Jeremy hopes the Force is with him as he pursues a forensics career in the swamps of Louisiana.
What Are Bounty Hunters in Star Wars?
Similarly to their real-world counterparts, bounty hunters in Star Wars are mercenaries for hire who are usually tasked with apprehending a target—dead or alive. Many bounty hunters bear no specific allegiances and simply follow the money, or "credits" in Star Wars terms.
Bounty hunters come in many shapes and sizes, some being little more than ruthless killers, others maintaining a moral code despite their violent line of work. A number join the Bounty Hunter's Guild while some prefer independent work. Bounty hunters' fluctuating loyalties and unpredictable motives make them fascinating characters that audiences lover, but with dozens of prominent mercenaries, which galactic rogues reign supreme? These are the ten best bounty hunters throughout Star Wars! Spoilers ahead.
10. Sabine Wren
Seen in: Star Wars Rebels
Like the famous Fett family, Sabine belongs to the Mandalorians, a culture of proud warriors who yield many fierce bounty hunters. For such a youthful women, Sabine's seen it all, having went from training as a cadet on Mandalore's Imperial Academy to freelance bounty hunter work to eventually joining the Rebel Alliance.
Wren's a well-rounded unit with a talent for modifying equipment, as she made her traditional Manadalorian armor more mobile by stripping away less crucial components. She's also a talented pilot, artist (having designed the Rebellion's logo), munitions expert, and even gains control of the Darksaber, a unique black-bladed lightsaber. Sabine's gadgetry, lightsaber training (under Kanan Jarrus), and wits make her a cunning warrior who gradually shifts from bounty hunter to firm Rebel.
9. Aurra Sing
Seen in: Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace, Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Despite a brief, non-speaking role in Episode 1, Aurra Sing's unique appearance roused much curiosity, and her story expands in both the canon and legend timelines of Star Wars. In the canon world, she helps train a young Boba Fett after his father's death, but eventually perishes at the hand of Tobias Beckett.
However, she's much more renowned in the legends expanded universe, having once been a Jedi Padawan who left the Order to pursue life as a bounty hunter specializing in assassins. Aurra's skills with conventional weaponry blend with her limited Force powers to create a deadly warrior, and in this timeline, she's never shown to die, appearing as late as the Legacy of the Force novels (which take place several decades after Return of the Jedi).
Seen in: Star Wars Episode 5: The Empire Strikes Back, Star Wars Rebels
Briefly seen during Darth Vader's famous bounty hunter gathering in Episode 5, IG-88 was actually one of five IG-88 droids who worked in unison to track their targets. Many considered him (and his brethren) second only to Boba Fett in bounty hunting skill during the Galactic Civil War. The droids utilized a frightening array of weapons including blaster rifles, poison darts, flamethrowers, and more.
During his section in the legends novel Tales of the Bounty Hunters, IG-88 hacks himself into the second Death Star, and may very well have taken control of the machine had it not exploded courtesy of the Rebel Alliance.
7. Black Krrsantan
Seen in: Various Star Wars comics
Krrsantann (often called Santy) shares Chewbacca's Wookiee race, but his black fur makes him even more intimidating. Santy was considered one of Jabba the Hutt's top bounty hunters and often undertook missions for both him and the Empire.
Like most Wookiees, Santy is a force to be reckoned with, and once subdued Obi-Wan Kenobi before Owen Lars distracted him. He also put up a marvelous fight against Chewbacca, Han Solo, and R2-D2 (who wielded a stun needle). In addition to his natural strength, Santy proficiently wields weapons like brass knuckles and stun nets, and he's yet to die, meaning we'll hopefully witness more of this ferocious fighter in future stories.
Seen in: Star Wars Episode 5: The Empire Strikes Back, Tales of the Bounty Hunters
Nicknamed Payback for his vengeful policies, Dengar was another hunter briefly shown during Vader's assembly, and he shares Han's Corellian heritage. Dengar was as skilled a racer as a bounty hunter, often participating in swoop bike touraments.
Following a swoop accident, Dengar received several cybernetic enhancements to keep him alive, further amplifying his strength but turning him even colder, and he was often considered more ruthless than even Boba Fett. Still, Dengar and Fett actually paired for several important missions, and Dengar was the one who rescued Fett after he narrowly escaped the Sarlaac Pit. Despite his brutal past, Dengar eventually settles down, marrying his love Manaroo, but he occasionally resurfaces for additional work.
Seen in: Star Wars: The Clone Wars
During the Republic's era, Embo bears a fierce reputation as a skilled hunter, and he's an unusually cooperative mercenary, willing to form alliances when beneficial. His acrobatic skills made him a surprisingly competent close-quarters fighter who can match opponents like Anakin Skywalker and Savage Opress, and he was considered second only to Cad Bane during the Clone Wars.
Embo's success despite his relatively simple armament showcase his intense abilities, and he survives both the Clone and Galactic wars; hopefully we'll learn more about his later life in upcoming media.
Seen in: Star Wars: Clone Wars, various Star Wars comics
Belonging to the almost-immortal Gen'Dai species, Durge has lived for over 2000 years, with his most prominent activity being performed for Count Dooku's Separatist movement. Durge's armor and ability to regenerate himself make him annoyingly difficult to kill, but he harbors a surprisingly tragic past, having been captured and tortured to the brink of insanity, then buried alive for 60 years.
Durge's immense abilities have let him triumph in several impressive battles, most notably simultaneously subduing the Jedi Masters Plo Koon and Kit Fisto, but he finally met his doom when Anakin Skywalker Force pushed Durge's escape pod into the planet Maramere's sun.
3. Cad Bane
Seen in: Star Wars: The Clone Wars
A fan favorite emergence from the second Clone Wars program, Cad Bane (not to be confused with ancient Sith Darth Bane) was considered the galaxy's greatest bounty hunter after Jango Fett's demise. He's loyal only to credits, more than willing to turn on his benefactor if offered more money, but his vast repertoire of cutting edge technology and keen intellect prove a match even for many Force users.
Cad's arsenal includes twin pistols, hidden stun gauntlets, a flamethrower, breathing tubes to counter a Force choke, and jet boots that help match a Jedi's mobility. Perhaps most indicative of his combat skills, Bane put up a worthy fight against the combined might of Jedi Masters Obi-Wan Kenobi and Quinlan Vos, but he's at his best when given time to concoct a cunning plan.
2. Boba Fett
Seen in: Star Wars Episodes 2, 5, and 6, the Clone Wars program, etc.
The "son" (really a clone) of Jango Fett, Boba was trained by several prominent bounty hunters, including Jango himself, Zam Wesell, and Aura Sing, entering the field at a remarkably young age. Of Vader's gathered hunters, it was Boba who successfully found Han Solo in Episode 5, and he (with some assistance from Dengar) became the first known person to escape a Sarlaac Pit.
Like his father before him, Boba pilots the formidable Slave 1 ship, wears sturdy armor and a jetpack, and carries a huge array of weapons including a blaster rifle, flamethrowers, rocket missiles, and much more. Boba appears throughout the legends expanded universe, eventually becoming Mandalore (leader of his Mandalorian planet) and helping Jaina Solo train to take on her corrupted brother Darth Caedus.
1. Jango Fett
Seen in: Star Wars Episode 2: Attack of the Clones, Star Wars: Bounty Hunter, etc.
Adopted into the Mandalorian culture after the murder of his parents, Jango helped guide his people through the Mandalorian Civil War, after which he set out to become the best bounty hunter in the galaxy. Despite an unceremonious death at the hands of Mace Windu, Jango served as the template for the Republic's clone army, and his legacy continues through Boba. He even takes the leading role in the Bounty Hunter video game.
Comparing the two, Boba lived and Jango didn't, but considering Jango's feat of killing six Jedi bare-handed, he's the superior warrior. Plus, he performed much better against Obi-Wan than Boba did against Luke, and despite the gritty nature of his profession, Jango managed to nurture a loving relationship with his son (something Boba would struggle to do with his own family) and an almost romantic one with Zam—though admittedly, that didn't end well.
Other Powerful Bounty Hunters
With two different timelines, over ten films, and a wealth of novels and programs, selecting just ten mercenaries ignores other renowned hunters like Bossk, Montross, and Calo Nord, but perhaps we'll return in the future to tackle more of the galaxy's best trackers.
Bounty hunters remain popular among fans since (unlike Jedi and Sith), they're usually just regular people like us whose training scultps them into the fiercest predators in the galaxy. But for now, as we eagerly await future bounty hunters in upcoming media, vote for your favorite character and I'll see you at our next Star Wars countdown!
Questions & Answers
Question: Why isn't Bossk included in this list of Star Wars bounty hunters?
Answer: Bossk is no amateur, but I wouldn't put him in the S-tier either. Boba Fett once noted Bossk's father Cradossk was, in his prime, a far superior hunter than his son.
© 2018 Jeremy Gill