It’s been a great time to be a Star Wars fan. What I’m really appreciating, though, is the improved diversity of characters being produced by Lucasfilm. This was always an obvious shortcoming to the Star Wars universe. In particular, I appreciate the great female characters depicted in this new canon. Female characters play central roles in many of histories stories – from Shakespeare to fairy tales. Princess Leia and Padme Amadala were/are great. But they’ve got more company now. So much so that we can actually have a real Top 10 list.
1. Ahsoka Tano (The Clone Wars / Rebels):
Anakin Skywalker’s apprentice, Ahsoka Tano is perhaps the most important character to not appear in the live-action films. She is the only female Jedi who’s personal story we have experienced. She’s inextricably connected to Anakin Skywalker, the central character to the Saga (thus far) and to the establishment of the Rebel Alliance. In many ways, she is one of the reasons why Anakin fell to the Dark Side, but also, perhaps what leads to his redemption.
2. Hera Syndulla (Rebels, A New Dawn)
Hera is the daughter of Cham Syndulla, the freedom fighter from Ryloth who appeared in The Clone Wars. Hera is the leader of the Ghost crew on Rebels and is playing an important and active part of the emerging Rebellion against the Empire. We’ve never really seen a character like Hera in Star Wars or most science fiction / fantasy genre’s. She’s certainly formitable (pilot, strategist, fighter), but she’s also very human. She shows a level of patience and nurturing (quintessentially “motherly” and has referred to herself as such) to Ezra and Kanan in particular. Yet this doesn’t compromise her position as a leader. This is an important dynamic to this show and as an example of the humanity that these shows are meant to reflect back to ourselves. As such, I think she is one of the most important characters of the Star Wars Saga.
3. Asajj Ventress (The Clone Wars, Dark Disciple)
Ventress, in contrast to Ahsoka Tano, is the only female Sith whose personal story we know. She also represents an interesting contrast to Kanan in that her Jedi Master was killed in front of her and, through her anger, became vulnerable to the Dark Side. She, though a varied story, was able to find her own kind of salvation – something that Master Yoda noted was an impossibility.
4. Duchess Satine (The Clone Wars)
Duchess Satine Kryze is an interesting character in The Clone Wars because she represents the impossibility for worlds to remain neutral in the Clone Wars. She was also battling the historical legacy of her people – fiece warriors who have become pacifists – in the context of a raging war. Ultimately, Death Watch – a splinter group – betray her and ultimately lead to her death. These are the same types of trials faced by Princess Leia, Senator Organa, and Queen Amidala. And anyone who could tempt Obiwan to leave the Jedi Order is obviously pretty special.
5. Mother Talzin (The Clone Wars)
Mother Talzin is the only other Star Wars character who really threatened the Emperor’s dark side powers. The Night Sisters play an interesting role in the entire Clone Wars arc, providing the origin of Darth Maul and Asajj Ventress. She was such a threat that Darth Sidious sent troops to destroy the Night Sisters (though the fate of Mother Talzin still seem a tad uncertain after her last appearance in Season 6).
The next five on the list:
6. Steela Gerrera (The Clone Wars): Steela led the group of rebels on Onderon. This arc in The Clone Wars seems like a pivotal education for Ahsoka where she had to resist her urge to get involved, but also saw the resolve and tenacity of these rebels fighting for Freedom.
7. Sabine Wren (Rebels): Sabine is Mandalorean who seems to be the critical piece of the Ghost crew. She’s a munitions expert, and computer expert, and a translator. She has her own issues with the Empire (which we do not yet know).
8. Master Luminara Unduli (The Clone Wars, ATC): Master Luminara is really the only famale Jedi Master who we get to know in any way. She has a wisdom which she shares with Ahsoka and, in the middle of a battle, Asajj Ventress. She even makes an appearance in Rebels where her bones are used to lure Jedi into a trap. In spite of her wisdom, her apprentice, Bariss Offee, still turns to the Dark Side.
9. Bariss Offee (The CloneWars): Bariss plays a critical role in the end of Season 5 of the Clone Wars. Through framing Ahsoka for murder, she ends up driving her from the Jedi Order and further highlighting the moral quagmire in which the council has found themselves. She shows herself to be very powerful having stolen Asajj Ventress’ light sabers and held up nicely in combat with Anakin Skywalker (this, to me, is the most obvious reason why she’d never be an Inquisitor – it’s a huge demotion of her character).
10. Rae Sloan (A New Dawn, Aftermath): Rae Sloan is an imperial officer who we see along the spectrum of her career starting in A New Dawn until after RoTJ in Aftermath. She shows both a keen intellect and a knack for strategy.
The next set on the list:
Aurra Sing (The Clone Wars, TPM)
Bo-Katan Kryze (The Clone Wars)
Ciena Ree (Lost Stars)
Deepa Bilaba (Rebels, Kanan Comic)
Shmi Skywalker (TPM, ATC)
Mon Mothma (RTJ, RoTS)
Commander Alecia Beck (Smuggler’s Run)
Aunt Beru (RoTS, ANH)
Not (yet) for consideration:
Felicty Jones’ character from Rogue One (too soon)
Rey (last name) from The Force Awakens
Captain Phasma – TFA
The Seventh Sister – Rebels trailers and preview videos (too soon for others)