‘Star Wars’ 40th: Characters We Love to Hate

Reading Time: 7 minutes
c. Disney/Lucasfilm

Hondo Ohnaka
Appearances:
Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Star Wars: Rebels, Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures

Why Shiri Loves to Hate Hondo: Look, I’m a fan of the rogue. Hondo is a thief, a scoundrel, a swindler, a kidnapper, and a double-crossing pirate but he does it all with such gusto and joy, I can’t help but adore him despite the fact he continues to get some of my favorite Jedi into very serious trouble. Though, in fairness, he seems to enjoy sticking it to the Empire as much as he does anyone else. Far wiser than he seems, he’s bested Anakin, Obi-Wan, Dooku, and Kanan strategically and he’s helped the rebellion from time to time. When he feels like it. There’s also a fair bit of hilarity to be found in watching Hondo drive everyone, including the usually implacable Obi-Wan Kenobi and Kanan Jarrus, completely crazy.

Favorite Line:

Darth Maul: “Filth, you will pay for your insolence.”

Hondo: “Insolence! We are pirates! We don’t even know what that means.”

Contributor: S.W. Sondheimer


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Asajj Ventress
Appearances:
Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Star Wars: Rebels (sort of – the same actress voiced the Sith Holocron/Temple in the S2 finale and I’m counting it)

Why Shiri Loves To Hate Asajj Ventress: There’s going to be a moral ambiguity theme here, which is unlikely to shock anyone who knows me. If you don’t know me, see above. Absolute good vs. absolute evil certainly has its place in storytelling but for me, nuance will always win the day and Ventress certainly has that. One of the Force-sensitive Nightsisters, she was sold into slavery as a child. Rescued and trained by a Jedi, his murder enraged her such that she embraced the Dark Side, priming her to become Dooku’s apprentice and a Sith assassin. She fought Anakin and Obi-Wan on multiple occasions and become so skilled that Palpatine, fearing her potential, ordered her executed. Searching for purpose, Ventress became a bounty hunter, helped Ahsoka Tano when she was on the run from the Order, and even fell in love with Jedi Master Quinlan Vos. Do her heroic acts later atone for her choice to go Dark Side? For the damage she did? For the lives she took? Can a character ever really atone for such things? Probably not, however, as I appreciate Ventress’ nuanced character, I also appreciate the fact she learned and grew and changed. And evolved. Into the spirit of a Sith Holocron/Temple. At least in my headcanon.

Favorite Line:

“Remember… you always have a choice to be better. You always have a choice to… to pick the right path. Even if that choice comes a little late.”

Contributor: S.W. Sondheimer


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The Grand Inquisitor
Appearances:
Star Wars: Rebels, Kanan: The Last Padawan

Why Shiri Loves to Hate the Inquisitor: Known only as the Grand Inquisitor, it was the Pau’an’s job to hunt down any Jedi who survived the Order 66 purge. As we found out in S2 of Rebels, however, the Grand Inquisitor wasn’t always a servant of the Dark Side; he was once not only a Jedi Knight but a Temple Guard. What did he see that turned him? Was it the slaughter of the younglings by one of their trusted teachers? Or did he, like Bariss Offee, see the corruption rife in the Order? Was his breaking point the realization the Council had set Anakin up to fail, thus precipitating the triumph of the Emperor? Does he believe he’s doing the right thing in purging the Order? Is he wrong? All of this and more make the Grand Inquisitor a fascinating character I’d like to know more about. There must be a reason he’s the one to Knight Kanan in the latter’s vision in S2: does he see Kanan as an heir to what the Jedi once were? Is the Grand Inquisitor actually establishing an order of balance? Of Gray Jedi? Inquiring minds want to know.

Contributor: S.W. Sondheimer


c. Disney/Lucasfilm

Aurra Sing
Appearances: Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, various comic titles

Why Anika Loves to Hate Aurra: Aurra is awful. She’s a ruthless mercenary, a somewhat pure one compared to Han or Hondo since she’s in it for Aurra. In one of my favorite Clone Wars arcs, she uses baby bounty hunter Boba Fett’s vendetta against Mace Windu for her own purposes, forces Boba to turn on his friends, asks him to kill prisoners for the shock value, and then abandons him when he’s caught and she’s not. And I still kinda wish she remained his mother figure. She’s just that awesomely awful! Aurra Sing does what she wants. She will kiss you or kill you and enjoy every minute of it because girls just wanna have fun and murder people. Aurra Sing is awful and I love her so much.

Favorite line:

“I never ask for permission to do anything, my darling.”

Contributor: Anika Dane


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Kylo Ren
Appearance: Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

Why Anika Loves to Hate Kylo Ren: Honestly, this is more a “hate to love” situation. I would proudly defend Anakin Skywalker to my dying breath but I’m kinda embarrassed to admit I care about his wayward grandson. Kylo Ren is a nightmare — Leia’s, and Han’s, and Luke’s, and certainly Anakin’s, nightmare. He’s a terrible, horrible, no good person who doesn’t deserve my love! But, to me, the whole point of Star Wars — the point that Vader fanboys like Kylo Ren don’t get — is that it’s okay if I give it anyway. It’s okay for me to laugh at Kylo’s temper tantrums and also find them terrifying and, well, relatable. It’s okay for me to cheer when Rey downloads the Force and destroys him, but it’s also okay to want to give him a hug and get him a cookie and teach him about more appropriate coping skills. It’s okay to hope for his redemption and believe it requires his atonement. I love to hate Kylo Ren because I still believe in Ben Solo.

Contributor: Anika Dane


c. Disney/Lucasfilm

Emperor Palpatine
Appearances:
Episodes I-III, V-VI, as Senator Palpatine in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, various comics

Why Amy Loves to Hate Palpatine: Say what you will about the prequels, Palpatine is mesmerizing in Revenge of the Sith. Not to sound cliche, but I literally thought, “It’s like watching Shakespeare,” like Anakin was the “hero” of a proper Shakespearian tragedy, falling under the mechanizations of an Iago type. The way he manipulates Anakin toward the Dark Side is so measured and insidious (pun not intended), it’s frightening in a way a more outwardly nasty villain can’t manage. His entire rise to power is so terribly plausible, he’s fooled almost everyone into believing only he can fix the mess he made in the first place. This is how evil really works in the world! By pretending to be your friend!

Contributor: Amy Weir


c. Disney/Lucasfilm

Teenage Anakin Skywalker
Appearances: Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith

Why Samantha Loves to Hate Teenage Anakin Skywalker: Like most folks, I can’t stand Jar Jar Binks but he isn’t actually my least favorite character of the prequels. Whiny, entitled, brat-man Anakin Skywalker holds that dubious honor. I like to think they were actually aiming for a simmering dark rage but what came across on the screen was a bratty tantrum every time he was in a scene. The mother in me cringes every time I look at him. Now, some folks blame Hayden Christensen but I’ve seen him play a troubled teen in other movies and do it well so I don’t think all the blame lies with the actor. The combination of poor writing and poor execution resulted in the most annoying character in all the Star Wars universe.

Favorite Lines:

“Do you like sand? I hate sand. It’s coarse and rough and irritating and it gets everywhere.”

“Believe me. I wish that I could just wish away my feelings.”

Contributor: Samantha Fisher


c. Disney/Lucasfilm

Darth Vader
Appearances:
Star Wars: A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi

Why Anthony Loves to Hate Darth Vader: Forget the prequels and sequels, forget the animated shows, forget the new (but excellent) comics. I couldn’t give two piles of poodoo about the “morally conflicted” Vader that the character has evolved into since the original movies. My Vader is the scene-stealing, Force-choking, Jedi-killing juggernaut from the original three movies that made my stomach twist whenever he appeared on screen. In Episodes IV-VI, if Vader showed up, you knew that things were going to go bad for someone before the scene was over and you held your breath until the bodies hit the floor (or fell down the waste chute). Back then, there was no doubt that Vader was the villain and whatever he said to Luke or anyone else that could be construed as a glimmer of moral lightness was being used only to further his and his master’s agenda. At the same time, Vader was cool. His armor gleamed with mechanical menace, the click-whir of his breathing that preceded every appearance, the sci-fi equivalent of the Jaws theme, is forever etched into my subconscious. I never wanted Vader to win; but at the same time, when he ultimately fell, I knew it was the end of something unique and glorious.

Favorite line:

“I find your lack of faith…disturbing.”

Contributor: Anthony Karcz

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