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Top Nine Badass Women of Star Wars, Take Two - complete 
20th-Sep-2008 03:52 am
misc - red hair
Here we go, folks - final results beneath the cut. As a disclaimer, there were several ties, but I decided that it wasn't really worthwhile to bother breaking them, especially when there were no ties that would determine whether or not a character would wind up on the list or in the runners up. For an informal list like this, I think it's enough to know that each woman was fairly voted into the list in the first place.

With thanks to Bettie Magazine for the inspiration: 

First, the runners up:

9) Siri Tachi (4 votes)
8) Shalla Nelprin (5 votes)
7) Morrigan Corde/Nyna Calixte (5 votes)
6) Marasiah Fel (5 votes)
5) Jarael (5 votes)
4) Darth Talon (5 votes)
3) Asajj Ventress (5 votes)
2) Mon Mothma (6 votes)
1) Sabé (6 votes)

And the Top Nine Badass Women of Star Wars, as nominated and voted upon via comments to this journal:

9) Tenel Ka Djo (7 votes)

Coming from the bloodlines of the Witches of Dathomir, it's hardly surprising that Tenel Ka would be considered badass. Her ancestresses would probably be appalled if she wasn't.

Daughter of Teneniel Djo and granddaughter of Augwynne Djo, leader of the Singing Mountain Clan, Tenel Ka always felt a greater kinship toward her Dathomirian heritage than her Hapan heritage, and chose to align herself with her mother's warrior culture rather than the political labyrinth of her father's. Tenel Ka placed great importance on physical training and abilities, and constantly pushed herself to excel. She also trained at the Jedi Praxeum, eventually attaining the rank of Jedi Knight. Tenel Ka played an active role throughout the Yuuzhan Vong invasion, particularly as a member of the Jedi strike team that destroyed the Voxyn queen. Soon afterward, Tenel Ka took the throne of the Hapes Consortium following the assassination of her mother. Nine years later, Tenel Ka both gave birth to a daughter, whom she would raise as a single parent despite the demands of her throne, and resigned from the Jedi Order, since she believed she could neither resign her throne nor fully perform the duties of a Jedi Knight while remaining queen. Tenel Ka played an integral role in the Second Galactic Civil War, first allying with the Galactic Alliance, then later opposing it when she realized how dark Jacen Solo, one of its leaders - as well as the father of her daughter - had become, maintaining her stand for justice despite the emotional distress this caused her.

Tenel Ka consistently displays great strength, both physical and mental, as well as great confidence in her own abilities. She is equally capable of fighting as a warrior or navigating the tangled nuances of politics, and manages the sixty-three worlds of the Hapes Consortium with a firm hand. There's no doubt that Tenel Ka can handle just about anything that's thrown at her. 

8) Winter Celchu (9 votes)

Winter's inclusion on this list is yet further proof that one's strength doesn't depend on physical prowess. When Winter first appeared in the EU, she seemed elegant but low-key - yet the more we learned about her, the more we admired her.

Like her foster sister, Leia Organa, Winter was repulsed by the repression of the Empire and devoted to the ideals of the Old Republic, and in 3 BBY Winter attended a meeting of the Rebel Alliance organized by Bria Tharen, where Winter confided in Bria that she supported military action despite Alderaan's pacifistic tradition. Once the Rebellion was officially established, Winter was heavily involved in many operations. Her perfect memory meant she was uniquely suited to intelligence work; indeed, she was so good at what she did that her potential true identity was hotly debated in Imperial circles. Also a skilled slicer and a master of disguise, her aid was crucial both in the liberation of Coruscant and the invasion of Thyferra. She continued to serve as Leia's primary aide, and even undertook the primary raising of Leia's three children for the first years of their lives.

Winter may have been content to work in the shadows and live quietly, but her integrity and devotion never wavered, and she routinely sacrificed large measures of her time and effort for the greater good - and she never lost her dignity while doing so, either. Few can lay claim to Winter's unique brand of badassery, which earns her recognition here.

7) Mirax Terrik Horn (9 votes)

Mirax is a woman who knows what she wants, and she generally makes sure she gets it.

Daughter of the smuggler Booster Terrik, Mirax took over his smuggling operation when her father was sentenced to five years of hard labor. Despite the fact that she was still underage at the time, the organization not only maintained profitability, but turned almost completely legitimate. Throughout her life, Mirax would switch between legitimate business practices and smuggling depending on which suited current circumstances better, and she excelled at both pursuits. By 7 ABY, her longtime friend Wedge Antilles had convinced her to aid the New Republic, and Mirax's smuggling would prove essential in supplying bacta to Coruscant during the Krytos virus crisis; she also smuggled supplies to resistance cells as well as smuggling refugees to safe havens during the Thrawn campaign. After her marriage, she started a legitimate shipping business, and after Mara Jade's marriage, the two would often work together - a formidable duo indeed. During the Yuuzhan Vong war, Mirax would aid the Jedi Order, giving their requests for supplies or courier runs special priority, thus filling a vital need.

Mirax is undeniably an independent woman, her strong personality allowing her to easily hold her own with a family and circle of friends who are often larger than life. She runs her own businesses and also manages to handle a Jedi husband and children despite not being Force-sensitive herself, a unique challenge that many would find daunting. They don't come too much more self-possessed than Mirax.

6) Padmé Amidala Naberrie Skywalker (9 votes)

Despite her eventual death from a broken heart (okay, we know that SW is all about destiny and she had to die, but a broken heart, George?*), Padmé began her career of badassery young, and in an unusual but greatly admirable way.

At a young age, Padmé Naberrie volunteered for the Refugee Relief Movement and entered the Legislative Youth Program. By age eight she was part of the Apprentice Legislature; at eleven she was a full Apprentice Legislator; by the age of thirteen she became Princess of Theed; by fourteen she was elected Queen of Naboo. Five months after her election, Padmé was instrumental in ending the Invasion of Naboo, leading to even greater popularity with her people. She served two terms before stepping down and intending to retire, but at the urging of her replacement, Queen Jamillia, Padmé was appointed Naboo's representative in the Galactic Senate, where she became one of the leaders of a faction opposed to the establishment of an army to quell the growing Separatist movement, favoring diplomacy over the use of force. She eventually agreed to lead the Delegation of 2000, a group of Senators opposed to the dictatorship that Chancellor Palpatine's rule was creating. And when the need arose, she wasn't above engaging in a few aggressive negotiations, either.

Padmé's life was one of compassion; her strong will and her unselfishness meant that she rarely allowed her personal desires to supersede her ideals of public service - traits both of her children seem to have inherited in full. She may have died young, but she left behind an impressive record of strength and devotion to duty.

*Discovered in her Wookieepedia entry (spoilers for Coruscant Nights II: Streets of Shadows)

It was later revealed in her autopsy reports that she died from the injuries she suffered from Vader's force choke (including a fractured hyoid bone), though because there was no visible external trauma this cause of death was initially overlooked.
(Hey, a retcon I can get behind! Now her primary cause of death is - um, incompetent medical droids? Eh, I'll take it. :p )

5) Shada D'ukal (10 votes)

When we first saw a glimpse of Shada in TTT, who'd have guessed she'd eventually be revealed as such a formidable character?

A member of the elite Mistryl Shadow Guard, Shada D'ukal possesses a quick intelligence, great adaptability, and has an impressive command of a wide range of weaponry and hand-t0-hand combat techniques. She spent over a decade performing various missions for the Mistryl, then was assigned as bodyguard to the smuggler chief Mazzic. Twelve years later, another Mistryl was assigned to assassinate Mazzic, an attempt which Shada thwarted, thus putting herself squarely in the sights of the Mistryl Guard she had so loyally served. Convinced at last that the Mistryl were no longer the honorable organization she had believed them to be, Shada attempted to join the New Republic, but found herself instead assisting Talon Karrde; despite her disillusionment with the Mistryl, the smuggling industry, and the New Republic, Shada came to realize that Karrde's sense of honor matched her own. She was instrumental in gaining a copy of the Caamas Document and exposing the false Grand Admiral Thrawn, thus helping to end the civil strife that had threatened to tear the NR apart. For this, Shada was permanently exiled from the Mistryl and her home planet of Emberlene, but found a new home with Karrde's organization, replacing Mara Jade as second in command when Mara left to marry Luke and join the Jedi Order.

There's little doubt that Shada can literally kick ass, but as honed as her combat skills are, her true strength comes from her sense of honor, and her willingness to make great personal sacrifices for the sake of preserving that honor. That potent combination gains her the admiration of many fans, and a well-deserved place on this list.

4) Iella Wessiri Antilles (12 votes)

Star Wars fans may have been introduced to the GFFA's image of the inimitable Corellian by Han Solo and Wedge Antilles, but Iella proves that the Corellian women easily hold their own.

Originally a CorSec officer, Iella was forced to flee to Coruscant with her first husband, Diric, to avoid arrest on trumped up charges. While on Imperial-occupied Coruscant, Iella joined the Rebellion as an intelligence operative, occasionally performing deep undercover work for months at a time, and aided Rogue Squadron in its undercover mission to retake Coruscant. While she was escorting former Imperial Intelligence officer Kirtan Loor into Republic custody, Iella shot an assassin who killed Loor, only to tragically realize that it was in fact Diric, who had been brainwashed by Ysanne Isard. Iella did later gain a measure of justice when she fatally shoot Isard. She went on to marry Wedge Antilles, with whom she had two daughters. Although Iella retired from NR Intelligence after the Galactic Civil War, she came out of retirement to play an integral role in critical missions in both the Yuuzhan Vong and Second Galactic Civil Wars.

While Intelligence officers rarely experience the spotlight, Iella proves that such contributions are every bit as crucial as the often flashier contributions of the more famous fighter pilots and Jedi Knights.

3) Jaina Solo (13 votes)

Unsurprisingly, the daughter and apprentice of the top two women on this list comes in at a close third.

Combining the best known traits of both the Skywalker and Solo bloodlines, Jaina's been a force to be reckoned with from the beginning. A handful for her parents and the occasional kidnapper alike, Jaina grew into a talented mechanic and pilot, joining the famous Rogue Squadron at a young age and racking up an impressive number of kills, including Yuuzhan Vong warmaster Tsavong Lah in one-on-one combat. She saw front line action in the Yuuzhan Vong, Swarm, and Second Galactic Civil Wars, and was well known for her boldness, ingenuity, and relentless work ethic. As a Jedi, she was strong in the Force, an economic and brutal swordswoman, willing to stray from orthodox Jedi doctrines, and was named "Sword of the Jedi" by Luke Skywalker in her knighting ceremony.

While some fans question her later characterization, particularly in the Dark Nest and Legacy of the Force books, Jaina's established reputation is easily strong enough to keep her at the top of any list of badass SW characters.

2) Mara Jade Skywalker (15 votes)

It's fitting that Mara should be tied with Leia for the top position, for what Leia did for the Original Trilogy, Mara Jade did for the Expanded Universe. How does Mara kick ass? Let us count the ways.

When we were first introduced to Mara, there was no doubt that we were dealing with an eminently strong woman, and the more we learned of her, the more intriguing she was. A talented pilot, mechanic, and dancer who was conversant with weapons ranging from blasters to vibroblades to lightsabers and extremely talented in hand-to-hand combat, Mara was also highly skilled at infiltration, espionage, and assassination - not too shabby a resume by anyone's standards. However, her greatest accomplishment might well have been in being able, willing, and even determined to throw off the Imperial propaganda that had defined her life from earliest memory when she realized how fundamentally untrue it was. Shaking free from a lifetime of indoctrination and misplaced loyalty, Mara became entirely her own person, succeeding both at smuggling and legitimate business, and eventually attaining the rank of Jedi Master.

How often do you really get to see such an intricate character? Mara's been all over the SW charts: bad guy and good guy; Imperial and NR citizen; assassin, smuggler, and Jedi. It's been a great ride watching Mara develop, and she's done it all with fierce independence, devoted loyalty toward those she trusts, and a strong sense of morality. Small wonder that she remains one of the most popular EU characters of all time.

1) Leia Organa Solo (15 votes)

There's just no topping the original. Leia's as iconic as they come, and rightfully so.

While her rank of Princess is so associated with Leia as to almost be considered part of her given name, there's a lot more to her than that. Sharply intelligent, always self-assured and confident, and heir to the political savvy of both her birth mother and adoptive father, Leia became the youngest person ever elected to serve in the Galactic Senate, where she swiftly became one of the leading voices against Palpatine's unjust and repressive policies. Leia was instrumental in the official establishment of the Alliance to Restore the Republic and regularly used her diplomatic immunity as cover for aiding the Alliance. After her capture on the Tantive IV, Leia resisted torture at Vader's own hands and overcame the severe trauma of Alderaan's destruction to join the Alliance's struggle full time, and played a major role in the establishment of the New Republic, eventually rising to the position of Chief of State; she also attained the rank of Jedi Knight. But whether in politics, with the Force, or in any other endeavor, Leia's entire life has been a fearless campaign for justice and equality for all beings.

Perhaps her greatest moment, though, was both far simpler and even more far-reaching than any of those. How many girls watched with surprise and dawning delight as Leia, seemingly in the inevitable role of damsel in distress, exasperatedly took her rescuers to task for their lack of preparedness and essentially commandeered her own rescue? Not to minimize Luke, Han, and Chewie's contributions, but didn't we all cheer as Leia calmly and capably turned the accepted order of things upside down? Given half a chance, we can rescue ourselves, thank you very much, boys. And thank you for reminding us of that, Leia.

Thank you all for your support in nominating and voting! :D

20th-Sep-2008 12:34 pm (UTC)
Great list and I love your descriptions of them!

I had to LOL about Padme and the medical droid. Better than the reason given and actually more believable.
8th-Oct-2008 07:55 am (UTC)
Thanks, Diane!

I'll certainly take that retcon. :p Sadly, Uncle George set that one up so that any retcon sounds better. A broken heart - yeah, sure. *facepalm*
20th-Sep-2008 01:28 pm (UTC)
Have I mentioned how much you rock?
8th-Oct-2008 07:56 am (UTC)
*blushes* Thank you, Carr. :D
20th-Sep-2008 03:04 pm (UTC)
Hell yeah incompetent medical droids! I mean, no one knew she was having TWINS, I totally buy it. ;P
8th-Oct-2008 08:02 am (UTC)
I know! Why did no one know she was having twins? It's not that hard a thing to detect with minimal technology! And I really don't see how it would have spoiled the storyline for Anakin and Padmé to have known that they were having twins. As far as Anakin would have known at the time, they had all died; when he discovered Luke, well, he still wouldn't have any real idea of who his daughter might be, or even if she had survived along with her brother, and maybe that would have added some emotional weight to his discovery of Leia's relationship to him in RotJ.

But as you said, this way does add some credibility to the retcon. :p
20th-Sep-2008 09:46 pm (UTC)
Heheh, four Tim Zahn creations and two Stackpole. As it should be ;) Those two really gave us the coolest women in the EU.
8th-Oct-2008 08:03 am (UTC)
They did at that. :D
21st-Sep-2008 11:43 am (UTC)
LOL @ "runners up: 9) Siri Tachi (4 votes)" PSH, no thanks for that, JW. XD

Can I put in a late vote for Ahsoka? ;D

Edited at 2008-09-21 11:43 am (UTC)
8th-Oct-2008 08:06 am (UTC)
Why not? ;) I haven't seen the movie or show, so I can't say anything about Ahsoka one way or another, but managing to keep up with a young Anakin as a master would certainly require some gumption. :D Anyway, I like her name. :p
21st-Sep-2008 02:43 pm (UTC)
Leia FTW. [face_cooooool]
8th-Oct-2008 08:06 am (UTC)
True that, babe. B-)
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8th-Oct-2008 08:08 am (UTC)
Thanks, Yrie! But you guys did all the work of nominating and voting. :D I was very glad to see these women get some recognition. I think this list is much more accurate than Bettie Magazine's. :D
22nd-Sep-2008 12:56 am (UTC)
Mei, this was a beautifully done list. So professional!

(See the icon. That's you!)
8th-Oct-2008 08:09 am (UTC)
*blushes* You're the best, Jieh. :D
22nd-Sep-2008 06:09 am (UTC)
Lovely list, Gabri. Thanks for putting it together!
8th-Oct-2008 08:09 am (UTC)
Aw, thanks, Krystal! I'm glad you like it. :D And fantastic icon. :D
22nd-Sep-2008 01:01 pm (UTC)
Awesome job compiling the list, Gabri!

(But I still can't buy the retcon about Padme's death. [nurse voice] You can't talk during childbirth if your throat is injured. Hell, women can't talk during childbirth with a healthy throat! Geez, pick a plausible postpartum reason: sepsis or shock or hemorrhage or amniotic embolism....anything remotely realistic. *flabbergasted* [/nurse rant])

8th-Oct-2008 08:11 am (UTC)
Thanks, Traci! :D

*giggles at your nurse voice* Well, anything's more realistic than a broken heart. We take what we can get with the EU, you know that. :p
24th-Sep-2008 01:26 pm (UTC)

A good list, and I agree totally with the top 3. There's a few women I haven't heard of in there, but they're probably from either the comics or the prequel novels (neither of which I've read).

I think the only major change I'd have made would be to put Tenel Ka higher up the list. I love the girl.
8th-Oct-2008 08:13 am (UTC)
Thank you! I agree; no one really tops Leia, Mara, and Jaina. Tenel Ka is certainly a force to be reckoned with, though. :D (And I do love that picture of her.)
25th-Jun-2009 10:45 pm (UTC)
Nice list.

I find myself rather glad Ahsoka's not on it. *shudder*

Kind of wish Asajj was, if only for the lol of putting a woman in who at one point kept Kenobi prisoner in what looked eerily like a gimp mask. :p
8th-Mar-2012 05:18 am (UTC)
Late to the post, but I don't think a person can die from a fractured hyoid bone. If it was completely broken, maybe she could die from asphyxiation, but still... Ah I just don't like the way George Lucas handled her death. Why can't she just die of an illness or something a few years after the twins' birth?
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