None of these characters showed up in the movies so they may have flown under your radar, but their contribution to the galaxy is undeniable.
The galaxy may have existed long ago and far away, but it is huge. It shrunk for a moment after the Disney acquisition, but it’s been steadily expanding again ever since with ongoing publications of new books, comics, and TV shows. And honestly, thank kriffing goodness. While the movies haven’t been hitting the mark every time, the additional reading and watching has been pretty consistently awesome. If you still love the galaxy but haven’t taken a step back from the movies to see what else they’re making, maybe these five will convince you that there’s a lot to love about Star Wars.
Doctor Aphra answers the question “What would it look like if Indiana Jones was in space, hung out with two murder droids, and freelanced briefly for Darth Vader?” She’s that perfectly morally ambiguous character that you need in stories with sides as black and white as the rebellion vs the empire, creating almost as many issues as she fixes and narrowly avoiding truly taking sides or getting involved when she doesn’t have to. In a galaxy of heroes, Aphra aims to scam and survive. She first appeared in the 2015 Darth Vader comics and quickly became a fan favorite, transitioning over to her own title which is still running. If you hadn’t considered picking up any of the Star Wars comics to this point, check out Doctor Aphra’s story. Even if they’re the only Star Wars comics you ever read, check out Doctor Aphra.
Yes, I’m starting out with some soft balls, but these two are just one step below the “Ahsoka Tano commemorative list of non-movie characters that everybody knows about” for a reason. It’s impossible not to love Captain Rex. His story through Clone Wars and then Rebels gives us a closer look at what it mean actually means to be a clone, his friendship with Ahsoka and pre-Vader Anikan, and living through war. Every clone’s story is a little tragic and the animated shows seem to go out of their way to make us sad about clones as often as possible, but Rex is a constant touchstone of friendship and joy. Plus, we may get a peek at him live-action fighting on Endor. It hasn’t been officially confirmed or denied if the older man who looks just like older Rex is in fact him, but the fanon has pretty much unanimously agreed it is.
There aren’t a lot of imperial characters that I love, but Rae Sloane is absolutely on that very short list. (There’s only one other, they’re also a Grand Admiral. I have a type.) Through various books and comics her career builds as she climbs ranks using nothing but that sheer intelligence and competence that seems lacking in the rest of the universe. Rae interacts directly with Kanan and Hera of Rebels, Wedge Antilles in the Aftermath books, and effectively takes a young Armitage Hux under her wing. This is a character who has left her fingerprints all over the new canon and deserves so much more recognition than she’s gotten. If you want to know more imperial characters motivated by ideals and what it looks like when somebody in pulls themselves up from nothing and climbs as far up the ladder as they can go, Rae Sloane is that character.
Kanan’s character arc tells a lot of stories, but one of the most interesting is the escape from order 66. You can follow his life from padawan to escaped force user, space laborer, and eventually member of the rebel alliance and master to Ezra Bridger. Along the way you’ll see the galaxy from a dozen different angles, every one of those character arcs shows a different snapshot of the universe. His story single-handedly provides an unfathomable amount of behind the scenes information and context to the rest of the galaxy.
Rebel pilot, personal friend to Leia, and Poe Dameron’s mother, Shara Bey is a character that’s hard not to like. Very much one of the more relatable members of the rebellion compared to the space wizards and royalty, Shara brings a little more realness to a saga that is primarily about war and a new perspective on battles we’re already pretty familiar with. That said, she is undeniably badass, earning promotions and missions until finally retiring after the Battle of Endor.
Which characters that never graced the big screen are your favorite? Who would you like to included next time? Who would you like to see make the transition from print or TV into the movies? Let us know in the comments!
May the force be with you, Adventurers!