When it comes to galactic civilisations, Star Wars truly nails the sense of depth and scope involved in all of the alien cultures that come together in the franchise. The main films showed us aliens rich and varied - which have only been expanded upon even further by the games, TV shows, comic books and novels of the extended universe.
But with so many to choose from, which are the best? Here is, in Saberzone’s own humble opinion, the top 10 Star Wars aliens. Note: this is a list of the sentient alien species featured in the franchise. We’ll devote a separate article entirely to the best creatures such as the Sarlac, Wampa and Rancor.
Who can forget Bossk? With his reptilian face and reputation as a fierce bounty hunter, this background character became a pop culture icon to almost rival Boba Fett. The author of this very article owned a Bossk action figure as a child. In the animated The Clone Wars, fans got to see the ferocity of the Bossk civilisation first hand as a team of hunters almost dispatched Ashoka Tano.
While the Trandoshans don’t get a lot of screen time in the Star Wars universe, it’s their reputation for ferocity and their utterly alien appearance that earns them a space on this list.
Everybody hates Jar Jar - but the Gungan civilisation is very interesting. Sharing the planet Naboo with human Naboo, the Gungans lived beneath the waters of the planet in underwater cities such as Otoh Gunga. Gungans rose to prominence when they allied with the republic against the trade federation.
With many different visual appearances and an entirely unique way of waging war (remember those exploding orbs?), the Gungans are a worthy inclusion to this list - just forget about Mr Binks.
Alright, alright - everyone hates them. But why? In our humble opinion, the furry little ewoks perfectly encapsulate the sense of wonder and joy that Star Wars brings viewers. They’re funny, annoying, brave and ferocious when needed. But most importantly, they help the good guys win - and do it using little more than sticks and stones against the Empire’s might.
While many people hate them, Return of the Jedi is one of our favourite films so just...let us have this, right?
The Jawas are a native humanoid species from Tatooine - and one of the first alien races we see in the original trilogy. With their furitve movements, glowing eyes and cheeky, inquisitive natures as well as their amazing machinery, the Jawas are unforgettable for everyone who grew up with Star Wars.
Who can include Jawa in a list without including Tattoine’s most famous nomadic tribal race? The ‘Sand People’, or Tusken Raiders, are native to the planet and have learned to live in the harshest environments. Known for their distinctive war cry and their huge Bantha mounts, Tusken Raiders are featured in many of the franchise’s main films as well as in the TV series’. They are synonymous with Tatooine and one of the most obvious examples of an alien culture.
Interestingly, there’s no real way to see what a Tusken Raider truly looks like under their masks. Many have speculated, and some comic book versions exist, but we yearn to see what they really look like.
Listed here for one man and one man only, the Sullustans are made famous through the heroic actions of Nien Nunb. The smuggler played a key role in getting surviving Alderaanians away from the empire and then later became a renowned starfighter pilot. Sullustans also have a very distinctive appearance with their multi-layered faces.
So we all know Darth Maul and his double-bladed lightsaber - but because he’s from Dathomir, many people forget that his horn-headed race is actually from Iridonia and is known as Zabrak. With a head crowned in spikes, distinct marked faces and reputation for arrogance and independent, Zabraks are notorious for both their actions in the dark side as well as the light.
Of course, the most famous Zabrak is Darth Maul, a Zabrak from Dathomir - where the splinter members of the race settled as the famous Nightsisters and Nightbrothers seen in Jedi Fallen Order.
“It’s a trap!”
Admiral Gial Ackbar was one of the most surprising sights in the original trilogy, a walking fish man who held the grandest title in the rebel fleet. Mon Calamari are an aquatic species with striking goggle eyes and domed heads who sided with the republic during the Clone Wars.
Mon Calamari are in some ways the perfect Star Wars alien, presenting us with a totally unusual outer appearance but the heroism often associated with human characters.
How can you talk about alien races in Star Wars without mentioning the Twi’lek? With their head tails known as Lekku and prominence in the films, the Twi’Lek are unignorable. The Twi’Lek are seen throughout the franchise in a variety of roles such as Jabba’s overseer, slave dancers and even Jedi (Aayla Secura, anyone?)
Twi’lek are also known as Rylothians and their skin colours spanned a huge spectrum, with everything from pale bone through to vibrant blue and green.
How could Wookies not be our top pick? The furry creatures of Kashyyk are fierce warriors, loyal companions and let’s face it, as alien as alien gets. Extremely tall, strong and with their own distinct society, Wookie lore has been expanded on heavily since Chewbacca’s first outings in the main trilogy.
Wookies are formidable warriors, especially when equipped with their bowcaster. A Wookie has even been a Jedi, with Lowbacca wielding his own enormous lightsaber. This writer has particularly fond memories of the Wookies - in an old MMORPG known as Star Wars Galaxies, if you played a Wookie you couldn’t even talk to other non-Wookie players due to your unique language. But hey, if they can’t understand, that’s their problem - right?