Star Wars has been around for decades now, spanning past the original movies and literally into a galaxy of its own. The space opera created by George Lucas has been prominent in American pop culture since its inception and still stands as one of the most influential works of science fiction ever made. With hundreds of books, comics and video games all telling their own stories within the Star Wars Universe, it has become something of an entity of its own. Now that Disney has bought the rights to it and with multiple new movies coming out in the future, fans new and old eagerly anticipate this next wave of Star Wars related media.
Like all forms of fiction, debates arise as to who exactly is the strongest in their respective universe. Now this is where things can get a little tricky seeing as some things changed after the Disney buyout. The Star Wars Universe has long survived off its Expanded Universe, basically the previously mentioned books, comics and games, to continue to tell stories within the Star Wars cannon. And to the credit of the countless writers who’ve contributed to this expansive extension, very little content has been contradictory to other content released within the EU. However, Disney has now made it that the Expanded Universe not be considered cannon. Instead it’s to be referred to as Legends.
While it would’ve been nice to have made this list exclusive to canon characters, there are too many great Star Wars characters forged in the Expanded Universe. It would’ve been a shame to have excluded some of these classic pieces of Star Wars lore. With that being said, here are the 15 most powerful characters in the Star Wars universe.
15 Qui-Gon Jinn
Most people might remember Qui-Gon Jinn as the guy who got killed off towards the end of the first prequel movie. But the old Jedi Master was far more than that. Mentor to Obi-Wan Kenobi, Jinn was regarded as one of the most skilled swordsmen of his time.
A user of the fourth form of lightsaber combat, Ataru, Jinn was trained under Count Dooku another powerful Jedi\Sith. His knowledge of and connection to the force was highly advanced and it is that very astute ability of his tat allowed him to take notice of Anakin Skywalker and determine that the boy was the chosen one.
As powerful as he was, Jinn was not without his weaknesses, namely in his style of combat. Though hard hitting, Ataru is physically demanding, disadvantageous in small spaces and incredibly flawed when it comes to defense. During his battle with Darth Maul the Sith Lord noticed these weaknesses and used them against the Jedi Master to strike him down. Speaking of Darth Maul…
14 Darth Maul
The fearsome looking Sith Lord that had terrorized the Republic during the Naboo crisis was a savage warrior driven only by intense feelings of anger and hatred. Like most Sith, he was skilled at using the dark side of the force. Along with his iconic dual lightsaber, Maul was well trained at the art of Juyo, a fighting style that relied heavily on the user’s connection to the dark side.
Though he was thought to have been killed by Obi-Wan Kenobi during their battle on Naboo, Maul survived being cut in half by the young Jedi and found himself on a faraway junk planet where he built himself a new pair of bionic legs. Having lived in isolation for years, Maul’s mind quickly faded but he was saved by his brother Savage Opress soon after he himself had awakened to the dark side.
Together the two Sith began to once again terrorize the galaxy but were brought down after Darth Sidious had sensed his apprentice’s presence and was displeased to find that he’d taken on an apprentice of his own.
13 Darth Nihilus
Darth Nihilus was an incredibly powerful Sith Lord that lived during the Mandalorian Wars and came to power during the Jedi Civil War. An aggressive fighter, Nihilus’ control of the force was truly terrifying. The Sith Lord was so powerful that he would feed on the force energy of those around him.
Initially he used this skill intentionally as a means to replenish his power and severely weaken his enemies. But over time he grew dependent on its use and it soon controlled him.
At one point he became so powerful he could use his power to find various force users throughout the galaxy and would proceed to destroying everything around them by feeding off their force energy, including the planets themselves. He even managed to escape death by trapping his consciousness within his armor.
12 Darth Vitiate
An ancient Sith of great power, Darth Vitiate defied death itself and went on to rule as Sith Emperor for over a millennia. Vitiate possessed incredible power even as a child. He was the illegitimate son of a Sith Lord and by the age of 10 had killed his father and had earned the title or Lord himself at the age of 13. He was so in tune with the dark side that he was able to control the minds of thousands of Sith Lords at the same time. He then used their combined power to completely absorb the Force from the entire planet, and absorbing the life force of everything on its surface. With this he would go on to survive over 1,300 years using his power to move on from body to body by constantly transferring his consciousness from one host to another.
11 Count Dooku \ Darth Tyranus
Having been taught by Master Yoda and in turn serving as master to Qui-Gon Jinn, Count Dooku played a pivotal role during the Clone Wars conflict between the Galactic Republic and the Separatist army. With a massive droid army at his disposal, Dooku would lead the Separatists in their battle against the Republic. Having voluntarily defected to the dark side of the Force, he served Darth Sidious under the name Darth Tyranus. Like his apprentice, Dooku was regarded as a great swordsman in his time and was believed to have been one of the greatest in the Jedi Order, having bested Mace Windu at one point. His knowledge of the force was vast and his power only increased when he’d joined the dark side making him a laudable threat to the Jedi for years.
10 Darth Bane
A wise and powerful Sith, Darth Bane would greatly affect the trajectory of the Sith Order with his ideologies and accomplishments throughout his lifetime. Aggressive in his fighting skill, Bane favored strictly offensive style combat as he often took his opponents with vicious strength.
In terms of his knowledge of the force Bane initially had no understanding of his power but quickly learned of the intricacies of the dark side at the Korriban Academy. It was Bane who would establish the Rule of Two which would forever change the structure of the Sith Order. Though the rule limits the number of Sith allowed to two (a master and an apprentice) many Sith who came after Bane would find ways around his ideology.
9 Darth Revan
Both a powerful Jedi Knight and Sith Lord during his time, Darth Revan was one of the greatest warriors of his time. Having been led astray by the Sith Emperor, Revan and his eventual apprentice Darth Malak turned on the Jedi order in favor of the dark side. However the Sith Emperor’s power was not enough to contain their minds and they easily broke free of his control after a short time. Together they went onto form their own empire. In combat Revan was adept with both a saber and a blaster and could utilize both the light and dark side of the Force simultaneously.
8 Mace Windu
In terms of combat skill, Mace Windu held no rival at the Jedi Temple during his time with the order. Having mastered all seven forms of lightsaber combat, Windu was a fine warrior and also served the republic as a wartime general during the Clone Wars. His knowledge of the Force was so extensive that he was able to completely resist any temptation from the dark side and in turn used his own darkness to power his attacks. In his confrontation with Emperor Palatine, Windu managed to gain the upper hand in the battle and would’ve destroyed the Sith Lord had it not been for Anakin Skywalker’s intervention.
7 Galen Marek \ Starkiller
Born on the Wookie home world of Kashyyyk to Jedi parents, Galen Marek was an adept user of the force from an early age. After his father died at the hands of Darth Vader, Marek was taken under the Sith Lord's wing. The boy impressed Vader, disarming him as Vader was about to land the finishing blow on his father.
Given the codename Starkiller, Marek served as Vader’s assassin while training as his apprentice in secret. After having been betrayed by his master, he set out and helped form the rebel alliance finally turning to the light side of the Force as he sacrificed himself for the future of the rebellion.
As a duelist, Marek was trained to have a basic understanding of all seven forms of lightsaber combat while mixing in a combination of complex lightsaber attacks and devastating Force based attacks in his combat style. He was adept at using both the light and dark side of the Force and because of this he was able to defeat Darth Vader in combat, and even defeated Jedi master Shaak Ti.
He was so powerful when using the Force that he could bring down Star Destroyers and knock down multiple enemies at a time. His potential was so vast that the Emperor himself feared that he might one day rival him in power.
6 Darth Plagueis
Darth Plagueis served as master to Darth Sidious and was so powerful and knowledgeable in the ways of the dark side of the Force that he was said to have been able to defeat death itself. It was he who had his apprentice voted in as Chancellor, while he himself hid from the Jedi in plain sight.
While he could save others from death and even go so far as to create new life, which is how Anakin Skywalker came to be born, Plagueis could not prevent his own demise. Something that his former apprentice would muse over years after he’d killed his master.
While Sidious did murder his master, it is to be noted that he did so while he was in his sleep, never giving the old Sith Lord an opportunity to fight back. Perhaps he did so knowing he would lose in a head on battle.
5 Obi-Wan Kenobi
Having been trained by Qui-Gon Jinn and later on training Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi was one of the greatest Jedi of his time and played a large role in the Clone Wars where he would fight many battles alongside his apprentice.
Like his master and his master before him, Obi-Wan was a great swordsman and highly gifted at close-range combat. His knowledge of the Force was vast and he was able to withstand some of the strongest attacks by other Force users, most notably Darth Tyranus’ Force lightning and Darth Vader’s Force push.
He defeated two Sith Lords in his time, though he chose not to finish Vader off himself, allowing the latter to survive the devastating battle with only an arm to spare. Later on in his life he served as a guide to Luke Skywalker on his path to becoming a Jedi.
4 Luke Skywalker
Son of Anakin Skywalker, Luke Skywalker was the last remaining hope against the Galactic Empire after his father betrayed the Jedi Order. Having known nothing of his lineage for most of his childhood, Luke learned of his father and his own connection to the Force through an elderly Obi-Wan Kenobi on Tatooine.
Later on he would go on to master both lightsaber combat and various Force powers despite having little formal training in either. His natural talents caught the eye of both Vader and the Emperor who both attempted to sway the young Jedi to the dark side of the Force.
Luke became so powerful that he was able to both mirror and best his father in combat, but refused the lure of the dark side proving himself to be a worthy Jedi master.
3 Master Yoda
As Grand Master of the Jedi Order, Yoda was considered to be the most powerful Jedi of his time. Indeed he was a skilled duelist as well as incredibly adept in the ways of the force. He was so powerful that he was considered to be one of the most skilled users of the Force in history.
Despite his stature, Yoda’s skills in combat easily made up for any high differential in size between him and his opponents. Having mastered all forms of saber combat there were very few who could challenge him head on. Count Dooku, Mace Windu and Darth Sidious were among those few.
Despite his power, Yoda ultimately failed in his mission as Grand Master and allowed the Jedi Order to be purged while the great Sith Lord who orchestrated the tragedy did so right under his nose.
2 Anakin Skywalker \ Darth Vader
As the Chosen One, Anakin Skywalker had the potential to become the most powerful Jedi of all time. Having been trained by Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin was a skilled duelist with a powerful connection to the Force that rivaled Yoda’s.
Though talented, Anakin was brash and often let his emotions get the best of him. As the Sith Lord Darth Vader, his mechanical suit greatly affected his swordplay and prevented him from using one of the dark side's most devastating techniques, Force lightning.
While he was initially inconvenienced by his new body, Vader learned to use it to his advantage during close-quarter combat and was still incredibly adept in using the Force, especially after opening his mind to Sidious’ teachings. Had he not been confined to his infamous armor Vader would’ve been the most powerful entity in the galaxy with no equal.
1 Emperor Palpatine \ Darth Sidious
Having been taught by the great Darth Plagueis the Wise, Darth Sidious would go on to become a powerful Sith whose extensive knowledge of the Force would give him enough power to defeat most Jedi and allowed him to have an iron grip over the entire galaxy.
Believed by many to have been the most powerful Sith in history, Sidious orchestrated an incredibly intricate plan that would practically wipe out all Jedi in the galaxy. Disguised as the Republic’s Chancellor, Palpatine wormed his way in the senate pulling strings on both sides during the Clone Wars.
While his power was great, he was so adept at hiding it and was able to do so for many years, all while under the watch of the entire Jedi Counsel no less. His sword skills on par with Yoda, Dooku and Mace Windu, he defeated several Jedi Masters during Windu’s confrontation and even forced Master Yoda to retreat during their battle.