When it comes to strength in the Star Wars galaxy, it’s important to remember that there is more than one way to look at the metrics. Insofar as George Lucas’s original trilogy is a space opera based on Westerns, it’s also a political drama — political power and Force power are, in many ways, inextricably tied together in a galaxy far, far away.
Here, we dive into which Star Wars characters are the strongest in the Skywalker Saga that generations of fans have come to know and love as one of the most iconic film franchises in history.
How to measure strength in the Star Wars universe
First and foremost, it is essential to understand how exactly to measure strength in Star Wars movies. We could, for example, look at pure brute force — which Jedi Knight or Sith Lord is the most powerful based on pure physical strength — or, we could consider Force sensitivity.
Is there a particular being — be it a Jedi Master or villain — who is so connected to the Force that his or her power exceeds every other Star Wars character’s (a certain green alien we meet on Dagobah comes to mind)?
For the purposes of this guide, we will be looking at Force users who have appeared in live-action Star Wars movies (in descending order), with one notable exception on the villainous side of things.
This means powerful characters who were not in the Skywalker Saga, such as Darth Bane and Darth Nihilus, do not appear here.
Most powerful Jedi characters in the Star Wars canon
Grand Master Yoda
As previously noted, Grand Master Yoda is an incredibly Force-sensitive being — no, we still don’t know his species even after Grogu’s name and backstory were revealed in The Mandalorian Season 2 — who also has incredible lightsaber dueling capabilities.
Related: What Could Grogu’s Origin Story Be?
The official Star Wars Databank describes Yoda as:
Yoda was a legendary Jedi Master and stronger than most in his connection with the Force. Small in size but wise and powerful, he trained Jedi for over 800 years, playing integral roles in the Clone Wars, the instruction of Luke Skywalker, and unlocking the path to immortality.
The son of Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader — although he doesn’t know it until the classic “No, I am your father” scene in Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back — Luke Skywalker is undeniably powerful.
As a matter of fact, Skywalker, played by Mark Hamill for over 40 years, was trained by Yoda in the original trilogy and goes on to (reluctantly) train another powerful Jedi, Rey Skywalker (Daisy Ridley) in the sequel trilogy.
The official Star Wars Databank describes Luke Skywalker as:
Luke Skywalker was a Tatooine farmboy who rose from humble beginnings to become one of the greatest Jedi the galaxy has ever known. Along with his friends Princess Leia [Carrie Fisher] and Han Solo [Harrison Ford], Luke battled the evil Empire, discovered the truth of his parentage, and ended the tyranny of the Sith. A generation later, the location of the famed Jedi master was one of the galaxy’s greatest mysteries. Haunted by Ben Solo’s fall to evil and convinced the Jedi had to end, Luke sought exile on a distant world, ignoring the galaxy’s pleas for help. But his solitude would be interrupted – and Luke Skywalker had one final, momentous role to play in the struggle between good and evil.
Although there is much debate about whether or not Mace Windu, portrayed by Samuel L. Jackson in the prequel trilogy, actually bested Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) in Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005), Windu was considered one of the Jedi rank’s most powerful fighters.
And, frankly, if you’re powerful enough to have people arguing about whether or not you fairly beat Darth Sidious almost twenty years later, you deserve a spot on this list. Plus, who doesn’t love his purple lightsaber? Be honest, you know you do.
The official Star Wars Databank describes Mace Windu as:
A grim Jedi Master with an amethyst-bladed lightsaber, Mace Windu was the champion of the Jedi Order, with little tolerance for the failings of the Senate, the arguments of politicians, or the opinions of rebellious Jedi. As the Clone Wars intensified, Mace sensed the dark side of the Force at work, and knew the Jedi’s enemies were plotting to destroy the Order and end its stewardship of the galaxy.
Would it even really be a list of powerful Jedi without the inclusion of Obi-Wan Kenobi?
Fans of the Jedi Master, who trained Anakin Skywalker after the death of his own master, Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson), can look forward to the upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi series on Disney+. The Deborah Chow-helmed show will feature Ewan McGregor reprising his prequel trilogy role as the Jedi, who Star Wars fans first met as Ben Kenobi (Alec Guinness) in Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977).
The official Star Wars Databank describes Obi-Wan Kenobi as:
A legendary Jedi Master, Obi-Wan Kenobi was a noble man and gifted in the ways of the Force. He trained Anakin Skywalker, served as a general in the Republic Army during the Clone Wars, and guided Luke Skywalker as a mentor.
Although moviegoers only briefly met Liam Neeson’s Qui-Gon Jinn in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999), he was a powerful Jedi — and, the first to discover that life after death was possible.
Although Jinn was killed at the hands of Darth Maul (Ray Park) in the first prequel trilogy film, he still trained Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker, two of the most powerful Jedi of all time, so he must have been doing something right.
The official Star Wars Databank describes Qui-Gon Jinn as:
A venerable if maverick Jedi Master, Qui-Gon Jinn was a student of the living Force. Qui-Gon lived for the moment, espousing a philosophy of “feel, don’t think — use your instincts.” On Tatooine, Qui-Gon discovered a young slave boy named Anakin Skywalker who was strong in the Force. Sensing the boy’s potential, Qui-Gon liberated Anakin from slavery. The Jedi Master presented Anakin to the Jedi Council, but they deemed the boy too old to begin training and dangerously full of fear and anger. They refused to allow Qui-Gon to train Anakin, but rescinded their decision to fulfill Qui-Gon’s dying wish.
A wise and even-keeled Jedi, Plo Koon often flies under the radar when people think about the strongest Star Wars characters. He also discovered three-year-old Ahsoka Tano while on a mission to the Togruta homeworld of Shili.
Portrayed by both Alan Ruscoe and Matt Sloan in the Star Wars prequels, the character “was one of the many Jedi to take part in the battle of Geonosis. In Star Wars: The Clone Wars, he also aided in destroying the Separatist warship, the Malevolence, by leading a strike team in space and taking down hunter pods himself. Plo Koon’s calm and collected demeanor make him a challenging opponent, but his Force capabilities are somewhat limited on screen.”
The official Star Wars Databank describes Plo Koon as:
A Kel Dor from Dorin, Plo Koon was among the wisest members of the Jedi Order, respected for his level-headed analysis of events and unflappable calm. Deeply concerned for life in all its myriad forms, Plo was especially devoted to protecting the clones under his command. He shared a special bond with Ahsoka Tano, whom he’d brought to the Jedi Order as a toddler. One of many victims of Order 66, Master Plo died at Cato Neimoidia when his wingmen shot down his starfighter.
Most powerful Sith characters in the Star Wars canon
Darth Vader/Anakin Skywalker
Almost inarguably (though some would make a case for Darth Sidious), Darth Vader is considered the most powerful Sith in Star Wars canon.
The character who was formerly Anakin Skywalker — father of twins, Luke and Leia — terrorized the galaxy for years before ultimately redeeming himself (much like his grandson, Kylo Ren/Ben Solo (Adam Driver) does in the sequel trilogy) for the greater good.
Soon, fans will see Hayden Christensen reprise his prequel role as Vader in Obi-Wan Kenobi, the dark side to McGregor’s light.
The official Star Wars Databank describes Darth Vader as:
Once a heroic Jedi Knight, Darth Vader was seduced by the dark side of the Force, became a Sith Lord, and led the Empire’s eradication of the Jedi Order. He remained in service of the Emperor — the evil Darth Sidious — for decades, enforcing his Master’s will and seeking to crush the fledgling Rebel Alliance. But there was still good in him…
Darth Sidious/Emperor Palpatine
Coming in a close, possibly even interchangeable, second-place is Darth Sidious. Sidious rose to power with both Force capabilities — his specialty was Force lightning, as Windu knows all too well — and political savvy. He was able to declare himself Emperor after executing Order 66 with surprisingly little trouble, bending every clone trooper to his will.
Except, of course, for Clone Force 99 — but that’s another story.
The official Star Wars Databank describes Darth Sidious as:
The dark side of the Force is a pathway to many abilities some consider to be unnatural, and Sheev Palpatine is the most infamous follower of its doctrines. Scheming, powerful, and evil to the core, Darth Sidious restored the Sith and destroyed the Jedi Order. Living a double life, he was also Palpatine, a Naboo Senator and phantom menace. He manipulated the political system of the Galactic Republic until he was named Supreme Chancellor — and eventually Emperor – and ruled the galaxy through fear and tyranny. The galaxy rejoiced when he died at the Battle of Endor, but Sidious had cheated death and patiently plotted a return to power.
Count Dooku/Darth Tyranus
A former Jedi portrayed by Christopher Lee in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002) and Revenge of the Sith, Dooku was a powerful and cunning character within the Star Wars franchise.
However, his lust for power overtook his intelligence and he was ultimately betrayed — as is, of course, the nature of all Sith.
The official Star Wars Databank describes Count Dooku as:
Count Dooku was a menacing Sith Lord and central figure in the Clone Wars. Once a Jedi — trained by Yoda — he became disillusioned with the Jedi Order and thirsted for greater power. Dooku voluntarily left the light side behind and became Darth Sidious’ dark side disciple, taking the secret name Darth Tyranus and leading the Separatist army. Dooku advanced Sidious’s secret plot to take over the galaxy, but forgot that betrayal is the nature of the Sith.
Darth Maul, sometimes known as just Maul, sometimes known as the leader of the Crimson Dawn crime syndicate, and always known as a terrorizing, well, terror, has killed numerous characters throughout his time in the Star Wars canon.
Among the notches in his lightsaber are Jinn in live-action and Duchess Satine Kryze, Obi-Wan Kenobi’s lover in animated series, Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
The official Star Wars Databank describes Maul as:
A deadly, agile Sith Lord trained by the evil Darth Sidious, Darth Maul was a formidable warrior and scheming mastermind. He wielded an intimidating double-bladed lightsaber and fought with a menacing ferocity. Though he fell in battle against Obi-Wan Kenobi, the Zabrak from Dathomir would prove to be much harder to destroy than originally believed.
Although Revan has not appeared in a live-action Star Wars film, the likelihood that he will show up sooner rather than later is high. Furthermore, the character was introduced — by name only — into the current canon in “The Rise of Skywalker: The Visual Dictionary”.
Keanu Reeves has been rumored to be linked to the role, but nothing has been confirmed.
Since Revan currently appears in the “Knights of the Old Republic” video game, he is not featured on the Star Wars Databank at this time.
Most powerful being overall in the Star Wars universe
Generally speaking, most Star Wars fans consider Darth Vader to be the strongest Star Wars character overall. Some of this, of course, is due to sheer name recognition — Vader is known even by people who have never seen a single scene of a Star Wars movie.
Furthermore, the sheer amount of power — and ability to incite fear — that Darth Vader had across the galaxy makes him, undeniably, strong in both the Force and in the political arena. Even though few knew who Vader really was, he was able to control anything and everything he desired for many years.
All of this being said, there is no clear-cut answer to the question, “Which Star Wars character is strongest?”, so it is certainly possible to draw your own conclusion based on valid arguments.
Who do you think is the strongest Star Wars character?