Star Wars™ Antiheroes We Love To Root For
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, an antihero is “a central character in a story, movie, or drama who lacks conventional heroic attributes.” These attributes include, but are not limited to, idealism, altruism, courage, and/or morality. Often an antihero can simply be a good guy with a bad attitude — hence the “jerk with a heart of gold” trope that is so prevalent in pop culture. The most important thing to remember about antiheroes, of course, is that they are not villains. So then where’s the line, and who exemplifies these traits?
Well, Star Wars™ is no stranger to antiheroes. From smugglers to bounty hunters and more, the galaxy far, far away has its fair share of lovable, morally ambiguous adventurers. Let’s take a look at some of the best of the not-quite-the-worst below.
“Never tell me the odds.”
Han Solo is introduced in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope™ as a selfish and arrogant smuggler. His character is apparently only motivated by money, and he takes every opportunity to mock Luke Skywalker™ and Obi-Wan Kenobi™ about their “hokey” ancient Jedi ways. Han doesn’t believe in friendship or the Force — he believes in a hearty payday and a light-speed escape before he has to risk his neck.
Of course, after meeting Princess Leia™ and accidentally joining the rebellion, Han changes his way. He leaves before the final assault against the Death Star™, but swoops in at the last minute in a daring deus ex machina move to prove he’s more than his gruff exterior.
“This is the way.”
A mysterious stranger, a bounty hunter, and a Child of the Watch, Din Djarin™, or The Mandalorian™, is not your typical leading man by any means. He’s antisocial and quick-tempered, a loner, who kills or collects criminals for a Guild fee. But he’s also kind-hearted, caring deeply for Grogu™ as well as his other allies. He’s loyal to his people, and uses his galactic credits for their betterment, or for armor that can help him fight for The Child’s future.
This titular character has become one of Star Wars‘ most beloved protagonists. He’s also beloved in world, with other heroes naturally gravitating toward his peaceful presence despite his constant attempts to work alone. So while he doesn’t fit the exact hero archetype, he’s undoubtedly the hero of the next generation of Star Wars stories.
“Oh, the stories I could tell. Many of them true.”
Captain Hondo Ohnaka is a troublemaker. A liar. A pirate. This outlaw operates during Star Wars: The Clone Wars™ throughout the galaxy, grabbing glory and gold. For the right price, Hondo helps the Jedi. He might also help the villains if the prize is alluring enough. Hondo never lies about his intentions, though; he’s upfront about what he wants as well as the fact that he’ll do pretty much anything to get it.
Hondo shows a little more integrity in Star Wars: Rebels™. In his attempts to recruit young Jedi Ezra Bridger™, Hondo inadvertently assists the rebellion in his first few appearances, but then actively commits to a dangerous mission in the Rebels finale, explaining in his most selfless monologue of all time that he’s willing to do anything to help Ezra.
“This deal is getting worse all the time.”
Lando Calrissian and Han Solo are old friends, and coincidentally pretty similar in their habits of double-crossing, swindling, and self-preservation. In Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back™, Lando provides sanctuary for our heroes in Cloud City. This refuge actually becomes a prison cell for Han, who is slated to be frozen in carbonite, and Luke, who must duel a Sith Lord and barely escapes with his life.
Wracked by guilt and wrestling with that hidden desire to do good, Lando helps Leia and Chewbacca™ devise a plan to save Han. And as we see in Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi™, Lando has found the hero within himself, putting his life on the line for the rebellion as well as the people he loves.
“He’s no good to me dead.”
Boba Fett’s alignment is a little trickier. In the Original Trilogy, he’s a bounty hunter who works with villains such as Darth Vader™ and Jabba the Hutt™. A killer-for-hire, he’s absolutely an antagonist, but he’s pushed into a Sarlacc™ pit before we can really get to know him.
In The Mandalorian, Boba Fett is still a killer, but he partners with Din Djarin against Moff Gideon™ and other Imperial remnants. In this way, he becomes an antihero, fighting for mostly the right reasons but in kind of the wrong way. His ultimate goal is realized in the season finale when he takes over Jabba’s Palace. We’ll find out what this morally gray protagonist — and his right-hand woman, Fennec Shand™ — are up to in The Book of Boba Fett™, set to release December 2021.
The Bad Batch™
“I like you. You don’t fit in here either.”
It’s clear that The Bad Batch are antiheroes from their entire pitch alone. This band of unique, or “defective,” Clone Troopers™ deal with threats a little differently than their regulated brothers. Task Force 99 is composed of Crosshair, Hunter, Echo, Wrecker, and Tech; each has his own special ability that makes him a more capable soldier who also works a little outside the rules of engagement, war, combat, etc.
Make no mistake, The Bad Batch are good guys. They’re just also, well — their team name says it all.
Who is your favorite Star Wars antihero? Let us know in the comments, and don’t forget to Let Your Geek Sideshow!