For the first six movies of the Star Wars saga, the boys stayed squarely in the spotlight. From Luke Skywalker’s journey to Jedi to Anakin Skywalker’s descent into darkness, the prequel and original Star Wars series told the stories of powerful, Force-wielding men who typically got newer and flashier powers over time. Female characters — most notably, Padme Amidala and Leia Organa — while certainly more than the fainting damsels in distress of other adventure fantasy films, didn’t demonstrate mastery of the Force onscreen.

That all changed in 2015 with The Force Awakens. The seventh film and the beginning of a new age of Star Wars characters, this sequel trilogy promised fans a female hero (Rey, a scrappy, orphaned young woman who has an intuitive relationship with the Force) who kicked butt and, ultimately, stayed aligned with the Light Side, even in the face of temptation. Since then, Force-wielding women have stayed front and center — both in movies, but also Disney+ streaming series, books, and video games. By no means an exhaustive list, here’s a roundup of some of the most well-known and, let’s face it, just plain awesome Force-wielding women.

Rey Skywalker, arguably the most power female Force wielder

Rey Skywalker

The first — and arguably the most powerful — female Force wielder is Rey from the sequel trilogy (comprising The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi, and The Rise of Skywalker).

Taking the last name of her two mentors, Rey is actually the genetic legacy of Emperor Palpatine’s attempts to clone himself after the Battle of Endor. As such, Rey is a natural with the Force and is a strong candidate for taking up Luke’s mantle as wise Jedi teacher after his death.

Ahsoka Tano

From her years as a Padawan in the Clone Wars to her status as an ex-Jedi on the run from Imperials, Ahsoka Tano is by far one of the most beloved and just plain awesome female Force wielders around.

With her two lightsaber blades, Ahsoka has a distinctive fighting style and carries an intense emotional attachment to her Jedi Master, Anakin Skywalker. How will Ashoka’s story end? We aren’t sure yet, but the Disney+ series focused on her might give us some answers.

Ahsoka Tano
Leia Organa, general and female Force wielder

Leia Organa

The original woman of Star Wars, Leia Organa is also one of pop culture’s most recognizable characters. Within the past few years, though, fans have learned much more about Leia: from her childhood run-ins with Obi-Wan Kenobi to her years as a political figure in the faltering New Republic (and mother to the patricidal Kylo Ren).

Although we don’t see much of Leia actively using the Force, we do know she trained with her brother after the events of the original trilogy. Also, she was Rey’s much-needed mentor and short-lived master.

Asajj Ventress

Raised by the Nightsisters, an all-female group of Force-sensitive witches, on Dathomir, Asajj Ventress is a powerful Force user who attracts the attention of Count Dooku, a rogue Jedi with his own plans for galactic dominance.

Asajj is a frequent character in The Clone Wars television series and is often seen crossing lightsabers with the likes of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker. The canon-approved book Star Wars: Dark Disciple gives Asajj a redemptive ending and her very own love story with former Jedi Master, Quinlan Vos.

Asajj Ventress
Aayla Secura

Aayla Secura

Aayla Secura doesn’t get much screen time, but she definitely is one of the more memorable female Jedi, particularly in the Clone Wars era. A Twi’lek, Aayla has noticeable blue skin and two lekku, the dangling, hair-like appendages on her head.

As a Jedi Knight commissioned to lead Clone troops on the battlefield, Aayla gets caught in the crosshairs of Supreme Chancellor Palpatine’s Order 66. Literally shot in the back, Aayla returns in spirit as one of the Jedi voices supporting Rey in her final confrontation with the Emperor.

Maz Kanata

Introduced in The Force Awakens, Maz Kanata channels the spirit of Master Yoda without his commitment to the Jedi Order. A former smuggler, Maz has lived for centuries and manages a waystation on Takodana.

Like Yoda, Maz seems highly sensitive to the Force, so much so that she is entrusted with Luke’s lost lightsaber until Rey comes around to claim it. By turns snarky, wise, and flirtatious (come on – Chewie as her “boyfriend” was pretty cute), Maz is an often overlooked female Force wielder who plays a major role in the post-Empire storylines.

Max Kanata
Sabine Wren

Sabine Wren

Sabine Wren quickly became a Rebels fan favorite for her relationship with Ezra Bridger and her Mandalorian-honed fighting skills. To make her even more awesome, the Disney+ Ahsoka series reveals that Sabine was also briefly trained as a Padawan to none other than Ahsoka herself.

Although she is by far the weakest Force-sensitive woman on this list (at least, according to Huyang, a droid formerly of the Jedi Temple on Coruscant), Sabine makes up for it with her recklessness and unwavering loyalty to friends.

Shin Hati

A character recently introduced in the Ahsoka streaming series, Shin Hati is somewhat of a mystery — at least, when it comes to her backstory and how she became the apprentice of former Jedi Knight Baylan Skoll. With her blond hair and intense gaze, Shin is highly ambitious and willing to do whatever it takes to complete her missions (and further her own goals).

Although we don’t know for certain where Shin’s story is going, we did see Ahsoka try to recruit her in one of the latest+ episodes. Only time will tell which side of the Dark/Light divide Shin will end up on.

Shin Hati
Reva Sevander

Reva Sevander

Introduced in the Disney+ limited series Obi-Wan Kenobi, Reva is a surprisingly complex character with a very fleshed-out backstory. Although she works with the Inquisitors to locate and exterminate surving Jedi post-Order 66, Reva has a hidden agenda all her own: one focused on finding and getting revenge on Anakin Skywalker.

As one of the children present in the Jedi Temple at Anakin’s ultimate moment of badness, Reva has a bone to pick with the Dark Lord of the Sith — and it’s better for everyone if others get out of her way.

Mara Jade Skywalker

Mara Jade is one of the unique Star Wars women who has a place in both the Legends expanded universe and Disney’s new canon. At this point, though, Mara Jade hasn’t appeared in any of the canon material directly, although her Black Series action figure is available for purchase.

In the Legends timeline, Mara Jade became Luke Skywalker’s wife and supported him in establishing the New Jedi Order. Tragically, Mara Jade dies at the hands of Jacen Solo, Leia’s son and the blueprint for Kylo Ren, in his descent to the Dark Side.

Mara Jade Skywalker

Disney’s purchase of the Star Wars franchise has definitely resulted in a more commercialized approach to the galaxy far, far away (I mean, come on, there’s a literal part of Disneyland and Disney World devoted to a planet that hasn’t even appeared in the movies). The creative decision to lean into the storylines of powerful women — both good and bad — who use the Force, however, was a long overdue and very welcome one.

I know devotees of the original series might not like to hear this, but I still believe that Rey is the most powerful Force-wielder we’ve been introduced to so far. Pair her up against any other Star Wars character, and she wins.

Every. Damn. Time.

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