May The Fourth Be With You: The Star Wars Trilogies And Their Critters, Ranked
We all know what day it is today, but for the uninitiated (where have you been all these years?!), May the Fourth be with you. Yes, it’s that time of year again and May 4, or Star Wars Day, is upon us. This year’s fan festivities and celebrations are dampened by the fact that Peter Mayhew, the actor who played Chewbacca in the 1977 original Star Wars film, passed away earlier this week, but in the words of Grand Master Yoda, “death is a natural part of life. Rejoice for those around you who transform into the Force.”
And rejoice we shall. This year is slated to be a great one for the franchise, with Disneyland’s Star Wars expansion opening in California at the end of this month and The Rise of Skywalker coming out in December. To pass time between now and the next time we can go to Disneyland, and to commemorate the unofficial 40th anniversary of Star Wars Day, we took the time to rank the original Star Wars trilogy, prequels, and sequels based on our favourite creatures and critters from the Star Wars ‘verse.
3. The Prequel Trilogy
Coming in third is the prequel trilogy, as it didn’t bring us many memorable creatures and critters (and um, movies) overall, though the ones that do deserve a mention are not exactly ones you’d want to bump into, as they all appeared during the execution scene in Attack of the Clones.
The Nexu, everyone’s favourite feline/rat/spider hybrid, deserves a mention as it managed to take a bloody swipe at Padme. However, the fact that it was stunned by a mere kick to the chest makes all those teeth seem much less ferocious than they appear to be.
The Acklay, the result of director George Lucas’ request for a monster that crossed a praying mantis with a velociraptor, is a much more formidable and harder to kill threat. Said to be able to channel the Force, this creature at least (somewhat) redeemed the lacklustre prequel trilogy and allowed the films to scrape by on our list.
2. The Sequels
Now we’re getting into some more exciting (and cuter!) territory. The creatures in The Last Jedi took up quite a bit of screen time and added some comedic relief, giving us all something to coo over as Luke demonstrated just how stubborn he can be.
Firstly, we’ve got to highlight the rathtars. We included the vaguely Lovecraftian tentacle monsters on our list despite their brief on-screen appearance due to their agility, power, and row upon row of teeth supplemented by a multitude of wriggling tentacles that just don’t quit, even after they’re chopped off.
Next up, the vulptices. Shiny, sleek, and beautiful, these fox-like creatures seem to be the result of a Pokémon and Star Wars ultimate crossover. But while that particular crossover is just a pipe dream, these beautiful critters can be found in the franchise’s latest cinematic release.
Luke’s dinosaur-nun helpers, the Ahch-To Caretakers, deserve a mention seeing as they had to put up with so much during Rey’s stay on the sacred island. The Lanai caretakers are The Last Jedi’s most underappreciated female badasses (how does Luke even keep his life together without them?) and are often overlooked in favour of the next creature on our list—Porgs.
People seem to either love them or hate them, but we can all agree that these polarizing creatures are seriously cute with their wide innocent eyes and frowny faces. Don’t deny it, deep down you want one as a pet.
1. The OG Trilogy
Nothing can beat the original Star Wars trilogy, seeing as it brought us such iconic household names as Wookiees and Jawas and other pop culture icons like the Ewoks. The trilogy gave fans a good creepy to cute ratio, and to no one’s surprise, that puts the classic trilogy at the top of our creature ranking list.
Let’s skip over A New Hope for now and go directly to the second film in the trilogy to talk about wampas. Wampas are considered the greatest predators of the ice world and of the greatest monsters of the franchise, nearly accomplishing the nigh impossible task of killing Luke Skywalker himself.
And we can’t not talk about the space slugs. We know you were terrified of them when you were a kid—they’re freaking huge and they can just pop out of seemingly empty asteroid holes. And speaking of holes in the ground…
Don’t forget about the sarlacci. A living torture device used by Jabba the Hutt, a sarlacc can extend the life of its victims so that they’re forced to experience, in graphic detail, every second of their own death—as they’re digested by the sarlacc over the course of a thousand years. One piece of advice: be careful not to trip while looking at one of these things.
Now on to the M.V.P.s. The meaner-looking relative of the teddy bear, Ewoks were the original Porgs, as they were criticized upon the film’s release for being a mere marketing ploy to sell merchandise to children. Say what you will, but you really can’t deny the Ewok’s place popular culture. Jawas, however, do rank above the Ewoks, as they’re the subject of perhaps the biggest mystery of the franchise—what exactly does a Jawa look like underneath the hood?
And at the top of our list, of course, are the Wookiees. Need we say more?
Honorable Mention: The Clone Wars
While technically not part of the main film franchise, The Clone Wars’ Zillo Beast deserves a mention due to its indestructible hide—and because the beast was never mentioned again after it was said to be cloned by Palpatine. Could the Zillo Beast see a comeback now that CGI technology has finally caught up to our imaginations? We’ll just have to wait and see.