The Scariest Star Wars Characters Across the Galaxy
Halloween may not be observed in Star Wars™, but we can still appreciate the creature features and scary scenes that come from a galaxy far, far away. From Dathomirian™ witches to Sith™ temples and droids designed for torture, Star Wars knows how to deliver real fear in many ways.
In celebration of the spooky season, we’re going to look at the scariest Star Wars characters — again, characters, not beasts. We’re highlighting monstrous lifeforms that aren’t necessarily monsters themselves. So feast your eyes on the most fearsome villains below to learn why they’re the contenders for creepiest and unfairest of them all.
Jabba The Hutt
A greedy gangster and Tatooine’s™ resident tyrant, Jabba the Hutt™ controls his palace through the constant threat of death or punishment. With the rancor™ lurking below his throne, and slaves chained around him, he is frightening enough already. But his actions in Episode VI: Return of the Jedi™ are equally as disturbing as his appearance and demeanor.
Jabba orders the capture of Han Solo™, hanging this carbonite™-encased rebel on his wall as decoration. Jabba also sends Luke Skywalker™ into the rancor’s claws, tries to toss our heroes into the stomach of a sarlacc™, and keeps Leia Organa™ as property in a disgusting display of power. While plenty of non-humanoid characters in Star Wars still have what we’d consider humanity, Jabba is completely devoid of any empathy or morality.
Emperor Palpatine™ (otherwise known as Darth Sidious™) manages to ruin our heroes’ lives across generations, from his manipulation and distortion of Anakin Skywalker’s™ values to leading the Galactic Empire and threatening the New Republic. He’s got his gnarled, Force-lightning-wielding hands in every era. In the prequels, a disguised Sheev Palpatine™ maneuvers the Clone Wars™ to his advantage. He’s heartless, forcing his own apprentice Count Dooku™ into certain death so Anakin can rise instead. In the original trilogy, the Emperor is the insidious puppeteer behind Darth Vader’s™ machinations.
And in the sequel trilogy, Sidious has utilized cloning technology to make himself effectively immortal. Stationed on Exegol™, the villain hangs from a series of tubes, essentially a corpse at this point. Because his only goals are unlimited power and unending reign over the galaxy, he tries to drain Ben Solo’s™ life force to heal himself, adding another murder to his record. This untrustworthy man is the greatest killer in Star Wars and is also possibly the scariest Star Wars character.
A Night Brother™ with piercing yellow and red eyes, charcoal and scarlet skin, and Zabrak™ horns growing out of his skull, Darth Maul™ is already physically intimidating. He’s also crazy cunning. With his stunning intellect, this villain can manipulate almost anyone — and does — using most beings he encounters as a means to his own ends. Darth Maul is also extremely skilled in combat. In Episode I: The Phantom Menace™, he wielded the first double-bladed lightsaber™ to be shown in Star Wars history, and a glowing red Sith saber at that.
As pictured above, Darth Maul’s final onscreen look and concept art differed in key areas. The color of his robes changed from Jedi™ tans and browns to Sith black, clarifying his allegiance. Most notably, however, is the fact that those horns were not originally conceived as horns. In the first sketches of Darth Maul, he has metal wiring wrapped around his head, and the angular protrusions are pieces of his flesh, not separate spikes. This added detail makes him all the more gruesome, even if the design choice didn’t make it into the final cut.
Most Star Wars fans root for the Jedi because they’re the ultimate good guys. In comparison, the bad guys have to be especially nefarious, such as General Grievous™, the famed Jedi hunter. The Kaleesh™ warlord commands the most powerful droid army the galaxy has ever seen. He’s violent, methodical, ruthless. He’s also a living weapon, the result of an experimental surgery that saved him from death but left him more machine than organic being.
Although he is not Force-sensitive, Grievous uses lightsaber combat in battle. His skill is paired with merciless mockery; in order to emotionally wound the Jedi, he brags about the sabers he’s stolen and tells the stories of how and from whom they were collected. Finally, Grievous is a brilliant military strategist. As a formidable opponent to our heroes, he is certainly one of the scariest Star Wars antagonists — and that’s even without mentioning the body horror that accompanies his death at the hands of Obi-Wan Kenobi™.
The Empire, and later the First Order™, release some truly terrible innovations into the galaxy. And the endless droves of people willing to fight for Imperial forces are devastating on their own … until the Empire realizes how to make their military might even mightier. The Dark Trooper Program™ is instated to remove human error from the battle equation. If combat droids are fully automated, then they would simply be perfect killing machines.
After three generations of models, the Dark Troopers are finally ready. Under Moff Gideon’s watch, the Dark Troopers descend on Tython™ to capture Grogu™. Later, Dark Troopers also fight against Luke Skywalker and fare much better than any stormtroopers™ ever had before. With Dark Troopers, the days of poor aim and clumsy fighting are long gone.
The destruction of the Jedi Order™ is horrific enough. Anakin Skywalker’s massacre at the Jedi Temple™ is truly the stuff of nightmares. Not even younglings are spared. But one of the most terrifying results of this objective is the creation of Inquisitors. These skilled lightsaber-wielders sweep through the entire galaxy, hunting down any last remaining Jedi. All members of the Inquisitorius are Force-sensitive, which makes their power even more of a corruption.
Of all the Inquisitors we’ve seen on screen, perhaps the most menacing is The Grand Inquisitor. In Obi-Wan Kenobi™, it is his mission to find the formidable Jedi. While Reva’s™ work within the Inquisitorius is troubling, ultimately her shadow is far outweighed by this Pau’an™ leader. He lets nothing get in his way — even a severe lightsaber stab can’t keep him down. That relentless drive fuels the Inquisitors as they cultivate terror across the star systems.
Rey™ is the protagonist of the sequel trilogy, so she wields the light side of the Force. However, she often feels the pull to the dark side. She’s unable to control some of her more aggressive impulses, and feels a connection to Sith apprentice Kylo Ren™. As the granddaughter of Sheev Palpatine, she has the ability to take and keep power. Despite these things, she never succumbs to Sith ideologies.
However, Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker™ tests Rey’s faith to the light. In one nightmarish sequence aboard the ruins of the Death Star™, Rey is confronted with a vision of her dark side self. The woman in black robes wields a double-bladed red lightsaber. She approaches Rey, snarling at her with sharpened teeth and ghastly pale skin. This Sith Rey is one of the scariest characters in Star Wars not only because of her physical appearance, but because of what she represents to Rey: hope lost and evil triumphant.
- Ewoks™! If you get on one of these adorable space bears’ bad sides, expect a spear to the head, a cookout, and/or dismemberment.
- Bossk™: This infamous reptilian bounty hunter uses his hunting instincts to corner and capture prey.
- Crosshair™ from The Bad Batch™ has a truly chilling aura thanks to his marksmanship and calculating, antisocial disposition.
- Darth Vader’s heavy breathing and emotionless demeanor make him a compelling — albeit tragic — villain and haunting antagonist for the sunny hero Luke Skywalker.
- Knobby White Ice Spiders: Deep in the crags of Maldo Kreis™, these eight-legged monstrosities wait to ensnare anyone who enters their lair (although Grogu will tell you they’re a delightful snack).
In your opinion, who are the scariest Star Wars characters? Share your thoughts with other fans at side.show/geekgroup, and don’t forget to Let Your Geek Sideshow!