Going Solo: Best Scoundrels Smuggled Into Star Wars Games

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For more than 40 years, the epic space opera Star Wars has dominated the mainstream, weaving its influence across the global tapestry as a cultural adhesive. With three film trilogies, two independent anthologies (including the yet-to-release Solo: A Star Wars Story), and countless television series, comics, parodies, musical performances, and video games, Star Wars and its respective worlds from galaxies far, far away have become deeply embedded in the cultural lexicon.  

To say Star Wars would not be the same without its eclectic roster of scoundrels, however, is a gross understatement. Indeed, as scoundrels have shaped the political, economic, and social tones of the galaxy, we look back on some of the most influential scoundrels smuggled into Star Wars video games.

Mission Vao

Star Wars: The Old Republic

Many scoundrels in the Star Wars franchise have emerged from difficult situations with a few well-aimed blaster shots or by the sheer convenience of astromech droids. In the case of Mission Vao, however, cunning and intellect proved to be equally effective.

From the thralls of desperation, the young Twi’lek girl forged a life in the slums of Lower Taris, capturing the scoundrel archetype’s instinctive motivation to survive and the unfortunate circumstances by which characters ultimately fall victim to the criminal lifestyle in the Star Wars universe. Where other scoundrels may succeed in brashness, Mission Vao retains interesting and unique mechanics that set her apart from other NPCs, particularly her uncannily optimistic disposition.

Still, Vao’s character shows that even scoundrels who suffer loss and betrayal can be loyal to a fault, as exemplified by her actions in Knights of the Old Republic. More importantly, she adds credence to the efforts of female and alien characters in preserving the integrity of the galaxy.

Image courtesy of Wookieepedia

Canderous Ordo

Knights of the Old Republic

Canderous Ordo, the battle-hardened Mandalorian from Knights of the Old Republic, invigorates the Star Wars scoundrel archetype by imbuing the role with ceaseless commitment to self-evolution. As a man of challenge, the champion of Clan Ordo shies from the scoundrel’s distinctive charm, bringing a more aggressive, militaristic stance to the table that other scoundrel characters simply don’t.

In fact, Ordo’s single-minded Mandalorian philosophy dictates his motivation: resolution by combat.

Ordo’s inclusion in the Star Wars gaming portfolio paves the way for future characters that wield strength over reason, such as Khomo Fett and Skadge, featured in Star Wars: The Old Republic; however, as many scoundrels will operate for the purposes of acquiring credits, Ordo, as a Mandalorian, seeks sport -- a quality that may perhaps blind him in regard to a character’s moral alignment.

The antithesis of the famous quip “I’ve got a bad feeling about this,” Canderous Ordo is a seasoned gunslinger and an even more dangerous opponent.

Image courtesy of Wookieepedia

Hylo Visz

Star Wars: The Old Republic

Considered to be one of the most prominent scoundrels from the Old Republic era, Hylo Visz is a female Mirialan responsible for breaking the Mandalorian blockade of the Hydian Way: a major hyper-trade route between the Outer Rim and Core Worlds heavily used by the Republic.

As each new Star Wars title seeks to achieve singularity in an overtly saturated franchise, Visz’s character is a sobering reminder that Force-users are not the be-all and end-all in the galaxy. In fact, Visz is perhaps one of the earliest examples of an independent actor to dramatically shift a major military power’s ability to wage war without using the Force. She is the paragon of adventure and glory, predating Han Solo by some 3,000 years.

Her legacy in galactic history stresses the point that Star Wars games simply do not represent scoundrels to the degree to which Jedi and Sith are portrayed. Scoundrels represent the middle ground between the Light and Dark Sides of the Force, serving as ancillary vehicles to move a plot forward -- often in isolated incidents. Indeed, performing heroic actions for the purpose of earning cash loses its luster in the face of preserving millennia-held traditions.

Image courtesy of Wookieepedia

Nico Okarr

Star Wars: The Old Republic

Captain of the XS stock light freighter Redshifter, Nico Okarr is a legendary scoundrel and master escapist whose exploits rival those of Han Solo. His experience in the Outer Rim led to a successful flight from an embattled space station above Korriban -- a feat that would prove singularly responsible for preserving the Republic against a resurgent Sith Empire in the Great Galactic War.

Scoundrels in Star Wars video games are indeed ubiquitous, but few champions rise to galactic stardom like Okarr. His actions, abilities, and general demeanor are consistent when compared to criminals from other franchise IPs; however, Okarr subverts the scoundrel tropes by displaying an uncharacteristic heroism in dangerous situations. Many scoundrel characters -- particularly enemy NPCs -- use exaggerated reputations to buffer or intimidate for self-preservation, whereas Okarr boasts pragmatism and skill over ego.

Image courtesy of Wookieepedia

Dash Rendar

Shadows of the Empire

Born to a Corellian family, Dash Rendar -- the Imperial turned mercenary -- is one of the franchise’s early examples of developers breaking from established characters to create a story associated with the films. LucasArts’ 1996 third-person shooter, Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire, flexed Rendar’s rudimentary scoundrel abilities across 10 levels to defeat Prince Xizor, the leader of the Black Sun Syndicate.

The Outrider captain’s limited video game presence underscores the archetype’s effectiveness in manipulating galactic events. Certainly, the Republic-Imperial struggle dominates the political atmosphere of the Star Wars saga, but Rendar and his scoundrel counterparts denote the underlying ebb and flow ultimately contributing to that conflict.

Shadows of the Empire succeeded in crafting a believable Star Wars experience wherein the player had a direct hand in shaping the events surrounding the film series. With each new game title released, however, the scoundrel’s sophistication evolved to include grenades, flashbangs, self-healing abilities, and even protective barriers. Rendar’s inclusion in the franchise's gaming portfolio helped set the stage for future scoundrel player engagement.

Image courtesy of Wookieepedia

Chewbacca

Battlefront, Battlefront II, Masters of Teras Kasi

Brute strength is not a trait one commonly associates with scoundrels featured in Star Wars video games, particularly characters who find themselves on the losing end of a Dejarik game; however, players have undoubtedly come to enjoy the piercing amicability and resourcefulness of the Wookie warrior Chewbacca -- the longtime friend of Han Solo and co-pilot of the infamous Millennium Falcon.

What about this versatile character has enamored audiences throughout the franchise’s gaming history? Chewbacca remains an underdog, a hero of war-torn Kashyyyk, and a champion of an oppressed race. His ability to dispatch enemies with an array of explosives and the exceptionally accurate bowcaster has made him a standout powerhouse among blaster-wielding characters and even revered Force-users.

Though Chewbacca’s gaming presence is limited compared to other heroes borrowed from the film series, his usefulness is no less prominent. From the Battlefront series to Disney Infinity 3.0, Chewbacca continues to be a vibrant Star Wars character that reminds players of the significance of camaraderie.

Image courtesy of Wookieepedia

Han Solo

Lots of Star Wars Games ... He's Been in Lots ... 

A common trend in Star Wars video games is the use of heroes to tell engaging stories. These characters not only act as narrative vehicles that give players the opportunity to discover unexplored elements of the franchise’s current nine feature films, but they arguably serve as the template for character development as a discipline. In this regard, Han Solo is the scoundrel prototype by which all Star Wars scoundrels have evolved, and the Star Wars story would not be the same without him.

Undeniably, Han Solo is more than just a character, but the symbolic manifestation of the franchise’s “third estate” -- the independent space privateer clinging to high-risk, high-reward opportunities with little to no regard for moral rights or wrongs.

Scoundrels as playable classes offer a degree of emotional excitement unfound in Jedi or Sith paths, which can be attributed to the epic, fluid, and fate-defining adventurers of characters like Han Solo. Scoundrels, like Solo, act as free agents and can participate in a stronger and more satisfying character arc -- typically.

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Is there a Star Wars scoundrel you believe helped elevate the franchise that's not on this list? Let us know in the comments below! As always, be sure to check back with GameSkinny for more on Star Wars and the galaxy far, far away.

Oh, yeah, and check Solo: A Star Wars Story. We've heard it might be pretty good. 

Image courtesy of Wookieepedia

Published May. 22nd 2018

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