One of the great things about Star Wars is that it inspires endless debates and opinions on a wide array of topics. Best bounty hunter? Most powerful Jedi? Does Salacious Crumb have the best haircut in the saga? In that spirit, StarWars.com presents From a Certain Point of View: a series of point-counterpoints on some of the biggest — and most fun — Star Wars issues. As we prepare to meet a new bounty hunter in The Mandalorian, debuting on Disney+ November 12, two StarWars.com writers have a battle of words over the most underrated bounty hunter this side of the Outer Rim.
Asajj Ventress is the most underrated bounty hunter, says Swapna.
When you hear the name “Ventress,” bounty hunter isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. Asajj Ventress has worn many different faces over the course of her too-short life. She was born a Nightsister but became a slave when she was a young girl. A Jedi Master discovered that Ventress was Force-sensitive and began training her. But when he was killed, she fell to the dark side in her anger, eventually becoming the apprentice and trusted assassin of Count Dooku.
Ventress’s life was a tragic one, with others often in charge of her fate or manipulating her to give her the illusion of choice. Becoming a bounty hunter was no different in many respects. After Dooku betrayed her (on the orders of Darth Sidious) and Ventress’s plan for revenge went awry, she found herself in the Outer Rim drinking her sorrows away in one cantina after another. While in Mos Eisley, she killed a man for refusing to take no for an answer and upon discovering he was a bounty hunter, she took his place on a mission, effortlessly reinventing herself once again and showing the mettle we’d expect from the best of bounty hunters.
That decision also put her on a path to meet a teenage Boba Fett. Bounty hunters must know how to think for themselves, work independently, and make daring and risky decisions. When she found out the cargo was alive and that Boba Fett was going to take the majority of the profits for himself, she decided to take matters into her own hands, knocking him out and delivering him as the cargo. She received the full bounty in return, though she only kept her share and shared the rest with the other bounty hunters, while also ransoming the captive back to her family. She is a bounty hunter, after all.
Ventress’s strength as a bounty hunter is rooted in the fact that at times she allowed her emotions to sway her. The mission was important, certainly, but she also allowed room for her own moral code and trusted her judgment. It’s that reliance on her own instincts that led Ventress to team up with Ahsoka Tano, rather than delivering her to the Galactic Senate for a substantial reward.
It’s undeniable that Asajj Ventress is a quick thinker and incredible at combat but more than that, she allows her instincts to play a role in her chosen line of work. Call her gullible at your own peril, but Ventress recognizes that the universe is complex and sometimes there’s more than one side to any story — making her a bounty hunter who isn’t afraid to let her heart rule the day while still making sure she gets her fair share of the credits.
IG-88 is the most underrated bounty hunter, says Peter.
There has always been an air of mystery around assassin droid and bounty hunter IG-88.
Maybe it’s because of his imposing stature; he’s 2 meters tall, but his steel frame and oversized head suggest an intimidating sturdiness. Maybe it’s because of the chilling concept of a droid bounty hunter whose results-oriented programming has no need for the notion of empathy or emotion. Maybe it’s because there’s so much stuff going on with his head — sensors and scopes and all kinds of prey-hunting gadgetry — that it’s hard to figure out exactly where to look as you’re pleading to him for mercy; pointlessly, of course. Because if IG-88 is coming for you, hoo boy. You can’t look into the eyes of a killer droid to beg for leniency when you can’t quite even tell where the eyes are.
IG-88 isn’t the only droid bounty hunter we’ve encountered, of course, but he and his fellow IG-series buddies have a grim, determined, threatening gravity all of their own.
For original-trilogy fans, IG-88 remained a mystery for a long time. His battered frame hinted that he’d seen plenty of action before we first encountered him, assembled among Darth Vader’s hired goons in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back alongside Boba Fett, Zuckuss, Dengar and the rest. But in recent years we’ve learned a lot more about this mysterious presence.
For instance, we now know he was hired by pre-Rebels-era Agent Kallus to track down Imperial Army deserter Captain Han Solo (Star Wars Adventures #14), who had gone AWOL while serving as an infantryman on Mimban.
IG-88 was also enlisted by the pirate Hondo Ohnaka to flush out Crimson Dawn lieutenant Qi’ra in the Forces Of Destiny episode “Triplecross.” And he received a surprise purple paint job courtesy of Sabine Wren during a daring mission with Princess Leia Organa in the Garel City Spaceport in “Bounty of Trouble.” The guy’s been around, and for every defeat at the hands of a crafty rebel there must be dozens of victories and lucrative bounties, otherwise he wouldn’t have the fearsome reputation that we know today.
I must admit though, in deference to Swapna: Asajj Ventress is one of my favorite characters in all of Star Wars, especially after reading Dark Disciple. I wonder what would happen if IG-88 at his deadliest paired up with Asajj Ventress at her most determined for a difficult bounty.
Watch The Mandalorian on Disney+ beginning November 12.
Swapna Krishna writes about space, science, tech, and pop culture. Her work has appeared at Engadget, The Verge, Gizmodo, the Los Angeles Times, Polygon, Mental Floss, SYFY, and more. She is the co-editor of Sword Stone Table, a forthcoming King Arthur-inspired anthology from Vintage. You can find her on Twitter @skrishna.
A full-time freelance writer in Melbourne, Australia, Peter Hodgson has covered music and pop culture for over two decades. You can follow him on Twitter @iheartguitar if you don’t mind lots of guitar geekery and cat pics mixed in with your Star Wars discussion.
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Author: Swapna Krishna and Peter Hodgson