Over the last few months, we have been celebrating Star Wars’ 40th anniversary. It’s been 40 years since Star Wars first graced our screens and, boy what an interesting 40 years it has had! Star Wars has grown and changed so much since Luke gazed out at the twin suns of Tatooine and we have been introduced to a plethora of characters from heroes and villains to those people who are somewhat in between. It’s through characters like these, the shady types, the down and outs, the bounty hunters, rogues, scoundrels, smugglers and assassins where we get to see a glimpse of the underbelly of the galaxy far far away.
So I thought, in homage to 40 years of Star Wars, I would run through my list of top 40 miscreants and scoundrels! These are, my kind of scum...
Everything about Grummgar is cool, from his hulking great appearance to his job as an actual monster hunter in space! Grummgar is a regular at Maz’s Castle, who is fond of looking for hunts and regaling the other patrons with thrilling tales of his epic adventures.
- Unkar Plutt
Although not a mercenary, smuggler or thief, Unkar Plutt most certainly makes my list of scum and villainy due to him being an absolute swine. He has a monopoly over the food rations on Jakku, forcing scavengers to work to the bone for his meagre portions. He is utterly merciless and devoid of compassion, and he relies on local cronies and thugs to ensure he gets the best deals possible.
- Bib Fortuna
As Major-Domo to one of the most successful crime lords in the galaxy, Bib Fortuna is a sinister and deadly figure in the criminal underworld. I think we need a story on his rise to power as it would be a fascinating tale of backstabbing and manipulation!
In Legends, Mild-mannered Ghent is an expert slicer for Talon Karrde’s smuggling organisation. Ghent’s skills and expertise became fabled amongst the criminal underworld and it wasn’t long before his talents were snapped up by the New Republic. Ghent makes this list not only because he is a super-cool sci-fi computer hacker, but also because he is naive and a bit of a clutz which makes him a very endearing scamp.
- Ponda Baba
An instantly recognisable thug of the Star Wars universe, Ponda Baba is a spice shipper for Jabba the Hutt. Things go sour for Ponda pretty quick as he picks a fight with the wrong farmboy and Jedi Master in the Mos Eisley cantina. Prior to this mishap however, the Aqualish had a fearsome reputation for being an aggressive browbeater. He particularly enjoyed bullying those whom he thought were easy targets - which would ultimately end badly for him, thank goodness!
- Doctor Evanzan
The sinister partner to Ponda Baba, Doctor Evanzan is a truly terrifying criminal. He was once a promising surgeon, however he lost his mind and now derives twisted pleasure out of performing horrific operations on patients, leaving them gruesomely scarred. It’s a shame really that Evanzan didn’t lose an arm in the fight with Kenobi, I think the galaxy would have been much better for it!
- Jet Nebula
This man is mostly on this list because of his name - Jet Nebula. I mean seriously, can you get more sci-fi than that?! Jet is a smuggler from the novel Fatal Alliance. He’s a seriously slick guy who actively tries to appear less capable than he actually is, living by the code that it’s much better to be underestimated than overestimated. As is common in the Star Wars universe, he’s an utter scoundrel who, at first blush, appears to be nothing more than a self-serving criminal yet he almost always ends up doing the right thing.
A particular favourite of mine, Guri is the most expensive assassin droid in the galaxy and works for the notorious Black Sun criminal organisation in the Legends universe. She’s designed to be an almost perfect replica of a human female. She is a cold and emotionless killer, with enhanced muscles that make her more than capable of snuffing out her targets with ease. She has a twisted sense of humour and is occasionally known to toy with her victims before killing them. Yikes!
- Captain Ithano
Space pirate! The polar opposite of Jet Nebula above, Ithano likes everyone to be very aware of his reputation, often resulting in ships surrendering in fright before he even needs to strike. He frequents Maz Kanata’s castle where he relishes in hearing the tales of his nefarious exploits. I would love to read an alternate universe where Finn actually does head to the Outer Rim with Ithano and his crew - what a brilliant story that would make!
- Death sticks guy
Elan Sel’Sabagno (aka Elan Sleazebeggano...yup that’s a thing!) is a death sticks dealer in one of the shadier clubs on Coruscant. He’s mostly on this list because he prompts one of Obi-Wan’s many hilarious lines in the Prequel Trilogy. However I also popped him on this list because of the moral message that it’s never too late to take a step back and rethink your life choices. Especially if you sell Death Sticks. Don’t sell Death Sticks.
- Tasu Leech
Stoic and ill-tempered, Tasu Leech is a former streetfighter and now leader of the notorious Kanjiklub gang. He refuses to speak basic, considering it to be the language of cowards. He is seriously narked with Han Solo who has twice failed to deliver him cargo. He boards Han’s ship looking to settle the old scores once and for all. The encounter ends in bloodshed, although probably not in the way Tasu envisaged!
Can you imagine anything more creepy than a droid who tortures for a living? How about a droid who enjoys torturing for a living? Well that’s EV-99. She’s Jabba’s sinister droid overseer who strikes fear into the circuits of any poor ‘bot that winds up in her clutches. She comes up with creative ways to torture her fellow droids, and it’s this creative flair which leads her to turn R2-D2 into a drinks shelf - more fool her.
- Dash Rendar
In Legends, during the period of time between Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, we had Shadows of the Empire. And during this time when we had no Han Solo, we had Dash Rendar instead! Flying his awesomely-named ship the Outrider, Dash was an extremely skilled pilot having cut his chops in the Imperial Academy before becoming a smuggler. He’s reckless and arrogant but with a good deal of charm to get away with it - just.
I’ll admit it, Bala-Tik is mostly in this list because of his line ‘tell that to Kanjiklub’. It has become a perfect retort for many Star Wars fans! Bala-Tik heads up the Guavian Death Gang, a group of cybernetic enforcers. Bala-Tik has been more than lenient with Han Solo in the past, but ultimately winds up losing his rag with the Corellian and informs the First Order that Han has the droid they are looking for.
- Maz Kanata
The Pirate Queen! Maz is an ancient being, and has run her joint Maz’s Castle on Takodana for over a thousand years. She offers a safe haven for all kinds of scoundrels and scum, as long as they leave their politics and feuds at the door. She’s an impish and cheeky character who is more than capable of keeping the ruffians who frequent her watering hole in line. She also has the ability to read people easily, whether through the force or natural instinct is yet to be revealed, but she has the respect of all who know her and is a true legend of the Outer Rim.
Greedo really should have known that Han Solo is not a man to, ‘come quietly’ so to speak. That being said, he is still a cool bounty hunter and one of the first Rodians we saw in Star Wars which is awesome. Greedo may or may not have shot first, but he certainly died first which helped the events of A New Hope greatly.
- Prince Xizor
Ok, I know Xizor was a creepy guy - I’m not going to go into that here! Needless to say, I thought he was a fun baddie in Shadows of the Empire and there was nothing funnier than a staggeringly wealthy crime lord with a malfunctioning chair that can’t pronounce his name correctly!
- Bazine Netal
Bazine is a seriously cool mercenary who can be found perched on Grummgar’s chair in The Force Awakens, before informing the First Order that she has found the missing BB droid they are looking for. Not only does she look awesome but we find out just how deadly she is in the short story ‘The Perfect Weapon’. She’s a cunning and dangerous killer and I hope we see more of her in the future!
- Has Obitt
I wasn’t the biggest fan of Has in Catalyst but I can’t deny his hand in shaping the events of Rogue One. He’s a smuggler under the thumb of Krennic and, later, Tarkin. He’s not the best smuggler in the galaxy by a long way, but he ultimately gets fed up of constantly being a pawn in the Imperials’ game and shows Lyra Erso the true horrors that Krennic is covering up, prompting her decision to flee into hiding with Galen and Jyn. So, yeah, not my favourite ever but his actions had fairly galactic consequences!
I really do believe that droids would make the most terrifying bounty hunters. Programmed to ignore any kind of pleas for mercy they are ruthless and have not a shred of compassion and 4-LOM is no exception. 4-LOM felt he was ill-suited to the life of a protocol droid so he upgraded himself to have a lucrative life of crime as a bounty hunter.
- Garris Shrike
Garris was the closest thing to a father figure that Han Solo had growing up in the Legends novels. He was originally a bounty hunter but his quick temper meant that he was useless at returning live bounties so he turned to a life of crime instead. He collected a band of orphaned children to beg and steal for him - think Fagan from Oliver Twist! He was a harsh mentor for Han, treating him viciously when he became frustrated. He’s truly a nasty piece of work and I would be very interested to see if we have a Garris-inspired character appearing in the upcoming Han Solo movie.
Of course Lando can’t fall under the category of ‘scum’ but he is certainly a rogue character who doesn’t quite fit in to the ‘good guy’ mold. We know that by the time we meet him in The Empire Strikes Back, the former professional gambler had tried to go respectable, but that doesn’t stop him from selling out his old friend to the Imperials in return for a peaceful life. I do sympathise with his plight though as I can imagine Darth Vader is a difficult man to stand up to! Plus he redeems himself fully by Return of the Jedi proving that although he may be something of a scamp, he has plenty of redeeming qualities - and that’s the best kind of character for me!
- Jabba the Hutt
Obviously. Jabba is one of the biggest scumbags on this list. The only reason he isn’t higher is because there is a Hutt I actually prefer! That aside, Jabba really needs no introduction. He is a notorious crime lord who basically runs the show on Tatooine with a hoard of smugglers in is employ running spice for him. Jabba also has a fondness for feeding hapless people to his pet rancor and has a penchant for keeping beautiful women as his slaves for his viewing pleasure, which, happily, becomes his downfall…
Sugi is a fascinating character from The Clone Wars TV series. She is a bounty hunter but seems to have a decent moral code which sets her apart from some of the other bounty hunters on this list. She ran a tight ship and cared for the wellbeing of her comrades deeply. She was also fairly hostile towards the Jedi, stating that, as peacekeepers they had failed badly at this task. Which is a fair point!
A truly terrifying Trandoshan bounty hunter, Bossk specialises in taking bounties on Wookies which should tell you enough about his abilities! Bossk enjoys skinning his captives whenever possible, and is a fan of grenade launchers. Need I say more?
- Jango Fett
Arguably a more complex and interesting character than his more famous son, Jango is a bounty hunter who winds up donating his genes to be cloned into an army for the Galactic Republic. At the height of his powers he was regarded as the best bounty hunter in the galaxy and it was his incredible fighting skills that lead him to be approached as the template for the clone army. Jango also has a dazzling fight with Obi-Wan Kenobi on Kamino, and holds his own in spectacular fashion against the Soresu master.
- Hondo Ohnaka
Another space pirate! Like any good space pirate, Hondo is pretty much driven solely by avarice. He also thinks extremely highly of himself, which makes for some pretty entertaining scenes - especially when he is up against the Jedi. I think we all have a bit of a soft spot for Hondo, he has a certain flair about him and a healthy dose of humour which is needed in The Clone Wars. Oh, did I mention he fought off Anakin with an electrostaff? Yeah, that was awesome!
Embo is a bowcaster wielding nightmare of a bounty hunter whose hat not only functions as a perfectly usable fashion item, but also if circumstances require, it can turn into a weapon of its own! Embo is calm and collected - picking off his targets with ease and dispassion. He is also a master of hand to hand combat, and can go rounds with the Jedi or Sith anytime which makes him well worthy of a place on this list!
- Zam Wesell
She’s responsible for one of my favourite scenes in Attack of the Clones - the breathtaking chase through the skylanes of Coruscant. Zam is an extremely cool assassin who also happens to be a Clawdite shapeshifter - more cool bonus points! It’s just a shame really that she chose to work for Jango who proved to be a pretty lethal boss indeed.
- Aurra Sing
Aurra is known as a ‘near-human’ bounty hunter - which is mostly due to the fact that although she looks pretty much human, she does have a modified comlink antennae in her head! Aurra is a classic, no-nonsense bounty hunter - she will work for anyone who pays her well. Powerful and utterly ruthless, she’s an expert sniper and deadly assassin. Aurra gets a decent amount of development in The Clone Wars and is a firm favourite of mine simply due to how wicked and brutal she is!
Chewie is obviously fitting into the ‘wonderful scoundrel’ part of this list! Chewie certainly walks on the shadier side of life - a natural byproduct of spending so much time with Han! Chewie is a talented smuggler alongside Han, and is of course a fearsome warrior with his devastating bowcaster and Wookiee raaaage!! He also knows when not to shoot too - we all know he could have killed Kylo on Starkiller base, yet I think he chose to miss. Am I speculating too much? I guess we’ll have to wait and see! Nevertheless, Chewie rocks which is why he is number 10!
This is a seriously cool bounty hunter! I’ve said it above and I’ll say it again, droids make for utterly ruthless and terrifying bounty hunters - none more so than IG-88. He crops up a lot in Star Wars, from Empire Strikes Back to, more recently, Forces of Destiny where you can see him hounding Leia and Sabine! There are also several series of the IG assassin droids, which is a troubling thought!
- Asajj Ventress
Ventress probably goes on one of the biggest character development arcs than anyone else on this list. Initially she is working as Dooku’s apprentice and generally kicking butt as his personal assassin. She’s got a cool twin lightsaber situation going on and an acrobatic fighting style which makes her super impressive to watch. She’s gone toe to toe with Luminara Undulli, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Ahsoka Tano, Savage Opress and Count Dooku and lived to tell the tale which makes her very worthy of a top 10 position in my book!
- Dr Aphra
She’s officially called a Space Archeologist, but in truth Aphra is a smuggler, thief and general criminal too! She’s wiley and willing to bend the rules significantly in order to achieve her ends. She’s also not content to scratch out a meagre living in the Outer Rim - she wants to thrive. This leads her to take great risks for even greater results. I could seriously go on for hours about how awesome Aphra is, she’s a breath of fresh air in the Star Wars universe, she’s a super shady character, definitely not one of the ‘goodies’, but she does have a moral code somewhere underneath the swagger! She also talks too much when she is nervous and, as someone who absolutely has to fill any uncomfortable silence with awkward chatter I can completely relate to this!
- Black Krrsantan
A Wookie bounty hunter. I mean, seriously, can you imagine anything more terrifying? When not collecting bounties, Krrsantan enjoys competing in the fighting pits of Son-tuul, beating other enslaved contestants to a pulp. He is to date, the only creature who competes in the pits on a voluntary basis.
- Durga the Hutt
Druga trumps Jabba on this list mostly because I really do love an underdog! In Legends, Durga is the nephew of Aruk the Hutt, head of the rival clan to Jabba. The catch being, Durga is small for a Hutt and born with an ugly birthmark across his face which means he is utterly reviled by his species. Many Hutts thought he should have been killed at birth. Durga makes up for all of this with a keen and cunning mind, surviving against the odds and clawing his way to the top of a Hutt criminal dynasty. Oh, he also created the Darksaber superweapon which is definitely something.
- Talon Karrde
The final character from Legends on this list, the one and only Talon Karrde. Karrde is one of the heavyweights of the Legends smuggling universe who owns one of the largest and most successful criminal organisations in the galaxy. A shrewd man, Karrde knows that knowledge is power and sells information to the highest bidder. He’s charming and charismatic and inspires loyalty amongst his personnel as he in turn is fiercely loyal to them. A smuggler and rogue with a heart of gold and a strong moral compass, he still has a reputation as a man not to be crossed as when his retribution comes down, it comes down hard!
- Boba Fett
Love him or hate him, you can’t deny that Boba Fett is an icon of the Star Wars universe. He is instantly recognisable with a fearsome reputation, despite having only minimal screentime and lines. Maybe it’s something about Darth Vader having to tell him to take it easy (“no disintegrations!”) that made us instantly sit up and take notice of Fett. This, coupled with an interesting backstory thanks to the Prequel Trilogy and The Clone Wars TV series makes Boba a pretty compelling character indeed! Boba is pure, unapologetic bad-assery and he is so very Star Wars.
- Han Solo
I know this might upset people to have Han Solo almost top of a list called ‘my kind of scum’ but we cannot deny that our favourite Corellian is an absolute scoundrel at heart. A crack pilot and a remarkable smuggler, Han learned to survive in the galaxy the hard way, winding up smuggling for the crime lord Jabba. Jabba freely admits that Han was one of the best smugglers going and even a marriage (or at least, long-term relationship) to a princess couldn’t stop his roguish ways and he soon fell back into his old way of life when the going got tough. I am seriously looking forward to finding out about his younger days, how he started working for Jabba and his friendship with Lando. Despite the tragedy in The Force Awakens, these are exciting times for Han Solo fans!
- Cad Bane
Ah Cad Bane...how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Cad is one of the most successful and dangerous bounty hunters I think I have ever come across in Star Wars. Whether it’s stealing a Jedi Holocron from the Archives on Corcuscant, or busting Zero the Hutt out of prison, there is no mission which is too risky for Cad Bane. The list of Jedi he has either overpowered or eluded is long - Bolla Ropal, Ahsoka Tano, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Quinlan Vos (AT THE SAME TIME!) - he is a seriously capable bounty hunter who is generally winning at life. He wields a pair of LL-30 blasters, his gauntlets contain stunners, he has a concealed bolas, a flamethrower and rocket boots either to keep up with Jedi or to hustle out of a dicey situation! This Duros is basically a walking armoury!
He’s visually striking with glowing red eyes and a wide brimmed hat. He walks with an air of confidence that only a natural predator has. Cad says there is no job he won’t take...for the right price. He’s ruthless, arrogant and deadly. As a bounty hunter he is the real deal and, for me Cad Bane is 100% my kind of scum!
So there you have it! A top 40 for 40 years of Star Wars - shady characters and all! What do you think, is there anyone I’ve missed that you think should get a place, and do you agree that Cad Bane should be number one? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @shlawrence12!