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Star Wars’ 5 Biggest Villains

By Serge Cruise • December 10, 2015

Many of us are excited for the premiere of The Force Awakens later this month. I have my doubts that some of the biggest cosmic villains of all time can share a bed with Mickey Mouse, but I hope they'll be quashed after the opening credits in less than a parsec. A question around the Thrift Books water cooler is "What new villains or shades of villainy will we find?" In the teasers we've seen some cool, if impractical, twists on the light sabre that appeared first in the novels not the films, but how will they be wielded and by whom? Seems like a great opportunity to review our top 5 Star Wars villains in the Saga so far:

5. Darth Maul is without a doubt one of the most evil looking characters in the Star Wars universe; replete with multiple devil horns. Appearance alone, though, isn't enough to earn the #5 spot. As an apprentice to Darth Sidious, Darth Maul is bested in combat by Obi-Wan Kenobi. Even after Maul is cut in half by Obi-Wan’s light saber in Episode I, he returns in the TV series Star Wars: The Clone Wars with a set of bionic legs. Only a true force of evil can be split in half by Obi-Wan, pushed down a bottomless reactor shaft on Naboo, and return to claim himself a true lord of the Sith.

4. Count Dooku (a.k.a. Darth Tyranus). Like Anakin Skywalker, Dooku showed promise as a young Jedi apprentice during his youth and his descent into the dark side is all the more tragic. Accomplished with the light saber, he climbed the political ranks as leader of the Confederacy of Independent Systems, more commonly known as the Separatist Alliance. Additionally, Dooku is the man behind the evil genius of the Clone Wars. He is responsible for setting up Order 66, when the clones were ordered to betray their Jedi masters in Episode III. Therefore Dooku is directly responsible of the Jedi purges.

Part of his villainous appeal comes from the shreds of Anakin that remain.3. Why is Darth Vader only third you ask? Because he's vulnerable. Part of his villainous appeal comes from the shreds of Anakin that remain. He was saved by Darth Sidious after being almost completely dismembered and partially burned alive during a light saber duel with Obi-Wan Kenobi in Episode III. Vader is in effect Darth Sidious’ “Frankenstein.” Throughout the original Star Wars trilogy, Vader is tasked with chasing down and defeating the Rebel Alliance. His character is more defined by the actions he's ordered to take and not purely by evil acts, which is why he earns the third spot on our list. Vader may be the most recognizable villain of all, but is he the most evil?

Tarkin's "To Do" list is destroying planets.2. Our second most evil Star Wars villain is Grand Moff Tarkin: Commander of the Death Star and Governor of the Imperial Outland regions. Tarkin and Vader are both tasked with destroying the Rebel Alliance, but it is often overlooked that Tarkin is Vader’s superior. Tarkin's "To Do" list is destroying planets. He threatens Princess Leia’s home planet of Alderaan until she coughs up the whereabouts of the rebel base, and destroys Alderaan anyway, before moving on to Dantooine! It doesn't hurt that this role is played by arguably the greatest villainous film actor of all time; Peter Cushing.

1. Less of a surprise; the biggest Star Wars villain is Senator Palpatine of Naboo, he hunted down the Jedi, turned the Republic into the Empire and started his reign as Lord of the Sith. Sidious had hoped to turn Luke against his father and continue ruling the galaxy, however the father-son bond between Vader and Luke proved too strong to defeat him. In the end Vader killed Sidious by throwing him into a reactor shaft (remember Darth Maul? Lucas loves his reactor shafts!)

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