Top Ten Non-Force Sensitive Expanded Universe CharactersDecember 9, 2011 at 9:12 am | Posted in Star Wars Books | 4 Comments
Tags: Star wars
A few months ago, I posed a question to my Twitter followers (You can find me with the handle @LaneWinree /shamelessplug): who is your favorite expanded universe character? There were a lot of responses for the Solo spawn, Ganner Rhysode, Kyle Katarn, Revan, Mara Jade. It dawned on me pretty quickly that the vast majority of the responses had something in common: they were either Jedi or Sith. They had some kind of connection to the Force. That’s understandable, there’s been a lot of stories written about the Jedi. Then the little contrarian part of my brain lit up. Sure, there’s a lot of stories about Jedi and Sith, but there’s just as many tales about non Force-sensitive characters. Tales about characters who are just as important to the fabric of the EU.
And with that, I was committed to the most hallowed of blog posts: the Top Ten List.
The parameters for the list were fairly straightforward. First, the characters must appear in an expanded universe work, be it a videogame, novel, or comic book. Second, the characters cannot have appeared in a primary canon source* such as the films or The Clone Wars. Third, and most importantly, the characters may not be Force sensitive. Rules in place, I dove in to compile my utterly subjective, completely unscientific list of who I consider to be the ten greatest characters
*A ret-con to explain how a character was at a primary canon event is acceptable so long as that character was not explicitly mentioned in the script.
But why a list that focuses on non-Jedi and Sith? Simple. Because I like to point out that the Galaxy Far, Far Away is comprised of many different people, and that you don’t need a connection to the Force to be important. There are so many fascinating characters and stories that have been told and have yet to be told about characters like the ten that made this list. So remember, just because the character can’t draw upon the Force doesn’t mean they’re dull. They’re just as interesting and important as any Jedi or Sith.
Sometimes, they’re far more important.
10. Borsk Fey’lya
“Borsk does what Borsk needs to do.” – Luke Skywalker
Oh Borsky, what’s the best word to describe you? Jerk? Smarmy? Conniving? Ruthless? Arrogant? Slimy? I’m certain the word you would use would be “ambitious.” I mean, you have to be ambitious if you think you could just usurp Admiral Ackbar, one of the greatest military minds in Rebellion history, as part of a power grab. Either that or “delusional.”
Take a bow, Borsk. The countless readers who wanted to strangle you have earned you the tenth spot on the list.
At least you went out with a bang.
9. Ton Phanan
“I was just imagining what a sad galaxy this would be without my superior intellect and general state of wonderfulness.” – Ton Phanan to Garik Loran
There have been a good number of well-written deaths in the Star Wars fandom. Vader, Ganner Rhysode, Anakin Solo. As good as those are, there’s one that manages to reduce me to a quivering ball of emotions and tears every time I read it. Whenever I so much as think about this death, I get wibbly.
Thanks a lot, Ton Phanan.
I like to think of Ton’s death as being the Anti-Ganner death. It was quiet, understated, and utterly heartbreaking. One moment he’s there, and the next he’s gone. So, congratulations Ton. You make this list entirely for having (for my money) the best-written death in the entire Expanded Universe.*
*Something I observed at Dragon*Con 2011, author Aaron Allston seems to take pride whenever a reader tells him that he made them cry over Ton’s death. Well, Mr. Allston, tally up another one.
8. Soontir Fel
“Fel is the best Imperial pilot alive.” – Tycho Celchu
The mere mention of the name Fel probably was enough to strike fear into just about every Rebellion pilot. There was little disputing it, Baron Soontir Fel was the best, and deadliest, pilot amongst the Empire’s vast military ranks. His skills with the flight controls were legendary and many fell victim to his TIE Interceptor’s laser cannons. He was fiercely dutiful to the Imperial cause and was the ideal officer. For part of his life, anyway.
Fel’s allegiances shifted over the years. As the Imperial-condoned massacres began to stack up, he began to question those loyalties. When the Empire was reduced to infighting by petty warlords, the sense of duty and the need to be an upstanding individual drove him to the Rebellion. Most characters in most tales would have their character growth stop here. They’ve left the Big Bad Empire and have joined the freedom fighters that crusade for all that is good and just. No, Fel was still an Imperial at heart. When Thrawn appeared with an ideology that better resembled Fel’s (read: an Empire with at least a few less massacres), he jumped ship again.
In a strange way, Fel was an idealist. His ideals just ran along a more Imperial line of thinking.
7. Gilad Pellaeon
“We’re not equipped for this at all, but I like a challenge. Good for morale when we pull it off.” – Gilad Pellaeon
Perhaps no one embodied what it meant to be an officer of the Imperial navy more so than Gilad Pellaeon. A decorated officer that rose through the ranks, Pellaeon was well versed in the art of war and was a skilled military leader. Perhaps his most important trait was that he never was a victim of his own hubris. At the Battle of Endor, he was the first to recognize that the Imperial cause had been lost and the Rebellion had won. He would be the one to make the hardest call in the history of the Imperial military, ordering a full-scale retreat and ceding ultimate victory to the Rebellion. The defeat of the second Death Star was already a grave loss and remaining only to lose additional precious starships would only compound matters.
Pellaeon was well respected by peers and superiors alike. Even the brilliant Grand Admiral Thrawn recognized and greatly respected his lifetime dedication to the fleet. His skills as a leader and ability to command those serving under him were unparalleled. Perhaps that’s why few were surprised when Pellaeon rose to the task of unifying what remained of the Empire, creating an Imperial Remnant that chose to split away from the dark practices of Palpatine’s Empire.
6. Garik “Face” Loran
“I was hand-picked to be the boy most likely to be the subject of crushes.” – Garik “Face” Loran to Tyria Sarkin
You would think that a child holostar with countless adoring fans (and countless girls with hopeless crushes on him) would be set for life. Fame and fortune, he had it all. Of course, being a holostar of Imperial propaganda films may not be the safest bet when there’s a galactic civil war going on. Garik Loran was the “Face” of the Imperial propaganda machine, and that made him a target. He would be kidnapped by an extremist Rebellion cell and was forced to witness what the Empire had done to countless sentient beings and how his holofilms helped to enable it.
In his adult years, he was determined to atone for being a cog in the Empire’s machine. That lead him to the New Republic’s Starfighter Command. Where he promptly washed out. As it turned out, having a propensity to crash your starfighter didn’t make for a particularly successful career, but he was given one last chance when Rebellion legend Wedge Antilles brought Face in for a new unit he was building. The quick wit and acting ability he developed as a propaganda holostar made him the perfect candidate to lead the experimental Wraith Squadron. Of course, that quick wit would be the source of constant headaches for Antilles. One was always at risk of being dragged into an escalating prank war when Face Loran was around.
More often than not, that wit was put to use to throw the enemy for a loop. Military conventions be damned, Face Loran was going to find a solution by thinking outside of the box. Way outside of the box.
5. Winter Retrac-Celchu
“So you were the one called Targeter. The one with the perfect memory.” – Mara Jade to Winter
There was a time before Winter Retrac-Celchu was little more than a glorified babysitter.
There was the Winter Retrac, adopted sister of Princess Leia Organa, the child that was enamored with art and history. There was the teenager that became one of the Rebellion’s most accomplished and skilled spies. There was the woman that bore the burden of knowing she was one of Alderaan’s few survivors. There was the intelligence agent that played a vital role in the New Republic’s capturing of Coruscant, the seat of the Empire’s power.
Many are hailed as heroes in the Rebellion’s victory over the Empire, but few know of the woman that was instrumental on so many battlefronts. A holo-perfect memory was the weapon she wielded against enemies of the Rebellion and the New Republic, but she was also a deadly opponent whose danger was hidden behind a regal appearance. Her future husband would remark that her name was appropriate, for Winter had ice water running through her veins.
“Definition: ‘Love’ is making a shot to the knees of a target 120 kilometers away using an Aratech sniper rifle with a tri-light scope. Statement: This definition, I am told, is subject to interpretation.” – HK-47 on the subject of love.
Sure, he might have been programmed to be a ruthless assassin droid designed by a Sith Lord to seek out and kill Jedi, but we all know what HK-47’s true programming was: delivering one-liners. I can’t count the number of times that I found myself doubled over in laughter when HK-47 delivered a beautifully inappropriate piece of wit at the worst possible time. Player character feeling down? No worries, HK-47 will offer to find someone to kill to cheer you up.
Sure, he might have been a bit sociopathic, but what’s wrong with a bit of levity? Nothing, I say. Nothing at all.
3. Talon Karrde
“I think it’s occasionally good for us to remember that being a smuggler doesn’t necessarily require one to be a barbarian, too.” – Talon Karrde
They say he lives vicariously through himself. It’s rumored CorSec once arrested him because he made for entertaining conversation. His beard has experienced more than a lesser man’s entire body combined. Talon Karrde is, perhaps, the most interesting man in the Galaxy.*
Karrde lives by one simple mantra: Information is valuable. Someone, somewhere, wants a particular bit of information. If you possess it, you stand to make a tidy profit. Simply controlling information could circumvent the need for brute force, which was just fine with him. Talon Karrde lives and breathes sophistication, and let’s be honest. Violence just isn’t all that sophisticated. He would rather blackmail you over a well prepared dinner and glasses of Corellian brandy than bludgeon your face in.
*He doesn’t always drink ale, but when he does, he prefers Lomin.
2. Grand Admiral Thrawn
“Learn about art, Captain. When you understand a species’ art, you understand that species.” – Grand Admiral Thrawn to Gilad Pellaeon
Who needs the Force to be a terrifying Imperial villain?
There’s something unsettling about a man like Thrawn, someone who always seems to be in control of his every emotion. Someone who, in a completely calm manner, might just order the execution of one of his officers. But the truly scary thing, the thing that made him one of the most feared villains in the entire expanded universe, was that he was utterly brilliant. The man could simply look at a culture’s artwork and extrapolate every pertinent bit of socio-economic information he needed to know to wage a war against them.
Thrawn recognized that to defeat your enemy, you had to be intimately familiar with your enemy. There was no one tactic that would work in war. To Thrawn, success hinged on constantly changing your militaristic approach to fit your enemy’s weaknesses. With him, there was no handbook, and that simply made it harder to fight back against him. How does one fight back when they can’t predict what he’ll do next?
1. Tycho Celchu
“What I know, General, is this: Tycho Celchu is a hero—much more of a hero than I am. On Hoth he fought as fiercely as anyone and at Endor he piloted an A-wing that led a bunch of TIE fighters on a merry chase through the Death Star. He took them off our backs while Lando and I went in and blew the installation’s reactor.” – Wedge Antilles to Hortan Salm
There are all sorts of heroes in that Galaxy Far, Far Away. It’s easy to look at the Jedi and praise their very visible efforts against the Dark Side. They are the ones that are often at the forefront of conflicts, fighting to maintain balance and peace. But there are other groups and individuals who played instrumental roles in some of the greatest galaxy-changing events. Some of them were members of the military during incredible periods of conflict. Soldiers, spies, and pilots that put their lives on the line with little more than their training and reflexes to stay alive. Even amongst these groups, some managed to fly even under their own sensors.
Tycho Celchu spent much of his career in the shadow of greatness. First Luke Skywalker, a founding member of the illustrious Rogue Squadron. Then Wedge Antilles, regarded as by some as the greatest combat pilot ever to live. He never achieved the quite the fame or received the accolades that those two legends did, but that never stopped him from serving his squadron and his cause to the best of his ability.
He doesn’t possess the Force, he’s merely skilled with a flightstick and was willing to sharpen that ability as much as possible. He quietly became one of the most prolific combat aces in Galactic history, driven by vigilance to ensure that no one else would have to know what it feels like to see your homeworld and people obliterated. He took it upon himself to do whatever was necessary to ensure the Empire was ultimately defeated, putting himself in tremendous danger at great personal cost.
At the core, however, Tycho Celchu was just a regular human being. One that took it upon himself to rise to the occasion and demonstrate extraordinary bravery whenever it was needed. Without him, the second Death Star survives and Coruscant doesn’t fall. Without him, one insignificant cog in an underpowered fleet, the Rebellion fails.
Tycho is proof that anyone, Force-sensitive or not, can be instrumental in changing the Galaxy.
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Posted by Lane for Roqoo Depot