Star Wars: The 25 Best Female Characters

From A New Hope and The Force Awakens to the outer limits of the Expanded Universe, celebrate the best female Star Wars characters.

Since the release of the Star Wars: The Last Jedi trailer, the internet has been in a roar of rumors and speculation concerning Rey’s role in the movie. Is she the last Jedi in question? And who are Rey’s parents? 

While the women of Star Wars haven’t always been in the spotlight, there have always been plenty of kick ass women to admire long ago in a galaxy far, far away. Check out this list of our top 25 women from the Star Wars canon and Legends:


First Appearance: A New Hope

If you think of women in the Star Wars universe—whether canon or in the old EU/Legends storylines—Princess/General Leia Organa (Solo) is definitely the top pick. Not only is she the only woman in the primary cast of the original films, she returned as the leader of the Resistance in The Force Awakens.

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She’s always been a mover and shaker in the anti-Imperial world, and in the EU, she saves Luke from turning to the Dark Side by saving him from a clone of the Emperor—while pregnant with her third child. In some stories, she has trained as a Jedi. She’s become the political leader of the New Republic. She’s been a mother whose son turned to the Dark Side in not one, but both timelines.

Leia goes through a lot, but regardless of the punches she takes, she keeps on going and never turns to the Dark Side (unlike some other Skywalkers).

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First Appearance: The Force Awakens

Though we don’t yet know much about Rey’s past (and maybe we never will), it’s clear she’s a survivor. She can take care of herself, and others—even when faced with an ex-Jedi trained in mind control trying to torture her. Whether she’s got a lightsaber or a really cool staff, she’s able to fight her way out of messes—and despite her fears of her Force sensitivity, she’s able to call on those abilities when it counts.

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Mara Jade

First Appearance: Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn

Of all the female characters in Star Wars Legends, Mara Jade, who was introduced in Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn Trilogy, is undoubtedly the most popular. Trained as the Emperor’s Hand, her final mission for the Empire is to kill Luke Skywalker. But when she first encounters the not-yet-Jedi-master, she realizes they need to work together to survive, and overrides the Emperor’s command. It takes several books for that deep hatred, seeded into her by the worst father figure ever, to turn into love, but eventually she and Luke get married, ending the string of not-as-cool romantic interests in Luke’s storyline.

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Maz Kanata

First Appearance: The Force Awakens

It takes a lot of awesome to compete with Yoda as one of the coolest characters in the Star Wars universe, but Maz, with her crazy goggles and her knowledge of the Force, is definitely in the running. She steals every scene she’s in during The Force Awakens, and we can only hope we’ll eventually find out just how she ended up with Luke’s original lightsaber.

Jaina Solo (Fel)

First Appearance: The Last Command by Timothy Zahn

Daughter of Han Solo and Leia Organa Solo in Star Wars Legends, Jaina not only becomes a Jedi Master who stands against her brother when he turns to the Dark Side, she’s also an amazing pilot. Like her uncle, she’s the star of Rogue Squadron, and though she walked perilously close to the Dark Side, she returned to the Light and was named the “Sword of the Jedi” by Luke.

Ahsoka Tano

First Appearance: The Clone Wars

A fan favorite introduced in The Clone Wars animated series, Ahsoka is Anakan’s Padawan learner and apprentice. Taken prisoner at one point, Ahsoka organizes a coup against her captors, freeing herself and the rest of the captive Jedi younglings. After being framed as a terrorist and expelled from the Jedi Order, Ahsoka disappears from the ranks of the Jedi—surviving Order 66—only to turn up in Star Wars Rebels as “Fulcrum,” an agent of the growing Rebellion.

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Aayla Secura

First Appearance: Attack of the Clones

A Jedi General during the Clone Wars, Aayla Secura is one of the stand-out badass women of the Prequel Trilogy. She’s one of the team of Jedi who rescues Obi-Wan, Anakin, and Padmé on Geonosis, and she is in turn rescued by Anakin and Ahkosa during the Battle of Quell. When she’s murdered by her supposed allied Clone Troopers on Felucia during Order 66, Yoda feels her death through the Force.

Korr Sella

First Appearance: The Force Awakens

She doesn’t show up for long in The Force Awakens, but in the novelization, Korr’s role is much more prominent. As a teen, Korr began working for Senator Leia Organa, who was a member of the Galactic Senate of the New Republic. When Leia leaves the New Republic to form the Resistance, Korr goes with her.

By the time of the film, the New Republic has been reluctant to give the Resistance the help it needs to stand against the First Order, and Korr is the one chosen by General Organa to travel to the Senate and plead for the necessary aid. The result is tragic: Korr is among those in the Hosnian system who are destroyed by the First Order’s Starkiller Base.

Mission Vao

First Appearance: Knights of the Old Republic (Video Game)

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While there are several badass women in the Knights of the Old Republic video game from BioWare, the most unique of them isn’t one of the Jedi, it’s a rogue who sticks with the PC as the hero tries to save (or take over) the Old Republic. Abandoned by her con artist brother at a young age—after he taught her the valuable survival skills of lock picking, demolitions, and other abilities that make her invaluable to the PC—she stands up for a Wookiee who’s being picked on by street thugs. It doesn’t initially go so well for her (she’s no match for thugs in combat), but it gives her a valuable partner in Zaalbar the Wookiee, who becomes her inseparable companion. She eventually confronts her brother and realizes that she can’t rely on the rosy picture she’s created: she needs to choose her own path in life (and, with the help of the Light Side, become a hero).

Qwi Xux

First Appearance: Jedi Search by Kevin J. Anderson

While most of the women of Star Wars are recognized for their combat prowess, piloting skills, diplomacy and leadership, or other generally heroic traits, Qwi Xux stands out as one of the smartest people in the galaxy. In Legends, she’s the mastermind engineer behind the Death Star—something she doesn’t realize has ever been created, because why would anyone want to actually use a weapon like that! When she realizes how her engineering and innovation have been used to cause harm by the Empire, she immediately joins up with the New Republic to apply her intelligence to the betterment—rather than the harm—of the galaxy.

Hera Syndulla

First Appearance: Star Wars Rebels

As the owner and pilot of the Ghost, Hera is the leader—and the heart—of the heroes of Star Wars Rebels. She’s the only one allowed to know the identity of “Fulcrum,” and she’s the one who chooses which missions the crew takes. But while she’s a leader, she also knows to trust her team to do their jobs—though she occasionally has to nudge them in the right direction. She also becomes Phoenix Leader in the Rebellion, works alongside Leia and Lando Calrissian, and generally wears her optimism like armor, no matter how many bad things happen around her.

Ania Solo

First Appearance: Legacy Vol. 2 #1

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Far in the future of the Legends timeline, a young woman, living on her own, works as a junk dealer. When she discovers a lightsaber, her life changes. It’s a little bit reminiscent of Rey, but it’s not her story—it’s the story of Ania Solo, great granddaughter of Han and Leia, who ends up taking arms against Darth Wredd with a lightsaber she doesn’t know how to use, a stolen Starfighter, and her blaster. While she doesn’t win, she ends up rescuing the Jedi who takes on the fight, and becomes the partner of another Jedi, before being framed for murder and later becoming a secret agent for the Empress.

Jan Ors

First Appearance: Dark Forces

Pilot and mercenary Jan Ors, who has training as a professional ballerina and an aerospace engineer, is the daughter of anti-Imperial terrorists in the Legends timeline. Jan followed that mold, infiltrating Imperial Intelligence and feeding that information to the Rebel Alliance.

After her cover is blown, she becomes a freedom fighter for the Alliance, recruiting Imperial Kyle Katarn into the Rebellion. During the New Republic Era, Jan works as a spy and mercenary, frequently partnering with Katarn (who has become a Jedi, and with whom she’s romantically involved). Eventually, she becomes the head of the Republic clandestine intelligence agency Alpha Blue, which works best outside the rules.

Shaak Ti

First Appearance: Attack of the Clones

Like Aayla Secura, Shaak Ti was a Jedi General during the Clone Wars and fought in the Battle of Geonosis, rescuing Obi-Wan, Padmé, and Anakin. When the Jedi Temple on Coruscant was attacked by Anakin and Darth Sidious, Shaak Ti was the Councilor who evacuated the survivors before the Temple could be destroyed. She sought out the survivors of Order 66, trying to find a place where the survivors could heal and carry on the Jedi tradition. She joins a group of Force sensitives on Felucia and becomes their leader. She also rides a rancor in the first Force Unleashed game, which is one of the coolest things ever put on screen.

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Nomi Sunrider

First Appearance: Tales of the Jedi #3 

One of the earliest badasses in the Legends timeline, Nomi was vital to defeating Exar Kun during the Great Sith War. She was able to use her powers to completely cut off Exar Kun’s Sith apprentice, Ulic Qel-Droma, from the Force, devastating the Sith forces. To make matters a bit more complicated for Nomi, Qel-Droma had once been a friend—and a love interest—before he fell to the Dark Side trying to defeat it from within. A Jedi musician during the New Republic Era composed an entire ballad (“The Ballad of Nomi Sunrider”) to recount her legendary deeds.

Tahiri Veila

First Appearance: Junior Jedi Knights: The Golden Globe by Nancy Richardson

When has anyone of consequence been born on Tatooine? Not including the Skywalkers, Tahiri Veila of the Legends timeline fulfills that qualification and shares some backstory with Luke: she’s the child of moisture farmers and is orphaned. But rather than running off with a Jedi Master, Tahiri is adopted by Tusken Raiders and raised among the Sand People.

Recruited to become a Jedi, she becomes instrumental to forming peace in the Yuuzhan Vong War. Captured by the Vong, she’s given a Vong personality, which she has to unite with her human personality in order to survive. The joint result enables her to communicate with and understand the Vong, and she helps the Vong adjust to an era of peace. During the Second Galactic Civil War, she joins the fallen Jedi Jacen Solo, now known as Darth Caedus, as his apprentice, but eventually she turns away from the Sith, leaving her adrift, no longer a Jedi, no longer a Sith.

Sabine Wren

First Appearance: Star Wars Rebels

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Mandalorian warriors have a reputation as the galaxy’s most serious and dangerous fighters. Sabine, a Mandalorian, fits that mold well: she’s an expert with weapons of all kinds, forged her own armor, and became a bounty hunter after deciding that the Imperial Academy on Mandalore didn’t agree with her. Though she initially has hopes of joining criminal organization Black Sun, Sabine instead falls in with a band of Rebels captained by Hera Syndulla. Sabine continues to forge her own path and finds creative uses for her explosives, including detonating a bomb that painted a squad of Stormtroopers blue.

Aurra Sing

First Appearance: The Phantom Menace

Though she appears only briefly in the Prequel Trilogy, bounty hunter Aurra Sing effectively taught Boba Fett everything he knows, making her the mentor to the best known bounty hunter in the Star Wars galaxy. An associate of Jango Fett’s, she joins Boba in the mission to kill Mace Windu in order to avenge Jango’s death. She provides an example of utter ruthlessness to the sometimes reluctant, young Boba. A crack shot and assassin, she tries unsuccessfully to kill Padmé Amidala twice—but despite being caught, she lives to fight (and kill) another day.

Asajj Ventress

First Appearance: Clone Wars microseries

One of the most ruthless villains in all the canon galaxy, Asajj Ventress is dedicated to killing all Jedi. She wields two lightsabers and is incredibly skilled with them—it’s not just flash, it’s ability, and if she decides she wants someone dead, they’re on the chopping block. When she’s betrayed by Count Dooku, who she served as an apprentice, she becomes a bounty hunter, because that’s the best way to keep killing Jedi. Not one to limit her enemies, she also goes out of her way to piss off Boba Fett, and she enjoys goading her enemies into making mistakes by virtue of her wit and sharp tongue.

Brianna the Handmaiden

First Appearance: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords

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Brianna has one of the most interesting story arcs in Knights of the Old Republic II: she’s the member of an isolationist order led by Jedi historian Atris. Stoic to a fault, Brianna is the only one among the sisterhood of handmaidens to leave the safe walls of their temple upon Atris’s order to join the Jedi Exile as a spy. But Atris’s orders are only half the motivation for Brianna—she is curious about the teachings of the Jedi and is eager to see one in action. She trains the Exile in Echani fighting techniques, and the Exile helps her discover her own Force sensitivity. By training as a Jedi, Brianna breaks her oath to Atris—but that ends up a moot point when Atris turns to the Dark Side.

Darth Traya/Kreia

First Appearance: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords

While plenty of Dark Side villains are adept at manipulating their enemies—and their allies—one of the most accomplished at this is Darth Traya from Knights of the Old Republic II. Setting herself up as a mentor to the Jedi Exile, who is regaining her Force abilities despite having been cut off from the Force by the Jedi Council, Darth Traya moves the Exile around like a piece on a chess board, maneuvering the Exile into revealing the locations of hidden Jedi Masters so that Darth Traya can murder them. The Exile’s mentor and companion thus becomes the final enemy the Exile must defeat.


First Appearance: Star Wars Vol. 1 #56

A secret apprentice to Darth Vader in the Legends timeline, Lumiya attempts to infiltrate the Rebellion and discredit or assassinate Luke Skywalker long before she becomes a Sith. She manages to ostracize Skywalker, but doing so nearly destroys her, and it’s only through Darth Vader’s interference that she survives, her body restored through cybernetics much like Vader’s.

Reborn as Lumiya, she trains to become a Dark Lady of the Sith. Years later, she’s responsible for the fall of Jacen Solo to the Dark Side, effectively starting the Second Galactic Civil War. She faces off against Luke several times before he eventually defeats and kills her—but in the meantime, she develops one of the coolest lightsaber variants in Star Wars: the lightwhip.

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First Appearance: Return of the Jedi

While Oola the dancer might be a surprise on this list, she’s one of those characters who has gathered a life outside the films with cosplay and parody comics. One of these parody comics is from Blue Milk Special, which rescued both Oola and Biggs Darklighter from their untimely deaths in the Original Trilogy, giving them their own Quixotic adventures in side-strips called appropriately “The Tale of Oola and Biggs.” Surviving Jabba’s palace—and the rancor pit—is a pretty big triumph, even if it’s not canon.

Sana Starros

First Appearance: Marvel’s Star Wars #4

How often does a character from the Star Wars comic series make headlines? It takes a slow news day, but the introduction of Sana “Solo” was reported all over the media as proof that the new EU was messing up the favorite romance in Star Wars. But forget about the controversy of Han Solo’s supposed first wife: Sana comes on the scene dressed as a bounty hunter, and her first act is to blow the knee-caps off a bunch of Rodians who threaten her. She’s driven by greed—like many a good smuggler before her—but she ends up joining Leia and the Rebellion under the excuse that she’s doing it until she gets her money. Yeah, yeah, we’ve heard that before from some other Solo…

Captain Phasma

First Appearance: The Force Awakens

Although her scenes in The Force Awakens are few, Phasma is the definition of badass female character, as not only the commander of her own elite Stormtrooper unit, but also a member of the triumvirate that leads the First Order in its evil doings, which also includes General Hux and Kylo Ren. Most notable is her appearance. Her chrome armor is made out of a material called chromium salvaged from a Naboo yacht that once belonged to Emperor Palpatine. Many have called this imposing Stormtrooper a successor in popularity to the mysterious bounty hunter Boba Fett.

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Honorable Mention

Katie, the Star Wars Girl

One of the coolest Star Wars stories actually happened in real life. Katie loved Star Wars, and was teased mercilessly for carrying a Star Wars water bottle to school by her male classmates, who said that only boys could like Star Wars. When her story hit the internet, fans of all stripes—led by the 501st Legion—came out to support Katie and encourage her to keep her love of the series alive. She wanted to be a Stormtrooper for Halloween, and again the 501st came to the rescue, providing her with her own uniform so long as she would pass it along to another girl when she grew out of it. Hopefully, with the fantastic female leads we’re seeing in the new Star Wars films, the Sisterhood of the Traveling Armor will grow and live on.

Alana Joli Abbott is a freelance contributor.