Why So Great? It takes nerve to trick everybody - including the audience - into thinking you're somebody else for an entire film, but that's exactly what Sabe, Padme Amidala's decoy, achieved.
Character Trivia: Sabe ended up as tutor to Princess Leia.
Behind The Scenes: A pre-fame Keira Knightley was cast because of her startling similarity to Natalie Portman. Yet no casting director has thought to reunite them since. C'mon, Hollywood, get yer act together.
Why So Great? He's a blue elephant who plays keyboards in Jabba The Hutt's palace. What's not to love?
Character Trivia: Much to his bandmates' chagrin, the contract Rebo signed with Jabba stipulated they be paid entirely in food. But he had the last laugh, opening a chain of restaurants after the war.
Behind The Scenes: It took two puppeteers to control Max Rebo.
Why So Great? These nomadic, bandaged desert dwellers make the list mainly for providing Luke Skywalker with his initiation into the joys of fighting evil, but we have a sneaking desire to go Bantha racing, too.
Character Trivia: When a Tusken's Bantha died, it would walk alone until it either found a new mount...or died in the desert.
Behind The Scenes: George Lucas first conceived the Tuskens as Imperial spies.
Why So Great? Until the prequels, it was never clear if only humanoids could be Jedi, but amongst the 'alien' Jedi Kit Fisto stands out for his cheerful disposition, tentacled face and - yes - cool name.
Character Trivia: Kit Fisto pushed the boundaries of Jedi protocol by having a relationship with fellow Jedi Master Aayla Secura.
Behind The Scenes: Fisto was conceived by the design team as a potential Sith, but no alien Sith was needed so the character switched sides.
Why So Great? An out-and-out bastard, Sebulba almost single-handedly wakes The Phantom Menace from its slumber by cheating and beating his way to the Boonta Eve Classic... or, at least, he tries to.
Character Trivia: Sebulba's grandson Pugwis also became a podracer.
Behind The Scenes: Sebulba is a completely CGI creation, but everybody forgets that in the stampede to moan about Jar Jar.
Why So Great? Axe-wielding, thuggish pig guards should be mandatory in science-fiction, but - inevitably - it took that well-known connosieur of weird monsters, Jabba the Hutt, to actually deliver on that promise.
Character Trivia: They are disparagingly referred to as "grunts," but never to their faces.
Behind The Scenes: Original sketches featured a more gorilla-based shape for Jabba's guards.
Why So Great? World-weary, blaster-toting cynics are in short supply in the prequels, so Panaka stands out for being a normal guy equally unimpressed by trade negotations and Jedi rhetoric. However...
Character Trivia: Panaka became a loyal servant of Emperor Palpatine... which goes to show you can't trust anybody.
Behind The Scenes: In Brazil, the character had to be called Panassi because Panaka translates as 'douchebag.'
Why So Great? Vader's briefing of bounty hunters is the Star Wars equivalent of The Usual Suspects - a motley crew of hardcases that you instantly want to know more about. Especially the lanky robot with a coffee pot for a head.
Character Trivia: There were in fact four IG-88s, the last of which attempted to upload its consciousness into the second Death Star in order to control it. Unfortunately, it did so just before Lando Calrissian destroyed it. Oops.
Behind The Scenes: The head is, in fact, a Rolls Royce jet engine component, although it did double as a drinks vessel in the Mos Eisley cantina.
Emperor's Royal Guard
Why So Great? These guys don't do anything on-screen in Return of the Jedi , and yet you can't but sense - from their deathly stillness and Samurai style - that this lot wouldn't think twice about chopping you in half.
Character Trivia: The highest rank within the Guard was Sovereign Protector.
Behind The Scenes: Through several iterations of costume, the crimson robes were a mainstay of Nilo Rodis-Jamero's concept art.
Why So Great? In the midst of Jedi massacring crisis, Bail was one of the few guys to keep his head - and, indeed, his life. That calmness under pressure no doubt helped with the raising of his headstrong adopted daughter, Leia.
Character Trivia: Organa was one of the leading forces behind the Rebellion between the prequel and original trilogies.
Behind The Scenes: Adrian Dunbar filmed scenes as Bail Organa for The Phantom Menace .
Why So Great? It must be daunting to fill the considerable Chewbacca-sized space in the co-pilot's chair aboard the Millennium Falcon. Not if you're this jovial, rodent-faced alien, for treats taking down the Death Star as casually as going down to the shops.
Character Trivia: He eventually became administrator of the Kessel spice mines.
Behind The Scenes: Kenyan voice actor Kipsang Rotich allegedly slipped native lines into Nunb's dialogue that are hysterical...if you're Kenyan.
Why So Great? Another of the bounty hunters who didn't capture Han Solo, but it doesn't matter. Bossk's "mean lizard" look achieves a whole character in seconds of screen time, and helps to define the thuggish lawlessness of the mercenaries.
Character Trivia: The name literally translates as 'Devours His Prey' in his native Transdoshan language.
Behind The Scenes: Bossk's costume is a high-altitude pressure suit developed for RAF usage. Wonder how he got it?
Why So Great? All too seldom did we get the chance to see who did the work in the Empire, as Kevin Smith was quick to satirise in Clerks . But all we really need to know comes from the Ugnaughts, who get on with things with a look of faint disgruntlement - just like the rest of us.
Character Trivia: The life span of an Ugnaught? Around 200 years.
Behind The Scenes: The Chief Ugnaught was played by Jack Purvis, who had already made a name for diminuitive authority as the Chief Jawa in A New Hope .
Doctor Cornelius Evazan
Why So Great? If Mos Eisley is going to live up to its billing as a wretched hive of scum and villainy, it needs characters like Evazan, who picks a fight with Luke Skywalker purely for the hell of it... and gets his mate's arm cut off as a result.
Character Trivia: Evazan was eventually executed by - who else? - Boba Fett.
Behind The Scenes: Kenner, unaware that Evazan's mate Ponda Baba had a name, called him Walrus Man. At least he got a toy; Evazan didn't.
Why So Great? Not everybody makes it to the credits. 'Red Six' is symbolic of all those Rebel fighters who died in battle, but who will never be forgotten.
Character Trivia: His nicknames were Piggy and Belly Runner, the latter something to do with his talent for low-altitude X-Wing attacks.
Behind The Scenes: William Hootkins was in the running to play Jabba the Hutt but declined. Good choice, since Jabba's role was cut in 1977 and CGI'd for the Special Edition.
Why So Great? You can measure the vileness of a villain by the company he keeps... and Jabba the Hutt kept this cackling creature, who lived only to laugh at other's misfortunes. Silly, surreal and - yes - salacious.
Character Trivia: In case you were wondering, he's a Kowakian monkey-lizard.
Behind The Scenes: Crumb was meant to be a background character, until puppeteer Timothy Rose created such a wicked persona that Lucas decided to beef up the role.
Why So Great? Ever wondered why the Rebellion won so easily against the might of the Empire? Because of overconfident bumblers like Ozzel, whose tactical mistake at the Battle of Hoth allowed our heroes to live. Makes you wonder why Vader didn't do
Character Trivia: Ozzel presided over Han Solo's court martial after he saved Chewbacca from slavery.
Behind The Scenes: Actor Michael Sheard played Hitler in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade , but to a certain generation is best known as Grange Hill 's cantankerous caretaker, Mr Bronson.
Why So Great? Inscrutable aide to Lando Calrissian, Lobot was a cyborg who was connected to Cloud City's computer network - as such, it's impossible to tell if his decision to help kick the Empire out of town was out of loyalty to his boss or to the well-being of the city.
Character Trivia: Lobot secretly helped Calrissian in the card game that saw him become Bespin's Adminstrator.
Behind The Scenes: A shot suggesting Lobot had died was cut to allow the possibility of a return.
Why So Great? As the actors took centre stage for Revenge of the Sith 's tragedy, Grievous was one last reminder of what we wanted from Star Wars as kids: something mad and memorable and murderous. A six saber-wielding cyborg with a cough? That'll do nicely.
Character Trivia: Before being augmented with metal and stuff, Grievous was a Kaleesh.
Behind The Scenes: Why the cough? Because Lucas came into work with a cold, and somebody thought it'd be funny to use in the film.
Why So Great? Accusations that Star Wars is strictly for the boys fade when you remember that the Rebellion was co-founded and led by the stern but sure presence of our Mo'.
Character Trivia: She was imprisoned on the original Death Star but escaped before it was destroyed. Obviously.
Behind The Scenes: Caroline Blakistan had to re-record all of her dialogue because the original takes were interrupted by pigeons roosting in the set
Uncle Owen Lars
Why So Great? Later events imply that Luke's wanderlust are because he's descended from famous Jedi. In practical terms, though, what sets off his longing to travel the stars is to get away from his grouchy uncle. Owen Lars, thank you for being such a stick-in-the-desert killjoy.
Character Trivia: Owen isn't from Tatooine, but Ator.
Behind The Scenes: Joel Edgerton's (young Owen in Revenge of the Sith ) brother Nash was Ewan McGregor's stunt double.
Why So Great? Clearly, Greedo is on this list not because of something (George Lucas thinks) he does but precisely because shooting first isn't in his character. Greedo is Star Wars ' ultimate monologuer, the fool who allows the hero to gain the upper hand because he likes the sound of his own voice, and that's why we love him.
Character Trivia: Greedo had an uncle called Avaro Sookcool.
Behind The Scenes: Greedo's apparently alien tongue is actually South American language Quechua.
Why So Great? Even outer space has supercilious butlers, it seems. But Bib represents a marvellous satire of the breed, given that one Jedi mind trick is all it takes to end the biggest party on Tatooine. Mate, your whole job is to keep people like Skywalker out!
Character Trivia: Despite surviving Jabba's end, Fortuna had his brain removed by B'omarr monks and dumped into a jar.
Behind The Scenes: Applying the make-up to Michael Carter was was streamlined from eight hours to 58 minutes by his fifth and last week on-set.
Why So Great? With Darth Maul out of the picture, there was a danger that the prequels would be forced to rely on those stupid Neimoidians for second-fiddle villainy. Until George Lucas repeated a trick he'd pioneered on A New Hope by casting a Hammer Horror veteran (in this case, Christopher Lee) as a proper bad guy.
Character Trivia: Qui Gon-Jinn was Dooku's first padawan.
Behind The Scenes: Count Dooku gave Lee entry to a rare hall of fame of having played villains in the Star Wars , James Bond and Indiana Jones franchises (where he guest starred in The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles .
Why So Great? He's in one scene. He exists solely to dramatise Darth Vader's ruthlessness and the Force's backstory. And yet, Admiral Motti has become an unlikely hero for being that rarest of breeds: an Imperial officer with a sense of humour, and a braggart cocky enough to take on Vader.
Character Trivia: Motti's cousin Thalassa was married to Grand Moff Tarkin. Sounds like nepotism to us.
Behind The Scenes: Lucas officially christened Conan Antonio Motti on a 2007 appearance on Conan (Antonio) O'Brien's chat show.
Why So Great? As the first alien race seen in Star Wars , the Jawa get landmark status anyway. But it's their cheeky characterisation as bartering scavengers with an eye on a deal, that provides our first inkling that this "galaxy far, far away" is strangely like ours.
Character Trivia: Apparently, Jawas smell awful. Missed a trick there, George.
Behind The Scenes: Neil Young's use of Jawa-esque "Roadeyes" during his 1978 tour led to a copyright infringement case, eventually settled out of court.
Why So Great? There we were wondering how Boba Fett got to be so cool, and then his 'Dad' shows up, such an efficient killer/businessman he sold his own DNA to provide the template for an entire army. And he did the Mandalorian armour thing before Boba, too.
Character Trivia: Why Fett for the Clone Army? Because he killed six Jedi with his bare hands at the Battle of Galidraan.
Behind The Scenes: George Lucas bought the domain name ambufett.com prior to shooting Attack of the Clones : a possible alternative name for the character?
Wicket W. Warwick
Why So Great? OK, so official fan-lore has it that the Ewoks are a waste of space. And yet Wicket, the critter who exemplifies his species' perceived faults of childishness, dramatic implausibility and cuddliness, is also the Star Wars character who nails the films' underdog appeal better than anyone.
Character Trivia: The W. stands for Wystri.
Behind The Scenes: "Wicket" was supposed to be Kenny Baker's Ewok until he fell ill, so Warwick Davis got the part.
Why So Great? Amidst the uncertainty and indiscipline of The Phantom Menace , Qui-Gon Jinn is a rock of old-school Jedi-isms: strong, unflappable and a proper space-samurai warrior. It's a shame he dies so soon into the prequels, really.
Character Trivia: Before Obi-Wan Kenobi, Jinn had another apprentice: Xanatos. He turned to the dark side and eventually committed suicide.
Behind The Scenes: Neeson was due to record new dialogue for Jinn in Revenge of the Sith , but the scene was cut.
Grand Moff Tarkin
Why So Great? Even George Lucas was canny enough to realise that the tall dude in the black S&M gear might not be enough to convey the Empire's villainy. Watch A New Hope again, and revel in Peter Cushing's performance as arguably the coldest, most chilling bad guy in Star Wars .
Character Trivia: Imperial military strategy is based on the Tarkin Doctrine, which is based around "Rule through the fear of force rather than through force itself."
Behind The Scenes: Peter Cushing wore a pair of women's slippers for all but long shots: a cause of amusement for his co-stars.
Why So Great? It's a mark of Star Wars ' attention to detail that even minor characters get their moment to shine. But X-wing pilot Wedge stands head and shoulders above all of the B-list Rebel fighters by dint of being the only pilot to survive both Death Star attacks. Give him a medal.
Character Trivia: Wedge is a Corellian, like Han Solo. Small galaxy.
Behind The Scenes: Everybody knows that Denis Lawson (Ewan McGregor's uncle) played Wedge, right? But Lawson replaced Colin Higgins, sacked for not memorising his lines (but who is still visible in the briefing scene). To confuse things further: both actors are dubbed by David Ankrum.
Why So Great? The most human of the Imperial Officers seen in the films, and strangely endearing as a result. Promoted to succeed executed superior Ozzel, the strain tells on Piett's face, his every action based less on strategic wisdom than trying to avoid the same fate.
Character Trivia: Piett rose rapidly through the ranks because of his habit of grassing up colleagues when mistakes were made.
Behind The Scenes: Piett's reappearance in Return of the Jedi was directly influenced by fan mail calling on Lucas to use the character again.
Why So Great? If we're honest, Mace might have been A. N. Other Jedi, were it not for the inspired casting of bad-ass Samuel L. Jackson, translating years of experience of scene-stealing into one of the most naturally dynamic Jedi there has been.
Character Trivia: Mace invented his own form of lightsaber combat, Vaapad.
Behind The Scenes: When Jackson was cast, the prop department added a plate to Mace's lightsaber that read, BMF. Fans of Pulp Fiction will know what that stands for.
Why So Great? The saving grace of The Phantom Menace , Darth Maul is the Sith Lord we always dreamt of: brutal, balletic and hell-bent on destruction. A creation of pure cinema, Maul offered only Rorschach-esque war paint and double-barrelled saber-staff duelling.
Character Trivia: Unusually for a Sith Lord, Darth Maul's real name has never been verified.
Behind The Scenes: Peter Serafinowicz was drafted in to redub all of Ray Park's lines. All three of them.
Jabba the Hutt
Why So Great? Namechecked in A New Hope , a major plot device in Empire, few villains were as bigged up before their first actual appearance. Apt, then, that few characters are so bigged up on-screen, too: the blubbery, lecherous hell-slug of our communal nightmares.
Character Trivia: The lost spice that Jabba held Solo accountable for was actually the fault of another of his smugglers, Moruth Doole, who shopped Solo to the authorities.
Behind The Scenes: Lucas suggested Sydney Greenstreet, the obese charactor actor of Casablanca and The Maltese Falcon fame, as a visual basis for Jabba. Charming.
Why So Great? Just when you thought the good guys were getting a little, well, humanoid, it's revealed that the Rebellion's master tactician is a talking prawn. Not only that, he gets one of the saga's greatest lines. All together now: "It's a trap!"
Character Trivia: Ackbar's taste for rebellion - and his knowledge of the Imperial military strategy - was forged when he was a slave for Grand Moff Tarkin.
Behind The Scenes: Ackbar was performed by puppeteer Timothy Rose, who also operated Salacious Crumb.
Why So Great? Well, she's Luke and Leia's mum, for starters. Beyond that, she's a brainy, ballsy, gun-totin' politician of the kind you don't get in real-life. Ironically, though, it's precisely because she's so ace that Anakin ultimately turns to the Dark Side.
Character Trivia: Before Anakin, there was Ian Lago: Padme's sweetheart before she entered politics. You never know, maybe she told Anakin and that's what drove him to the Dark Side.
Behind The Scenes: Natalie Portman says she didn't know the difference between Star Wars and Star Trek when she was cast. Bet her dates after that were a barrel of laughs.
Why So Great? The highest 'group entry' on this list, the Stormtroopers are the lifeblood of the Star Wars films. Without them, none of this would be possible because:
a) they look so ice-cool they make the good guys look even better by default; and
b) they can't actually shoot for shit, allowing Luke, Han and co. to live to fight another day.
Character Trivia: A battalion of Stormtroopers consists of 820 soldiers.
Behind The Scenes: Designed by Ralph McQuarrie, the actual armour and helmet were sculpted by Brian Muir and Liz Moor.
Why So Great? A protocol droid might sometimes be a nuisance for overanalysisng the etiquette of a situation over actually doing anything, but you never know when you'll need an Ewok god.
Character Trivia: Although Anakin Skywalker boasted he'd built C-3PO, actually he'd rebuilt him after finding his discarded components. Prior to that, C3PO had served the emissary of the Manakron system
Behind The Scenes: Along with R2D2, C3PO was based on the bickering peasants Tahei and Matashichi in Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress , whose princess-rescue plotline provided the narrative base for Star Wars .
Why So Great? The black-hearted rogue at the centre of events, Palpatine is irreemably rotten. Very much a backstage figure until the very end of the original trilogy, he gets a proper backstory in the prequels that shows him to be a charming, intelligent and ruthless political manipulator.
Character Trivia: When Palpatine, aka Darth Sidious, was a padawan, his master was Darth Plagueis.
Behind The Scenes: The name Palpatine echoes the name of the Senator in Taxi Driver , Charles Palantine - a film edited by George's then wife Marcia.
Why So Great? Nobody better exemplifies the arrival of shades of grey into Lucas' initially clear-cut morality. Hero? Villain? Why can't a guy be both?
An even bigger scoundrel than Han Solo, he commits the unforgiveable sin of betraying his mate to the Empire...and then gets forgiven anyway for helping to rescue Han and then leading the assault on the Death Star.
Character Trivia: Despite winning the Millennium Falcon in a card game, he was such a rubbish pilot he hired a droid to teach him how to fly it.
Behind The Scenes: Billy Dee Williams auditioned to play Han Solo in the original film.
Why So Great? Taciturn, ruthless and way-cool, Fett is the supporting character who burst through into the major leagues thanks to his sheer presence. It says much about the awe in which Fett is held that the prequels give Boba and his family huge prominence.
Character Trivia: Fett made his debut not in The Empire Strikes Back , but in an animated segment of the Star Wars Holiday Special . Every cloud, eh?
Behind The Scenes: Credited to Jeremy Bulloch, Fett was actually voiced by Jason Wingreen.
Why So Great? A walking carpet is a handy thing to have in a crisis. Large and loud enough to scare any attackers, incredibly loyal and can be used as a blanket when it gets too cold.
Added bonus: he makes the name of Somerset cave Wookey Hole sound absolutely hilarious.
Character Trivia: As revealed in the Star Wars Holiday Special , his dad's name is Attichitcuk (or Itchy), his wife is Mallatobuck (Malla) and his son is Lumpawaroo (Lumpy). Now let us never talk of it again.
Behind The Scenes: Chewbacca was based on the co-pilot of George Lucas' car, Indiana the dog. Yes, the same dog who Indiana Jones is named after.
Why So Great? For an old geezer who doesn't survive the first film, 'Ben' Kenobi casts a huge spell, both as the voice of authoritative wisdom and (in his younger days) the action hero Jedi.
The fact that he mentored two generations of Skywalker, and so was hugely responsible both for the rise and the fall of the Empire, gives him bragging rights as one the saga's most influential characters.
Character Trivia: Kenobi didn't spend all of his time on Tatooine between the trilogies. At one point, he was chased across the galaxy by Boba Fett.
Behind The Scenes: Alec Guinness is the only actor nominated for an Oscar for his work in any of the films. His name is also an anagram of 'Genuine Class.' These facts aren't unrelated.
Why So Great? Oh so dependable, this is an R2 unit with a personality that transcends his limited vocabulary of bleeps. More versatile than a Swiss Army knife, you can use him as a computer interface, lightsaber holder and battering ram.
Character Trivia: He was manufactured by droid makers Industrial Automation, rival manufacturer to Cybot Galactica, who developed C-3PO.
Behind The Scenes: R2D2 is named after a cue sheet used on Lucas' debut, THX-1138 , which was headed Reel 2, Dialogue 2.
Why So Great? Upturning the politics of nearly every real-world revolution, here the rebel with a cause is a princess, who uses regal manner as a decoy for subversive action. Despite being the first film's damsel in distress, she's no pushover, and turns out to like a bit of rough in Han Solo.
Looks great in a gold bikini, too.
Character Trivia: In Lucas' first draft, Leia had brothers named Biggs and Windy - both names which would crop up again in characters Biggs Darklighter and Mace Windu.
Behind The Scenes: Lucas based Leia's doughnut hairdo on a turn-of-the-century Mexican style, "a kind of Southwestern Pancho Villa woman revolutionary look."
Why So Great? Confounded, expectations must be. The Jedi master and mentor was built up by Ben Kenobi as a formidable user of the Force, so it's one hell of a surprise when he turned out to be a wizened green Muppet.
But Kenobi's right: he knows his stuff and, when he was younger, he was a dab hand with a lightsaber too. The only thing that eludes him is synytax.
Character Trivia: Who teaches the teacher? Yoda was trained by a Jedi Master called N'Kata Del Gormo.
Behind The Scenes: Muppeteer Frank Oz voiced the character in the films. In the radio adaptation of The Empire Strikes Back , though, he was played by John Lithgow.
Why So Great? Farmboy turned fighter, user of the Force, hero of the Rebellion. Luke is the heart and soul of Star Wars .
Face it, there isn't a man under the age of 40 who hasn't wielded a broom handle and pretended to be Luke at some point.
Character Trivia: He called his son Ben. Aww.
Behind The Scenes: Luke's 'battle scars' in the sequels were actually the result of a 1977 car accident that left Mark Hamill with a fractured nose and cheekbones.
Darth Vader / Anakin Skywalker
Why So Great? Nobody better exemplifies the mythic pull of Lucas' saga than Vader. Conceived as sci-fi's greatest bad-ass, with voice and action assigned to different actors (James Earl Jones, Dave Prowse), we're talking best of breed villainy.
Until, after various sequels and prequels, it's clear that the redemptive fall and rise of Anakin Skywalker is the story, from moppet to firebrand to traitor...to daddy.
Character Trivia: After becoming Darth Vader, Anakin settled in a private fortress, Bast Castle, located on an acid-rain lashed planet called Vjun.
Behind The Scenes: That mask was originally only supposed to be part of Vader's spacesuit.
Why So Great? The ultimate Star Wars character: dashing, witty, impetuous, with a grizzled nobility and romanticism that peeks out from behind world-weary sarcasm. The turning point of the Rebellion comes when Solo abandons mercenary principles and comes back to help his friends.
Oh, and he shoots first, but then everybody knows that except Lucas.
Character Trivia: Solo became a depressed drunk after Chewbacca's death. You can't blame him, really.
Behind The Scenes: Harrison Ford beat competition from Kurt Russell, Nick Nolte and Christopher Walken. Not bad for a part-time actor who still practised carpentry.