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Most powerful Star Wars villains ever, ranked

The villains of Star Wars always seem to have the power advantage. Even in the prequels, we get the sense that some of the most powerful heroes don’t really understand what’s coming for them.

When you look across the broad catalog of villains to choose from, it’s easy to see why the deck is stacked in their favor. Maybe it has something to do with the dark side, or maybe the most powerful characters just look better in black. Whatever the case may be, these are the Star Wars villains with the most power at their disposal.

10. The Grand Inquisitor

Lucasfilm / Lucasfilm

You would think that hunting Jedi would be a more dangerous job than any rational person would want, but the Grand Inquisitor makes it look easy. The leader of the task force that Darth Vader brought up to hunt down Force users who may have an inclination toward the light, the Grand Inquisitor is both powerful and ruthlessly efficient.

He has killed dozens of Jedi, who are supposed to be pretty powerful Force users themselves. He worked for Darth Vader, but that doesn’t mean the Inquisitor doesn’t have plenty of power in his own right.

9. Boba Fett

Temuera Morrison in a scene from The Book of Boba Fett.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Boba Fett may get kind of a lame death in Return of the Jedi, but it’s since been made very clear that Boba Fett is one of the best and most resilient bounty hunters in the galaxy. He may not be Force-sensitive or use a lightsaber, but Fett is ruthlessly efficient with the weapons he does have at his disposal, and he’s also one of the best thinkers in the galaxy.

Capturing Han Solo was no mean feat, and even as a child, he was already working to get revenge on Mace Windu for the death of his father.

8. Asajj Ventress

Asajj Ventress and Ahsoka Tano
Disney+

Ventress was not a villain for her entire life, but when she did embrace the dark side as Count Dooku’s apprentice, she eventually became so powerful that Darth Sidious himself got worried, and ordered Dooku to kill her as a show of loyalty. There aren’t very many Force users across the galaxy who get Sidious worked up, and it turns out that he had good reason to be scared.

Ventress ultimately returned to the light and worked with Quinlan Vos to have Dooku assassinated. Yet when she a baddie, she was, pardon the pun, a force to be reckoned with and a villain no hero wanted to fight.

7. General Grievous

Obi-Wan dueling with General Grievous in Revenge of the Sith.
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A brilliant military strategist, Grievous is also a ruthless killer who takes great pride in amassing as many Jedi lightsabers as he possibly can. We see just how strong he is during his fight with Obi-Wan, even though he’s already been severely weakened by the Clone War.

Obi-Wan is no scrub, and Grievous manages to give him a real run for his money without even having the ability to use the Force. He may not be a Sith Lord, but Grievous knows his way around a lightsaber, and it turns out that may be more than enough.

6. Supreme Leader Snoke

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They may have decided after the fact that Snoke was just a failed clone of Palpatine, but when we first met him, he seemed like a pretty powerful being in his own right. After all, Rey and Kylo Ren are totally powerless to do something contrary to his will, and it’s only because Kylo is able to play a mind game that Snoke winds up dead.

Like many of the great villains in Star Wars, Snoke’s downfall was ultimately his belief that he couldn’t be killed. He had plenty of raw power, but couldn’t use it to save himself from a betrayal.

5. Count Dooku

Christopher Lee Memorable Roles
Lucasfilm / Lucasfilm

Count Dooku’s power as a Sith Lord is considerable, as is his skill in a lightsaber duel. He manages to hold his own against Yoda, and that may be in part because he was originally a Jedi Master who became corrupted by the dark side of the Force.

Christopher Lee specialized in playing imposing characters, and Dooku proved to be no different. As we see, he is able to take on Anakin and Obi-Wan at the same time, and hold his own against them both quite well. He may lose in the end, but given Anakin’s incredible power, that’s not exactly a mark against him.

4. Darth Maul

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What’s most impressive about Maul is his ultimate longevity in the vast Star Wars canon. After taking out a Jedi Master, Maul seems to fall to his death in The Phantom Menace. Not only does he manage to survive that encounter, though, but he lives long enough to form a criminal syndicate and attempt to get back at his former master.

Maul is always a villain, but thanks to his depiction in the animated shows, we come to understand just how stronger and smarter he is than he may seem in the only movie he has a featured role in.

3. Kylo Ren

Star Wars The Last Jedi Review
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Ben Solo’s immense power was one of the reasons that Luke found himself so terrified by his young Padawan. Throughout the sequel trilogy, we see Ben/Kylo dealing with the emotional damage that came from his upbringing, but we also see exactly how powerful he is as a Force user in his own right.

He takes down Supreme Leader Snoke all by himself, and he also plays a crucial role in taking down Palpatine. His skills in the Force are clearly vast, even if he never really makes it past being an apprentice.

2. Emperor Palpatine

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As is made plain throughout the original and prequel trilogies, Palpatine is pretty close to the ultimate big bad. He’s such a major force hanging over all of Star Wars, in fact, that he was ultimately brought back in Rise of Skywalker.

His status as a supreme villain comes in large part from his immense power, which at times seems to be almost unlimited. On top of that, Palpatine is one of the best manipulators in the entire galaxy, and Ian McDiarmid’s performance in the role only makes him all the more sinister.

1. Darth Vader

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

Anakin Skywalker was such a powerful Force user that he got trained against the better judgment of the Council, and he only unlocked more Force power after becoming Darth Vader. He’s an imposing and intimidating presence throughout the original trilogy, but more recently, we’ve also gotten to see exactly how ruthless and terrifying he really is.

This guy can stop a giant ship in mid-air with one hand without really working that hard. He may have been defeated by Obi-Wan in battle a couple of times, but that has much more to do with his own hubris than anything else.

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Joe Allen
Joe Allen is a freelance writer based in upstate New York focused on movies and TV.
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