Best Star Wars Performances

Here are our picks for the best Star Wars Movie performances!

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10. Ian McDiarmid as Emperor Sheev Palpatine/Darth Sidious

10. Ian McDiarmid as Emperor Sheev Palpatine/Darth Sidious

Playing the same character at a younger age twenty years later is a feat of acting. It's a testament to Ian McDiarmid that he's the only one who came back to play the same character again in the prequel trilogy. He's the best part of the prequels as we see him pulling the strings from the shadows as Darth Sidious while also playing a humble politician in the spotlight as Chancellor Palpatine. It's amazing that he can play a charming ally of the Jedi while also playing their corrupt worst enemy. However, his performance in Return of the Jedi alone is enough to earn him a place on this list as his evil Emperor is one of the best villains in cinematic history.

9. Alan Tudyk as K-2SO

9. Alan Tudyk as K-2SO

The go-to robot actor, Alan Tudyk plays K-2SO with a smarmy sarcasm that's infectious. Something must have gone wrong when Cassian Andor rewired this Imperial droid to work for the Rebel Alliance as he has more personality than most of the flesh and blood Rebels he's surrounded by. It's a great performance from an awesome actor who's having a blast playing this hilarious character and infusing him with lots of heart. He's an unforgettable character and one who's more of a hands-on hero than most droids in the galaxy far, far away. His heroic death is also the most emotional part of Rogue One.

8. John Boyega as Finn

8. John Boyega as Finn

Making a stormtrooper a main character was one of the most unique things that The Force Awakens did. It's a testament to how good John Boyega is as an actor that he made a faceless soldier of the First Order a relatable and three-dimensional hero of the series. He plays some intensely emotional scenes so well, and also brings us some of the funniest moments of the movie. His performance stands out among the best of the cast of Episode VII and his arc in The Last Jedi is also an important one for his character's journey. Over the course of both films Finn finds a family, commits to a cause, and becomes a leader in his own right.

7. Frank Oz as Yoda

7. Frank Oz as Yoda

Bringing one of the best characters in film history to life is Frank Oz, who both puppeteers and voices Yoda. He introduced audiences to an odd little creature who was more than what he seemed in The Empire Strikes Back and brought his journey to an emotional end in Return of the Jedi, but then he voiced him in the prequel trilogy where we learned more about the wise Jedi Master and saw him display his considerable power with the Force and a lightsaber. Yoda's character doesn't change a whole lot throughout the series, but his six appearances in the movies lend a weight to each scene he's in, even when he's delivering some of the most hilarious moments in all of these films. He's the ultimate mentor to all of our heroes.

6. Alec Guinness as Obi-Wan Kenobi

6. Alec Guinness as Obi-Wan Kenobi

A veteran actor, Sir Alec Guinness brought such gravitas to the role of Obi-Wan "Ben" Kenobi in the original Star Wars film that his performance stands out among the rest. His line delivery is so poignant when he's telling Luke about his father and so compelling when he's talking about the nature of the Force that he makes you believe him without a single thought of doubt. The way he goes on his mission, clearly recognizes his path, and ultimately sacrifices himself is both emotional and shocking. When he appears later as a Force Ghost there's a sense of calm and wonder to his character as he continues to help Luke on his journey. This is one of the best characters in the saga thanks to this great actor.

5. Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia

5. Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia

The way Carrie Fisher plays the Rebel Princess Leia is brilliant. She's not your typical damsel in distress as we first see her firing away at stormtroopers, and she later snatches the blaster right out of Luke's hands creating a way of escape for her would-be rescuers. Her best moments come in The Empire Strikes Back as her witty banter and romantic entanglements with Han Solo escalate to a fever pitch. Her emotional moments in Return of the Jedi, and leadership role in both The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi help us realize what a fantastic actress she was. Every sci-fi action heroine including Ellen Ripley and Sarah Conner owe a debt to our Princess.

4. Adam Driver as Ben Solo/Kylo Ren

4. Adam Driver as Ben Solo/Kylo Ren

An intense and focused actor, Adam Driver breathes life into Kylo Ren as a struggling villain who wants nothing more than to kill the past, but is forever ensnared by it because of his obsession with his family heritage. He delivers an astonishing performance in The Force Awakens as we learn who he is and who he wants to be which leads to his stunning achievement in The Last Jedi as he forges his own path. There's so much emotional intensity in every moment he's onscreen and everything he does it filled with passion. He handles the action well and plays every moment with verisimilitude.

3. Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker

3. Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker

Mark Hamill's Luke Skywalker is the quintessential hero. His character journey from farm boy to savior of the galaxy is one of the best character arcs in film history. He goes from a naive kid, to a Rebel leader, to a full-fledged Jedi Knight, and it's awesome to watch. However, his performance in The Last Jedi makes him all the more interesting as we see our hero reduced to a hermit simply surviving on an island while the rest of the galaxy is in chaos. His reasons for turning away from the Force, his family and friends, and the galaxy as a whole makes sense and his new outlook and strange personality quirks turn him into a different person than the one we left in Return of the Jedi. It's his journey from loner to hero again that makes us reconnect and adore this character once more. 

2. Daisy Ridley as Rey

2. Daisy Ridley as Rey

The galaxy's newest hero is Daisy Ridley's Rey. Her performance is outstanding as she conveys the character's longing through simple looks and actions instead of words. She's got an innate sense of joy in everything she does after she meets our heroes and joins the fight against the First Order. Rey is a lot like Luke in that she comes from nothing, but she's a much more reluctant hero who's holding onto the past. She learns to look ahead over the course of The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi and becomes her own person in these films. Her connection to Kylo Ren is interesting and drives some important character development for both of them. Her emotionally driven character choices and more caring attitude also make her a unique new Jedi who's ready to move forward for the sake of the galaxy.

1. Harrison Ford as Han Solo

1. Harrison Ford as Han Solo

The best Star Wars performance is Harrison Ford as Han Solo. Ford brings a charm and swagger to the heroic scoundrel that not many can pull off. His arc from selfish smuggler to rebel leader is a great one as he goes through more change over the course of the original trilogy than anyone else. He delivers lines with a credibility but also a nonchalant attitude which works for the character. Ford plays so well off of the innocent Luke and mission-minded Leia in all of the original movies and his relationships with each of them grows and changes throughout the movies. His performance in The Force Awaken may be his best yet as an older, wiser Han who reverts back to his old criminal ways, but still remains a hero for the sake of his family. His intense and intimate scene with his son Ben Solo is a gut-wrenching moment that packs an emotional wallop. Harrison Ford brings us one of the best characters in movie history here and makes us see the kind heart under the callous nature of this rogue.

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