Ever since Obi-Wan Kenobi first uttered the phrase “Wretched hive of scum and villainy.” when describing the Mos Eisley Cantina, Star Wars fans knew there was more to the universe than just the rebellion and the Empire.
Between the two extremes exists a grey area populated by smugglers, bounty hunters, and all the other scoundrels that don’t fit neatly on one side or the other. The Star Wars galaxy is home to many anti-heroes. Here are some of the best.
Whether you know him by his Legends nickname of “Payback” or his canon epithet “Dengar the Demolisher,” one thing is for sure: you don’t want to tangle with this Correllian madman.
First introduced in The Empire Strikes Back as one of the six elite bounty hunters Darth Vader hired to find Han Solo, Dengar has since had his backstory as one of Star Wars’ most dangerous anti-heroes fleshed out in The Clone Wars and various novels and comics in both Legends and Cannon.
Dengar has a history with several other names on this list, including a Legends backstory where he was horribly disfigured during a swoop race against Han Solo that resulted in the mummy-like wrappings he wears. The only thing keeping Dengar from rising higher on this list is that his canon history erased many of his coolest attributes from Legends.
In Disney’s hands, Dengar has gone from a heartless cyborg devoid of all human emotion save rage to a guy with a bad cockney accent who uses asinine phrases like “space diapers.”
Not a lot is known about Enfys Nest beyond what appears onscreen in Solo, but it’s enough to put her on the list. While a cool design isn’t enough to make a Star Wars character a great anti-hero, it certainly doesn’t hurt, and Enfys Nest might have the coolest design since Boba Fett.
From her helmet to her weapon of choice—the Electroripper—Nest just screams, “Badass!” Luckily, she has the attitude and the skill to back it up. Enfy’s Nest is the leader of the pirate gang the Cloud-Riders, who terrorize and steal from the galactic crime syndicate Crimson Dawn.
And while Enfys Nest might act like the Star Wars version of Robin Hood, she more than earns the title of anti-hero.
Don’t let her honorable intentions fool you—Nest knows that Rebellions are built on blood, and she’s not afraid to spill some to achieve her goals.
Chelli Lona Aphra is Indiana Jones if he had no morals. There isn’t a single person Aphra wouldn’t double cross, no relationship she wouldn’t ruin in the pursuit of profit.
Truth be told, the only thing that keeps Doctor Aphra from being classified as one of Star Wars’ biggest villains rather than an anti-hero is her apathy when it comes to the concepts of good and evil.
Chelli isn’t out to take over the galaxy, destroy the rebellion, topple the Jedi, or anything else that most Star Wars villains are after. Doctor Aphra believes in one cause and one cause only: Doctor Aphra.
The good doctor has made enemies of both the Galactic Empire and the Rebel Alliance in her pursuit of fame and riches. To say that Doctor Aphra doesn’t have a conscious wouldn’t exactly be true—she has one. She’s just really good at ignoring it.
Doctor Aphra just looks cool as well—something astute readers will notice is a running theme among Star Wars anti-heroes.
There was a time when putting Boba Fett anywhere on this list other than the #1 spot would have been sacrilege. In the early days of the Star Wars Expanded Universe, some insightful creators used comic books, novels, and video games to flesh out the back story of the cool-looking bounty hunter who only got about five lines in the original trilogy before being unceremoniously killed off as part of a gag.
Those early comics and books really helped to show just why Boba Fett was one of the most feared men in the galaxy.
But then the prequels happened, and Boba Fett went from being Star Wars’ premiere anti-hero to a clone who stole everything cool that fans loved about him—like his armor and his ship—from his dad.
More recently, the Book of Boba Fett came out on Disney+ and nerfed Fett even more to the point where he’s not even the coolest Mandalorian in Star Wars anymore, let alone anti-hero.
Still, we had to put him on the list for his iconic look alone.
When The Mandalorian premiered on Disney+ in 2019, lead character Din Djarin did the impossible: he unseated Boba Fett as the coolest Mandalorian in the Star Wars galaxy. As far as Star Wars anti-heroes go, they don’t come much better than Din Djarin.
From the first episode, when he uttered the line “I can bring you in warm, or I can bring you in cold.” audiences knew that Din Djarin wasn’t someone to f***k with. Somehow, even being saddled with the cutest child in the galaxy didn’t do much to soften Din Djarin—in fact, if anything, it made him fiercer.
Initially, Djarin had nothing to live for other than his people, but when Grogu entered the picture, he went full mama bear. God forgive anyone who harms his child because
Din Djarin will come after them and make sure that their last breath is a painful one. Din Djarin is Boba Fett before he got a convoluted backstory and a weird heart of gold.
This is the way.
We know what you’re going to ask: is Han Solo really an anti-hero? The guy who dances with teddy bears and is considered a hero of the Rebellion? Look, we get it, Han Solo became a lot less rough around the edges as time went on, but he could dance with a thousand Ewoks, and it wouldn’t change the absolute greedy, self-serving pirate he is in A New Hope.
We aren’t anti-canon, as anyone can see by the inclusion of some post-Disney characters on this list, but to us, there is no “Han shot first,”. There is only “Han shot. Period.” And “frying poor Greedo,” as Jabba the Hutt put it, isn’t the only thing that makes Han Solo Star Wars’ greatest anti-hero.
As the man himself put it when talking to Leia in A New Hope, “I ain’t in this for your revolution, and I’m not in it for you princess. I expect to get well paid, I’m in it for the money.”
The apathetic mercenary that Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi hire to take them to Alderaan might be a far cry from the lovable grandpa we get in The Force Awakens, but that doesn’t make OG Han Solo any less of an iconic scoundrel.
For fans who can’t get enough of the version of Han Solo who shoots first and asks questions later, there is a trio of Legends books collectively known as Star Wars: The Han Solo Adventures written by Brian Daley that takes place about a year before A New Hope and are basically just Han and Chewie bumming around the galaxy getting into trouble.
We can’t recommend them enough if you want more of the Han Solo fans first met in the Mos Eisley Cantina, AKA Star Wars’ first and best anti-hero.