The Fourth Will Be With You- Always or, "It's a Trap!"

If you were to stop and reflect upon Star Wars for any length of time (as I find myself so often doing), you’ll realize that one the series’ outstanding qualities is the peculiar fantasticity of its ensemble cast. Consider, for example, how greatly Return of the Jedi would suffer without Admiral Ackbar. You know- the fishy looking guy in the white suit with the huge black eyes coordinating the Rebel attack on the second Death Star. He’s far from a primary character, but to expel him from the film would exponentially diminish the overall excellence of the saga’s sixth installment. Admiral Ackbar owns that battle, and his mannerisms and dialogue are as key as Nien Nunb’s (the Sallustan riding shotgun in the Millennium Falcon with Lando Calrissian).
Consider R2-D2 and C-3PO: hardly the stars of any of the films, but crucial nevertheless. No droids bailing for Tatooine in search of Obi Wan Kenobi = no Luke pwning the Death Star, ergo no Star Wars.

Chewbacca? None of his lines are even subtitled, but you know he’s a massive force (no pun intended) in Episodes IV through VI. You know anyone else who can singlehandedly clear a room loaded with stormtroopers? True, you don’t understand a word he’s saying, but typically his tone conveys enough for you to get the picture.

And don’t get me started on Wedge Antilles (possibly the finest fighter pilot in the galaxy after Anakin Skywalker!), Salacious Crumb (potentially the most annoying pet/creature/distraction thing to make Tatooine its home), IG-88 (robotic bounty hunter?), Boba Fett (only the coolest Mandalorian this side of the Ord Mantell!), Admiral Ozzel (who’s as clumsy as he is stupid), Hobbie (Luke’s not-so-lucky wingman on Hoth), R5-D4 (the malfunctioning droid who blows a fuse immediately after purchase by Uncle Lars), Admiral Needa (the one guy in the Imperial Navy who actually benefits from the fact that Darth Vader can force choke a dude from a Star Destroyer away), Jek Porkins (the unfortunately named first X-Wing pilot to bite the dust in A New Hope) and Roofoo! Who could forget Roofoo?

Roofoo: He doesn’t like you.
Luke: I’m sorry.
Roofoo: I don’t like you either. You just watch yourself. We’re wanted men. I have the death sentence on twelve systems.
Luke: I’ll be careful then.

Roofoo: You’ll be dead!

That show of bravado leads directly to his buddy’s arm getting chopped off by Sir Alec Guinness. Good work, bro.

The Star Wars Saga offers us a modern epic couched in the timeless archetypes of humanity’s legendarium brought to life with vivid characterization and epoch-defining special effects. But even these notable and worthy achievements would prove more modest without an ensemble cast capable of thrusting the viewer wholeheartedly into the wider world of the films. Their idiosyncrasies lend credence to the suspension of disbelief which the story invites the viewer to participate and revel in. Without these unsung heroes, Star Wars truly would rank only as silver rather than gold. Cheers, gents!

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