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bounty hunters

The Star Wars saga is known for its heroes. It is also known for its villains. In all of storytelling and popular culture there are no other set of bad guys that have the kind of following with Star Wars fans. Darth Vader, Boba Fett, Asajj Ventress, and now Kylo Ren. The list goes on and on. But why?

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In 1977 we were introduced to Darth Vader for the first time and he captured imaginations all around the world. Why did he have that armor? What did he do to Luke Skywalker’s father? What did he mean when he told Obi-Wan “When I left you, I was but the learner, now I am the master?” While after just one film Vader had proven himself to be extremely powerful in our eyes. Taking all six of the Saga films and what we come to know of Anakin through The Clone Wars especially, we see what his true character is. His fall into the dark side and his purgatory there is what makes him enthralling for the masses. He is someone people can empathize and connect with. There are so many complexities in Anakin/Vader’s character that perfectly match the complexities of people in real life.

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What about some other villains with huge followings, Boba Fett chief among them? Besides just being a bad guy, the comparisons between Boba and Darth Vader pretty much stop there. On screen Boba doesn’t get the kind of treatment we see for the likes of Vader, Palpatine, Dooku, etc., but his following is a lot based on his “cool factor” and lone wolf status. Boba is one of the bounty hunters we first see in The Empire Strikes Back tasked with tracking down the Millennium Falcon. Darth Vader points him out individually among the rest of the group and declares “No disintegrations!” What does that mean!? What could’ve have possibly provoked Vader to say that to Boba? That one line is enough to give Fett his legendary villain status. We do get to learn more about him through Attack of the Clones and The Clone Wars, but it’s still his introduction from TESB that captures the imaginations of the fans. Rumors have it that the third upcoming ‘A Star Wars Story’ will be based on Boba which is very interesting. Maybe we’ll get to see who he disintegrated!

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Bringing us up to the latest big bad for our Saga, Kylo Ren is something not seen before. His character is an almost perfect realization of so many people today. For Star Wars he flips the script of what there is to know about villainy. He’s unrefined, unwieldy, and ready to snap at any moment. His heritage is one of the Light and the Dark and we see that conflict play throughout The Force Awakens. This battle we see from the former Ben Solo is a great representation of the ever-present dialogue that is going on with mental health and the need to reach out for help. Kylo’s struggles are going to be really interesting to watch in the future films. How will he deal with murdering his father, Han Solo? What sort of training does Supreme Leader Snoke have in mind? Are the all the Knights of Ren gone? I think Kylo has the potential to be the most captivating Star Wars villain we’ve seen to date.

There are numerous other villains throughout the saga that range the gambit of scarily brilliant like Palpatine, ruthlessly efficient like Asajj Ventress, or nothing but full-blown rage that knows no bounds like Darth Maul. Star Wars is so full of endless characters that make us connect.

So, what do you think? Do you think it sometimes is good to be bad? Do you have a Boba Fettish? Comment below, find me on Twitter, or email me here!

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1 Comment

  1. Melinda
    April 4, 2016 at 08:00 Reply

    Mike, I actually left you a comment last week — when I was in Japan visiting my daughter — but, like all the times I have tried posting a comment on CWK from my little tablet, the comment got lost somewhere in hyperspace, and my words didn’t appear where they should have. 😉 lol (I must laugh. I don’t like any other option. 😉 )

    I am not a member of the “good to be bad” camp. It’s just not in my wiring. However, I will say — from a literary/cinematic point of view — characters like Anakin/Darth Vader, Emperor Palpatine, Darth Maul, and now Ben Solo/Kylo Ren are very interesting. I don’t necessarily put the bounty hunters in the same “bad/evil” category. That’s a blog for another day. 😉 The fall from grace, as we see happen to Anakin and (hopefully) Ben Solo, touches upon so many universal notes. There is “safety” in examining what happens to such characters. Unfortunately, we know that similar falls occur in real life. And while it can be interesting to examine the whys of real life falls, the real life outcomes are all too real — and have far-reaching, dire outcomes. 🙁

    The one “bad” character who I find the most intriguing is Emperor Palpatine — probably because he is one character about whom we know so little. How did he become a Sith Lord? What was his childhood like? What was the turning point in his life that led him down the path he took to becoming the calculating, manipulative Dark Lord Hiding In Plain Sight?

    Is it ever good to be bad? In the fictional world, I’d have to say yes. But that’s as far as I’d go. 😉

    This was a fun read. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the subject. 🙂

    MTFBWY 🙂

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