Bounty hunters populate the Star Wars universe, shadowy figures that take on the tasks even the bad guys find beneath themselves. Bristling with gadgets and guns, they hunt our heroes to the bitter end. Sort of. They mostly stand around and look cool, to be honest, and sometimes they can’t even hit that level.
This made figuring out how to rank them a bit of a challenge. Using an unscientific method based on 100% objective subjectivity, the various aliens, robots, and humans that do dirty deeds dirt cheap in that galaxy far, far away were ranked mostly on how cool they looked and how well they stood around. Some do more, and that has been taken into account where appropriate.
Featured below are bounty hunters that made appearances in the films themselves and ranked based on that. Characters from comic books, video games, novels, or animated series were not included.
Ah, Amanaman. With a name like a Muppet Show lyric or a superhero based on a line of mid-range appliances, Amanaman is the type of bounty hunter who looks neither cool nor stands very well. With the appearance of an overripe red-eyed banana with limp, gas station hotdogs for lips, this dork with baseball mitt-sized hands is exactly the type of character every kid wanted to see wrapped up under their Christmas tree. Every child who got excited as the camera barely passed over this guy as he stood in the background of Jabba’s Palace must have thought that this moldy Twinkie the Kid was almost as cool as Lobot.
His weapon is more interesting than he is. A weird spear dangling human heads, there’s something very heavy metal about wantonly hanging noggins in such a way as to make his weapon ungainly and useless for stabbing. His other balloon hand, conveniently out of frame, clasps the headless remains of a human. Which head goes with the corpse? Who knows? The only thing we know for certain is that this guy just really hates humans. It goes to show, if a person looks hard enough, they can find something in common with almost anyone.
Rocking the dad bod before it became a fetish look for guys who simply gave up, Dengar is one of the human bounty hunters hired by Darth Vader to hunt down the Millennium Falcon in The Empire Strikes Back. Bandaged from head to foot like a guy who tried to scam his insurance by getting his friend to run him down with a landspeeder in the parking lot of the local Safeway, Dengar can’t even wear shoulder pads right. I mean, there’s always the possibility he’s naughtily trying to slip one off, but the guy’s face says he’s the type who struggles with the operating mechanics of Velcro. No wonder this buffoon was never seen again.
Meatloaf-cosplaying-as-a-mummy pairs a surly expression with the rosy complexion of Baron Harkonnen which may be what passes for a tough guy look where he comes from or may mean he just needed a lot of Proactiv as a teen. His rifle is impressive at least, with a fantastic, well-used look that makes you wonder exactly who he stole it from before he snuck into Vader’s bounty hunter tea party.
What can be said about Zuckuss? No, really. He’s a Vincent Price reject wearing the Goodwill clothes of a Tusken Raider. In a way, I guess Vader’s lucky this guy was able to stand still instead of being distracted by any one of the blinking lights around the ship. In that sense, he hits the first test of a Star Wars bounty hunter with admirable mediocrity.
As far as looking cool, it depends on what the definition of cool is. Being that the purpose of this exercise isn’t to get into the details of that, Zuckuss suffers from not even being the coolest bug-headed creature aboard Vader’s Executor. That honor goes to:
More like Bee-3PO, am I right? No? Okay, moving on. 4-LOM, the second bug-headed bounty hunter aboard Vader’s ship, was originally a protocol droid designed that way and not at all a last-minute combination of an insect mask and a brown robot suit. To be fair, there was also that duck-faced model in the Jawa Sandcrawler, so there may be an aftermarket in customizable add-ons for protocol droids, sort of like what we do with cell phone cases. Maybe this droid is the anime phone cover of the Star Wars universe.
While one would think that the cold logic of a droid would make for an excellent bounty hunter, 4-LOM is also built like C-3PO. That means he’d run after his quarry, arms held out like Frankenstein, waddling like someone trying to get to the bathroom before a real mess happens. He’d be almost deadly if a person’s shoelaces were tied together. 4-LOM has a gun, but that doesn’t necessarily mean much if he shoots as well as every other droid we’ve seen in the series. Still, he’s one of the more unique additions to the bounty hunter canon, and he looks pretty good standing there.
8) Aurra Sing
Aurra stands out for a number of reasons, not least because she’s a she, a rarity in the world of Star Wars bounty hunting and Star Wars characters in general. She rocks a Nosferatu-chic look as she watches the podrace (Yippee!) on Tatooine for approximately 1.3 seconds which is an eternity in nerd-obsession time. Those scant moments leave an indelible impression of a character that will definitely get their own action figure.
Apart from performing the number one bounty hunter job of standing around well, Sing also carries on the fine Appalachian tradition of a Hatfield or a McCoy: Red long johns worn as clothing with a rifle slung across her back. In terms of both the functions of a Star Wars bounty hunter, she’s top of the pops. Even if she’s relegated to background (in this case foreground) extra fodder for Episode I, for a fleeting moment she makes you forget about Jar Jar and there’s no higher praise than that.
IG-88, the other droid that volunteers to hunt Han Solo and company for Darth Vader, Iggy, as he’s known to his friends, is fairly unique looking for a series with weird robots out the wazoo. It’s easy to imagine he took up bounty hunting after a brief stint as a dinner theater Tin Man. Shaped like a rocket launcher, IG-88 is clearly a machine designed for dealing death even if he’s made out of parts left over from the cantina in A New Hope. I don’t know if it would be the first time an espresso maker killed someone, but I wouldn’t lay odds.
IG-88 is taller than any other bounty hunter present, obviously making him the Ryan Stiles of the Whose Line line-up Darth Vader assembled, where the points don’t matter because Boba Fett is the only one who does anything. When it comes to what has been established as the two most important qualities of a Star Wars bounty hunter, however, IG-88 does a decent job standing there and looking imposing. When one considers he reappears later, sitting in the Cloud City scrap room, his résumé becomes even more impressive.
This old-school lizard man really makes you wonder who’s the Bossk (in this case, not Tony Danza). Mainly, Bossk just looks like he’s happy to no longer have to fight Captain Kirk in the strange canyons of somewhere just outside of Burbank. Adding a delicious B-movie vibe to Vader’s meeting of bounty hunter minds, with his stiff, rubbery arms and a gun obviously set up to be fired from his armpit, Bossk does pretty well for a guy who’d obviously rather be sitting on a hot rock than standing around a hole in the floor of Darth Vader’s cold space ship.
In the hierarchy of bounty hunters, Bossk gets by on style points alone. Having arms that go to your knees can’t be easy yet Bossk still manages to come off vaguely threatening in the grand scheme of having the proportions of a costume thrown together on a shoe string. In a way, he’s a perfect creation of the disco era, making good use of that avocado green skin and that harvest gold space suit. Other bounty hunters just can’t quite sleestak up.
5) Zam Wesell
Zam Wesell greets us as an assassin assassinated by the assassin assigned to assassinate her assassination target. Like a Transformer, Zam has more going on than meets the eye. At first glance, this female bounty hunter appears to only be in possession of a name that sounds like Mr. Chekov saying vessel, but she’s really an ogre-like onion, ripe with layers. One layer is that she’s a bounty hunter who works for other bounty hunters. She uses a drone to cut holes in windows to kill via centipede, a method of executing someone as complicated and inept as anything Fu Manchu could concoct. (It’s a method of killing known as the “Old pinchy bitey” in certain circles that I didn’t just completely make up.)
After this fails we get to the next layer which is that she’s as accomplished a driver as Baby Driver if piloting a flying car that is literally in no danger of road traffic hazards is impressive. And when she gets killed by a poison dart by her boss, Jango Fett, she reveals another layer: She’s a lizard person disguised as a woman disguised under a veil to distract us from remembering the series, V. In terms of action, Zam does more than stand around or look interesting, and she does it in service to utter absurdity and total mission failure.
4) Jango Fett
Jango Fett, the only man who could say, “Send in the clones,” and get away with it, serves as the genetic model from which all the clones in Attack of the Clones are cloned from. Even though most parents would shy away from answering which child is their favorite, Jango stands proud, pointing out his “son” in front of a gajillion other guys that look just like himself. Also, that’s a totally normal way to bring up a kid, raising a baby clone away from other kids in a small apartment next to a literal army of identical dads in the middle of Waterworld. There’s no way that could warp a child’s view on life.
Plus, Jango wants to pass on his way of life to his kid. Considering his biggest accomplishment to date was being a DNA strand, and his last stint as an actual bounty hunter consisted of killing the woman who failed to do the job he hired her to do that he was originally hired to—never mind, it’s a mess—that doesn’t bode very well for the kid’s chances. Jango is the type of guy who can fight in the rain but eats it in the sand. Usually a horse that can run in the mud is a good choice for betting on, but somehow Jango’s a horse than can run in the mud and becomes glue on the track. That doesn’t bode well for his kid, either. In fact, just about the only worthwhile thing Jango ends up passing on to his son is a reusable wardrobe.
A goggle-eyed Rodian with lumpy green skin like a pickle, Spock-ears and a mohawk, Greedo is certainly stupid. No matter which version of Star Wars you go with, the Special Edition or the good one, he’s a guy who gets himself shot in the booth of a dive bar after threatening a guy who just spent the better part of an hour talking to an old man who chops alien arms off with a laser sword all willy nilly. If we take the Special Edition version, he’s a guy who can’t even shoot across three feet of table without hitting the ceiling.
Our first real introduction to the world of Star Wars bounty hunters, Greedo is sort of the perfect first date. He looks pulpy and weird, has a great alien vibe, and like the best of them is almost wholly incompetent at what he does. Another goon employed by Jabba the Hutt, he does more than stand around, even if the more he does is to become the Schrodinger’s cat of the Star Wars universe: He shoots (or doesn’t) at one of our heroes and then gets shot for the efforts of shooting (or not).
2) Boba Fett
An overrated action figure even before he was an overrated action figure, Boba Fett has perhaps the most drawn out backstory of any Star Wars character outside of the main heroes. Thanks to the Special Editions, Boba Fett now appears in four films out of the franchise, including taking the villain-ruining turn of making him a little kid in Attack of the Clones. In Episode II he gets the requisite Star Wars character tragic backstory (much like Anakin’s mother being ravaged by Tusken Raiders or Luke’s aunt and uncle ending up Cajun style) by watching his father get decapitated right in front of him which, like any rational person, gives him the resolve to enter into the exact same line of neck-threatening work.
By the time we see him really get to it Episode V, he captures Han Solo by working smarter and not harder just like his father taught him, letting Darth Vader do all the dirty work. It’s a pretty sound economic scheme, taking payment for a job the person paying for it has to do themselves. Unfortunately, this type of laziness leads to Return of the Jedi, where Fett now spends his time standing around Jabba’s Palace watching Han Solo hang on the wall like a Scarface poster. When it comes time for Luke Skywalker’s rescue plan to be enacted, the out of practice Fett is killed on accident by a semi-blind Han Solo still recuperating from being frozen alive. Screaming, “Boba Fett? Boba Fett? Where?” the ex-popsicle gives Fett’s jet pack an accidental love tap which rockets the bounty hunter head first into the side of Jabba’s sail barge where he bounces off and falls into the beak-hole of a Sarlacc pit that will digest him for a thousand years. That’s a really long time to think, “Uh oh, SpaghettiOs.”
Boushh, short for The Mighty Boushh, short for The Mighty Mighty Boushhtones, is the clear winner of best Star Wars bounty hunter by any measure. For one thing, Boushh enters Jabba’s Palace orgy leading Chewbacca in on a fetish chain which is all kinds of impressive. And when Jabba starts to threaten her, Boushh has him by the ball, revealing a hidden thermal detonator in her hand. Another thing that sets Boushh above her competitors is that she actually has a plan and that plan actually manages to make sense. Boushh is, of course, really Leia in disguise, all five feet one fiery inches of her, and she’s out to rescue her friend.
Being Princess Leia in disguise means Boushh is a warrior, a diplomat, a member of royalty, a sister, a lover, a friend. She’s tough as nails, determined to accomplish her plan, and doing it all with style, grace, and that light in her eyes that belied depths beyond measure. Boushh manages to be the best bounty hunter in Star Wars despite it being a play act to get into Jabba’s Palace to rescue Han Solo. Even when exposed, stripped, and stuffed into a metal bikini she never loses her fire, killing Jabba and helping win the day.
Boushh comes into the series a mystery, a fabrication, a dream, and leaves it much the same way. She’s the only bounty hunter who does better than simply standing around and looking cool by virtue of being more than a bounty hunter. She’s better than a hired gun. She’s a princess.