No Star Wars movie, or even Star Wars series, is complete without a good old-fashioned villain. Sometimes, fans of the science fiction movie franchise are even treated with multiple Star Wars villains at once. What joy!
That’s because, the truth is, the galaxy far, far away is a pretty dangerous place. Whether it’s evil Jedi-killing Sith lords, nefarious bounty hunters, emotionless droids, or intimidating ISB officers of the Galactic Empire, there are threats lurking behind every corner, waiting to ensnare the unsuspecting. These range from the outright terrifying to the more mundane, and it’s that variety that makes the Star Wars villains such an intriguing and memorable bunch.
So, we’ve put together a list of the crème de la crème when it comes to Star Wars villains. Of course, there are endless honourable mentions that nearly make the list but just miss out, such as the one and only raisin-faced Emperor Palpatine himself, aka Darth Sidious, as well as the newly introduced ISB officer Dedra Meero, from the excellent TV series Andor.
The best Star Wars villains
- Darth Vader
- Admiral Thrawn
- Moff Gidoen
- Asajj Ventress
- Jabba the Hutt
What’s left to say about Darth Vader? Perhaps the most intimidating figure the galaxy has ever seen, Darth Vader wields his brutal might to terrifying effect, and his presence is felt across the entire Skywalker saga. He’s a Sith lord of enormous power, despite the limitations of his mechanical shell.
Needless to say, it’s in the Original Trilogy where the Star Wars character truly shines. From the very first moment, the audience sees that here is a movie villain who is completely unwilling to compromise or suffer fools. He uses the Force to choke his own officers when they disagree with him, and slices through the Rebellion‘s forces like a hot knife through blue butter. You do not want to get on the wrong side of Darth Vader.
Admiral Thrawn is not one of the most well-known Star Wars villains, but that doesn’t make him any less worthy of being on the list. The story of Thrawn, one of the leading Admirals in the Imperial Navy, is told through Star Wars novels, and this is where the character first picked up his army of fans.
Since then, Thrawn has been seen as the villain in the animated series Star Wars Rebels. He’s known for his cold, calculating take on villainy, and is one of the less aggressive and more cerebral Star Wars villains. He probably won’t be the person to pull the trigger himself, but you can bet he’ll be making the plans and laying the traps. The character is set to make his live-action debut in the upcoming Star Wars series Ahsoka, which will follow his story in the downfall of the Empire.
It’s never a surprise to see Giancarlo Esposito on a best villains list, and he’s earned his place here, too. Moff Gideon has been the main antagonist so far in the hit sci-fi series The Mandalorian. He made his name through his bold plans to extract the blood of the highly-force sensitive Grogu (better known as Baby Yoda), and was even the owner of the Darksaber until it was taken from him by Din Djarin.
Gideon has proved himself to be a canny and cruel opponent, but unlike Thrawn, he’s more than happy to get into the thick of the fight, and he’s an impressive fighter too. Moff Gideon is one of those all-round bad dudes who you simply don’t want to come across.
As the disciple and apprentice of Count Dooku, Asajj Ventress proved that she was one of the most fun-to-watch villains around. Throughout the Clone Wars TV series, and in expanded lore, too, Asajj Ventress became one of the most compelling and complex characters in the entire galaxy.
Her flirtations with Obi-Wan Kenobi sparked life into the most typical of interactions, and her transition from an all-out baddie to a more morally unpredictable character marks her as one of the best of the best. Don’t let that fool you, though. If she wanted to kill you, don’t doubt that she could do it with ease.
Jabba the Hutt
The big, slimy, squishy crime lord is the epitome of greed and evil. Not only did he treasure Han Solo’s frozen body as a decoration, he also enslaved Princess Leia and gave Luke Skywalker a run for his money when he dropped him down into the Rancor Pit. In fact, he ended up being one of Luke’s most challenging foes, despite barely being able to move. That’s quite an impressive feat.
When it comes down to it, Jabba is just gross. If we had to choose whether to be in a room with him or Darth Vader, we’d rather take our chances with the Sith.
To spend more time with your favourite Star Wars movies, check out our guide to the best Star Wars cameos you may have missed, or we have a guide to the heroic Jedi Ahsoka Tano, who we might see in The Mandalorian season 3. Alternatively, to keep up to date with Andor take a look at our guides to the Andor season 2 release date or the Andor cast including Mon Mothma, Syril Karn, Luthen Rael, Maarva, and Kino Loy.