When Star Wars fans think of the galaxy far, far away, “cute” probably isn’t the first word that comes to mind. But over the course of the soon-to-be-nine-episode movie saga (plus the first season of the Disney+ TV series The Mandalorian), viewers have definitely been introduced to some unforgettable cutie pies.
Whether they’re trusty old friends like R2-D2 who have been around for decades, or highly meme-able new additions to the Star Wars universe like Baby Yoda, the Star Wars franchise has put forth a wide variety of beings designed to make audiences let out a collective “awww.”
But who actually reigns supreme in terms of sheer adorableness? In anticipation of the release of Star Wars: Rise of the Skywalker, we took stock of Porgs, BB-8, and those in between to present TIME’s ranking of the 11 cutest Star Wars characters.
As their name suggests, the fish nun creatures who lived on Ahch-To alongside Luke were useful for maintaining the ancient Jedi structures on the island. Other than that, they don’t really have much going for them in the cute department. That’s not to say that their unveiled disapproval of Rey in The Last Jedi wasn’t hilarious, though.
The problem with trying to assess the cuteness of Jawas, who first appeared in A New Hope, is we don’t actually know what they look like under their robes. All we get to see is that they are little and have yellow eyes. That’s enough to sway our sympathies when the Mandalorian starts cruelly evaporating handfuls of Jawas when they take his ship. But who knows: You could pull back their hoods to find that they all look like miniature Darth Mauls.
It’s hard to separate tauntauns from that horrible scene in The Empire Strikes Back where Han cuts one open to save Luke from freezing to death in the Hoth tundra. But if you can manage to get past that, and the fact that they’re technically lizards, we suppose they do have a certain loyal steed-like charm about them.
Anything furry has to be under consideration for a cutest Star Wars creatures list. And as “walking carpets,” as Leia once called Chewie, Wookies certainly find a place on the list. But the most famous Wookie in the Star Wars universe, Chewbacca, has a reputation as an enforcer. As Han likes to point out, he could easily rip both a person’s arms off. We’d guess that Chewie would prefer to be known as powerful rather than adorable.
7. Young Anakin
Ok, so Hayden Christensen’s moody-bordering-on-whiny portrayal of teenage Anakin Skywalker in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith didn’t go over particularly well with fans. But child Anakin, played by Jake Lloyd in The Phantom Menace, was a cute kid! Unfortunately, Lloyd has said that Star Wars fame turned his life into a “living hell,” which makes Episode I even harder to watch than it already was.
Yes, Ewoks look like walking teddy bears. But they get points docked for cannibalism — definitively not a cute trait. They also turn out to be pretty fearsome warriors, helping to take down the Galactic Empire. That’s not to say you can’t be both cute and fearsome, but given their handle on weaponry, we certainly are less tempted to approach and pet them.
As the OG droid who stole our hearts beginning in the very first film, R2-D2 needs no introduction. While C-3PO’s incessant chatter has the tendency to fray fans’ nerves, Artoo’s penguin-like waddle, loyalty to his friends and ability to convey emotions with just a few digital tones are all ingredients for cuteness overload.
In order to build the animatronic puppets that would become these crystal foxes in The Last Jedi, designers brought a dog into the studio, built him a little suit covered in plastic straws and then recorded him running around in order to see how a fox covered in crystals might maneuver. The end product is an elegant creature that looks a bit like a very sophisticated Pokemon come to life. Plus their metallic rustling comes in handy when Leia and her troops need to escape that cave.
Communicates with adorable beep-boop noises? Check. Tinier version of an established fan favorite? Check. Brings a smile to your face just to look at? Check. Those are all the reasons we need to give BB-8 high cuteness marks in the Star Wars universe. Daisy Ridley has even said that she had to force herself to resist treating the spinning droid like a child on the Force Awakens set. We can empathize.
Apparently these puffin-like creatures only exist in the Star Wars universe to cover up the fact that hundreds of real-life puffins kept invading The Last Jedi scenes shot on the remote Irish island that stood in for Ahch-To. Finally Rian Johnson threw up his hands and created the porg. (Maybe having Chewie roast one of them was a way of channeling his frustration.) But one Disney employee’s headache is another’s merchandising opportunity. Unlike Baby Yoda merch — which fails to capture the adorableness of the real thing — these fluffy birds with big, bashful eyes already look like stuffed animals. We can’t resist.
1. Baby Yoda
What more can we say about the cuteness of Baby Yoda that wasn’t already conveyed by his giant soulful eyes the moment the Mandalorian found him floating in his crib pod? The Child, as Disney calls its adorable new addition to the Star Wars family, may not technically be a baby (he’s 50 years old) or related to Yoda (he’s just part of the same species), but his penchant for pushing buttons, sipping soup and taking Force-restoring naps in the most precious way possible has earned him the top spot on this list.
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