From humble beginnings as a massive summer blockbuster, the Star Wars franchise has gone on to become one of the biggest and most famous series of all time. Through nine mainline movies, TV shows, video games, comics, and holiday specials, Star Wars has introduced literally hundreds of beloved characters.
With fan-favorite characters getting their own Disney+ shows like The Book of Boba Fett and Obi-Wan, new stories are being told about them all the time. This is great because not everyone was given their time to shine in the main Star Wars films. In fact, these characters’ biggest accomplishment was not in the movies at all.
Though she did not appear in the flesh until Return of the Jedi, Mon Mothma is arguably the most important leader of the entire Rebel Alliance. She was one of the founding members of the Alliance and was instrumental in its creation. Despite her limited screen time, Mon Mothma is clearly a powerful person.
While building the Rebel Alliance is already enough of an accomplishment, Mon Mothma’s career did not start or end there. She appears in The Clone Wars and Rogue One and is shown to be brave enough to openly defy the Emperor. Mothma’s biggest achievement though, as detailed in the canon Aftermath novel and Shattered Empire comic series, was serving as the first Chancellor of the New Republic, and ushering in a new era of peace in the galaxy.
IG-88 was one of the numerous bounty hunters hired to find the Millennium Falcon in The Empire Strikes Back, and stood out even among that eclectic group. Most notably, IG-88 was a robot with a unique and intimidating design. Unfortunately, the movies never show him action.
IG-88 would go on to appear in numerous video games and comic books, but his most fascinating moment is his creation, as detailed by his official background lore in the Ultimate Star Wars encyclopedia. IG-88 was created to be an assassin droid, but as soon as he realized his potential, he wiped out his creators single-handedly. Fulfilling his purpose as both an assassin and bounty hunter, IG-88 went on to build a reputation that could rival Boba Fett’s.
Despite not having a single line of dialogue in the prequel trilogy, Aayla Secura has become a fan favorite Jedi in the years since. Appearing only as a background character in the films, Aayla was given more time to shine during the Clone Wars TV show and played a huge role in 2005’s Star Wars Battlefront 2 video game.
Fighting alongside the clones on Felucia, the game portrays Secura single-handedly turning the tide of the battle, and saving the entire 501st legion in the process. Her accomplishments earned her so much respect among the clones that it is implied that Secura’s tragic death during Order 66 was so brutal because her clones refused to let her suffer.
To be fair to Admiral Ackbar, his accomplishments in the original Star Wars trilogy are pretty impressive. He leads the fleet that destroys the second Death Star and ends the Empire once and for all. Ask most fans though, and that is not what they remember him for.
Admiral Ackbar has become a franchise favorite almost exclusively as the guy who yells “It’s a trap!” in Return of the Jedi. While that moment is in the movie, the cult following that Ackbar has built has happened completely outside his control. His achievements in the movies should not be downplayed, but becoming such a huge internet meme for one line is no small feat either.
Plo Koon was another Jedi master who was little more than a background character in the prequels, but as his character was fleshed out in lore it became clear that Plo Koon deserved way more screen time.
Thankfully, this is what he got in the Clone Wars series. In the show, Plo became an important mentor to Ashoka Tano, and led one of the most famous clone trooper legions of the war. Plo Koon was an incredibly wise and skilled Jedi, and was instrumental in several Republic campaigns during the Clone Wars, including destroying Separatist superweapon Malevolence and rescuing Jedi master Adi Gallia.
Luke’s crotchety old Uncle Owen was a short-lived character in A New Hope, dying alongside Aunt Beru as the emotional catalyst that forced Luke into his journey as a Jedi. There are glimpses that Owen cares about Luke in the movie, but for the most part, he remains stubborn and in his ways.
The Obi-Wan series finally fleshed out Owen a bit more. The series reveals the reason for Owen’s strict rules for Luke, he is trying to protect Luke from Darth Vader as well as prevent him from turning out the same way. Owen is finally given a chance to prove his love for Luke, even taking on a Sith Inquisitor to protect him. His bravery and protectiveness make Owen’s shockingly horrific death all that much sadder.
The primary military leader for the Separatist army, General Grievous was a hulking cyborg with four arms and deadly skills with a lightsaber. Revenge of the Sith touted Grievous as the ultimate Jedi killer, even having him show off the lightsabers of his victims that he kept as trophies. Even though Grievous does get an exhilarating showdown with Obi-Wan, most of his exploits happen off-screen.
Though the final cut of Revenge of the Sith leaves Grievous’ Jedi hunting career up to the imagination, a deleted scene shows him callously murdering the unfortunate Shaak Ti. Numerous comic book appearances also showed off Grievous’ stint as a Jedi killer. Arguably Grievous’ biggest and most dastardly achievement was the massacre of the Nightsisters on Dathomir in The Clone Wars.
Darth Maul’s phenomenal character design alone made him an instant favorite when he appeared in The Phantom Menace and being featured in one of the best lightsaber battles in the entire Star Wars franchise secured his place in Star Wars history. Unfortunately, Maul was “killed” at the end of the battle.
Maul soon proved way too popular to die so soon though, and he was resurrected for the Clone Wars TV show, where he became one of the primary antagonists of the later seasons. Of all Maul’s feats as a Sith lord, his most impressive was his hostile takeover of the planet Mandalore. Turning the radical Death Watch group against the people, Maul managed to take control of one of the most feared and respected planets in the galaxy.
Boba Fett was one of the surprise breakout stars of the original trilogy, due to his awesome look and stoic demeanor, but the elephant in the room when talking about the character is that he really doesn’t get to do anything. He is there to look cool and then be killed off.
Many fans were not happy about this though, and Boba Fett was expanded upon in dozens of novels and comics that flesh out his fearsome reputation as a bounty hunter. Best of all, Disney finally confirmed Boba’s long-rumored fate in The Book of Boba Fett, showing him blasting his way out of the Sarlaac pit before taking over as the crime lord of Tatooine. Not bad for a guy with four lines in the movies.
Captain Phasma was one of the biggest missed opportunities of the sequel trilogy. A ruthless and intimidating Stormtrooper commander, Phasma boasted a great design and a mean streak to back it up. Unfortunately, Phasma was never given much to do and was unceremoniously swept aside in both The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi.
Thankfully, a canon novel titled simply Phasma fleshed out the Captain’s backstory and character. Even crueler than she is in the films, the novel shows Phasma’s treacherous rise through the ranks of the First Order, silencing any who question her authority and even going so far as to murder General Hux’s father to consolidate her power. Despite her wiping out an entire village, the films only scratched the surface of Phasma’s villainous ways.
NEXT: 10 Cool Star Wars Villains Who Were Completely Wasted