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Star Wars characters who make the most appearances

As far as franchises go, there really isn't any contender that can stack up against the juggernaut that is Star Wars. Admittedly, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has put up some impressive numbers, coming out ahead in terms of both output and box office take, but Star Wars has proven its staying power by lasting for decades and capturing the hearts and imaginations of one generation after another.

And ever since George Lucas first introduced audiences to the Star Wars universe way back in 1977, it's brought moviegoers to strange new worlds, taken us along on a slew of adventures, and acquainted us with countless characters we've come to know and love. While many of those characters made only the briefest of appearances — some of which left us wanting more (we're looking at you, Max Rebo) — others were major players throughout the Skywalker Saga.

Of course, that makes us wonder, which beloved figures showed up in the most movies? Well, today, we're getting to the bottom of this outer space mystery. From droids to Jedi Knights, here are the Star Wars characters who've made the most appearances. (And to be clear, we're only looking at the live-action feature films.)

Obi-Wan Kenobi taught us the ways of the Force with six Star Wars appearances

One of the most consequential Jedi in the galaxy, Obi-Wan Kenobi played a direct role in some of the biggest events portrayed in the Star Wars universe. He was also portrayed by two of the most renowned actors to appear in the films — Alec Guinness and Ewan McGregor.

Born on the planet Stewjon, Obi-Wan — also known as Old Ben or simply Ben — trained under Yoda and Qui-Gon Jinn, eventually becoming one of the most respected Jedi on the High Council. After the death of Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan took on the task of tutoring Anakin, and the two formed a close bond, not only as master and pupil but as friends. This made it all the more painful for Kenobi when Anakin turned, and the two became enemies.

Following their defeat, Yoda sent Obi-Wan to Tatooine to watch over young Luke Skywalker. Eventually, Luke and Obi-Wan ventured into the stars, prompted by a message from Princess Leia sent via R2-D2. While rescuing the princess from the Death Star, Obi-Wan was ultimately cut down at the hands of his old Padawan, Darth Vader. However, Ben Kenobi did return as a Force ghost in both The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, providing Luke with some much needed counseling and support.

Yoda showed size mattered not in six films

While Baby Yoda might've stolen the hearts of audiences everywhere ever since the release of The Mandalorian, let's never forget that Yoda classic was the OG when it came to being small, green, and powerful in the Force.

Master Yoda belongs to a specious about which little to nothing is known, a backstory that George Lucas intentionally kept vague, presumably in order to heighten the mystery surrounding this pint-sized Force powerhouse. We do know that Yoda was born some 900 years before we met him, so we can be sure that he's been through more than his fair share of galactic adventures.

During the prequels, Yoda served as a top member of the Jedi High Council, and he held a great deal of misgivings about the training of young Anakin Skywalker. During the Clone Wars, Yoda led an army of the Republic to help defend Kashyyyk, a situation that had him giving commands alongside Chewbacca. After being one of only a handful of Jedi to survive Order 66, Yoda returned to Coruscant where he fought in a lightsaber duel against Darth Sidious. Unable to defeat him, however, Yoda retreated into exile on the swamp planet of Dagobah. There he eventually trained Luke Skywalker and remained until he died, fading away to unite with the Force. Yoda later returned as a Force ghost, providing Luke with a final lesson.

The Emperor made six sinister appearances

Some call him Darth Sidious, others simply refer to him as the Emperor, but whatever name he goes by, Sheev Palpatine is the big baddie of the Star Wars universe. Wildly powerful and shriveled like a prune, Palpatine was responsible for orchestrating the calamities that led to the rise of the Empire.

As the senator of Naboo, Palpatine rose in prominence before being named supreme chancellor of the galaxy in response to the invasion of his home planet, which was all part of his plan. Little did the Senate know, Palpatine was in fact living a double life as the Sith lord Darth Sidious, with Darth Maul at his side. After the death of Maul, Palpatine began training a new apprentice — Count Dooku, aka Darth Tyranus — who helped him mastermind the Clone Wars. Dooku was eventually replaced by Anakin Skywalker, who Palpatine deemed Darth Vader. For all practical purposes, Sidious and Vader ruled the galaxy unchallenged until the rise of the Rebellion and the appearance of Luke Skywalker, who helped to destroy the Empire and turn his father from the Dark Side.

While it was presumed that Vader had killed Palpatine at the end of The Return of the Jedi, it was later revealed that the Emperor had returned "somehow" and was responsible for the rise of the First Order. As it turned out, he was also Rey's grandfather, and after a final, lightning-filled battle, she destroyed him once and for all. Or at least we think so, but we've been fooled by this sneaky Sith before.

Han Solo was a scoundrel in six movies

He made the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs, piloted the Millennium Falcon, is your favorite scruffy-looking nerf herder, and he definitely shot first. He's Han Solo, and according to many fans, he's the best character in the Star Wars universe, period.

Known for his roguish grin, snarky one-liners, and savvy piloting ability, Han Solo hails from Corellia where he grew up as a low-level street criminal and hustler. After escaping his home planet, meeting Chewie, and acquiring the Falcon through a series of events portrayed in the almost universally meh'd standalone Solo, Han fell in with the Rebel Alliance sort of by accident. While his association with the Rebellion began somewhat begrudgingly, he quickly became one of their most reliable fighters and found himself elevated to the rank of general. After defeating the Empire, Han helped to establish the New Republic, but when the son he had with Leia turned to the Dark Side, the disappointment pushed him to return to a life of smuggling. Eventually, it was that same son who would bring Han's life to an end.

The argument could be made that Han Solo is the hero of the Star Wars universe. It was with his help that Leia was rescued and the Death Star plans were delivered to the Rebels. Had he not shown up in the nick of time, Luke would've been blasted into space dust, and the Death Star would've wiped out the Rebellion then and there. He saved Luke's skin again on the ice fields of Hoth, and he commanded the Endor ground team that paved the way for the destruction of the second Death Star. Finally, he led the charge that took out the shields protecting Starkiller Base. 

Darth Vader, aka Anakin Skywalker, choked his way through seven Star Wars movies

He thrilled us as a young podracer, made us roll our eyes as a sand-hating Jedi-in-training, and he terrified us as the evil Darth Vader. He's Anakin Skywalker, and he's kind of responsible for starting this whole galactic mess.

Born into slavery, Anakin's journey began as a child when Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan realized his Force potential, deciding to bring him to the Jedi council for training. Against the council's better judgement, he began studying under Obi-Wan, proving to be a headstrong and often difficult pupil with something of a short temper. Eventually, his fear of losing Padme caused him to flirt with the Dark Side, which eventually resulted in him going full-on Sith as the apprentice of Darth Sidious. After many years of terrorizing the galaxy, a string of encounters with his son, Luke, muddled his evil inclinations. During the Battle of Endor, he finally embraced the Light Side once again and cast his evil master (presumably) to his doom.

While many viewers expressed dismay at Anakin's portrayal in the prequel trilogy, it's impossible to deny that once he became Darth Vader, he transformed into one of the greatest villains in movie history. And while his portrayal throughout the original trilogy was nothing short of iconic, his appearance in Rogue One kind of blew all our minds.

Luke Skywalker used the Force in seven movies

From a starry-eyed boy with dreams of flying away from home to an aged and wizened Jedi Master, we followed Luke Skywalker on quite a journey. While Luke's story was arguably the primary core around which the original trilogy was built, he had a surprisingly sidelined role through much of the Skywalker Saga, appearing only as a newborn in the final moments of Revenge of the Sith and making an equally last-second arrival in The Force Awakens, in which he didn't even have any lines. Even so, Luke's presence looms large in the Star Wars universe.

Born the son of Anakin Skywalker and Padme Amidala, Luke grew up on Tatooine where he lived a farming life that left him less than satisfied. He dreamed of becoming a fighter pilot like his mysterious father — who he obviously knew very little about — and he finally got his wish granted when he watched a message intended for Obi-Wan. This message would set him on a path to save Princess Leia from the Death Star (which he later destroyed), to train in the ways of the Force under Obi-Wan and Yoda, to fight his father on Cloud City, and then to contribute to the death of the Emperor (or so he thought). 

After the downfall of the Empire, Luke began a Jedi training school where his most notorious pupil was Ben Solo, son of Leia and Han, who — largely due to Luke's own mistakes — turned to the Dark Side. After this failure, Luke lived out his life in exile, breaking his hermitage only to train Rey and guide her in her fight against the First Order.

While there were many heroes among the Rebellion, Luke was arguably the biggest one of all, having destroyed the first Death Star and defeated Darth Vader, thereby turning him from the Dark Side. Granted, the Resistance certainly could've used his help while he was hiding away drinking that green milk, but he did come around in the end.

Princess Leia called the shots in eight films

From her relentless bravery and her razor-sharp tongue to her iconic cinnamon bun hairdo and metal bikini, Princess Leia is one of the most beloved characters from the Star Wars universe. Played by the great Carrie Fisher, Leia Organa/Skywalker/maybe Solo is one of the franchise's most important heroes and a real-world feminist icon.

In the Star Wars timeline, Leia made her first appearance — albeit briefly — as a newborn alongside her twin brother, Luke, in the closing scenes of Revenge of the Sith. From there, she went into hiding as the adopted daughter of the royal Organa family on Alderaan, where she was raised to be a diplomat. Leia was plunged into war when she was captured by Darth Vader, then subsequently rescued by Luke and Han Solo. After the defeat of the Empire, she married Han, and the two of them bore a son, Ben, who later became Kylo Ren. Around this time she also trained as a Jedi under Luke. Later, with the rise of the First Order, she assumed the role of general, leading the fight and becoming something of a mentor to Rey. And then she died for ... reasons?

Leia was consistently at the forefront of the fight, saving the day numerous times. It was she who loaded the Death Star plans into R2-D2 and then fired him off to Tatooine. After Luke was defeated by Vader in The Empire Strikes Back, she heard Luke's Force call and ordered Lando to turn back and rescue him. She was instrumental in saving Han from his carbonite imprisonment by Jabba the Hutt, the latter of whom she strangled to death with a chain. And of course, she took charge of getting the crew out of the Death Star detention block, firing her way into the chute that, yes, led into a garbage compactor, but at least they escaped the stormtroopers, and everything worked out in the end.

Chewbacca made eight hairy appearances in the Star Wars franchise

He's big, he's hairy, and he can pull your arms off so you'd better let him win. He's Chewbacca, Han Solo's partner and co-pilot of the Millennium Falcon. Chewie showed up or played an integral role in most of the core Skywalker Saga films, including all of the original trilogy, the entirety of the sequel trilogy, and the final installment of the prequels. And of course, he played a major role in the standalone Disney side quest that was Solo.

A Wookiee from the planet Kashyyyk, Chewbacca served as a military leader during the Clone Wars where he fought alongside Yoda. Later, he was enslaved by the Empire, and it was under these less than ideal circumstances that he befriended Han Solo, who helped him escape. The two teamed up and began working together as smugglers, an occupation that ended up placing them under the employment and debt of the infamous gangster Jabba the Hutt. It was while attempting to scrape together the funds necessary to pay off this debt that Chewie and Han accepted a job transporting Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi and a young Luke Skywalker to the planet Alderaan, and, well, the rest is history.

While Chewie was often relegated to sidekick, he stepped into the role of hero more than once. It was with his help that Yoda escaped Kashyyyk when Order 66 was delivered, which meant that the tiny Jedi was able to later train Luke in the ways of the Force. Chewie was a key fighter, both while flying the Falcon and during several ground battles throughout the original trilogy. Then during the sequel trilogy, Chewbacca saved the day several times, going nuts after the death of Han Solo (thereby allowing Rey and Finn to escape), piloting the Falcon against the TIE fighters on the battle of Crait, and flying alongside Lando in the final battle of The Rise of Skywalker.

R2-D2 saved the day in ten films

Rolling alongside C-3PO through the entirety of the Skywalker Saga — often literally, but always figuratively — was R2-D2. While his golden counterpart has his fair share of detractors, you don't often hear much naysaying about R2. In fact, according to a 2019 poll by The Hollywood Reporter, many people consider the droid their favorite secondary character of the franchise, over the likes of Yoda and BB-8. 

An astromech droid designed to perform in-flight repairs on starships, R2 ended up serving a variety of masters over the course of the series. R2 started out in the service of Queen Amidala of Naboo before circumstances rolled him into the service of Anakin Skywalker, by whose side he fought and repaired over the course of the Clone Wars. He ended up in the possession of Leia's adoptive father, Bail Organa, once Anakin bailed for the Dark Side, which eventually led him to serve Luke Skywalker.

R2's adventures placed him directly at the center of some of the most consequential events in the Star Wars universe, and there are even those who argue that he's the real hero of the entire franchise. Whether you agree with that or not, it's hard to deny that he saved the day again and again. He fixed the shield generator on the Naboo ship that allowed Queen Amidala, Qui-Gon, and Obi-Wan to escape the Trade Federation. He fixed the hyperdrive on the Millennium Falcon, which allowed our central heroes to escape Vader's clutches, and he shut down the garbage masher that would've flattened them into pancakes. And of course, he successfully carried the Death Star plans to the Rebellion. 

C-3PO made a whopping ten Star Wars appearances

Some Star Wars fans love him for his quirky behavior and snarky sense of humor, while others hate him for, well, his quirky behavior and snarky sense of humor. Whatever your opinion of him happens to be, there's no denying that C-3PO has been along for the ride through thick and thin and that he's occasionally even saved the day along the way.

Constructed from spare parts by a young Anakin Skywalker, C-3PO — also known as simply Threepio — was a protocol droid programmed to assist whoever happened to be calling the shots (for he passed through different hands over the course of his operation) with matters of etiquette and protocol. Fluent in over 6 million forms of communication, Threepio's talents were sometimes useful, sometimes not.

While he had a tendency to whine and even to be flat-out annoying, it's undeniable that he was instrumental to the success of the rebels more than once. If he hadn't vouched for R2-D2 in A New Hope, his counterpart might've never gotten the chance to deliver Leia's message to Obi-Wan Kenobi, and therefore, the Death Star plans would've never gotten to the Rebellion. And had the Ewoks not mistaken him for a god, Han, Luke, and Chewie might've ended up being served for dinner. And finally, in The Rise of Skywalker his translating skills were essential to understanding the Sith language, which allowed our heroes to find the Emperor, thereby bringing the entire saga to a close.