If there's one thing you can never fault the Star Wars franchise for doing, it's under-populating its worlds. There are more Star Wars characters, major and otherwise, than many other science fiction stories have combined. Only other giants like Star Trek and Dr. Who can credibly rival Star Wars for their sheer number of minor characters.
And, admittedly, you have to be judicious with such a massive cast. Even though most of the background characters in the Star Wars movie now have some sort of background story (yes, including virtually every creature to appear in Jabba's Palace and the Mos Eisley Cantina), there was no way to give them all bigger roles in the story. Each movie would be ten hours long. Yet there are nevertheless a few characters who stand out from the rest, with enticing personalities and roles, and these few probably could (should) have appeared a few more times ere the Ewoks partied and the Empire fell. Below are ten such luminaries.
Wedge, ol' buddy! The legendary leader of Rogue Squadron, Captain Antilles (no relation to the poor captain of the Tantive IV) was one of those rare minor characters who appeared in all three of the original Star Wars films. In fact, he may be the ONLY minor character to show up in all three, and he had a relatively important role in the first and last. How many people can say they helped blow up not one but two Death Stars?
Fun as he was in the cockpit, Wedge deserved a little more spotlight. There are glimmers of a friendship with Luke in A New Hope, and he seems familiar with a couple more cast members in Return of the Jedi. Why not let him tag along with the usual gang on some adventures? Hopefully he'll get more of the spotlight in whatever new movies Disney and Lucasfilm conjure up in the future - and, if nothing else, he's a major player in many of the Expanded Universe books.
Yes, yes, it's a trap. We know, admiral. Corny references aside, Ackbar represented two things Star Wars somewhat lacked: a notable face for the military structure of the Rebellion, and a commanding officer who's not human. I would take Ackbar strutting about Echo Base and chatting with Han over General Rieekan any day. Gotta love that raspy voice. Like Wedge, Ackbar gets a lot more play time in the Expanded Universe - but it's just not the same if you can't actually see those giant, swivelling eyes.
The leader of the Rebellion? Surely she must be important, surely. Yet Mon Mothma was relegated to one tiny scene in Return of the Jedi, and her younger self was completely cut out of the theatrical version of Revenge of the Sith. Mothma exuded a quiet sort of power during her short screen time, and it would have been quite interesting to watch her verbally spar with Emperor Palpatine before the end of the series. Surely that would be a fitting cap to a clash between two galactic powers?
Captain / Admiral Piett
Ahh, Piett. Darth Vader's right-hand man. Piett has the distinction of rising to the rank of Admiral because the previous admiral mucked up the approach to Hoth and got himself killed by the Dark Lord of the Sith. Piett was a nervous, fidgety man, and even though he was largely a background character he stands out as a fun example of the Empire's officer corps. There's not nearly enough representation of the Imperial military once Grand Moff Tarkin dies, and even he's not the best example. Why not show more scenes of Piett when he's NOT being frightened by Vader? Surely there's more to the man than nervous swallowing, and though we see some of his spine when he dismisses Vader's bounty hunters as scum, we could stand to see a little more.
EV-9D9 gets only one scene in Return of the Jedi, when C-3P0 and R2-D2 are first carted off to Jabba the Hutt's dungeons for recruitment into his services. Yet in those scant few minutes EV-9D9 establishes herself as a menace, her voice cold, efficient and amused at the prospect of droid pain. She could make an incredible secondary villain in Jabba's employ with some more screen time... yet she's not seen again after her initial conversation with C-3P0. More, more, more!
(Want a glimpse at what she could have been? Check out Tales from Jabba's Palace. EV-9D9 gets her own short story. It's great.)
If you're not Yoda or Mace Windu, you kind of get the shaft as a member of the Jedi Council. Most of the aliens didn't even get speaking lines, and some never left the council chambers. Mountain-headed Ki-Adi-Mundi was the exception, as he not only added to the deliberations in the prequel trilogy, he was granted a rather poignent death scene. He's still not afforded a whole lot of screen time, and probably would have made an excellent sidekick for Yoda in one of the later movies. Who cares if his head looks odd, give us more Ki-Adi-Mundi!
Man, forget Jar Jar Binks. THIS guy should have gone with Padme to Coruscant. A rough-and-tumble Gungan, Boss Nass looks and sounds the part of a leader: he's big, he's boisterous, he's seemingly without fear, and his voice is awesome. He also looks like he could do quite well in a fist-or-blaster fight, which is something that could never be said of poor Jar Jar. Boss Nass had a significant role in The Phantom Menace, but his almost complete disappearance after that was such a shame. Surely he could at least pop up for a visit during Attack of the Clones. Surely!
Look at him. Just look at him. The dude has a computer installed in his brain. If that's not awesome, I don't know what is. The chief administrative aide to Lando Calrissian in Cloud City, Lobot isn't the chatty type - he hasn't a single line of dialogue in The Empire Strikes Back, and only appears in a small handful of scenes. He's nevertheless an incredibly distinctive character, thanks to the baldness and the computer schtick, and he could've made a great foil to Lando's irrepressible charm.
And the worst part? Apparently that was the plan all along. Lobot was supposed to have lines with Lando... they just got cut out. Sigh.
Lando, Lobot, and Nien Nunb. Forget Luke, Han, Chewbacca and Leia, you have the new face of the Star Wars trilogy in these three rogues. Nien Nunb served as Lando's co-pilot during the battle of the second Death Star, and in his few scenes the Sullustan managed to carve quite a personality for himself. Sure, you can't understand a word he's saying, but that never stopped Chewbacca from getting his point across. Besides, Chewbacca can't wiggle his ears. Nien Nunb can. And don't say your heart didn't melt just a little bit when Nunb gleefully laughed in the aftermath of the Death Star's destruction, because you'd be a liar.
Yeah, yeah, he's the most over-hyped minor character in the whole original trilogy. His father was turned into an important part of Attack of the Clones simply because his kid was so popular. Boba Fett is still awesome, and the iconic bounty hunter deserved a few more scenes than he got, possibly as more of an aide to Darth Vader than Jabba the Hutt. Who cares if he hits on dancing girls? Let's see Boba blasting away at Han Solo on Endor.
Note that this is ARMOURED Boba Fett. Cool bounty hunter Boba Fett. Not child Boba Fett. We all have to start somewhere, I'll admit that, but tiny Boba... tiny Boba was not very cool.
Agree? Disagree? Did I miss anyone? (Of course I did, there are hundreds of deserving characters.) Let me know how wrong I was!
Joseph Ray on September 11, 2014:
It is somewhat sad that we couldn't see more of some of these characters in the movies, but it is hard to do that when you are trying to tell a story. This was a good list.
Tim from Los Angeles, CA on August 20, 2013:
Lobot needs his own trilogy!
Matt Bird (author) from Canada on January 03, 2013:
I was too much of a bounty hunter freak when I was a kid. A decade ago this list would have been half bounty hunters.
The only thing that could have made Ratzenberger's appearance better would have been George Wendt at his side. Possibly at a bar in Echo Base.
And yeah, the Rogue Squadron books starring Wedge are solid reads. I like Wraith Squadron more, personally, but the Rogues weren't bad. Thanks for the comment!
Geekdom on January 03, 2013:
Great List. Wedge Antilles gets a lot more attention in the books.
Almost any of the Jedi in the prequels or Bounty Hunters in Empire Strikes back could make this list but I would like to give a special shout out to Rebel Force Major Derlin because he was played by John Ratzenberger.