Though they might seem only to care about themselves, common criminals and people of questionable character have nonetheless found themselves playing the hero throughout the history of Star Wars. The games, of course, are no exception, and to that end we’ve composed a list of rough-around-the-edges characters from games that we can’t help but love…and maybe still fear just a little.
Pirates aren’t generally the type of folks you want to call your friend, but in the Starfighter series you can’t help but like the gruff and tough pirate, Nym. Nym starts off with questionable intentions, but like any good character, you soon find out he’s more complex than the simple pirate mentality of, “What’s in this for me?” Nym comes through for you repeatedly, helping the Naboo people and even the Jedi in their fight against the Trade Federation and during the Clone Wars. While Nym never stops looking out for himself, he nonetheless lets his heart show a bit as he lets himself be vulnerable to protect his friends and even occasionally to do the right thing.
HK-47 isn’t a droid I’d call “good,” but the mechanical assassin makes the list because he’s utterly loyal and helpful in your quest as Revan in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. He’s a downright sociopath, programmed only to listen to Revan and destroy anything that stands in his way. His awkward speech patterns, where he flatly tells you the tone he’s trying to convey by starting the sentence with the intent, makes him endearing and takes a bit of the sting out of some of the crazier things he says. In the end he’s kind of like your crazy best friend…only much, much deadlier and loyal in a way only a psychotic droid could be.
In the game Shadows of the Empire, Dash is a man of few words. However, we know that he’s a smuggler like Han Solo, and he keeps company with folks like Lando Calrissian, so he’s not exactly on the level. Still, as anyone who has played Shadows of the Empire knows, he’s also a hero. Rendar may have a criminal past, but that doesn’t stop him from sticking it to the Empire, taking down deadly bounty hunters who seek Rebellion targets, and ultimately helping to defeat the evil Prince Xizor and his organization. Sometimes you need someone who knows their way around the shadier elements of galactic society, and Dash Rendar is one person I’d definitely want watching my back in that case.
At one time a ruthless Mandalorian mercenary who fought for the Sith, another time a brute working for crime lords, Canderous Ordo (Knights of the Old Republic and Knights of the Old Republic II) isn’t exactly what you think of when you think of a hero. Still, alongside the redeemed Jedi Revan he fights with his own strict code of honor, becoming a respected colleague that you gladly take into battle against the forces of the Sith empire. Once you understand that he respects strength over everything, it’s easy to lead him back towards the light and help him regain his pride as a warrior fighting for good. Oh, and, you know, it’s kind of like having your own personal Boba Fett to fight alongside you.
When your only companion is a droid programmed to wield a lightsaber and attempt to kill you, you know you don’t have many friends in the galaxy. Still, if you had to be in that situation, you could only hope to have one as cheerful and helpful a companion as PROXY from The Force Unleashed. When not attempting to kill his master, PROXY gives intel and provides updates to you while on your missions. His delightful vocal inflection also softens the sense of betrayal as he assumes the look of various Force-wielding characters from history and attempts to kill you. He makes the list because he’s at once your rival, attempting to fulfill his programming and take you out, and also a loyal servant who sacrifices himself in order to save you from the forces of evil.
These characters delighted us as we played through these Star Wars titles, even if they also left us a bit weary when they made an appearance. Still, these games would be worse without them, their stories bereft of the ethically ambiguous characters we’ve come to expect from the fiction of a galaxy far, far away. If we’ve left out any characters you love, sound off and let us know.
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.