Top 5 Pilots in Star Wars

Updated on April 4, 2018
Jeremy Gill profile image

Jeremy hopes the Force is with him as he pursues a forensics career in the swamps of Louisiana.

Imperial Tie Fighter variants
Imperial Tie Fighter variants

Piloting: An overlooked aspect

Star Wars fans like myself often see discussions of its lightsaber-wielding characters. Or perhaps we'll encounter debates on the workings of the light and dark sides of the Force. While these topics are awesome, it's about time we look at one of the most underrated aspects of Star Wars: the space battles. Watching the films, we see incredible pilots perform daring maneuvers with their spaceships.

Some of the most thrilling moments come from the aerial battles. In fact, after the rolling golden credits, every film opens with a ship travelling through space. To finally give credit where it's due, let's countdown the five best pilots we see within the Star Wars movies, and highlight some of their accomplishments.
Spoilers ahead.

Boba Fett. For a guy with only 3 lines in the original trilogy, he sure has a lot of fan art.
Boba Fett. For a guy with only 3 lines in the original trilogy, he sure has a lot of fan art.

5. Boba Fett

Boba Fett, the most feared bounty hunter in the galaxy, is the one who delivered the carbonite-frozen Han Solo to Jabba the Hutt. We see his piloting skill in Episode 5 when Han Solo tries to trick pursing Imperials by hiding his craft among jettisoned garbage. Fett anticipates this move, and thus tracks where Solo is headed, leading to the Empire's capture of Solo, Leia, and Chewbacca.

If not for Fett's cunning, the Rebels would have made a clean escape. Also of note is that no one in Solo's party noticed their pursuer, hinting at Fett's subtlety and piloting ability. Plus, he owns a customized and formidable ship, Slave 1.

Additionally, in Episode 2, we see Fett as a young boy. Despite his youth, when Jedi Obi-Wan and Jango Fett (Boba's father) duel, Boba capably operates his father's starship to fire upon the Jedi. Clearly, even as a kid, you don't mess with this bounty hunter.

Luke's piloting skills almost let us forget he made out with his sister.
Luke's piloting skills almost let us forget he made out with his sister.

4. Luke Skywalker

The young farmboy destined for greatness develops into a powerful Jedi throughout the original saga. However, he already begins with his extraordinary piloting abilities. We see these skills in each movie he appears in. Except Episode 3; as good as he'll become, infant Luke can't fly.

  • Ep. 4: Survives the Death Star assault and destroys the station
  • Ep. 5: Leads a team of Rebels against Imperial AT-ATs and discovers their weakness
  • Ep. 6: Navigates the forests of Endor on a speeder bike, dispatching several Scout Troopers along the way

Additionally, his connection to the Force provides reflexes and insight other pilots lack. Luke's impressive, but he's low on the list because of the help given to him when destroying the Death Star, and due to his crashed speeders in Episodes 5 and 6.

Wedge Antilles: the only man who helped take out both Death Stars.
Wedge Antilles: the only man who helped take out both Death Stars.

3. Wedge Antilles

Do you remember Ol' Wedgie (on second thought, I'm never using that nickname again) from the original trilogy? One of the best Rebel pilots, we see him aid the Alliance in all three original films.

  • Ep. 4: Survives the Death Star assault and saves Luke from a Tie Fighter
  • Ep. 5: Destroys several of the AT-AT tanks without taking a hit
  • Ep. 6: Successfully flies through the narrow passages of the second Death Star and destroys its power regulator


He may not have as much screen time as other characters, but no one can deny Wedge's dogfighting abilities.

Han flew first.
Han flew first. | Source

2. Han Solo

Most Star Wars viewers dreamed of being like Han. The cocky smuggler with a golden heart may have no force powers, but he proves a capable warrior and skilled pilot.

  • Ep. 4: Escapes two Star Destroyers and saves Luke during the Death Star assault
  • Ep. 5: Evades several Tie Fighters and Star Destroyers despite the Millenium Falcon's bulk, and navigates through a perilous asteroid field


Update: Han also displays impressive piloting in Episode 7, as does new character Poe Dameron.

You gotta admire Han for his quick reflexes, formidable piloting, and funky dance moves. Wait, what?

Honorable Mentions

"These aren't the pilots you're looking for."

  • Jango Fett
  • Obi-Wan Kenobi
  • Lando Calrissian


These three show impressive vehicle handling, but didn't quite make the cut. And now, our number one pilot in Star Wars is..

Darth Vader, the reason only 3 of 30 Rebel ships lived through their assault on the first Death Star.
Darth Vader, the reason only 3 of 30 Rebel ships lived through their assault on the first Death Star.

1. Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader

You don't mess with the Chosen One when he's behind a cockpit. Like Luke, his latent Force abilities provide an edge most pilots lack, but Anakin boasts of a much better vehicular resume:

  • Ep. 1: At only age nine, wins a Podrace and destroys the Trade Federation's space station
  • Ep. 2: Successfully chases after bounty hunter Zam Wesell through shortcuts and daring manuevers in a speeder
  • Ep. 3: Manages to enter the Separatist command station alongside Obi-Wan; while Kenobi's vehicle is badly damaged, Anakin's barely has a scratch
  • Ep. 4: Now Darth Vader, Anakin destroys an alarming number of Rebel ships in the Death Star assault

If not for an inept wingman, who crashed his craft into Vader's, Luke would have been shot down, the Death Star would survive, and the Rebellion would perish. As Obi-Wan once proclaimed, Anakin is not only a cunning warrior, but the best star pilot in the galaxy.

Perhaps if Vader had continued to fly in Episodes 5 and 6, rather than simply command others from afar, the Empire would have triumphed against the Rebellion.

Your Vote

Who do you believe is the best pilot?

See results

Future of Star Wars

With new skilled pilots, like Poe Dameron, debuting in the third Star Wars trilogy, we can expect more exciting space battles from the galaxy far far away. Stay on the lookout for more space battles in non-movie media like the Star Wars Rebels show or the Expanded Universe novels. As we eagerly await the future of Star Wars, vote for your favorite pilot and I'll see you at our next galactic countdown!

© 2015 Jeremy Gill

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, reelrundown.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://reelrundown.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)