50 Best Star Wars Alien Races
The Star Wars galaxy features some of the most exotic aliens in all of sci-fi. Here are the 50 best aliens in the galaxy far, far away!
Aliens have long been a staple of the Star Wars universe. From dangerous warrior races who want to conquer the galaxy to those cute ones who love to topple oppressive governments, all of these different aliens make the movies and TV series feel more alive.
Since the moment Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi walked through the threshold of the Mos Eisley Cantina, the doors have been open to countless alien races. And with each subsequent film and TV series, more and more aliens have been added to the Star Wars galactic pantheon.
So, as we continue to enjoy The Mandalorian and prepare for The Rise of Skywalker, let us look back at the greatest aliens in the galaxy far, far away:
Did you know there was another furry alien species that populated the forest moon of Endor? Yuzzums are less intelligent than Ewoks and often hunt in packs. If you look really closely, you can sort of spy a Yuzzum holding a huge gun standing against a wall in Jabba’s court. Examples of Yuzzum can also be seen in a few Making of Return of the Jedi documentaries where the sole example of a Yuzzum can be viewed sporting its improbably large blaster rifle.
A Yuzzum finally made it to the forefront of the Star Wars saga in the special edition version of Return of the Jedi. The fine folks at Lucasfilm wanted to prolong the Sy Snootles and Max Rebo musical number. The new sequence added Yuzzum vocalist Joe Yowza to the act, and it really kind of sucked. But that doesn’t lessen the lore of the Yuzzum, a fascinating species that must have gone to war with the Ewoks at some point. Now there’s an Expanded Universe tale to be told. Ewoks versus the Yuzzum in the battle of rabid stuffed animals.
The Battle of Utapau was one of the more epic conflicts in Revenge of the Sith, as Republic forces freed the Utapaun people from Separatist occupation. Utapauns look like something out of a Clive Barker novel, with flesh rending fangs and a disturbing bisected appearance. These intimidating beings were still no match for the Separatist armies, but the Utapauns did not sit idly by. They used their menagerie of creatures to fight back against the Separatists after their leader begged Obi-Wan Kenobi for help. I’m sure there’s a pretty thrilling story involving the Utapauns to be told after the formation of the Empire. Did the Empire take revenge against this compelling race for daring to fight back? Maybe one day we can see what happens to this fierce species, but until then, we can enjoy their brief appearance in the prequels.
One of the most striking designs of the prequels, Chagrian possess two huge horns and blue hewed skin. This race looks positively devilish and the one Chagrian fans met in the prequels was a manipulator of the highest order.
Mas Amedda was constantly by Chancellor Palpaine’s side as the hidden Sith played a long power game with the galaxy. Amedda could often be seen whispering into Palpatine’s ears as the Clone Wars raged on. One has to wonder if Amedda knew the Chancellor’s Sith identity or if he was just a political toadie licking the right boots to gain power within the Senate. Whatever the case, Mas Amedda was an intriguing figure that participated in the fall of the Old Republic and the creators at Lucasfilm made sure that the Chagrian would stand out in a crowd.
Gands are a mysterious alien race that use a mystical mist to track their prey. They can also only breathe ammonia and look like giant psychotic bugs! The most famous Gand in the saga is Zuckuss, one of the bounty hunters called by Darth Vader to catch the Millennium Falcon in The Empire Strikes Back. Zuckuss only appeared on the screen for a second, but his eerie and intimidating physical appearance made him stand out from the bounty hunter pack. Plus, he basically uses hallucination-inducing mists as a means to hunt and kill people, so yeah.
Who can forget Muftak, the big fuzzy creature that confusedly scratched his proboscis after Greedo was killed by Han Solo? The Talz are huge creatures of immense power and possess one of the most eye popping designs of any of the cantina aliens. According to Expanded Universe lore, Muftak paled around with the diminutive alien Kabe, and the duo had adventures all over the galaxy.
The Talz also popped up in an episode of The Clone Wars, as Obi-Wan traveled to the snowy Talz home world. In action, the Talz possessed immense brute strength, making them quite the fuzzy badasses. And here’s a fun fact, the creators nicknamed Muftak Spider-Man due to the alien’s arachnid-like eyes. You have to wonder where this fuzzy brute stands on power and responsibility.
Clawdites, otherwise known as Changelings, are some of the greatest spies in the Star Wars universe. They can change appearance at will and usually take jobs as mercenaries and bounty hunters. The first Clawdite fans ever encountered (that we know of because, you know, Changelings) is Zam Wessel, the female bounty hunter that tried to kill Senator Padme Amidala in Attack of the Clones.
(And what was with that? I mean the Trade Federation hired Count Dooku who hired Jango Fett who hired Zam Wessel who used a robot which used a poisonous centipede – does anyone actually do anything in that film?)
Wessel led Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi on a merry chase through the skies of Coruscant. It was one of the highlights of the film, as Wessel proved just how dangerous and capable a Clawdite can be. Plus, I love that there is a race of Mystiques in the Star Wars universe.
Yes, Kitonaks look like fat penises, let’s just acknowledge that and move on. But this race of tubby humanoids also make awesome musicians. A Kitonak horn player held down the rhythm as part of the Sy Snootles and Max Rebo band, and really, if it wasn’t for alien musicians, I don’t think I could finish this list.
Kitonaks were a slow-moving species so they usually pissed off any perspective employer. But when anyone hears these pudgy, sloth-like aliens play a tune, even the hardest heart in the galaxy could be softened. Basically, Kitonaks were the street musicians of the Star Wars universe, playing their beautiful songs as the galaxy sped on around them.
How Droopy McCool, the only Kitonak we see in the saga, ended up in Jabba’s palace is anyone‘s guess (Actually, he was a slave according to the EU, but in the Disney era, who knows), but this Kitonak musician made even the dire confines of Jabba’s wretched hive come to life.
Dressellians are all sorts of mysterious. A group of Dressellians can be seen during the Rebel briefing in Return of the Jedi. The most standout of these freedom fighters was Orrimaarko, an eyepatch-wearing warrior also known as Prune Face (thanks, Kenner). Orrimaarko looks all sorts of dangerous and capable, with his swashbuckling cloak, his big honking blaster, and his Nick Fury-like eyepatch. Sadly, Orrimaarko has never been explored in the Expanded Universe, which is kind of shocking since the EU usually leaves no Star Wars corner unexamined. But Kenner saw the visual coolness of the Dressellians and gifted fandom with a Prune Face figure back in the original Star Wars action figure collection.
Hem Dazon the Arcona might have only had a blink and you’ll miss it millisecond of screen time, but he is the very first alien you see in the legendary cantina. Who can forget seeing those yellow eyes and t-shaped head for the first time as a galaxy of aliens was opened to fans for the very first time?
In Expanded Universe lore, Hem Dazon was addicted to Juri juice laced with Rodian blood. This addictive concoction turned Dazon’s eyes yellow. Think about that the next time you watch Star Wars. The first cantina alien you see is a junkie vampire. The hell? Recently, a few Arconas have appeared in The Clone Wars, but these aliens didn’t devour the blood of another sentient species.
Another pick for the action figure lovers. Yarkora are camel-looking, large sized aliens that possess a whole bunch of stomachs and a huge appetite. A Yarkorian named Saelt Marie was seen in Jabba’s Palace. He lurked in the crevices and shadows of the palace and looked all sorts of intimidating. But Saelt Marie’s biggest contribution was to Star Wars toy lore. Back in the Kenner days, Saelt was known as Yak Face and is the rarest Star Wars figure from the original collection. For many, a Yak Face is the Holy Grail of Star Wars toy collecting, and for that, we had to pay honor to Yak Face’s species. That and because ‘ol Yak puss and the Yarkorans have one of the most unique designs in the entire saga.
The Kubaz come from the planet Kubindi and have a hard time speaking the basic language of the galaxy. Instead, the Kubaz speak in a series of clicks and whistles. The singular Kubaz spotlighted in the saga is Garindan, a sneak thief and spy utilized by the Empire to locate Luke Skywalker and the two droids that carried the Death Star plans. Garindan ratted on the heroes and the Star Wars saga began in earnest. That’s a pretty pivotal role for such a minor alien race.
You just have to dig Dugs. Dugs have powerful arms that the diminutive species use a form of locomotion to make up for their stubby little Dug legs. Dugs are great pilots and mechanics. The most famed member of this short-tempered species is Subulba, a champion podracer that was undefeated until Anakin Skywalker got his pod on. Dugs are nasty little critters that aren’t above cheating and even killing to get their way. There are a few Dugs all over the Star Wars prequels, but the species will always be defined by Subulba’s chicanery, poodoo head that he is.
Other than cosplaying as Mind Flayers, the Quarren can be found all over the Star Wars universe. This squid-like species shares a planet with the Mon Calamari. The Quarren stand out, thanks to their appearance. They look like something out of a H.P. Lovecraft nightmare.
Quarren often act as bureaucrats and are easily corruptible. This race could be seen all over the prequels, most notably as a species that joined Count Dooku’s Separatists. The most famous member of the Quarren species, Tessk (or Squid Head, if you’re a Kenner kid) by name, was one of Jabba the Hutt’s head functionaries and can be seen having a grand old time as the slug crime lord fed innocent dancers to his Rancor.
Man, George Lucas must have sure liked Grans. After Lucas introduced the first Gran in Return of the Jedi, these three-eyed goat aliens turned up all over the place. Gran podracers, Gran galactic senators, Gran pedestrians wandering the streets of Coruscant – the Star Wars Universe is lousy with Grans.
The most iconic Gran was Ree-Yees, a burnt out scumbag that frequented Jabba’s court. This three-eyed skell could be seen whispering and plotting. He seemed like the type of salty dude who would stab someone in a back ally for a few credits.
Mawhonic was another well-known Gran. He was a podracer who blew up and died horrifically during the Boonta Eve classic in The Phantom Menace. You wonder if maybe Ree-Yees was a relative of Mahownic who boozed and popped pills to ease the pain of the podracer’s horrific and very public demise. Man, that took a dark turn.
Another plentiful race, Klatooinians are seen all over Jabba’s court. There were a bunch of Klatooinians that ended up as Saarlac fodder aboard Jabba’s execution skiff and even more aboard the Sail barge. They all freakin’ died because the universe is a harsh place. Remember the Klatooinian that took pot shots at the Rebels from the sail barge’s side cannon? Yeah, Luke killed him. One of the Klatooinians aboard the skiff was killed after Lando Calrissian revealed himself as a Rebel infiltrator, and a bunch more died in the mayhem of the Rebel escape from Jabba. That must have made the newspapers of the Klatooinian home world.
Not all Klatooinians are scum though. A number of Klatooinian Jedi were introduced in the prequels, showing that Klatooinians can be more than just scumbag cannon fodder. I mean, the Klatooinian Jedi were still cannon fodder that died in the arena on Geonosis, but they were altruistic cannon fodder.
Devaronians look like space Satans. A Devorian named Labria is seen in the famous cantina and his white skin and devil horns make him an alien stand out. Legend has it that Devaronians were one of the first races to achieve light speed capabilities, so you can say that hyperspace is the gift of the devil. Seeing Labria in the cantina is still an incongruous and creepy sight.
Star Wars aliens really don’t get more obscure than the Amanin, but these banana-looking beings had to make this list because, holy crab cakes, are they terrifying. Amanin may look odd, but they are some of the most feared headhunters in the galaxy. Amanin can curl themselves into balls and roll themselves at great speeds to attack their foes and often carry around heads to show off their kills.
The only Amanin seen in a Star Wars film was skulking around Jabba’s palace. This fearsome killer proudly carried around a staff decorated with many skulls. He can also be seen dragging around a decaying corpse in the same way Linus drags around his blanket. This Amanin (also known as Amanaman, thanks to Kenner) is not only an unrepentant killer, he drags around dead body just because he can. That’s nightmare fuel right there – a murderous banana snake that’s probably a necrophile. God, I love Star Wars.
Snivvians are all over the Original Trilogy, but it’s still next to impossible to find the most famous Snivvian of all. As part of its second wave of action figures in 1978, Kenner produced a little dwarf-like alien dude named Snaggletooth (named because he has a snaggle tooth – oh, Kenner).
The Snaggletooth figure is an especially notable part of Star Wars lore because of the error in the first wave of the toy that was only available as a Sears exclusive. The Sears’ Snaggs was a tall alien in a blue jumpsuit and silver moon boots. When Kenner learned that Snaggletooth was a dwarf alien that wore a jaunty red space jumpsuit, the figure was changed and the blue Snaggletooth became one of the rarest Star Wars toys.
Adding to the character legend is the fact that it’s really impossible to spot him in any film. There are Snivvians all over Star Wars, but none that match red or blue Snaggletooth. The red Snaggletooth is clearly seen in the Star Wars Holiday Special dancing with Bea Arthur (did I just write that), but Snags’ film appearance is the stuff of pause button legend.
Other Snivvians can be seen on Bespin and in Jabba’s palace, but not Kenner’s legendary Snaggletooth. Since the whole Kenner kerfuffle, the character of Snaggletooth has been separated into three separate individuals. Zutton has become the Snivvian that Kenner based Blue Snaggletooth on, Rachalt Hyst appears to be Kenner’s red Snaggs, while Zutmore is the character from the Holiday Special. So there you go, a valuable action figure, identity confusion, and Bea Arthur – all compelling parts of the Snivvian legend.
32. Ishi Tib
Ishi Tib were one of the more common species found in the Star Wars films after these green, beaky beings made their Return of the Jedi debut. During the shooting of Return of the Jedi, the Ishi Tib were referred to as bird lizards, mostly because they looked like a combination of birds and lizards. Oh, Lucas.
The Ishi Tib were one of the few aliens in the saga that served the side of darkness and the side of light. The most prominent Ishi Tib can be seen all over Jabba’s Palace, as he scuttled about gleefully watching the death and destruction. In contrast to that bird lizard scumbag, a number of heroic Ishi Tibs can be seen at the Rebel briefing before the attack on the second Death Star. More Ishi Tib can be found all over the prequels.
According to Expanded Universe lore, Ishi Tib love to succeed and are perfectionists by nature, so members of this species often rise to high levels of prominence around the galaxy. Except the one in Jabba’s Palace. He was just the worst.
Who doesn’t love a blue, piano-playing midget elephant? The only Ortolan seen in the saga so far is Max Rebo. Max and his snout can be seen tickling the ivories as part of the Sy Snootles and Max Rebo band. He may have been a proficient musician and just as cute as a blue button, but this showman elephant thing had a bit of a mean streak. Max could be seen laughing through all the devouring, killings, and executions in Jabba’s Palace. So basically, Max Rebo was like a psychotic Billy Joel. One has to wonder if all the Ortolans were cute little musical sadists. As for now, we only have Max Rebo and his gleeful love of rhythm and death to judge the Ortolan race on, but it’s enough to put this bloodthirsty little musical Muppet on our list.
The janitors of the Star Wars universe, Ugnaughts are a porcine race that specialize in maintenance and repair. These little piggies can be seen all over Bespin handling menial labor tasks. The Ugnaughts did not seem to have much of a moral compass, as they gleefully helped the Empire freeze Han Solo and played a game of keep away with C-3P0’s severed head. They are also pretty fearless, as they enjoyed teasing and poking an enraged Chewbacca. Despite their dark side, there is no better race of fix it uppers than the always neutral Ugnaughts.
Because every great sci-fi saga needs werewolves, we give you the Shistavanen. Lak Sivrak was a member of the Shistavanen species seen in the famed cantina sequence and was present when Luke and Obi-Wan met Han Solo. When Lak came on screen, a generation of Star Wars fans thought, “Werewolves. This movie has werewolves, too?”
In truth, the Shistavanen mask was probably just left over from some kind of fright fest that FX guru Rick Baker worked on previous to Star Wars, but hey, the use of that mask means that there are space werewolves flying around the Star Wars galaxy. No space mummies as of yet, though.
Sadly, Lak Sivrak was replaced by a CGI alien in 1997’s special edition of A New Hope, which is unacceptable because every galactic saga of intergalactic war and freedom needs werewolves.
Yeah, we know Gungans are probably the most reviled race in the Star Wars saga, but listen, that was due to poor execution rather than design. In truth, Gungan society is rather fascinating. They live in some kind of underwater medieval culture with a rich religious and cultural tradition and vast and unique technologies. Can you name another Star Wars race that used armored dinosaurs in combat? I mean, the Gungans were a live-action version of Dino-Riders and that’s okay with us. Sadly, all this cool tech and cultural richness was offset by the fact that whenever a Gungan speaks, the average Star Wars fan becomes homicidal. Meesa sad causa the Gungans coulda been mui mui cool.
For a while, it looked like San Hill would be the sole Muun representative in the Star Wars universe. This kind of lame and really thin Muun appeared as part of the Banking Clan in Attack of the Clones. He was just another strange alien Separatist with a wimpy sounding voice. But when Lucasfilm revealed that the legendary Sith Darth Plagueis was a member of the Muun species, all of a sudden, Muuns became an integral species of the Star Wars Universe.
Now, the emaciated features of the Muun took on a terrifying aspect. A Muun had trained Darth Sidious. A Muun had helped the future Emperor develop his powers. A Muun corrupted the ultimate corrupter, making this once trivial species pretty damn important to Star Wars lore. Darth Plagueis was only talked about in film, but his legend has made Muuns an incredibly feared and vital species.
Cool note: it seems like Muuns actually debuted in the Star Wars Holiday Special. If you watch the Boba Fett cartoon (the only part of the Special that’s, you know, watchable), you can clearly see two beings that look exactly like Muuns wander past Fett in a crowd scene. How’s that for decades of continuity?
Believe me, Aqualish just don’t like you. The first time fans saw an Aqualish was in the Mos Eisley cantina in the original Star Wars. Who can forget Mr. Butt Chin, the aggressive alien that accosted Luke and was the very first sentient being to get de-armed in the Star Wars saga? Otherwise known as Ponda Baba (or Walrus Man, if you’re old), this thug met a dark fate at the end of Obi-Wan’s lightsaber, but his unique appearance and angry grunts made Baba and the Aqualish race unforgettable. George Lucas must have liked Baba because Aqualish can be seen all over the prequels, although these Walrus Men (and women, I think) weren’t accosting doe-eyed farm boys.
The most classic alien-looking aliens of the saga, Duros look like artist renderings of aliens that would kidnap someone in rural Kentucky. With their classic dome-like foreheads and bug eyes, the Duros are classic sci-fi looking critters that can often be seen interacting with other Star Wars aliens. Add to the fact that all the Duros seen in the saga are wearing space suits, and you have some classic 1950s sci-fi awesomeness.
There are a bunch of Duros Durosing around the cantina, and there is a Duros doing his space business in Jabba’s Palace, but the legacy of the Duros was solidified with introduction of a certain bounty hunter. When fans met Cad Bane, it was like the Star Wars saga suddenly turned into a Sergio Leone Western. Bane packs countless weapons that he uses to hunt his prey and has his own unique moral compass. Everything that made Boba Fett so cool in the films is amplified in Bane.
You want to know why the Empire rose and the Clone Wars nearly burned down the galaxy? All this is because of these greedy cloners. The Kaminoans may look like a Close Encounters alien mated with a Q-tip, but they are some of the most dangerous beings in the universe.
Kaminoans aren’t known for their fighting prowess. but for their ability to manufacture deadly armies from scratch. Need to conquer a planet? Give the Kaminoans a call. Need to cause the fall of the Galactic Republic to install your own vicious Empire? Call Kamino.
Without the Kaminoans, there would be no Republic clones, no Commander Cody, no Commander Rex. There would be no Boba Fett or Empire. Without the Kaminoans and their cloning mojo, there would be no “Wars” in Star Wars.
According to Watto, the one Toydarian that fans have met in a Star Wars film, Jedi mind tricks don’t work on this flying species – but money sure does. Toydarians may look like buzzard turkey ducks, but these savvy business beings sure have mastered the art of the deal. Nothing floats a Toydarian’s space boat more than money, and Watto sure wheeled and dealed in The Phantom Menace.
Watto was so eager to make a space buck that he dealt himself out of a very valuable slave. And with that podrace bet gone wrong, the legend of Darth Vader began. So the only Toydarian we’ve ever met may have been a backwater hustler, but his sour deals sure created legends.
Toydarians are fun to look at but hard to deal with, and are dangerous and cunning foes because of their endless greed. And you can’t mind trick them, so you better be ready to gamble if you want to come out on the choice end of a deal with a floaty Toydarian.
Arguably the most iconic of the cantina denizens, the Bith provide the music for the wretched hive. Figrin Da’n and the Modal Nodes were the band in question that played while Greedo died and Ponda Baba was de-limbed, but this group of Bith superstars didn’t miss a beat. The Bith design has become one of the of the most familiar alien designs of the entire saga.
All right, hands up if you played with Kenner’s Hammerhead figure back in the day and pretended that this odd-looking alien was a Chewbacca-level badass. But according to the Expanded Universe, Hammerhead’s real name was Mamow Nadon, a member of the peaceful Ithorian species. The Ithorians are a peaceful, agricultural minded people that sought to be one with nature. A far cry from being cranium pummeling villains, Mamow and his people sought peace and tranquility in a galaxy torn apart by war. We’ve seen a number of Ithorians in action in The Clone Wars, in which it was revealed that this strange alien species can emit destructive force from their powerful tracheas.
Weequays were all over Jabba’s palace, acting as elite security guards and pilots. There were a number of Weequays aboard Jabba’s execution skiff, most notably the one that almost pushed Luke Skywalker into the Sarlacc pit. The Weequays didn’t fare very well in that battle, though.
According to the Expanded Universe, Weequays pray to the great god Quay, who guides them on all their journeys. The Weequays are also an excuse to have a race of pirate aliens in the Star Wars universe and there ain’t nothing wrong with that.
The greatest Weequay pirate of them all is Hondo Ohnaka, who has become a very popular Weequay since he debuted on The Clone Wars animated series as Star Wars’ very own Captain Jack Sparrow. Ohnaka also appears in Rebels, as he proves you just can’t keep a good buccaneer down. Ohanaka has made sure that Weequays are remembered for something other than being Sarlacc food.
You never see this race in the films, but the Bothan legacy is felt throughout Return of the Jedi. Fans met actual Bothans in the Timothy Zahn Thrawn Trilogy novels, but until that literary intro, Bothans were spoken of reverently due to the noble sacrifice of a number of members of this species while acquiring the plans for the second Death Star. Mon Mothma’s quaking voice spoke of the nobility and courage of this alien species.
The Bothans in the Thrawn novels were foils to the heroes of the Rebellion, but the Bothans mentioned in the films were held in the highest regards as martyrs and heroes. Not bad for a species never seen onscreen.
Only one Trandoshan appeared in Star Wars, but he was unforgettable. Bossk the feared, Bossk the relentless hunter, Bossk the unconquerable was a Trandoshan bounty hunter called upon by Darth Vader to find the Millennium Falcon. With all due respect to Boba Fett, Bossk was the most fearsome-looking of these legendary bounty hunters. But Bossk isn’t the only Trandoshan feared throughout the galaxy.
These aliens are relentless hunters that will track their prey to the far corners of the galaxy. Fans witnessed a number of almost unstoppable Trandoshan hunters in The Clone Wars, as these cruel lizards nearly hunted down and killed both Ahsoka Tano and Chewbacca.
Trandoshans are the Predators of the Star Wars galaxy, nasty and dedicated hunters that use high-tech weapons to bring down their targets. They particularly enjoy hunting Wookiees.
What species do you suppose tastes more like bacon, Gamorreans or Ugnaughts? Why do I think of these things?
Jabba’s Palace had like six billion awesome alien species, but the Gamorreans stood out among the menagerie of weird of the Hutt’s court. Gamorreans were used as palace guards. Their porcine might made them fearsome foes, and these pig guards kept any unwanted visitors from entering Jabba’s abode. (Except for Jedi evidently. And Droids. And short princesses disguised as bounty hunters. And Landos.)
Gamorreans are stupid and cruel creatures. As fans saw in Return of the Jedi, they laughed as one of their fellow guards was devoured by the Rancor. It seems that the Gamorreans are only loyal to whomever they choose to serve.
Geonosians might not look too tough. I mean, Anakin and Padme were able to take out legions of these bugs without breaking a sweat. But think about this, these cannon fodder insectoids built the flippity flappaty Death Star! That’s right, the Geonosians constructed a weapon that can destroy worlds. Not bad for a bunch of cockroaches. The Geonosians also had some pretty cool technology, from sleek and dangerous star fighters to potent artillery. The Geonosians and their ingenious weaponry really gave the Jedi and the Clones a run for their money.
“This is outrageous!” The cowardly Neimoidians were responsible for the opening salvos of the Clone Wars. It was the Neimoidians’ greed that allowed Darth Sidious to use them as puppets against Naboo. The Neimoidian crisis allowed Palpatine to take over the Galactic Senate and begin his power play for control of the galaxy. That makes the Neimoidians the biggest alien patsies in the Star Wars saga.
But despite the fact that the Neimoidians were basically tools, they had some pretty cool technology of their own. The Neimoidians built the Battle Droid armies that swept through the Old Republic, they had advanced star fighters and capital ships, and they were snappy dressers. Star Wars fans got to meet a number of Neimoidians during the prequels, and each one was a bigger sycophant than the last. The Neimoidians were like an entire race of low level retail managers, but without them, the Star Wars saga would have never begun.
Sullustans are Muppet monkey things that can fly the crap out of a starship. Nien Nunb, the famed Sullustan pilot that co-piloted the Millennium Falcon during the attack on the second Death Star, was a tried and true hero of the Rebellion. Sullustans served as pilots throughout the Rebellion and you can spot a bunch scrambling before the Battle of Endor.
Nien Nunb returned in The Force Awakens, proving that the Sullustan flight skill can still make a difference during dog fight. Due to the Sullustan involvement in Return of the Jedi’s climactic space battle, we have tons of love for these flappy-lipped babblers.
At this point, fans have been thrilled by the adventures of Lasat Rebel Garazeb “Zeb” Orrelios for a number of seasons of Rebels. Zeb’s loyalty and fierceness in battle have propelled Lasats to the top of the Star Wars alien hierarchy.
A cool little fact about the Lasat is that the race’s design was inspired by Ralph McQuarrie’s original Chewbacca design. While nothing beats the iconic hairy design of a Wookiee, the original McQuarrie sketches present a compelling alien species.
Now, thanks to Rebels and Zeb, that design is a big part of the Star Wars universe. Rebels has portrayed Lasat as honorable warriors that love a good fight and a good party. We have yet to see a live-action Lasat, but it’s only a matter of time until a big screen Lasat kicks some Imperial or First Order butt, thanks to the growing popularity of that lovable Zeb.
12. Mon Calamari
Famous for yelling “It’s a TRAP,” Mon Calamari are also one of the most important races to appear in the Star Wars saga. They might be named after an Italian seafood dish involving fried squid, but the Mon Calamari were amazing strategists and pilots that led the charge at the Battle of Endor. The Rebel fleet certainly grew by leaps and bounds once the Mon Calamari joined the war against the Empire.
Aboard the Mon Calamari command ship Home One, Admiral Ackbar led his people in an all-out final assault against the Death Star. Ackbar sat in his captain’s chair and played a game of high stakes chess against the Imperial Fleet. This shows the efficiency and intelligence of the Mon Calamari, an amphibious race that shares a planet with the corrupted Quarren.
Ackbar returned in The Force Awakens, proving that the galaxy continues to need the brains and competence of the Mon Calamari to battle intergalactic tyranny. Plus, they just sound delicious.
Rodians are a lizard-like race known for being slow on the draw (in others words, they don’t shoot first). The first Rodian fans met was a low-level mob enforcer and bounty hunter named Greedo. Greedo just oozed corruption (he has Greed in his name, a bit on the nose), but this bug eyed alien stood out among the cantina menagerie.
There were a bunch of other Rodians on the streets of Mos Eisley, and one or two more in Jabba’s palace. Rodians were all over the prequels too, serving in the Senate and cheering in the crowd during the Boonta Eve Pod Race. Rodians are one of the most common species in Star Wars and should be honored for seemingly being second only to humans when it comes to sheer numbers. It also should be noted that while Greedo was criminal scum, most Rodians are peaceful and harmless. So hug a Rodian today, but make sure you hug first.
Ewoks are the most divisive race in the Star Wars galaxy. Some fans think that these feral teddy bears should be burned with napalm, while others love their cute, hairy, cherubic faces. What can’t be argued is the fact that without the Ewoks, the Rebellion would have failed. The Ewoks may be the most primitive race in all of the saga, but these hairy little bundles of adorable fury sure know how to stage an attack.
The Ewoks might be cute, but the first thing they did after meeting our heroes was try to eat them. So before you disparage the Ewoks, remember they’re a race of killers bred for war that use the severed heads of their foes as musical instruments. You may scoff at Wicket or Paploo or Teebo or Logray or Warok or Chief Chirpa, but remember that one of these cute little marketable plush toy looking critters was probably gnawing on the warm severed leg of an Imperial officer. Say it loud and say it proud, because if you don’t, an Ewok will gleefully kill you with sticks and eat your face. Yub nub.
In Attack of the Clones, fans met a Togruta Jedi named Shaak Ti. This Jedi had a standout design and looked regal in battle with the Separatists, but she certainly wasn’t enough to put the Togruta so high on our list. But then Star Wars: The Clone Wars debuted and fans met a young Togruta Jedi named Ahsoka Tano, and all of a sudden, the importance of the Togruta was solidified in Star Wars lore.
Togruta have vivid and beautiful head tails that gift this race with increased sensitivity and empathy. This racial trait makes Togruta perfect Jedi, as seen by the bravery and skill of both Ahsoka and Shaak Ti. But Togruta also have the capacity for violence and war, which makes members of this beautiful alien culture dangerous and feared foes.
Ahsoka was one of the few Jedi to fight in both the Clone Wars and the Galactic Civil War. Her dedication to her duty and the tragedy of losing her master, Anakin Skywalker, to the dark side make Ahsoka one of the greatest heroes in the Star Wars saga. The fierce and loving Togruta should be very proud.
Jabba’s immoral majordomo, Bib Fortuna, was the first Twi’lek to walk into the Star Wars universe, but he certainly wasn’t the last. From senators to slave dancers to Jedi to masseuses, Twi’leks are everywhere. Who can forget Oola, Jabba’s slinky slave dancer that became Rancor dindin? Or Aayla Secura, a kickass blue Jedi who didn’t get nearly enough screen time? All these great characters are fine examples of the diversity of the Twi’leks.
Rebels fans have also met one of the bravest Rebel pilots ever to navigate a starfighter. The brazen, brash, and beautiful Hera Syndulla has become the latest Twi’lek hero to participate in the great saga.
Twi’leks are famous for their head tails (known as a lekku) and for their prowess as athletes, artists, and warriors. We’ve seen corrupt Twi’leks tend to the trappings of Jabba’s criminal empire, we’ve seen graceful Twi’leks serving the Jedi order, and we’ve seen brave Twi’lek pilots taking on the Empire. And you can be sure that we haven’t seen our last lekku.
This mysterious race hails from the plant Csilla in the Unknown Regions, an unmapped sector of space yet to be fully explored by the rest of the galaxy. Thanks to their remote location, little is known about the Chiss people as a whole, and they’re sometimes regarded as a mythical species by the general population.
Of course, there is at least one Chiss operating out in the open: Grand Admiral Thrawn, who led Imperial forces in the early days of the Galactic Civil War (in current canon) and after the Battle of Endor (in the old continuity). Known as a cunning mastermind who is always three steps ahead of his enemies, Thrawn is a constant thorn in the side of the Rebellion.
As far as the rest of the Chiss race goes, it is governed by the Chiss Ascendancy, an isolationist empire that wants little to do with the affairs of the Republic and later the Empire. As far as we know, the Ascendancy isn’t involved in the conflict between the First Order and the Resistance either, although the Imperial remnant that would become the First Order did spend some time in the Unknown Regions prior to The Force Awakens…
For the first two Star Wars films, the Hutts, particularly one named Jabba, were talked about in hushed whispers. When fandom finally saw this corpulent race on the big screen, it was astonished and disgusted.
Hutts are an immense race of slug like giants that are as corrupt as they are rotund. The Hutts run a vast web of criminal organizations so powerful even the Empire looked the other way. Hutts seem to come in one shape and size, and they all seem to value credits above all else.
Of course, Jabba was the most famous Hutt of all. A cruel and greedy slug, Jabba almost succeeded where the entire Empire failed by almost killing the heroes of the Rebellion. It was only the careful planning of a Jedi Knight and one pissed off Princess that brought down Jabba, but knowing the Hutts, Jabba won’t be the only slimy member of this putrid race that spreads greed and terror throughout the galaxy.
You know what’s awesome? Horns. You know what else is awesome? Badass body tattoos. You know what race has both these things? The Zabrak.
No question, Darth Maul is the coolest part of the prequels. The Zabrak Sith apprentice may very well possess the most stunning character design in the history of Star Wars. From the multiple horns to the propensity for tattoos and everything in between, the Zabrak species is a cosplayer’s dream come true.
Maul may be the most famous of the Zabrak, but there were others. There was Maul’s fearsome brother Savage Oppress. There was the two benevolent Zabrak Jedi (no tattoos on these guys) Eeth Koth and Agen Kolar. Both of these Zabrak Jedi Masters served on the Jedi Council. On The Clone Wars, fans learned that the Zabrak live under a matriarchy, with the powerful Zabrak women serving as something akin to dark side witches.
There are just too many Zabrak tales to count and it’s all because fans fell in love with the most fearsome Zabrak of them all – Darth Maul. Keep gluing on those horns and rocking that face paint, cosplayers! Keep the Zabrak love alive.
The greatest unsolved mystery in Star Wars history has to be- what the heck does a Jawa look like without his (or her) hood? We’ve never seen a Jawa face revealed, but that doesn’t subtract from Jawa lore. Jawas are a scavenger species that dwell on the planet Tatooine. They seem to be in every little crevasse of the planet, wheeling and dealing and bilking people by selling cheap ass scavenged technology.
Jawas are like desert rats trying to scrounge a living by stealing any little piece of tech that comes their way. But listen, if not for the Jawas, the Star Wars saga wouldn’t exist. A tribe (a gaggle? A murder? A herd?) of Jawas abducted R2-D2 and C-3P0 and sold them to the family of one Luke Skywalker, and the rest is sci-fi history.
Jawas can be seen all over Jabba’s Palace and the Mos Eisley cantina and are a truly fascinating species. The Jawas are also the first alien race that appears in a Star Wars film, and for that fact alone, we have tons of Jawa love. Utinni!
3. Tusken Raiders
Tusken Raiders, also known as Sand People, are one of the most savage and feared species in the Outer Rim. They’re are skilled hunters and killers that show anyone unlucky enough to wander into Tusken territory no mercy. The Tusken Raiders seem to have a grasp on technology, so they don’t have to use low-tech bludgeoning weapons to viciously murder people – they just choose to.
Tusken Raiders made life hell for three generations of Skywalkers. In the original Star Wars, a brutal Tusken attack on Luke Skywalker led to the first meeting of Luke and Obi-Wan Kenobi. But it was the meeting between Anakin Skywalker and the Tusken Raiders that darkened the galaxy forever. They abducted, tortured and murdered Shmi Skywalker, Anakin’s mom. When Anakin found the battered and hideously savaged Shmi, his turn to the dark side began in earnest. And it was all because of these gaffi stick-wielding, bantha-riding killers.
2. Yoda’s Species
A little bit of a cheat here because Yoda’s species is not actually named – in anything- but you really can’t do a list like this without including one of the most – if not the – most famous aliens in Star Wars. Yoda has become synonymous with Star Wars.
From the second this diminutive Jedi Master stepped on screen, won the hearts of millions of fans, he did. Yoda is also arguably the most famous alien in all of cinema (sorry xenomorph and ET). The only reason that Yoda didn’t take our top spot was because Yoda was (almost) the sole representative of his race.
We know nothing about Yoda’s race – not even a name. Are they still out there, or did Yoda’s people suffer an extinction event? The fact that another of Yoda’s species, a female Jedi Master named Yaddle, appeared in the prequels shows that there was at least another Yoda being out there, but the fate of Yoda’s planet and people remains a mystery, although there’s a chance we’ll finally get to hear that story through The Mandalorian‘s Baby Yoda!
The popularity and perfection of the Yoda character earns this unnamed race the second spot on our list. Everything Yoda says is deep rooted in wisdom. He is the spiritual glue that binds the Star Wars universe together, and the fact that he is from an unnamed people makes his specieis even more fascinating.
And we come to our number one Star Wars alien race, and of course it’s everyone’s favorite walking carpets – the Wookiees! Chewbacca and the Wookiees represent everything right about Star Wars. They possess a perfect, eye-catching, and unforgettable design, and they are unmatched in combat. Chewbacca is utterly alien, but he still possesses a relatable humanity.
Wookiees live on the planet Kashyyyk and are incredible fighters, engineers, and diplomats. Chewbacca is a perfect example of his race, as he combined savagery and finesse in the battle against the Empire. Fans got to visit the Wookiee homeworld and experience Wookiee society in Revenge of the Sith, as Kashyyyk was brought to life. There, Wookiees live in perfect harmony with both nature and technology and built a paradise – until the dark times, until the Empire. Wookiees are fiercely loyal as seen by Chewbacca’s dedication to the man that freed the Wookiee from Imperial slavery.
After the events of The Force Awakens, Chewie has to find meaning in a life without Han Solo. But Chewbacca is up to the challenge because the Wookiees are the greatest alien race in the galaxy.
Hey listen, if there is still Wookiee love in the galaxy after the Star Wars Holiday Special, Chewbacca and his people can survive anything.
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Marc Buxton is a freelance contributor. Read more of his work here.