Who Are the ‘Good Guys’ in Star Wars, Really?

Good Guys in Star Wars
Credit: Lucasfilm, Disney

Good Guys in Star Wars
Credit: Lucasfilm, Disney

Star Wars started as a relatively simple good vs evil story but the franchise is becoming increasingly complex and nuanced. So, who are the 'good guys,' in Star Wars? And how easy is it to say that about any group?

Is There Such a Thing as 'Good Guys' in Star Wars?

Is There Such a Thing as 'Good Guys' in Star Wars
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Credit: Disney, Lucasfilm

At its heart, the Star Wars franchise celebrates hope, freedom, and belonging, so we meet plenty of good people in almost all movies and series. That being said, every 'good' group displays morally grey elements or makes mistakes.

Star Wars usually has clear conflicts and clear villains. This doesn't mean that those fighting them are saints, nor are all villains beyond redemption.

Most Star Wars groups are not homogenous units. Their members show different shades of good and evil sometimes moving from one to the other.

Moreover, no group acts in full unity. Their members are humans who disagree and occasionally make each other's lives difficult even if they have the same goals.

This goes on to show that, yes, there are 'good guys' in Star Wars, but, like real-life good people, they're imperfectly so, having many traits beyond 'goodness.'

Who Are the Good Guys in Star Wars, Then?

Who Are the ‘Good Guys’ in Star Wars
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Credit: Disney, Lucasfilm

If we consider the Empire, the Sith Lords, and, generally, the dark side, as the bad guys, there are a few groups we can consider as good.

Of course, note that, as we establish above, all groups are flawed in their own ways, and not all their members embody the same values.

With this out of the way, here are some groups of 'good' guys:

The Jedi

Who Are the ‘Good Guys’ in Star Wars Jedi
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The Jedi Knights are a peacekeeper organization whose members are devoted to mastering the Force.

Several heroes in the franchise, including the first protagonist, Luke Skywalker, as well as the beloved Obi-Wan, are Jedi.

The order's dedication to defending the Galaxy from evil threats, such as the Sith, makes them 'good guys' in Star Wars' struggle between good and evil.

Of course, the Jedi aren't always in complete agreement, and we often see them making terrible mistakes.

Who Are the Good Guys in Star Wars
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Credit: Lucasfilm, Disney

Before the Empire took over, the Jedi lived monastic-like lives that discouraged romance and deep personal attachments as these could get in the way of striving for balance and doing the right thing.

This strict discipline and prioritization of duty over everything else can make for narrow-mindedness in the long run.

In the prequel trilogy we see that, due to these attitudes, the Jedi order failed to be parental to Anakin when he was a kid, or fully understand what he was going through.

We see this again in the Clone Wars animated series, whereby Ahsoka gets wrongfully accused of a crime and even Jedi we consider as good, such as Yoda and Obi-Wan are too late to support her.

We can't know if there was any real way to prevent the Empire from taking over.

But some fans' think that the Jedi's dogmatism and the fact that they let themselves become soldiers played a role in their doom.

Regardless, most of the Jedi we meet in the shows and movies are still good people who strive for balance and justice.

The Republic

Who Are the ‘Good Guys’ in Star Wars Republic
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It's a bit too simplistic to call any entire government 'good guys,' but, overall, we can consider the Republic as good enough.

In various movies and tv shows, we've seen good members of the Republic such as Padmé Amidala and Senator Mon Mothma who genuinely work with the Galaxy's best interests in mind.

As a whole, the Republic governs as justly as possible, promoting freedom, peace, and order.

No government is perfect, of course, not even a democratic government.

The Mandalorian Season 3 shows that the New Republic that rose from the Empire's ashes wasn't a stranger to extreme measures and brainwashing.

But compared to the Empire, anyone who values freedom of choice and self-determination would choose the Republic.

The Rebel Alliance

Who Are the ‘Good Guys’ in Star Wars Rebels
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The Empire would never have fallen without courageous acts of resistance. Many of Star Wars' rebels are among the most beloved characters because they rise beyond their fear and selfishness to fight against tyranny.

Like all the groups we discuss here, not every rebel is an unambiguously good person.

Many of the rebels will steal, deceive, and kill, to prevent further brutality from the Empire's end.

In the Andor tv series, Luthen, a key member of the Rebellion, laments the fact that he must often resolve to cruel actions in order to work towards a better future.

But something interesting about the Rebellion is that it has turned many bad or morally grey people into better ones.

There's no better example than Cassian Andor, who was initially only interested in his own life and goals before a series of events made him a rebel, ready to sacrifice his life for freedom and justice.

Good Guys in Star Wars Rebellion
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Similarly, the Rebels animated series feature several characters who move on from their fears and misconceptions and commit to fighting the Empire.

Is the Empire Good in Any Way?

Is the Empire Good in Any Way
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Credit: Lucasfilm, Disney

We sometimes see articles and threads that make cases about the Empire being the 'good guys' -- only jokingly we hope.

As a nuanced franchise, Star Wars does imply that the Empire had some redeeming qualities, but only to the extent that some of its members could be redeemed.

In some ways, the Empire was a brutal wake-up call for the good guys, as the Republic was barely functioning at that point, and, according to many, the Jedi had lost their way.

Moreover, relatively good people were too busy fighting among themselves right before the Republic fell, and the Empire is credited with ending the chaos of the Clone Wars.

Of course, this doesn't justify the Empire's brutality in any way. It can be argued that the Empire was competent in some ways.

But competent doesn't equal good, even if some people who initially supported the Empire were actually good people who joined better causes later on.

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