It’s no secret many of Star Wars’ most popular characters spawned from the iconic saga’s films and series. But as video game fans of the galaxy far, far away are well aware, the interactive entertainment medium has also contributed its fair share of memorable faces to the franchise George Lucas created over 40 years ago.
In fact, with dozens upon dozens of games spanning four decades and introducing hundreds of characters, you’d have better luck grooming a Wookiee than picking a favorite among all those pixels and polygons. Still, with National Video Game Day upon us on September 12, StarWars.com attempted to narrow all those Jedi, Sith, droids, and aliens down to a digestible list of 10. (Plus, it served as a perfect excuse to replay our favorite Star Wars video games.)
Cal Kestis (Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order)
Star Wars gaming’s most recent protagonist is also one of its best. An unlikely hero tasked with restoring the Jedi Order, former Padawan Cal Kastis perfectly fits the underdog role. But while his backstory — which also includes a narrow escape from the great Jedi purge — has you rooting for him from the get-go, it’s witnessing his lightsaber and Force skills grow right alongside your own abilities behind the gamepad that make him so relatable.
Revan (Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic)
You could pack an entire cantina with awesome characters from 2003’s Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. But while the role-playing game spawned many a memorable Jedi and Sith, few KOTOR characters have had as iconic of a look or made as big of an impression on gamers as Revan. Known as one of the greatest Sith leaders of the Old Republic, there weren’t many who could face Revan on a battlefield and survive the encounter.
Kyle Katarn (Star Wars: Dark Forces and Star Wars: Jedi Knight series)
For Star Wars fans who find it impossible to pick a favorite between Luke Skywalker and Han Solo, let us introduce you to Kyle Katarn. First appearing in 1995’s Star Wars: Dark Forces, the character is a gun-toting mercenary whose blaster skills could make Solo blush. But as Katarn matures through three Jedi Knight games, he holsters his gun in favor of a lightsaber. More than just a cool character with versatile combat skills, though, Katarn’s four-game arch represents some of Star Wars‘ best interactive storytelling.
Iden Versio (Star Wars Battlefront II)
2017’s Star Wars Battlefront II is primarily a multiplayer game that allows fans to fight each other online as their favorite heroes and villains. But the title’s hidden gem is its single-player, story-driven campaign starring Iden Versio. An Imperial Soldier and skilled TIE fighter pilot struggling with the death of the Emperor and destruction of the second Death Star, Iden gives players a glimpse into what it’s like to be good despite siding with the Empire. As her story progresses and her alliances change, we’re treated to an emotional, layered performance that significantly raises the bar on typical “sci-fi hero” redemption tales.
BD-1 (Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order)
The Star Wars galaxy is brimming with adorable companion droids, from R2-D2 and BB-8 to all the loyal buckets of bolts in between. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order‘s BD-1 effortlessly joins these ranks, serving as both Cal Kestis’ faithful, bi-pedal friend and an incredibly useful companion able to tackle problems that can’t be solved with a lightsaber or the Force. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the cute bot’s always right there with a life-saving stim when you’re low on health.
Terisa Kerrill (Star Wars: Squadrons)
Star Wars: Squadrons‘ iconic starfighters tend to steal the spotlight in the epic space combat game, but it’s the characters in the cockpits that really bring its original tale to life. Tough-talking, master tactician Titan Squadron leader Terisa Kerrill is among this camp. More than just a whip-smart, no-nonsense commander — who looks especially menacing in her Imperial uniform — Kerrill sits at the center of the game’s most compelling story, a vengeance-seeking tale fueled by her mentor’s betrayal and defection to Vanguard Squadron.
Starkiller (Star Wars: The Force Unleashed series)
Like so many of Star Wars‘ gaming’s greatest characters, Starkiller is a product of fantastic writing and snappy, polished gameplay. His absorbing path from Darth Vader’s secret, Jedi-hunting apprentice to Rebel Alliance martyr — assuming you go with the “good” ending — is matched only by the Force-wielding power trip players experience from behind the controller. All that, and he plucks a Star Destroyer from the sky in one of the medium’s greatest cinematic scenes.
Cere Junda (Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order)
Cere Junda wears many hats in Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, serving as Cal’s rescuer and mentor, as well as a seasoned Jedi who can wield a lightsaber with the best of them. But it’s her thoughtful characterization and complicated relationship with the Jedi Order that brings real emotion to her personal story as well as Cal’s narrative journey. If you need more convincing, watch the scene where she anoints Cal Jedi Knight status.
Juno Eclipse (Star Wars: The Force Unleashed series)
Juno Eclipse is often defined by her romantic relationship with Starkiller in the Force Unleashed games; much more than a love interest, though, the former Imperial pilot gives another layer of depth to the fan-favorite classic. On top of her own absorbing redemption tale, her role as Starkiller’s moral compass adds an interesting perspective to his arc. The fact she can meet two very different fates at the conclusion of both titles also lends her a complexity few other characters can match.
HK-47 (Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic series)
When you think of Star Wars‘ droids, the likes of R2-D2 or BB-8 probably come to mind…unless, of course, you spent some time in the trenches fighting alongside HK-47. A deadly assassin with a dark sense of humor, the beloved Knights of the Old Republic character delivered some of the game’s best, albeit twisted, lines. Despite his strong distaste for organic lifeforms — or “meatbags,” as he affectionately refers to them — the Hunter-Killer droid still remains a favorite among KOTOR fans.
A full-time freelance writer born in Lizzie Borden’s hometown, Matt Cabral has covered film, television, and video games for over a decade. You can follow him on Twitter @gamegoat.
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