The best parental figures in Star Wars

Din Djarin (AKA The Mandalorian) is the latest in a long line of positive parental figures in Star Wars. Okay, so a gun-toting bounty hunter is hardly what you’d call conventional dad material, but his love, affection and need to protect Grogu is obvious a lightyear away. I’ve already written about how the show reflects the parenting experience, but there’s more than one kind of parent out there. It’s easy to point at Star Wars and say that it’s got more than a few problematic parental relationships – Vader did torture his daughter and cut his son’s hand off. But given the core theme the entire franchise is built around is family, there’s plenty of inspiring parental figures in all forms. Without any further rambling, here’s a list of our favourites.

Shmi Skywalker

Well, why wouldn’t we start with the most loving, supportive and strongest mother in the entire canon. Not only was Shmi a single mother from day one and living in slavery, her spirit never dimmed as she raised her son as a sweet, sensitive kid who wanted to help those in need. It was only when he was taken away from her love that Anakin began coming apart at the seams. Perhaps saddest of all is that being attuned to the nuances of the Force, she knew that her son was destined to leave her. She loved Anakin all the more for it and, when the time came, she let him go. If you want to read more, I’ve written a longer piece on Shmi here.

Bail and Breha Organa

If there was an award for the galaxy’s best daddy, it would undoubtedly go to Bail Organa (sorry Din!). And while Shmi takes the award for best mum, Breha is a very close second. The two of them wanted a baby girl themselves and it was providence that a newborn Leia needed to be hidden from the Empire. Just as importantly, she needed a loving home. On the beautiful planet of Alderaan, Leia flourished as an intelligent, wilful and resourceful young woman. Although there were frictions between Leia and her parents as she tried to get in on the anti-Empire action, theirs was always a loving household.

Kanan and Hera

Star Wars is littered with found families as disparate people unite and discover home is with each other. It’s perennially powerful and there are plenty of great examples to pick from, but for my money, the crew of the Ghost in Rebels is the best example. Holding this wonderful, loving and sometimes dysfunctional family together is Kanan and Hera. Part of what makes them work so well together is that this duo complement and support each other. Kanan is spiritual, where Hera is more practical and realistic. Hera doesn’t shy from showing her emotions where Kanan struggles with his teachings that tell him to deny emotion. But it’s clear that either would do anything to protect their family. Hera’s unbreakable will and dedication keep the whole crew safe and Kanan sacrifices himself to save what’s most important to him – his family in the present and the future.  

Beru and Owen

Owen gets a bad rap a lot of the time. Sure, he’s grouchy, but there’s no doubt that he cares for Luke. The reason he lies to him, the reason he keeps him stuck on Tatooine, is that he doesn’t want Luke to go down the same dark path as Anakin. Of the two, Beru is the more sensitive and easy-going. She can see that Luke’s destiny lies beyond the sand dunes and moisture vaporators. Like Shmi, she can sense the shape of things to come and knows that she and her husband must let their adoptive son go. They both willingly accepted Luke, raised him as their own and loved him the best they knew how. It’s why their deaths are still so sad.

Lyra and Galen Erso

Because Star Wars loves dead mothers, Jyn’s mum was only onscreen for a few moments, but what a few minutes they were. When the Empire came knocking, she didn’t hesitate to call on their rebel connections and ensure her daughter was safe. Then she goes right up to Krennic and his Death Troopers and, in so doing, shows that she’s fearless in the face of the entire Empire. From these few glimpses and from the canon novels, we learn that she’s a driven and capable rebel fighting for what’s right. Just as important, she’s a loving mother who was taken too soon from her daughter. Galen, meanwhile, is forced to leave his daughter and, driven by a responsibility to help the galaxy, builds a flaw into the Death Star. Although he’s doing this for all living beings, it’s a peaceful future for his daughter that inspires him – after all, he names the plans after her. Jyn follows her father’s sacrifices and gives her own life to help topple the Empire, in the pursuit of peace for the entire galaxy. You can read more on Galen and the relationship between fathers and daughters in Star Wars here.

Those are our picks for the best parental figures in Star Wars, but what about yours? Let us know in the comments below.

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