One of the great things about Star Wars is that it inspires endless debates and opinions on a wide array of topics. Best bounty hunter? Most powerful Jedi? Does Salacious Crumb have the best haircut in the saga? In that spirit, StarWars.com presents From a Certain Point of View: a series of point-counterpoints on some of the biggest — and most fun — Star Wars issues. In this installment, two StarWars.com writers discuss which character is the most underrated — and their picks might surprise you.
Wicket is the most underrated Star Wars character, says Anthony.
Wicket the Ewok isn’t remembered as a great hero in the Star Wars universe. He isn’t even remembered for being particularly charismatic or skilled (see the scene where he hits himself in the head with his own weapon during the Battle of Endor). Nonetheless, he remains a crucial character, responsible for the continued existence of the Rebel Alliance and ultimately the defeat of the Empire and staving off of the First Order.
How is a little furry Ewok responsible for the downfall of the Empire and everything else? Well, think about this: without Wicket, then Princess Leia might have very well perished or been captured, and the Ewoks might never have joined the Rebels in their attack on the shield generator that protected the second Death Star.
With Wicket’s assistance, Princess Leia manages to defeat the scout troopers in the forest after she’s separated from the rest of the Endor assault group. She then is brought to the Ewok village, where, thanks to Wicket’s introduction to the tribe, she’s instrumental in providing the bond that helps unite the Ewoks with the Rebels and secure their forces in the forthcoming attack. While the Ewoks themselves don’t necessarily cause many casualties to the Imperial forces, Wicket does show the Rebels the secret, less-guarded entrance to the shield generator that helps Han Solo and Leia destroy it, giving the Rebel forces in orbit the chance to take on the Death Star and bring about its destruction.
No Wicket means possibly no Leia, no secret access way to the shield generator, no just-in-time lowering of the shields, and the likely destruction or at least routing of the Rebel forces.
Carrying on with this logic, if Princess Leia has been captured or killed by the Empire on Endor, then she might never have established the Resistance against the First Order. Even if the Rebels had ultimately carried the day, her death would have meant that she couldn’t serve in the New Republic senate, helping keep together the fledgling Republic during the days where it was all but tearing itself apart (see the Star Wars: Aftermath series). We also might not have had the adorable therapy Ewoks that New Republic soldiers got after they were discharged. C’mon, therapy Ewoks have to help ease the post-traumatic stress of war!
Star Wars is a series about heroes facing down evil, and Wicket reminds us that in this universe, just because you aren’t swinging a lightsaber or shooting enemies with a blaster doesn’t mean you can’t be instrumental in changing the fate of, well, everyone. He’s so easy for older Star Wars fans to hate because, like all Ewoks, he’s ultimately an adorable little bear person and not some tough scoundrel, but, as I hope I’ve demonstrated, he’s one heck of an underrated hero in the Star Wars saga.
Leia Organa is the most underrated Star Wars character, says Justin.
Yes, to those of you who know me, this really is Justin Bolger and I’m still an avowed #Imp4Life. But strength lies at the core of the Empire, and in Star Wars they don’t come any stronger than Leia. So why is she underrated? Because even though we celebrate her toughness, selflessness, and ability to inspire hope, the sheer abundance of those qualities in her is often taken for granted.
She’s appeared in four Star Wars films and Star Wars Rebels, but you need only look at A New Hope to know what I’m talking about.
Her resolve is incredible. Faced with capture and the prospect of her mission failing, she refuses to give up. She chooses to take the unusual step of hiding the plans to the Empire’s ultimate weapon in a small astromech droid and send him to a largely barren wasteland in the smallest of hopes that this thing might be salvaged… and it works.
Her bravery is inspiring. Exposed as a part of the Rebel Alliance, she looks Darth Vader (DARTH VADER, the most prolific Jedi killer ever!) in the eye and not only lies to his face, but insults him (in front of a subordinate) and frustrates him to the point that he loses his temper and flies off the handle. No one else in the entire original Star Wars trilogy manages this. Not generals who scoff at the Force, not incompetent speed-happy admirals who brake too late, not even Luke Skywalker. It’s the only time Vader ever loses his cool, and Leia made him do it. Leia: 1 Vader: 0
Her selflessness is impressive. She’s tortured on the Death Star but still has the courage to insult another powerful Imperial, Grand Moff Tarkin (and still manages another Vader jab at the same time). When threatened with the destruction of her homeworld, she refuses to think of only herself and doesn’t give Tarkin the information he wants. Even in the face of the destruction of her family, her friends, and everything she’s known, she doesn’t back down. She puts the galaxy ahead of herself.
It is entirely reasonable and even acceptable that a human being would break down under the weight of even one of those things happening to them.
But Leia’s made of sterner stuff.
Stuff that is incredible, inspiring, impressive, and underrated. When we think of the heroism in Star Wars, we usually think of Jedi swinging lightsabers, daring pilots in hopeless battles, or soldiers in blaster fights.
Leia’s heroism is bigger than that. Leia’s heroism is the kind that shows one person can change the world (or galaxy) simply by refusing to give in or give up. While there are certainly flashier examples of heroism in Star Wars, there are none more grounded or powerful.
The next time you watch A New Hope, think of Leia as the main character. You’ll realize how underrated she is… even if you already appreciate her.
Anthony Gallegos is a freelance writer who loves Star Wars and video games. He’s written for publications like IGN, GameSpy, 1UP, EGM, and Games for Windows: The Official Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter at @chufmoney.
Justin Bolger is Lucasfilm’s Star Wars social media strategist and he doesn’t like the Empire…he loves it. Catch him occasionally on The Star Wars After Show and talk Star Wars with him on Twitter @TheApexFan.