And away we poe!: Top 10 Favorite Sequel Trilogy Characters
Updated: Apr 5
The Star Wars Sequel Trilogy has enough great stories, music, and action to go around. But like the two trilogies that came before it, its greatest strength is the characters.
To me, characters are the most important of any story of this scale. You can have the prettiest visuals and the most original story, but if you don't have great characters, everything else seems less special. While not everybody will agree with that, I think characters are essential to what make Star Wars, Star Wars. Today, I wanted to shine a light on the characters I've fallen in love with over the past few years. While seeing old favorites like Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Leia Organa was great, this list is only reserved for characters who made their debut in the Sequel Trilogy.
10. Zorii Bliss
Anyone who knows me knows I'm a sucker for masked characters. Created by J.J. Abrams, Zorii Bliss is a mysterious scoundrel from Kijimi, who had a past with Poe Dameron. While Zorii isn't in The Rise of Skywalker much, she represents how the war between the Resistance and the First Order can tear the galaxy apart. Keri Russel's performance, her unforgettable design, and her relationship with Poe make Zorii a little sweeter. Hopefully Lucasfilm sees her untapped potential. #ZoriiBlissGang will live on!
BB-8 rolled into millions of hearts when he debuted in the teaser trailer for The Force Awakens. It's funny to imagine now, but some believed that BB-8 was going to be a pointless and terrible character, including William Shatner. However, BB-8 became one of the most beloved and iconic characters to come out of the modern era. His cute roundness and adorable beeps add to his charm and make him a scene stealing presence. It's not just his cuteness that make him great, it's also the wonderful humor he applies, being the funniest character since C-3PO. BB-8 is more than just a cute round boi or a cool remote-controlled toy, he's a icon.
How often do you get to see black women kick ass or lead a rebellion? Luckily, Star Wars gave us just that. Jannah is a revolutionary presence in the franchise in terms of diversity, and she's a great character in her own right. A former stormtrooper turned freedom fighter, Jannah aides our main heroes in the fight against the First Order. Jannah functions similarly to Bard from The Hobbit, as she shows up fairly late in the story, but plays a major role in the film's climax. While her scenes with Finn aren't as abundant as I would like, Naomi Ackie and John Boyega have wonderful chemistry. Seeing two black characters lead the charge against the ultimate evil is something I will never forget. Out of everyone on this list, Jannah is the one I believe her deserves her own solo project the most. Jannah: A Star Wars Story sounds really good right about now.
7. Allegiant General Pryde
Star Wars has always been very good at casting accomplished British character actors as Imperial Officers. Peter Cushing, Kenneth Colley, and Michael Pennington are just a few examples of this. Richard E. Grant is the most recent recruit, playing Allegiant General Pryde in The Rise of Skywalker. What Pryde lacks in screentime, he makes up for in presence. Pryde's screen presence and Grant's performance make for a memorable character who stands above other Imperial bad guys, including General Hux and Captain Phasma. Pryde's deadly war tactics and sinister nature make him one the franchise's most entertaining supporting villains.
The year was 2014. The world was itching to see the first lick of footage for the next Star Wars movie. Finally, when the teaser trailer was unveiled, we were introduced to Finn for the very first time. Played brilliantly by John Boyega, Finn was our male lead for The Force Awakens and he didn't disappoint. While we've gotten black characters before, see Lando Calrissian and Mace Windu, it was great to see a black hero kick ass and be at the forefront of the story. Boyega's charm, sense of comedic timing, and dramatic talent all combine to create an amazing new diverse hero. Boyega's chemistry with Daisy Ridley is impeccable. While J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan gave Finn the spotlight, Rian Johnson sadly didn't do it to the same extent. Rian gave Finn and Rose a really good arc that ties into the central theme of The Last Jedi, but Finn doesn't feel like a large presence the second time around, as Rian seemed more interested in Luke Skywalker and Kylo Ren. J.J. sadly didn't give Finn much to do in The Rise of Skywalker until its 3rd act, following in the footsteps of Han Solo and Padmé Amidala where major characters just float along until the plot needs them without much development in the third movie of a trilogy. While Finn may not have been the biggest star in all 3 films, no amount of limited screentime or racists will take Finn away from fans.
When I was a kid, my mom told me that Jimmy Smits, who plays Bail Organa in the Prequels, was Puerto Rican. That was pretty cool knowing growing up. At age 20, seeing Benicio Del Toro play a major supporting role in a Star Wars movie made me feel like a kid again. Rian Johnson created a really interesting character who is unlike anyone we have seen before. A great theme in The Last Jedi is one of choice. Rey, Luke, Finn, Poe, and Kylo Ren are all faced with choices that can alter their destinies forever, mainly the choice to fight the ultimate evil. DJ's initials stand for "Don't join" and tries to convince Finn to drop Rose and the Resistance to live life freely. Rian described Rose and DJ as the angel and devil on Finn's shoulders and it works perfectly. Del Toro's line delivery is perfect and makes DJ all the more entertaining. The greatest part about DJ is the big twist. In Star Wars and other big franchises, characters who are introduced as rogues often turn out to have hearts of gold, see Han Solo and Lando Calrissian. However, DJ exits the movie with his payment intact and his morality broken as he sells out Finn, Rose, BB-8, and the Resistance to the First Order. DJ makes it out of the movie with his life and without redemption, and in all honesty, that's pretty cool.
4. Rose Tico
In 2015, rumors began circulating that the then untitled, Episode VIII, was looking for a new female lead. At the time, many articles took this that Rey was being replaced, but that couldn't have been farther from the truth. The character in question turned out to be Rose Tico, and Kelly Marie Tran was the right woman for the job. Rian Johnson created Rose to defy conventions and Rose became a fan favorite rather quickly. I don't want to dwell on the racists who tore Rose and Kelly for no reason, instead I want to showcase why Rose is such an amazing character. First off, Rose was the first prominent woman of color in a Star Wars movie, which was legendary in its own right. But what makes Rose so great is what she represents. Rose's line about how we'll win by saving what we love is exactly what the core value of Star Wars is. Rose fights her way through The Last Jedi with her wits and her heart rather than a weapon. Kelly Marie Tran's performance are what make Rose such a phenomenal character and if Rian Johnson deserves credit for anything, it's creating Rose. Rose, as well as Jannah, are also proof that women don't also have to be "Shrinking Violets" to be heroes, as they show that women with bigger body types can kick ass too. While The Rise of Skywalker forgot Rose existed, her fans didn't. Hopefully we'll see her again real soon.
3. Rey Skywalker
Princess Leia, Padmé Amidala, and Ahsoka Tano supplied women with great heroines. However, Rey became the first to be the main protagonist. I fell in love with Rey before I even knew her name, referring to her as "Cute girl with the goggles" when The Force Awakens' teaser trailer dropped. Whether she's under the direction of J.J. Abrams or Rian Johnson, Rey has become one of the most relatable, real, charming, and lovely characters the franchise has ever seen. Daisy Ridley's performances are some of the best in the trilogy, as she delivered Oscar worthy performances in all three films. Rey is also the ultimate feminine power fantasy, as her physical strength, smarts, and giant heart paint the picture of the perfect heroine. Not perfect in the sense that she's flawless, but perfect in the sense that more movie franchises can use characters like her. While it may be a hot take to some, I fully believe that Rey is the greatest blockbuster heroes of the last decade. Whether you know her as a nobody, a Palpatine, or a Skywalker, there's no denying Rey's influence and legacy. It doesn't hurt that John Williams gave her the greatest theme ever.
2. Ben Solo/Kylo Ren
At first, we knew him as the man with the lightsaber that sparked a thousand memes. Over time, he's become one of the best film villains in recent memory. Kylo Ren is fascinating, as he represents a Star Wars villain at their absolute best. Another hot take, but I think Kylo Ren rivals Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine in terms of greatness. J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan deserve all the credit in the world for introducing Kylo to us, while Rian Johnson deserves all the credit in the world for amplifying his emotional core and relatability. Of course, you can't talk about Kylo Ren without mentioning Adam Driver, as he adds another layer of depth and emotion to the character. Whether it's his scenes with Daisy Ridley, his gut wrenching scenes with Harrison Ford, or it just him on his own, Adam Driver delivers some of the best performances in any blockbuster movie. While we didn't get to see redeemed Ben Solo as much as we wanted, it was great to see him. While I'm still not a fan of how his fate played out, hopefully Lucasfilm revives him for another great story. #BenSoloLives!
1. Poe Dameron
Rarely do we get a Latino character in a blockbuster movie where he isn't an outdated stereotype. Luckily, J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan gave us Poe Dameron, the Latino hero of a generation. While his screentime in The Force Awakens is small, Poe was the film's main character for the first 10 minutes and help set the main story in motion. Introduced as our "New Han Solo", Oscar Issac's performance and chemistry with John Boyega is nothing short of perfect. Despite only knowing each other for 4 minutes, Finn and Poe's friendship quickly became a franchise best. Poe leading the Resistance against Starkiller Base was also a sight to behold. While Poe's characterization under Rian Johnson in The Last Jedi has been criticized by some for seemingly perpetuating the"Latin Hot Head" stereotype. I think Poe's arc was a good lesson in combating toxic masculinity. Plus, it was fun to see him be the main character of the movie in its opening just like in The Force Awakens. Again, Poe's characterization in The Rise of Skywalker has been criticized, as some have accused J.J. Abrams of turning Poe into a Latino stereotype by making him a spice runner. While I see where the criticism against Johnson and Abrams are coming from, I personally didn't mind either one. Seeing Poe make the jump from cocky pilot to Resistance general was special to me, as I waited my whole life to see a Latino character be the hero and actually live. While many white fans will pretend that Poe doesn't matter and he shouldn't be considered a part of the core cast, what Poe stands for and represents is something that means more to me than nearly anything else to come out of the franchise in quite some time.
I think I got my point across don't you think?