May the 4th be with you, Star Wars Fans! Today we celebrate all things related to a saga that brought us Yoda, an infamous “scruffy-looking nerf herder,” and the legendary face of the Resistance, Princess Leia Organa. Speaking of strong, independent, intelligent women, we’ve decided to scour the Star Wars series to find and rank the most badass key female players.
VIDEO: Star Wars: The Last Jedi Teaser
They may be few, but they are powerful as rulers of entire planets, rebel leaders, army captains, and more. Several characters will also be featured in an animated mini-series called Star Wars Forces of Destiny launching this July on Disney YouTube. Rey (Daisy Ridley), Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), and Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong’o) among others will be reprising their roles.
Ahead of this release and in anticipation for The Last Jedi (out Dec. 15), scroll down to see which ladies made our list and why we think they’re forces to be reckoned with.
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8. Captain Phasma
She may be a part of the First Order, but there’s no denying Captain Phasma’s strength. A natural leader, she’s the commander of their entire stormtrooper army. She cannot be swayed from her dedication to serving the First Order and does her best to defeat any and all opposition.
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Meet Sabé, Queen Amidala’s most important handmaiden. This character, played by Keira Knightley, often risks her life to pose as the Queen in situations that could prove too dangerous. The two are extremely close and both fully capable of putting up a hell of a fight.
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6. Padmé Amidala
Far from a mere figurehead of her native planet Naboo, Padmé is a queen (and eventual senator) who refuses to shy away from any attack on her people. She knows how to command a room with her resolve first, and blaster second if necessary. Her love for Anakin Skywalker may be seen as her greatest weakness or yet another expression of her effusive compassion. Though Anakin ultimately cannot be saved from the dark side, Padmé spends every last ounce of energy she has trying to bring him back to the light.
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5. Maz Kanata
Maz Kanata, portrayed by Lupita Nyong’o, is the unofficial queen of smugglers having lived more than 1,000 years in a smugglers paradise of an ancient castle on planet Takodana. Much of her role in the series has yet to be revealed, but her connection to the Force is undeniable. She encourages young Rey to heed her vision and find the Force herself. She also gives her a lightsaber that was once owned by Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker because she can see the connection between the saber and Rey. Maz commands respect even from the criminals who inhabit her oasis. Her strength and wisdom likely stem from her understanding of the Force.
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4. Jyn Erso
Felicity Jones brought this character to life in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the prequel to George Lucas’s saga. Her father, scientist Galen Erso, was forced to design and build the Death Star—a weapon capable of destroying entire planets commissioned by the Galactic Empire when Jyn was just a girl. Even when the Rebel Alliance gives up all hope of destroying the Death Star, she leads a motley crew of pilots, quasi-jedis, and rebel fighters into the heart of the weapon to exploit a weakness cleverly designed by her late father. Jyn is defiant, independent, strong, and, above all, she never gives up hope.
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3. Mon Mothma
This character is probably one of the most essential in the whole series, and yet most of us didn’t remember her name until Rogue One. Meet the woman who helped found the Rebel Alliance. She’s the senator who starkly opposed Supreme Chancellor Palpatine during his rise to power because she staunchly believed in preserving democracy. She eventually becomes the Chief of State of the New Republic. Mon Monthma is a strategic, brilliant female politician who refuses to let anyone, even an evil Darth Sidious, tread on her ideals.
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Though her family line remains a mystery, it’s clear that Rey will be pivotal to the resurgence of the Force, as we’ve seen already in The Force Awakens. She’s a fearless fighter who’s been on her own since her family disappeared many years ago. She survives by scavenging on Jakku in exchange for food. Rey’s entirely self-sufficient but also deeply compassionate and smart. Her knowledge of spaceships even impresses the likes of Han Solo and her will to protect her newfound friends leads her into battle with the dark side’s latest convert, Kylo Ren.
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1. Princess Leia Organa
Leia is not your average princess. She is one of the most powerful leaders of the Rebel Alliance against the Empire and one of the saga’s most well-revered heroes of the entire series. As the daughter of Padmé Amidala and Anakin Skywalker, sister to Luke Skywalker, and love interest of Han Solo, she was bound to be a central character. But it’s her unwavering dedication to defeating the Empire that makes her stand apart. She’s outspoken, tenacious, witty, passionate, compassionate, and one hell of a fighter, which is also why her character (masterfully portrayed by none other than Carrie Fisher) has become a current face of “The Resistance” against infringement on women’s rights seen on posters and T-shirts at the Women’s March on Washington and beyond.