lets his ruthless, cruel actions speak for themselves.

  35. Kylo Ren

    Let’s face it, Kylo Ren is easy to mock. He’s whiny, entitled and temperamental. He gets his ass beat by an untrained Force-user. To quote the SNL Undercover Boss Parody Sketch, “Kylo Ren is a punk bitch.”  But he’s a great villain. He challenges the heroes, in a way that makes you want them to win. His lust for violence makes an excellent foil for Finn, who rejects senseless death. His entitlement stands out against Rey’s determination and the fact that she’s worked for what little she has. And of course, he did the worst thing a villain could do, he killed off a popular franchise character, Han Solo, his own freaking father! How can you not hate this guy?

  36. Emperor Palpatine

    This is the proverbial man behind the curtain. He orchestrates the events of the prequels and runs the show during the Original Trilogy. The First Order of the sequels tries to emulate what he created. Not only is he a master politician and manipulator, but he’s also a powerful Force-user. It took the combined efforts of Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader to send him down that reactor shaft, fried by his own Force Lightning. Ian McDiarmid does a fantastic job playing the Emperor in both Return of the Jedi and in the prequels. He can be subtle when it’s needed, but when he goes full ham in Revenge of the Sith, revealing Palpatine’s true nature, it’s an absolute joy to watch.

  37. Darth Vader

    Who else would top the list of Star Wars bad guys? It can be argued that the entire franchise hinges on Darth Vader. The prequels explore his origins and fall. The Original Trilogy show his redemption through the eyes of his son. And the sequel trilogy looks like it will show his legacy through Kylo Ren and the First Order. We all know who Vader is and he has been our favorite bad guy ever since he stepped through the smoke at the beginning of A New Hope. His design is powerful, intimidating and his actions back him up. He chokes the punks mentioned earlier in this list, tortures our heroes and tries to turn Luke to the Dark Side. Vader is powerful, intimidating and we all loved seeing his return in Rogue One to chop down all the Rebels who dared to stand in his way. Vader was instrumental in Palpatine's reign of terror, and we felt that fear he created in a galaxy far, far away even though we were safe behind our screens. It’s unlikely we’ll see more of Vader himself in the new trilogy, but we’ll see the effects of his legacy play out on heroes old and new.