Wednesday, 16 September 2009

The Top 5 Most Underrated Star Wars Characters

5: The Rancor
There are a lot of monsters in Star Wars; and some are bigger than this one – but the Rancor has always just looked cool. When I was a kid I used to fantasise about having a Rancor pit under my desk at school, so that I could just hit a button and drop my teacher into it. This continued well into my A-Levels.

What is great about the Rancor though, like most of the Star Wars characters, is the way that George Lucas hints at it having a back story. Even if Kevin J. Anderson hadn’t have filled it out in his short story, A Boy and his Monster: The Rancor Keeper’s Tale, you’d know there was more to the character than just a rubber monster for Luke to fight.

The Rancor is noteworthy for another thing – it’s the first action sequence in Return of the Jedi. All the tension of the good guys infiltrating Jabba’s Palace has been building up and building up – and then it’s this showdown of giant monster versus a Jedi Knight!

This is why Star Wars is better than that other franchise.

4: Asajj Ventress
Not all the underrated Star Wars characters are underrated because they’re harder than they’re given credit for. Some, like Asajj Ventress, are just totally awesome characters.

Ventress isn’t a Sith – she just likes to think she is. She’s kind of a Dark Side groupie, desperately trying to prove herself to Darth Tyranus and Darth Sidious. That and she fights with two lightsabers, which is pretty cool in anyone’s book, right? Her lightsaber battle on Yavin IV against Anakin is an awesome sequence, and a contender for one of my top lightsaber fights.

Ventress is a mysterious character – not much is revealed about where she comes from, or why she turned to the Dark Side. Whilst part of me hopes they reveal this eventually, I also remain hopeful that they never do – some things are best left as mysteries.

Whilst most of her storyline unfolds in the books and comics, she does also appear in one of the movies (The Clone Wars), and as a recurring character in the television series of the same name. She’s also the one who gave Anakin the scar across his eye. Very few people can claim to have wounded Darth frikking Vader!

3: Bib Fortuna
Bib Fortuna is creepy. He’s like an alien version of every teacher’s pet or corporate suck-up you’ve ever seen. He’s creepy, he’s slimy, he’s got mad eyes, and he’s got massive tentacles growing out of the top of his head. He reminds of a guy I used to have to sit next to on the train, actually. Only that guy didn’t have head tentacles, he just had really greasy hair.

Bib Fortuna’s great because he reminds you of those people you hate. Sure, Darth Vader’s a big bad guy, but you don’t bump into Dark Lords of the Sith every day. Jabba the Hutt is an evil gangster – but you don’t have to get one of those to take your parcel at the Post Office. Fortuna, however, is a douche of the kind we meet every day. He sets you on edge just looking at him, never mind trusting him not to just push you into the Rancor pit.

Also, we assume he dies in the Battle on Jabba’s Sail Barge, but we don’t know that. Let’s face it, if any of the characters was going to survive, it’d be this scheming malevolent little dude.

2: General Grievous
Ah, Grievous – back in 2005 we thought that you’d just be some shitty action figure they were hoping to sell this time around, but no, you proved us wrong with some serious arse-kickery, involving multiple lightsabres.

He’s a Jedi killing robot, yet like so many B-list characters, Lucas wastes him. Fortunately, in the comics and TV shows we seem him kick arse as we always knew him capable of!

You want to know why the Artist Formerly Known As Qymaen jai Sheelal is so kick arse? Only two characters have ever been good enough to survive to a second battle with Obi-Wan Kenobi: Darth Vader, and General Grievous. Enough said.

1: Nien Nunb
This poor little guy just doesn’t get enough credit. He was the co-pilot of the ship that brought down the second Death Star at the Battle of Endor, but he just fades into the background. He’s got no lines of translated dialogue, and he doesn’t even get his name mentioned in the movie. Poor little guy.

Watch it again, and you can’t help but feel that even Lando’s not even sure why the little guy’s there. Nien Nunb is wittering on and on about everything and nothing, and all Lando has to say to him is “relax”?

On his home planet, this guy’s got to be a planet-wide underappreciated hero. I bet there’s a Bank Holiday on his birthday or something – but if you go closer into the Republic, they all know Luke and Leia, Han, Chewie, Lando and the droids; but not every man on the street will remember poor old Nien Numb. Mostly because he’s got a very stupid name.

Picture an aged Nien Nunb in a old person’s home on Coruscant, telling everyone he fought in the Rebellion, and no-one believing him.

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