A Guide Far Far Away: Star Wars Characters from the Original Trilogy
For most people, the original Star Wars trilogy features a memorable cast of characters. A New Hope came out in 1977 and became an instant classic around the world. This article is a comprehensive list of all the major Star Wars character names that we have come to know and love today. For context, the original trilogy consists of the movies A New Hope (1977), The Empire Strikes Back (1980), and Return of the Jedi (1983). In the early 2000s, a prequel trilogy was released, effectively making the original movies Episodes IV, V, and VI respectively.
Played by Mark Hammill, Luke Skywalker is the main protagonist of Star Wars. He is the son of Anakin Skywalker and Padme Amidala. Prior to his adventures, Luke lived on Tattooine with his adoptive parents, Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru. When Luke purchases C-3PO and R2-D2 from a flea market, he discovers a message from Leia Organa imploring for help against the evil Galactic Empire. Obi-Wan Kenobi eventually finds Luke on Tattooine and reveals his true heritage to Luke, even giving Luke his father’s original lightsaber. At first, Luke is hesitant to train to become a Jedi, but after stormtroopers raid his home and murder his adoptive parents, Luke agrees to join Obi-Wan and learn from him on the planet of Alderaan.
Luke teams up with Han Solo and Chewbacca to save Leia Organa on the Death Star. Afterward doing so, Luke joins the Rebel Alliance’s attack on the Death Star in the Battle of Yavin. While piloting his X-Wing fighter, Luke hears Obi-Wan’s voice, advising him to trust his feelings and use the Force to aid him on his mission to destroy the Death Star. He does so and is hailed as a hero at the end of the battle.
In The Empire Strikes Back, Luke leads rebel forces in the Battle of Hoth, only to be overwhelmed in a crushing defeat. After the battle, Obi-Wan appears to Luke again, advising him to further his Jedi training under the guidance of Master Yoda in Dagobah. Luke quickly strengthens his Jedi powers under Yoda’s tutelage but leaves prematurely after receiving a vision of his friends Han and Leia running into trouble on the Cloud City of Bespin. He does this despite Yoda and Obi-Wan’s advice against it. Upon arriving at the city, Luke is apprehended by imperial forces, engaging in a lightsaber duel with Darth Vader. In that duel, Luke has one of his hands cut off and learns that Darth Vader is his father.
In Return of the Jedi, Luke saves Han Solo from Jabba the Hutt. He then returns to Dagobah to complete his Jedi training with Yoda, only to learn that Yoda is dying. Yoda and Obi-Wan (appearing as a ghost) convince Luke that he must face Vader again to complete his training. He does so by surrendering to Imperial forces on Endor. In the final meeting between Luke and Vader, they engage in a second lightsaber duel in front of a spectating Darth Sidious. While Luke is able to emerge victorious this time, he refuses to kill Vader at Darth Sidious’s request. As a result, Sidious tortures Luke with his electric powers. Luke implores his father to save him, which he does by throwing Sidious down a reactor shaft. Luke and Vader have one final moment face to face aboard an imploding Death Star. Luke has a funeral for his father on Endor, and the trilogy ends with him seeing his father as a ghost alongside Yoda and Obi-Wan.
Also known as Leia Organa, she is one of the main female characters of the original Star Wars trilogy. First introduced as the leader of the Rebel Alliance, Leia Skywalker is the biological twin sister of Luke Skywalker (This fact is not revealed until much later in the original Star Wars). She is captured by imperial forces in A New Hope and is rescued by Luke Skywalker and Han Solo from the Death Star. She is fearless and often serves as the voice of reason amongst her brash male counterparts. She goes on to marry Han Solo at the conclusion of the original trilogy’s story arc. In the modern trilogy (Episodes VII-IX), Leia becomes the leader of the Resistance, a rebel force created to oppose the ruthless First Order. Leia is played by the late Carrie Fisher, who propelled Leia as one of the most iconic characters.
Also known as Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, Darth Sidious is a Dark Lord of the Sith who served as a Galactic senator from Naboo prior to the original trilogy. Darth Sidious engineered the Clone Wars to overtake the Republic and become the ruler of the Galactic Empire. He was trained by Darth Plagueis and he eventually killed Plagueis in order to take control of the Sith. Sidious served as a master to several other Sith Lords, namely Darth Maul, Count Dooku, and Darth Vader. Sidious is killed by Darth Vader in Return of the Jedi. Sidious wields the unusual ability to shoot electricity out of his fingers. It is unknown whether he is able to use the force as is traditionally showcased by Jedis. He always appears wearing a hooded black robe. In the few instances where he does show his face, we see he has an incredibly wrinkled face with several bags under his beady, yellow eyes.
Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ben)
Introduced in A New Hope, Obi-Wan Kenobi is the former master of Anakin Skywalker, who would later go on to become Darth Vader. Obi-Wan discovers Luke Skywalker in Tattooine living with his Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru. Obi-Wan becomes Luke’s Jedi master, training him up until he is murdered by Darth Vader aboard the original Death Star. Obi-Wan reappears to Luke as a ghost in future episodes of the original trilogy to inspire hope and offer advice. At the time of the original trilogy, Obi-Wan has grown old and has a scruffy beard. He lives mostly as a hermit and is one of the three remaining Jedis, along with Yoda and eventually Luke Skywalker. He is played by Alec Guinness.
The captain of the Millennium Falcon. Solo is a galactic thief who joins the Rebellion and befriends Luke Skywalker. In A New Hope, Solo helps Skywalker save Leia Organa from aboard the Death Star. In The Empire Strikes Back, Solo fights in the Battle of Hoth. Afterward, he seeks refuge in the Cloud City with Leia Organa, only to be captured by the bounty hunter, Boba Fett. He is turned over to Jabba the Hutt, who encases Han in carbonite, due to his outstanding debts. Solo is saved by Lando Calrissian from Jabba in Return of the Jedi and goes on to help the Rebels in one last mission on the planet of Endor. Solo marries Leia Organa at the end of the original trilogy.
Played by the incomparable Harrison Ford, fans love Han Solo for his acerbic sense of humor and dashing good looks. Although he has a checkered past, Solo proves himself to be a loyal friend and fearless fighter with the Rebel Alliance.
A Wookie from the planet of Endor who serves as Han Solo’s partner in crime. Chewbacca is a large furry creature resembling Sasquatch. Although Chewbacca does not speak English, he communicates through grunts and roars which is somehow understood by most characters in the Star Wars universe.
Lando Calrissian is a former thief and longtime friend of Han Solo. He is the original owner of the Millennium Falcon, but he lost the Millennium Falcon to Han Solo after a risky gamble. Calrissian is also the leader of the Cloud City in Bespin. In The Empire Strikes Back, Darth Vader forces Calrissian to assist him in capturing Rebel forces, including Leia and Han Solo, in exchange for keeping the Cloud City out of Imperial control. Calrissian does so, but Vader retracts on the original agreement to Calrissian’s dismay. As a result, Calrissian urges his people to evacuate the city. After turning over Solo to Vader, Calrissian is overcome with guilt and tracks Solo (encased in carbonite) to Jabba the Hutt’s palace on Tattooine and rescues him. Afterward, Calrissian serves as general in the Rebel Alliance and leads the attack on the second Death Star in Return of the Jedi. Calrissian is the only black character featured in the original Star Wars trilogy.
Darth Vader / Anakin Skywalker
The leader of the Galactic Empire, Darth Vader was a former Jedi who went by the name of Anakin Skywalker. Anakin was driven to the dark side by the cunning Sith Lord Darth Sidious before the time of the original trilogy and henceforth came to be known as Darth Vader. He wears a full suit and helmet as a result of hideous burns he received after dueling his former master Obi-Wan Kenobi on the planet of Mustafar. He is best known for the robotic breathing noise emanating from his suit and his force choke. He fights with a red lightsaber and is the only character in the original Star Wars trilogy to wield a saber of this color. In Return of the Jedi, Vader duels his son Luke Skywalker aboard the second Death Star. At the end of that duel, Darth Sidious attempts to kill Luke by electrocuting him, but Vader decides to save his son by killing Sidious, redeeming himself and putting an end to the Galactic Empire. We only see Vader’s true face at the end of Return of the Jedi when Luke removes his mask. Vader dies aboard the second Death Star. Darth Vader is arguably the most well-known fictional villain from any cinematic franchise. The phrase “I am your father,” told by Vader to Luke in their first lightsaber duel in Cloud City, is one of the most famous quotes in movie history.
A Jedi master who trains Luke Skywalker on the planet of Dagobah. Yoda escaped to the planet of Dagobah after the fall of the Jedi in the era preceding the original trilogy. Yoda is a tiny green figure with large, furry ears that stick out from the side of his head. However, don’t let his cuteness fool you. Yoda wields tremendous power and mastery of the Force. It is unknown what species Yoda is supposed to be. Yoda is best known for his wisdom and speaking the second half of his sentences first which is very unusual.
Admiral Gial Ackbar
Admiral Akbar is the commander of the Rebel fleet. He famously led the attack on the second death star in the third installment of the original trilogy, Return of the Jedi. In popular culture, fans remember him for the one-off phrase, “It’s a trap!” His appearance resembles that of a squid with a giant red head and eyes on either side.
R2-D2 is an astromech droid that services the Rebel Alliance. R2 is one of the most recognizable characters from the Star Wars universe. Although it is unable to talk, fans endear R2-D2 as a loveable robot who is still able to communicate with all of the characters effectively. R2-D2 is fearless and is always able to surprise characters with its large array of functions.
A protocol droid created by Anakin Skywalker in the Phantom Menace, but first appearing in A New Hope. C-3PO is best known for being a sidekick to R2-D2 and assisting the Rebel forces in all of their missions. He is a tall, gold figure who moves in a herky-jerky manner, shuffling everywhere he goes. He presumably knows almost everything there is to know in the Star Wars universe, but despite his astronomical intelligence, he usually serves as comic relief in moments of tension. He always introduces himself by saying “I am C-3PO, human-cyborg relations.”
Raymus was a captain of the Sith battleship, Tantive IV. Raymus was strangled to death by Darth Vader in a New Hope. Raymus was also the last person to own C-3PO and R2-D2 before they came into Luke Skywalker’s possession.
Also known as Walrus Man, Ponda Baba is a mercenary who attempts to assassinate Luke Skywalker in the Mos Eisley cantina. In the attempt, Baba gets his arm cut off by Obi-Wan Kenobi.
An imperial general aboard the first Death Star. Bast is the one who advises Grand Moff Tarkin to evacuate the Death Star during the Rebel attack in A New Hope.
Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin
The commanding officer of the original Death Star. Tarkin is killed in the Rebel attack that destroyed the Death Star in A New Hope.
A bounty hunter in the Star Wars universe. He is a clone of bounty hunter Jango Fett, who does not appear until the Star Wars prequel trilogy. Boba Fett is hired by Darth Vader in The Empire Strikes Back to find the Millennium Falcon, the ship of Han Solo and Chewbacca. In Return of the Jedi, Boba Fett brings Han Solo to Jabba the Hut, frozen in carbonite. Boba Fett is eventually killed when he falls into the mouth of Jabba’s Sarlacc during the opening scene of Return of the Jedi.
Luke Skywalker’s adoptive father. He and his wife Beru are killed on Tattooine by stormtroopers who come to capture Luke.
The wife of Owen Lars. She is killed by stormtroopers who come to capture Luke Skywalker on Tattooine.
A bounty hunter killed by Han Solo in the Mos Eisley cantina. Greedo serves Jabba the Hut.
Jabba the Hutt
A notorious crime boss who first appears in Return of the Jedi. Jabba employs several bounty hunters, including Boba Fett. Jabba is a massive creature who wields an immense amount of political and criminal influence. He operates out of a castle in the deserts of Tattooine. Jabba is killed by Leia Skywalker, who strangles him to death while under his captivity.
A fighter pilot of the Rebel Alliance. He is a founding member of the Rogue Squadron.
Moff Tiaan Jerjerrod
The commanding officer of the second Death Star. Darth Vader tasks Jerjerrod with the completion of the second Death Star in Return of the Jedi.
A Gamorrean guard employed by Jabba the Hutt. Jubnuk is eaten alive by the Rancor in Return of the Jedi
General Crix Madine
A Rebel Alliance leader who conjures up the plan to destroy the shield generator of the second Death Star.
Admiral Conan Antonio Motti
An officer on the Death Star who questions Darth Vader’s sith powers and is almost choked to death by Vader.
Leading general of the Rebel base on Yavin IV. He engineers the attack on the first Death Star in A New Hope. Dodonna is the first character to say the phrase “May the Force Be with You.”