Star Wars Characters Who Have Switched Sides

Throughout Star Wars™, there has always been good and evil. The light side and the dark side. The Republic and the Separatists. The Rebellion and the Empire. The Resistance and the First Order. Our heroes belong to one group, and their antagonists belong to the other, with clashes occurring as they try to subdue each other. But is that always the case? Is it truly so clear cut?

Not at all. Characters are more complex than good or evil. In a galaxy far, far away, we have heroes who commit terrible deeds and villains who help the innocent. Plenty of people have switched sides over the course of the saga. From the television series to the films and beyond, let’s look at these Star Wars “side switchers.”


Anakin Skywalker / Darth Vader

The Chosen One destined to bring balance to the Force, Anakin Skywalker™ is perhaps the most famous side switcher in Star Wars. He begins his life as a slave on Tatooine™ who dreams of greatness. The Jedi™ Qui-Gon Jinn™ and Obi-Wan Kenobi™ offer Anakin a new beginning as a Padawan™, and he excels as a powerful and promising student.

However, Anakin can’t separate himself from emotions and attachments. His mother’s death has a profound impact upon him, and he starts to express unhealed trauma as untamable rage. Seduced by the dark side’s potential to save his remaining loved ones, Anakin becomes the Sith Lord Darth Vader™.

Darth Vader is the main villain of the Original Trilogy. He even attempts to convince his son, Luke Skywalker™, to join him as an oppressive ruler of the galaxy. Eventually, however, Luke pulls Darth Vader back to the light. Thus Anakin ends his role in the Skywalker Saga™ having switched sides twice.


Asajj Ventress

In Star Wars: The Clone Wars™, Asajj Ventress™ is a Sith disciple mentored by Count Dooku™. Selfish and sinister, she presents a constant threat to the protagonists of our tale. However, she can be motivated to switch sides based on personal interest. When the Sith betray her, and when Ahsoka Tano™ is in need, Asajj Ventress lends her lightsabers to the light.

Later, in canon Star Wars novels, Asajj Ventress falls in love with the Jedi Knight Quinlan Vos™. As retribution, Count Dooku captures and tortures Quinlan Vos until he turns to the dark side. Asajj Ventress sacrifices herself to save Quinlan Vos’ life and subsequently bring him back to the light. She is then officially honored by the Jedi Council for her heroic deeds.


Captain Rex

Captain Rex™ is a beloved clone trooper™ who works closely with Anakin Skywalker, Ahsoka Tano, and Obi-Wan Kenobi. The three Jedi trust Rex with their lives. That is why it’s so heartbreaking when Rex turns against Ahsoka during Order 66 . While it isn’t his fault β€” he is forced to comply using a built-in inhibitor chip in his brain β€” it is certainly a brief moment of side switching.

Additionally, Rex is a rebel in Star Wars: Rebels™ and no longer a contracted government soldier. While many of the clones join the Empire following the collapse of the Republic, Rex chooses to live out his days in the desert. When the Ghost crew comes calling, Rex decides to join the cause against an institution for which he once vowed to die.


Cara Dune

Cara Dune’s™ earliest work is as a shock trooper™ in the Rebel Alliance. At the end of the Galactic Civil War, however, she switches sides to pursue a darker sort of career. Becoming a mercenary, Cara Dune forsakes her ideals of justice to chase coin as a gun for hire. It is only when she meets The Mandalorian™ and Grogu™ that she is inspired to rejoin a more reputable organization. Eventually, she is appointed Marshal of Nevarro™.


FN-2187 / Finn

One of the most amazing parts of the Sequel Trilogy is Finn’s™ story. We first meet this character aboard an enemy starship. How are we supposed to trust him? He’s a stormtrooper™, and according to The Force Awakens‘™ book tie-ins, a really good one. Yet during his first battle, Finn β€” then going by the identification number FN-2187™ β€” refuses to slaughter a village full of civilians. He won’t kill, and he breaks himself free of his brainwashed attachment to the villains.

Cementing his role as a side switcher, Finn rescues Resistance pilot Poe Dameron™ from imprisonment. The two fast friends escape in a stolen T.I.E. Fighter™. Then, Finn goes on to find Rey™, the galaxy’s newest savior. Finn’s side switching is vital to the story, and his involvement in the Resistance’s future ensures their victory over the evil First Order.


Boba Fett

This bounty hunter from The Empire Strikes Back™ is cold, calculating, and hardly a character at all. He’s dangerous, and then he dies. But in The Book of Boba Fett™, Boba Fett™ renounces the ways of both the Empire and the bounty hunters. He forges friendships with Tusken Raiders™, rides a rancor™, and becomes a respected, fair ruler in Mos Espa™. Now that’s a side switch we can fully support.


The Inquisitor

Inquisitors™ are Jedi hunters that work for the Empire. They use the dark side of the force to aid in capturing and/or executing remaining Jedi or Force-sensitive children. In Star Wars: Rebels, The Inquisitor is a major threat to Kanan Jarrus™ and his Padawan Ezra Bridger™. But he is ultimately defeated and dies. Later in the show, though, The Inquisitor reappears in the Lothal™ Jedi Temple … as a light side Temple Guardian. While it takes a deep dive into Star Wars lore to fully explain this, suffice it to say it’s a shocking and awe-inspiring side switch.


Kylo Ren / Ben Solo

Like his grandfather before him, Kylo Ren™ is a main antagonist within his trilogy. He spends three movies actively opposing our heroes in order to serve a truly terrifying version of Emperor Palpatine™. Even when offered redemption from the overly forgiving Rey, Kylo Ren instead makes all the wrong choices β€” including patricide β€” again and again.

Yet in The Rise of Skywalker™, Kylo Ren has a change of heart. After a near-death experience, he reflects on his last moments with Han Solo™, imagining that his dad convinced him to choose hope. Kylo thus shirks his Sith name to be reborn as Ben Solo™. This hero sacrifices himself body and soul to save Rey and to bring the galaxy back into an age of peace.


Which other Star Wars characters have switched sides? Do you have a favorite story arc for one of these side switchers? Let us know in the comments, and don’t forget to Let Your Geek Sideshow!