Warning: This post contains major spoilers for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
The Star Wars universe is teeming with life, with memorable people, places, and droids who make the fictional galaxy far, far away so narratively rich. Women throughout Star Wars lore, especially, have long formed the backbone of this sprawling universe.
Unfortunately, it’s usually the women of the sci-fi franchise who find themselves being swept under the rug on the big screen. The very same women who rally rebel forces, run side by side with scoundrels, and deliver Imperial Star Destroyer-sized zingers are repeatedly banished to lesser roles, meaning there’s a whole world of female characters waiting in the wings who we barely know. For every Rey Skywalker and Jyn Erso, there’s a dozen characters like Sana Starros and Mon Mothma who never get their due.
Star Wars as a franchise has made a habit of introducing fresh faces with promising roles and then sidelining them. We saw this in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, in which Kelly Marie Tran’s Rose Tico, who took center stage in Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi, was given just over a minute of screen time in the latest movie.
While there are many ways future Star Wars movies, TV shows, comics, and games can improve upon the way female characters are utilized in the story, it’s important to get to know some of the women already part of the established Star Wars universe, all of whom just don’t get enough time in the spotlight.
First appeared in: Marvel’s Star Wars #4
The Star Wars universe is filled with male scoundrels, vagabonds, con artists, and general ne’er-do-wells. We rarely get to see women with Han Solo’s cantankerous brand of charm. Sana Starros (left), who first appears in Marvel’s Star Wars 4: Skywalker Strikes, Part IV, gives us a chance to see a female spin on Star Wars‘ scum and villainy. She also may or may not be Han Solo’s ex-wife…or it could all be a ruse. That’s part of the fun when her character is introduced.
Starros and Solo have known each other since his smuggling days, before he joined the rebellion in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. Their marriage was originally part of a scam to pull off a robbery. However, the nerfherder double-crossed Starros and took her cut of their score, leaving her high and dry. Not one to be trifled with, she set out after Solo and even eventually cornered him and Leia Organa, nearly turning the princess over to Imperial forces.
Starros’s brutal tenacity and willingness to take out anyone who stands in her way make her a total badass. Her journey to track down Han Solo after his double-cross is the kind of female-centric story that the galaxy needs more of.
First appeared in: Star Wars: Darth Vader #3
Young, spunky Aphra is firmly Team Vader, and that alone is an indicator of her fearlessness. You don’t deal regularly with a Sith Lord like Vader unless you’re a force to be reckoned with, and Aphra is certainly someone you wouldn’t want to cross.
The talented “rogue archaeologist,” who made her first appearance in the pages of Darth Vader 3: Vader, Part 3, began working under Vader due to her highly sophisticated ability with droids. She sought out and activated both 0-0-0 and BT-1, seen above on this list, and lived to tell the tale. This act spoke volumes to Vader, who tasked her with building his own private army of loyal droids.
The pair traveled to Geonosis, where Aphra was able to pull off the heist of a lifetime: an entire droid factory. She later used the factory to manufacture an entire series of BX droid commandos. In the comics, Aphra consistently proves her ability and pedigree as a capable strategist, always a step ahead.
But Aphra is more than her profession or allegiances. She’s a brash anti-hero channeling Solo’s swagger with the unpredictability of any roguish bounty hunter throughout the universe. What will she do, and who will it affec