A Definitive Ranking of ‘Star Wars’ Dads and Father Figures

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Luke Vader

Credit: Lucasfilm

In honor of Father’s Day, we’re breaking down some of the best dads and father figures from the galaxy far, far away.

Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker taking off Vader's helmet in Return of the Jedi
Credit: Lucasfilm

The Importance of Family in the Star Wars Universe

At the heart of nearly every Star Wars story is a message of family, whether chosen or given at birth. Specifically, George Lucas’ Original and Prequel Trilogies all tie back to the central idea of fatherhood, with the creator himself being partial to both bad and good ones.

queen breha (left) and bail organa (right) with baby leia
Credit: Lucasfilm

While “bad” comes in all shapes in sizes, this is even more true in Star Wars, which has never shied away from depicting complex parental role models who, even if they’re far from the best, are full of layers and depth. They are not always this way intentionally, as sometimes it is even out of their control, and more often than not, they have redeeming human qualities that overtake their not-so-desirable traits when the moment arises.

What Counts as a Star Wars “Dad?”

These days, it seems like every jaded, “shoot first, talk later” man in Star Wars is given an adorable charge to look after and care for, eventually making them a better, more empathetic person by comparison. With this in mind, it’s important to note that several of the galaxy’s best dads are adoptive, having taken foundlings into their care for one reason or another.

Pedro Pascal as The Mandalorian holding Grogu
Credit: Lucasfilm

Additionally, some of Star Wars’ familial relationships are less parental and more sibling-adjacent. For one, Hunter, Tech, and the rest of Clone Force 99 (Dee Bradley Baker) are arguably more brothers than dads to Omega (Michelle Ang) in Star Wars: The Bad Batch. Padawan-Master dynamics can also be interesting, as the age gap between Masters and their apprentices can appear parental, but really fall more so along the lines of teacher-student.

Star Wars Dads/Father Figures, Ranked from Worst to “Wizard”

Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader

Starting off strong, “I am your father” probably isn’t a sentence you’d ever want to hear from Darth Vader. Not only did Anakin Skywalker/Vader (Hayden Christensen) turn into a murderous Sith Lord, Force-choke his wife, miss his own children’s births, and wreak havoc over the galaxy, but he also destroyed his daughter’s home planet and sliced off his own son’s hand with a lightsaber. 

David Prowse as Darth Vader in 'Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Credit: Lucasfilm

Obviously, Anakin isn’t going to win any “Father of the Year” awards anytime soon, but his redemption arc remains one of the most tear-jerking moments in all of Star Wars, proving that it’s never too late to be a better dad. Well, in his case, it definitely is. But the sentiment remains the same. One thing’s for certain: Don’t bring your younglings around this guy.

Han Solo

It’s understandable why Han Solo (Harrison Ford) didn’t exactly play catch and go fishing with his and Leia’s (Carrie Fisher) son, Ben, AKA Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), throughout his childhood. Suddenly tasked with raising an extremely powerful Force-sensitive, it’s not surprising that Han, an ex-smuggler and infamous Jedi skeptic, wouldn’t know what to do with a young boy like Ben. With his own family trauma, Han seems like the type of guy who would miss school performances and parent-teacher conferences—even if he doesn’t necessarily mean any harm.

han solo (left) and kylo ren (right)
Credit: Lucasfilm

Even though Han certainly was a different man by the time he and Leia had Ben, having shed much of his “tough guy” personality by the conclusion of the Original Trilogy, he still messed up when it came to parenthood. However, the exact reasoning behind his and Kylo’s estranged relationship remains unknown in canon. There isn’t exactly a “how-to” guide on raising a Darksider, so it’s safe to assume 

Obi-Wan Kenobi

“You’re the closest thing to a father I’ve ever had” isn’t exactly the compliment Anakin might’ve wanted it to be, especially when considering the disastrous consequences of his relationship with his Jedi Master and close friend, Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor/Alec Guinness). It’s important to remember that Obi-Wan, still a Padawan at the time, was just 25 when a nine-year-old Anakin was thrust into his care following the tragic death of his Master/father figure, Qui-Gon Jinn. Essentially a young, single father, Obi-Wan’s relationship with Anakin bordered on something much more profound than that of a dad and son, and was almost unhealthy, with the two Jedi having all but raised each other in every sense of the word.

Ewan McGregotr as Obi-Wan Kenobi (left) and Hayden Christensen as a young Anakin Skywalker (right)
Credit: Lucasfilm

With such a close-knit bond, this spelled trouble for Anakin and Obi-Wan, whose intense brotherhood would eventually drive them against each other. Anakin’s angsty teen phase was especially evident in Episode II, where he vocally detested Obi-Wan’s tendency to hover and challenged his Master’s persistence in following the ways of the Jedi. Utterly oblivious to Anakin’s feelings for Senator Padmé Amidala (Natalie Portman), Obi-Wan doubled down on placing authority over Anakin instead of simply listening to his thoughts and concerns with the Jedi.

Obi-Wan’s blindness to his own Padawan/son/brother’s emotions shows that despite meaning well, Obi-Wan put the Jedi Order above all else, including his obligation to Anakin—something he would eventually pay the ultimate price for. However admirable it may be that Obi-Wan never strayed from the Light Side, it’s hard to call Obi-Wan a textbook “good” father figure. But when it came to Luke Skywalker’s care and training, Obi-Wan proved to be a fierce defender and wise mentor, thus redeeming his past parenting fail with Anakin—even if he perhaps left Luke with more questions than answers.

Hayden Christensen Obi-Wan Kenobi Star Wars Series
Credit: Lucasfilm

Ultimately, Obi-Wan is perhaps the trickiest parental role model to understand. It’s important to note that Obi-Wan never wanted to become a father, as seen in his initial reluctance to train Anakin and take him under his wing. Plus, being such a staunch follower of the Jedi Order, it’s hard to blame the guy when he never actively wanted to become the Chosen One’s pseudo-dad.

Jango Fett

A notorious Jedi slayer and gun-for-hire, you wouldn’t think that Mandalorian Jango Fett (Temuera Morrison) would be the ideal father figure. However, given the Mandalorian culture’s emphasis on family, it’s not surprising that Jango would be fiercely protective of his son, Boba, an unaltered genetic clone of himself. From a young age, Boba would learn combat and martial skills from his father, who took him on bounty-hunting missions across the galaxy. Boba greatly admired Jango and strived to make his father proud. Jango, in return, was pleased to see his son carrying on the Fett legacy as he built up his reputation as a bounty hunter.

jango boba
Credit: Lucasfilm

When all’s said and done, Jango is a pretty good parent who, despite putting Boba at the center of the Kaminoans’ sinister cloning plot, genuinely seems to have wanted the best for his son. Although he did place Boba in near-constant danger, it could be argued that safety is less of a priority in Mandalorian culture, which aims to raise battle-hardened warriors.

And based on Boba’s reaction to his father’s death in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002), it’s undeniable that the two shared an unshakable father-son bond. Jango’s death would haunt Boba well into his adult life, and he even tried to enact revenge on Jedi Master Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson) for beheading his father in an episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. If only Jango were on the right side. Sigh.

jango fett attack of the clones
Credit: Lucasfilm

Galen Erso

Perhaps one of the more underrated Star Wars dads, Rogue One‘s (2016) Galen Erso, played by Mads Mikkelsen, spent his whole life thinking about his daughter, Jyn (Felicity Jones)—even while being held hostage in an Imperial science facility. While we don’t see much of him in the movie, Galen’s spirit motivates Jyn to infiltrate the Imperial base on Scarif, where she pays the ultimate price to send the Death Star plans to the Rebel Alliance.

mads mikkelsen as galen erso in rogue one
Credit: Lucasfilm

The fierce, unconditional love she has for her father is strength enough for Jyn to give everything to create a better universe—something Galen taught her by deticating his life to create a faulty, hidden weakness in the Death Star’s engineering. Willing to give his life so that Jyn and the galaxy could see a better future, Galen Erso is by far one of the franchise’s best dads, even if he doesn’t get a ton of screen time.

Din Djarin

Epic galactic adventures, flashy cameos, and N-1 starfighters aside, seeing Pedro Pascal’s Din Djarin slowly sink into fatherhood has been an unquestionable highlight of The Mandalorian. A former bounty hunter, Din’s icy heart melts when he finds the adorable baby Grogu at a compound on Arvala-7. Din risks everything to save Grogu from the grasp of Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) and his Imperial Remnant, becoming a faithful self-sacrificial martyr who will do anything to keep his clan of two safe.

Pedro Pascal as Din Djarin and Grogu
Credit: Lucasfilm

At the end of The Mandalorian Season 3, audiences see Din officially adopt Grogu as his son, with the two settling down in a cabin on the outskirts of Nevarro. Din’s certainly put Grogu in danger once or twice throughout the show’s three-season run, but at the end of the day, he would give everything to protect his son, with Grogu reflecting much of the same sentiments. Grogu even ditched Jedi training with Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) to be with his dad, a true testament to the bond between him and Din.

Bail Organa

Unarguably one of the most involved father figures this side of the galaxy, Bail Organa (Jimmy Smits) and his wife, Queen Breha Organa (Simone Kessell/Rebecca Jackson Mendoza), took Leia under their care without question following the events of Order 66. The couple, who always longed to adopt a daughter, raised Leia in The Royal Palace of Alderaan, hiding her from the encroaching shadow of the Empire. Bail would protect Leia from the harsh realities of the galaxy, secretly building up the Rebellion until Leia was old enough to join the cause. He was undoubtedly the father Leia deserved.

Young Leia (vivan lyra blair) with Bail Organa (jimmy smits) on alderaan balcony in Obi-Wan Kenobi series
Credit: Lucasfilm

Leia always considered Bail her true father, never fully forgiving Anakin/Darth Vader (in canon, at least) for his heinous actions. Bail would eventually be a victim of the Death Star in Episode IV: A New Hope (1977) when Vader ordered the destruction of Alderaan, blowing it off the map. But seeing the bond between Bail and a young Leia (Vivien Lyra Blair) in the Disney+ Obi-Wan Kenobi miniseries reminded us how close this father-daughter duo really was, and how supportive of garegivers Bail and Breha were.

Do you agree with this ranking? Who did we miss? Let us know in the comments below.

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