‘Star Wars’ Special: Six Underrated ‘Phantom Menace’ Characters

by Ryan Rigley

There are a ton of reasons to see “Star Wars: Episode I” in 3D this weekend. First and foremost being the wide array of memorable characters that the movie introduces. Sure, Qui-Gon Jinn and Darth Maul are cool. But what of the film’s unsung heroes?

I’m talking about characters that have maybe 10 or 15 minutes of screen time at the absolute most. “Phantom Menace” does a great job of acquainting us with several really interesting characters that we rarely if ever see or hear from again in any of the subsequent prequel movies. Here are some of the more memorable ones.

» Boss Nass: This Ankura Gungan is leader of the Gungan High Council. He’s also fat, green, and lovable. Boss Nass’s catchphrase is a “HURBLBLBLBLBLBLBLBLBLA” sound that he produces by shaking his jowels as fast as he can, getting saliva everywhere in the process. Kind of like a sneezing puppy. Kind of.

» Sebulba: Best known as little Annie Skywalker’s arch-nemesis, Sebulba is the Dick Dastardly of podracing. By that I mean, he will stop at nothing to win. He’s killed and injured tons of fellow podracers over the years with his reckless driving and flat-out cheating. Also, he walks on his hands and eats space frogs with his feet.

» Ben Quadinaros: Most people wouldn’t even recognize this guy by name. But his huge, diamond-shaped face and paper-thin limbs are hard to forget. Quadinaros didn’t have a single line in the movie, but he did have a major power coupling malfunction at a crucial time during the Boonta Eve Classic podrace. Now he’ll forever be remembered as “that guy whose engines exploded.”

» Roos Tarpals: Captain of the Security Forces of Otoh Gunga, this Gungan military leader demonstrated his expert level military prowess during the Battle of Grassy Plains. Under Tarpals’ leadership, the Gungans were able to defeat hundreds of battle droids with nothing but a few giant water bubbles. He also has a sweet mustache.

» Watto: Possibly the only living being to ever be uneffected by the Jedi Mind Trick, Watto cares about one thing and one thing alone: money. This junk-dealing Toydarian is rude, cheap and a slaveowner. And to top it all off, he looks like the love child of Luis Guzman and a flying elephant.

» Captain Panaka: It’s no easy task defending the Queen of Naboo from waves of battle droids sent by the Trade Federation. But Panaka manages to do the unthinkable, remaining ever so calm and collected the entire time. Captain Panaka is a native to Naboo and head of the Royal Naboo Security Forces. If it weren’t for him, Padme surely would have been killed and Luke and Leia would never have been born!

» Not Jar Jar Binks: Seriously, he’s the worst.

“Phantom Menace” discussed this week in Talk Nerdy!

Who are your favorite “Phantom Menace” supporting characters? Tell us in the comments or hit us up on Twitter!