There are a lot of reasons to love Star Wars. Without it, we wouldn’t have Carrie Fisher’s Twitter account or the interview where Harrison Ford dressed up as a hot dog or this Vanity Fair portrait of Oscar Isaac. Regarding the prequels, there’s ... uh ...
(I kid, I kid. There are three, maybe four things to like about the prequels. Ewan McGregror is one of them, but his hideous rat's tail is not.)
But there is one thing above all others to admire about the Star Wars franchise, and that is its complete and utter devotion to providing audiences with the very best in space capes. No other franchise is so devoted. List the top ten Star Trek space capes. Go on. I’ll wait. OK, OK, this jaunty leather number Sulu’s wearing is pretty cool. And I really shouldn’t trash Star Trek at Star Wars’ expense. They’re both good, and liking one doesn’t mean you have to dislike the other. I get it. Moving on. But really: space capes.
13. Boba Fett
I have gone on record as being generally unimpressed with Boba Fett’s everything, and that extends to his half-assed, Clint Eastwood-style space cape. What kind of utter jagoff wears a cape and a jetpack? The kind of jagoff who dies at a setup for a burp joke, that’s who. Honestly, Boba. Pick one. You’d light yourself on fire if you hadn't already died in the stupidest way possible. (Don’t come at me with the EU. I do not care. Boba Fett’s dumb.) Have some respect for your space cape and for yourself.
12. Biggs Darklighter
We’re going deep cut space capery here. This is Biggs “Tom Selleck” Darklighter in an A New Hope deleted scene, where he chats with his BFF Luke about joining the Rebellion. This is… fine. Pretty boring. Honestly—and I’m going to slap myself thoroughly for my heresy after I’m done typing this—I don’t think this outfit needed a cape. (Ow.) Friend-o already has a jacket. You live in the desert. Stop being a show-off. It’s like Lucas set up the scene, thought “Crap, this just looks like two schmoes hanging around in Levi's,” and had a hapless PA run out to the ‘70s equivalent of Spirit Halloween to pick something up on clearance.
11. Lando Calrissian (Return of the Jedi)
Lando. I know. I know. That your cape standards are higher than this. What are you even doing right now? This cape from Jedi is made out of the same material as that blanket that you keep in the back of your closet that's scratchy and ugly and, honestly, doesn’t smell the best, but you have to keep it around in case you get an extra houseguest sprung on you. And that clasp? High school theatre production of Romeo and Juliet/your grandmother's curtain tie nonsense. This was laundry day for Lando. Luckily, his cape game is usually much better.
Waffle weave. Please.
10. Padmé Amidala
There are a lot of things wrong with the prequels, but, generally speaking, Padmé’s outfits are not one of them. I said “generally speaking”—I’m still side-eyeing George Lucas for that dominatrix outfit, and I didn’t know they have Delia’s in space. But this cape? Girl. That’s a blanket. Wrapping it around your neck doesn’t make it not a blanket. Lay down on it in front of a roaring fire while your whiny-ass husband levitates space pears into your mouth, but if you treat it as an article of clothing, you’re just asking for a sweaty neck situation. That said, the silhouette is commendably original, though I'm not sure how it doesn't flop down her shoulder all the time.
9. General Grievous
Four lightsabers and this big-ass tent cape? Someone has compensation issues. (Grievous for the next Star Wars Frak Marry Kill?) Maria from The Sound of Music could make jaunty new lederhosen for an entire child army out of this cape. And that child army wouldn't be particularly well dressed because... I mean... it's fine. It's a little quality over quantity. StarWars.com says this cape has a "subtle glyph, printed in black on the dark grey cloth," but I don't see it. That said, this cape gets bumped higher than Padmé's because wearing a cape when you don't even wear clothes is a grade-A drama queen move. It's practical, too: Also per StarWars.com, this cape has a "sumptuous quilted burgundy" lining that holds pockets for Grievous' lightsabers.
8. and 7. Senators Jebel and Vaspar
Two space capes for the price of one! In this shot from Rogue One, we see franchise newcomers Jonathan Aris (left, as Senator Jebel) and Fares Fares (right, as Senator Vaspar), try their hands at space cape goodness with a pair of geometric numbers. Vaspar’s I can’t see all that well, but I can see it enough to know that it is a turtleneck cape, so 0/10 no thank you. And Senator Jebel… honey… how do you move in that? Can you even lift your arms above waist level? What if Mon Mothma tries to raise Rebel morale by initiating a baseball game-style wave? You’re going to look like a real asshole. (Sharon Duncan-Brewster as Senator Pamlo, though, in the gold cowl. HNNNNGGG.)
6. Count Dooku
This brown number worn by Count Dooku in the prequels is deceptively simple. What looks like plain brown fabric has stitching around the shoulders that gives the garmet form in addition to a bit of understated visual flair. It's classic, is what it is, besides calling to mind the Jedi robes sported by Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon and the like. And those robes: Barf. Brown burlap-looking crap. No wonder so many people go to the Dark Side. Join the Sith Order! We have capes!
5. Bail Organa
Bail Organa’s asymmetrical number gets points for originality, and for looking like something out of old-school Battlestar Galatica and Flash Gordon. It’s half-cape, half… really long sweater? That doesn’t cover half his body? That seems enormously impractical for bathroom purposes. But Our Boy Bail, as ever, displays remarkable commitment to his “that one uncle who wore weird clothes all through the ‘70s and causes his children enormous embarrassment when he breaks out the photo album” style (Ahem. Ahem.), and for that, I salute him. 7/10
4. Orson Krennic
I hate to say this to you, but Orson Krennic’s cape is not as good in Rogue One as it is in the Rogue One trailers. It appears to be made of a rubbery, raincoat-esque material that, while waterproof, is a bit stiff and thus affects the ability of the cape to well and truly billow. And, look. Waterproofing is practical. It makes the cape more comfortable and probably easier to clean, which explains why Orson can stride through a war zone with nary a spot. But nobody wears a cape for practical. You need a good billow. It’s not optional. Also, Orson, check your wrinkle situation. You can’t get a Stormtrooper to follow you around with a steam iron? The Empire has standards. But still: Sky-high drama, and with the fabric and the white color, a new twist on an old classic.
3. Captain Phasma
The one-shoulder look? The light, almost nylon-looking material, which screams “I’m here to look cool but I also don’t want to be weighted down while I’m slaughtering my enemies?” The red edging? The cloth ties (seen in the full view here), presumably there so the cape can be tied back somehow for maximum tactical advantage? Murder me, Captain Phasma. Punch me in the face and then smother me to death with your cape. I don’t even care. Whatever you want. I’m here for all of it.
2. Darth Vader
Here it is: the OG. Darth Vader’s cape may not have the unusual silhouette of Bail Organa’s, the fancy fabric of Orson Krennic’s, or the subtle design elements of Captain Phasma’s, but dammit, there’s a reason why you don’t mess with perfection. When DV comes at you, his cape billowing behind him (billow, Orson Krennic, billow), you know you’re in for a time. There’s only one space cape in the history of space capes that could possibly top Darth Vader’s. Oh, hello, what have we here?…
1. Lando Calrissian (The Empire Strikes Back)
The ultimate in space cape-ery. Lando isn’t content with one space cape at a time. He’s going for two—slinky blue cape and shiny gold lining. And that collar! ‘70s space funk at its finest. The man looks amazing, and he knows it. Like Darth Vader's cape, Lando's works seamlessly with his outfit. The 'stache, the platform shoes, the discofabulous shirt. Swagger for parsecs. Swoop, Lando! Swoop!