This week at Down the Drive we are going to experiment with an entirely under served market: Star Wars discussions on the internet. For whatever reason, you just can’t find any places on the web where people are talking about this indie darling of a series. Its weird. Instead, its all, let’s rank the best examples of subtext in the latest Paul Thomas Anderson flick or look for theories about how the next Isle of Dogs will end. Its a real shame. In the hopes of starting the discussion, which is definitely not happening constantly across the internet, we are going to rank our favorite and least favorite characters from the series.
To accomplish this task, we expanded our own Five Up, Five Down Cinematic Universe and brought in Jeopardy Champion and recent Conversations with Clayton guest Johnny Trutor to lend his wisdom to the proceedings.
Now to the rankings, which I’m sure will spark a healthy and positive discussion.
Clayton’s Five Up
1. Jar Jar Binks
A homespun libertine.
2. Jabba the Hutt
A genuine Horatio Alger story. Jabba the Hutt did not make it on his looks, his charms, or his connections. He provides a valuable service in Tatooine’s informal economy and gets a bad rap from the Hollywood elites who run the Rebel Alliance.
3. Aunt Beru
In Tsarist Russia, noble families were rated in the Mestnichestvo, a book which ranked the social elites in a table that was nearly as elaborate as the BCS. If Mos Eisley had a Mestnichestvo, Aunt Beru would be its Patti Page.
4. The Jawas
An industrious merchant caste unfairly maligned by the moisture farming Kulaks of Tatooine.
5. Salacious B. Crumb
Jerry Rice to Jabba the Hutt’s Joe Montana.
Clayton’s Five Down
1. All of the New Characters Except Jar Jar Binks
They are all Natalie Portman in Garden State, which is a nice way of saying that all the characters in the post-Return of the Jedi era have conspired to ruin the Shins for me.
2. Uncle Owen
The Billy Packer of Tatooine.
3. Boba Fett
The Steve Prefontaine of the Star Wars galaxy. He was accomplished but in death has become critically acclaimed beyond his actual level of success.
4. Han Solo
A career criminal turned capital murderer who embraced sedition as a way to save his hide.
Featured in the recent Netflix documentary Wild, Wild Country. Unwelcome in most dining establishments in The Dalles, Oregon.
Johnny’s Five Up
1. Nien Nunb
This is completely a Star Wars guy that I had as one of the old Kenner figures as a kid. Basically, he’s an alien wierdo that’s half puffer-fish, half vest-over-jumpsuit. He chuckles to himself like he’s entered the 36 chambers, and blew up the second Death Star with Lando. Guy’s on screen for maybe like two minutes, and he accomplishes what that whiner/quitter Skywalker did with Obi-Wan whispering in his ear. Sure, he was probably made just to make toys for kids, but they were awesome toys. He was a blank canvas you could put any story on. Unless you read the books.
2. Prequel Obi-Wan
OT Obi-Wan was way less fun than the prequel version. He was a self-serious blowhard who hung out in the Jutland Wastes harassing Tusken Raiders by making dragon noises. In the prequels, we see an awesome character arc where he goes from rookie space cop to uneasy teacher to conflicted general. Basically, Obi-Wan is the only one who smiles in the second and third movies. And he hangs out at the only 50’s diner in the galaxy, says no to Deathsticks and mutilated his best friend, leaving him to die in lava. He has this whole feeling of effortlessness that I think misreads as bad acting. Obi-Wan doesn’t care. He’s not even going to come up with a good alias when he’s hiding from the Empire. “Oh, yeah, I’m uh… Old Ben. Kenobi. Old Ben Kenobi. I’m just some crazy wizard.”
3. Bib Fortuna
Not everyone has to be cool and slick in the galaxy. That’s the problem with the low-speed OJ chase Star Wars movie that The Last Jedi was. Finn is cool. The handsome pilot is cool. Rey is cool. Yoda is cool (and hates trees?). General Ginger is cool. Brienne of Tarth is cool. I’m sick of cool, slick heroes and villains. Bib Fortuna was a Twi’lek who sold out his own people, worked for Jabba and was easy to trick. Somebody’s got to win and somebody’s got to lose. Plus, this was my favorite Star Wars guy as a kid. He looks RAD.
Apparently, he’s the most reliable Stormtrooper in the empire. Not only does he have a critical security role in the Empire’s most secure facility, but his reputation for effectiveness and dependability meant that his absence was promptly noted. When that cheap imitation-421 Luke put on his helmet, it could only be assumed that TK’s commlink was down. The equipment, the MACHINERY of the GALACTIC EMPIRE is less reliable than this guy. It took Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Obi-Wan, C3P0, R2-D2 and Chewbacca to take him down. Darth Vader lost to some old dude in a blanket.
5. Walrus Man and Pig Nose
I don’t know their names, and I’m not bothering to learn them. They don’t like young kids in the bars. They’re willing to fight, and they don’t care who you are. They also let us know how dangerous the galaxy is. Plus, having the death sentence on 12 systems is a way more ferocious boast than claiming to do the Kessel Run in any number of parsecs. Parsecs measure distance, dude. Rosie Ruiz ran the Boston Marathon in two miles, but that’s because she took the subway. Frankly, I’m shocked that the T beat a bunch of jumped-up joggers.
Johnny’s Five Down
1. Mon Mothma
I was under the impression that Princess Leia ran the Rebel Alliance like the plucky upstart that she was. Nope, it’s some middle manager with a bowl-of-soup haircut who talks like she’s in a coma. What does she do? She murders Bothans for information and then casually brings it up like she’s talking about the Port Salut on rye she had at some Sonoma wine party three weeks ago. The Empire did nothing wrong.
Meanwhile, at the Sonoma wine and cheese party three weeks ago
Casting Director: Hey, we got Alan Tudyk for this fun little space romp picture with a downer ending.
Some Horrible Producer: Great! Make him a sassy robot.
Casting Director: But he was the best part of Firef…
Some Horrible Producer: Well, that’s that. Time to go pester starlets and download a car.
I’m not that into podcracing. He’s an adult who picks on a child. I figure that Tatooine has a weird culture, but there’s nowhere in the world where that’s socially acceptable.
4. Keira Knightley
Fun switcheroo in the first movie becomes women in refrigerators in the second. Blown up for no reason other than that she got to play a real action hero in the Pirate movies instead of the object of Hayden Christensen’s Jedi puberty.
5. Han Solo
Basically an Uber driver who never shuts up about how awesome his life is. Dude, you drive for Uber and you also have a Lyft sign, and I’m pretty sure I saw a Pizza Hut carrier in the trunk. Just take me to the airport.
Phil’s Five Up
I recently rewatched all of the Star Wars movies from front to back and came to a realization: The Force Awakens is my favorite of the series. A big reason why is Rey. She is stronger and more capable than any other main protagonist (looking at you, Anakin and Luke). She also makes incredible second half adjustments in her light saber battle with Kylo Ren in Force Awakens and kicks that dork’s teeth in.
For as fun as Star Wars movies are, I rarely laugh out loud when watching them. K2S0 fixed that. Plus he goes out as a hero.
3. Mace Windu
Mace never trusted Anakin (smart) and would have beaten the emperor if Anakin wasn’t a turncoat coward.
R2-D2 gets stuff done. He doesn’t wait for everybody else, he just does what needs doing. The empire would have won if he wasn’t there to fix everything.
5. Poe Dameron
While his storyline in The Last Jedi is not great, Poe is the best pilot in the series (sorry, Han Solo stans) and he looks in the face of First Order higher ups with zero fear and makes fun of their ludicrousness.
Shout out to Chewbacca, Lando Calrissian, BB8, Chirrut Imwe, Jiang Wen, Saw Gerrera, Finn, Maz Kanata, Qui-Gon Jinn
Phil’s Five Down
As always, in descending order.
5. Luke Skywalker
There’s nothing inherently wrong with Luke Skywalker. There’s just nothing inherently interesting about him either. Leia is the best Skywalker.
4. Kylo Ren
Oh great, another Star Wars youth who heard a Hawthorne Heights song.
3. Boba Fett
2. Jar Jar Binks
Oh where to begin? In The Phantom Menace, which I remembered thinking wasn’t that bad, Jar Jar is on screen constantly. To a ridiculous amount. It is absolutely infuriating. Everything he says is some terrible joke. The only thing that would make me change my mind is if he really was a sith the whole time, but even then it’d be a toss-up.
1. Anakin Skywalker/Hayden Christensen
Disagree with us? Let us know in the comments, on Twitter or via a FanPost. Also, if you want us to rank something specific next week, let us know.