7 most underrated Star Wars villains of all time, ranked

Darth Vader sitting in his throne at Fortress Vader in "Obi-Wan Kenobi."
Lucasfilm / Lucasfilm

From Darth Vader to Emperor Palpatine to Jabba the Hutt, Star Wars has been given us several iconic villains. But for all its many well-known villains, there are still those who have been all but overlooked by general audiences. Such a lackluster reception may be due to limited appearances or questionable story choices regarding their character.

In this massive franchise, there are many characters who should get more recognition from audiences, and these seven prove themselves to be the unsung villains of the Star Wars universe.

7. Darth Bane

A smoldering illusion of Darth Bane appearing before Yoda in "Star Wars: The Clone Wars."
Lucasfilm / Lucasfilm

This ancient Sith Lord set the stage for Palpatine’s takeover of the galaxy centuries in advance. Establishing the Rule of Two after the fall of the Sith Empire, Darth Bane ensured his order would not destroy itself as it regained power in secret, allowing them to usurp the Jedi and gain control over the Galactic Republic. Not even death itself could conquer him, as his spirit still haunted his tomb on the planet Moraband.

Though he only has a brief cameo in The Clone Wars, his short standoff with Yoda immediately establishes him as a frightening figure with a Vader-esque appearance and a voice provided by Mark Hamill himself (talk about ironic!). Bane is just begging for a bigger spotlight in the Star Wars canon.

6. Darth Plagueis

Art of Darth Plagueis from Star Wars.

People may have heard the tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise, but that’s all people really know about him. The former master of Emperor Palpatine, this Sith Lord dabbled in the Dark Side of the Force to unlock the secret of eternal life and eventually learned how to transfer his consciousness into another body.

However, having met his death at the hands of his own apprentice, the character hasn’t gotten the spotlight in any live-action or animated form. His relationship with Palpatine alone makes Plagueis worth exploring, but his alleged power and knowledge secretly made him among the greatest threats to the galaxy, and fans just need to know more about him.

5. The Grand Inquisitor

A Star Wars villain wields a lightsaber in Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Though he started as a Jedi Temple Guard, he became disillusioned with his order and betrayed them during the Great Jedi Purg. He was then granted the role of leading the Imperial Inquisitors in their hunt for survivors. With his frightening appearance, incredible power, and knowledge of the Jedi, the Grand Inquisitor went on to become a truly memorable villain in the franchise, all the way up to his unforgettable death.

It also helps that he’s had two talented actors portray him: Jason Issacs and Rupert Friend. However, due to his limited backstory and presence in Star Wars Rebels and Obi-Wan Kenobi, one can’t help but feel this villain deserved better.

4. General Hux

General Hux talks to a soldier in The Force Awakens.

Hux captured the tyrannical fury of the First Order as one of its high-ranking officers. Who could forget how the General unveiled the Starkiller Base with his Nazi-esque speech before it destroyed the New Republic? But he was tossed around by Supreme Leader Snoke and Kylo Ren, Hux betrayed the First Order and helped the Resistance just to get back at the latter, and was unceremoniously killed off as a result.

By the end of the sequel trilogy, the character seemed more like a source of comic relief instead of a terrifying villain, despite displaying such squandered potential as a leading figure of the First Order.

3. Count Dooku/Darth Tyranus

Christopher Lee as Count Dooku from the "Star Wars" franchise.
Lucasfilm / Lucasfilm

Played to perfection by Saruman himself, actor Christopher Lee’s Sith Lord was a highlight in the ever-divisive Star Wars prequel Attack of the Clones. Having orchestrated the Clone Wars with his master, Chancellor Palpatine, he helped pave the way for the Sith to dominate the galaxy. But like many of the prequels’ great villains, his character was undercut by his death in the first few minutes of Revenge of the Sith.

While the character did have a much larger presence in The Clone Wars, he seemed to have gotten swept under the rug as he ended up more as a sacrificial lamb in Anakin’s journey to the Dark Side.

2. Jacen Solo/Darth Caedus

Darth Caedus on the cover of "Star Wars: Legacy of the Force - Revelation."
Del Rey Books / Del Rey Books

This Star Wars Legends character was the original Kylo Ren. The son of Han Solo and Princess Leia, Jacen fought as both a Jedi and a war hero against many great threats before turning to the Dark Side. In his pursuit of power, Jacen committed several atrocities, including killing Luke’s wife, Mara Jade, before taking over the Galactic Alliance.

Still, it was all to prevent his prophetic visions of a war-ravaged galaxy from coming true, essentially making him a mix of his grandfather Anakin and Paul Atreides from Dune and Dune: Part Two. His character is very much what Kylo Ren should’ve been in the sequel trilogy, as his heroic origins, misguided intentions, and tragic fall are fully fleshed out to make his character much more compelling.

1. Abeloth

Jedi and Sith fighting Abeloth in "Star Wars: The Essential Guide to Warfare."

Having once lived among the Mortis Gods as the Servant and the Mother, the mortal Abeloth helped keep the Force in balance by controlling the Son and Daughter. However, after exposing herself to a forbidden power, Abeloth was corrupted and transformed into a fearsome, immortal being of the Dark Side that the Gods were forced to seal away.

Introduced in the Star Wars Legends tie-in franchise, Abeloth has a history of manipulating and possessing Force-wielders to help her take over the galaxy, all before consuming their life force to make herself stronger. She is so powerful that it took an alliance of both the Jedi and the Sith to stand a chance against her. It’s a shame Disney hasn’t adapted this cosmic horror to the new canon, as she has proven herself one of the greatest threats in the entire galaxy. However, Abeloth may be the one calling Baylan Skoll to Peridea in the series Ahsoka, so fans will hopefully see her become the next big bad of the Star Wars universe.