With the amount of time that Star Wars has been around, there have been a significant amount of popular background and minor characters. Entries are assorted by area of debut and the continuities they fall into.
- One of the poster boys for this trope is Boba Fett due to his distinctive armor and spaceship in addition to his assertive demeanor despite getting very little screentime. His death in Return of the Jedi was eventually changed so that he survived falling into the Sarlacc pit in the expanded universe and having many EU works dedicated to him. George Lucas even stated he would've spared him had he realized how popular he would become, which might explain his family's retroactive importance in the Prequel Trilogy.
- Wedge Antilles, a Mauve Shirt who went from a single appearance in the first film to appearing throughout the Original Trilogy and considerable EU following due to being an everyday man surviving each film's final battle. The X-Wing series, anyone?
- A non-character example: the All-Terrain Armored Transport walker. Next to the Death Star, TIE Fighter and Star Destroyer, the AT-AT is the "face" of the Empire in popular media, and the only major ground vehicle at that.
- The pilots of Rogue Squadron have become quite popular in the EU, especially Wes Jansen and Derek 'Hobbie' Klivian.
- The bounty hunters in The Empire Strikes Back: Dengar, Bossk, IG-88, 4-LOM, and Zuckuss, who just stand around looking cool on the bridge of the Executor and nothing else. This was all it took to get them all extensive backstories in the Expanded Universe.
- Admiral Ackbar. A lot of people forget that he only appears in the second half of Return of the Jedi, but a combination of his unique look, his voice, and a three word phrase of warning propelled him into fan consciousness.
- Porkins is only on-screen for about a minute before being blown to smithereens, but his unique appearance made him probably the most popular background character in A New Hope.
- The Cantina denizens. In the actual film they're more set pieces than characters, but they did their job in the narrative - giving the viewer an impression of just how diverse The Galaxy is - so well that most of them have received extensive backstories in the Expanded Universe. And to think, a number of them were cobbled together from old Halloween costumes!
- Many imperial officers have fan following, including:
- Commander Daine Jir for criticizing Vader in the opening in A New Hope. It doesn't look like much at first, but seeing the You Have Failed Me moments in Empire Strikes Back, that's one brave commander. Expanded info reveals not only does he come from a family that donated to the stormtrooper cloning program, but that Vader found his bluntness refreshing compared to the usual Smug Snake attitude that Imperial officers have and kept him around.
- General Tagge for actually acknowledging the threat the supposed insignificant rebels pose. Too bad nobody else listened. According to Darth Vader, being this cunning allowed him to escape the destruction of the Death Star in the Disney Expanded Universe (in the Legends Expanded Universe, he died with the Death Star).
- General Maximillian Veers, for leading the assault on Hoth with great success (in comparison to the incompetent Admiral Ozzel). The Expanded Universe states that he survived the collapse of the Empire.
- Captain Needa for taking responsibility for losing the Falcon, then apologizing to Vader in person for it despite it being a death sentence.
- Admiral Piett, the Cowardly Lion in Empire Strikes Back that actually survived the film. He became such a Breakout Character that he returned in the next film by popular demand, where he's killed when the Super Star Destroyer is destroyed. Thanks, fans.
- Grand Moff Tarkin. He only had a big role in A New Hope, but he'll always be remembered as the man who blew up Alderaan. His memorable nature has caused him to since become an Ascended Extra, with him getting a lot of backstory and characterization in the expanded universe. This is especially true in the new Expanded Universe, as works such as Tarkin to raise the stakes served to remind audiences why he's the second-most powerful known man in the Empire (and thus even Darth Vader - the Emperor's apprentice - is subordinate to him) despite not having any Force powers.
- Davin Felth, aka that random stormtrooper who says "look sir, droids". Mainly because the expanded universe gave him a fleshed out personality and backstory, revealing him as a Noble Demon who became a spy for the rebels after witnessing Owen and Beru being killed.
- In the same vein as the cantina patrons are the various thugs in Jabba's palace. Nearly all of them were given extensive backstories and a surprising amount of them turned out to be alive after the fall of their boss' criminal empire, complete with turning over a new leaf.
- For a race example, there are the amani (plural: amanin), aliens resembling something like humanoid worms or slugs. Only one appeared in the films (Episode VI specifically) and was barely visible due to the lighting near Solo's carbonite prison it was standing near. However, the alien's design attracted much attention from the more keen-eyed members of the fanbase and a description of the race was fleshed out quickly.
- Darth Maul is very popular with the fans. The Dragon to Sidious who delivered one of the best duels in the franchise despite only having three lines in The Phantom Menace and looked scary and awesome as hell in addition to having a double-bladed lightsaber. Maul is also a very efficient badass who takes on several Jedi throughout the Canon (who we've seen take on hordes of Battle Droids) and positively makes them look like amateurs. He had quite a lot of appearances in the installments that are set before The Phantom Menace, but this trope really kicked off in The Clone Wars. After his brother Savage Opress was featured and well-liked, Maul himself was revealed to be alive and brought back in the forth season as a very different sort of villain who dragged The Clone Wars down into the depths of Nightmare Fuel and never let go. As a result of his appearances in The Clone Wars, his popularity with the fans increased as he received quite a few sympathy points while still remaining a monster of a villain. And then Rebels just ran with it with his appearance in the series. And after Rebels, his popularity led to him finally returning to the big screen almost two decades later as the Man Behind the Man in the anthology film Solo, many arguing that his One-Scene Wonder appearance was the best moment in the film.
- Aurra Sing is a bounty hunter who literally had about three seconds of screen time in The Phantom Menace watching the pod race. Due to the coolness of her look as a character, her surprise popularity led to her getting a lot of EU material along with a fleshed out expanded role in The Clone Wars as a surrogate mother to Boba Fett not to mention plenty else to do. She even got a Shout-Out in the anthology film Solo that suggested she was Killed Offscreen by the Big Bad of this film.
- Kit Fisto is very popular with the fans, even though he only appeared a couple of times briefly in Attack of the Clones and once (before he dies) in Revenge of the Sith. His grin seems to be what does it for most people. Also the fact that his last name is "Fisto" does it for some.
- The non-canon Clone Wars micro-series that made Grievous popular was also what started the Ensemble Dark Horse popularity of Shaak Ti. Despite having VERY minimal screen time in the films themselves, getting only a split second of screen time in Attack of the Clones and then not even appearing in Revenge of the Sith (despite being Back for the Dead in two completely different deleted scenes), she's become popular enough to show up in a surprising amount of EU materials along with The Clone Wars.
- Have you ever heard the tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise? Despite the story only showing up in one scene of Revenge of the Sith, Darth Plagueis is definitely one of the more beloved aspects of the Prequel Trilogy and it quickly became accepted that he was Darth Sidious's master.
- Princess Leia's adopted mother Breha Organa has had a popularity explosion on Tumblr with the release of Leia: Princess of Alderaan, with many comparing her cybernetic pulmonodes to superheroes like Iron Man.
Star Wars Legends Continuity
Disney's new Star Wars Expanded Universe Continuity
See here as a whole.
- Bobbajo, the alien that appeared in the "Force For Change" promotional video and at Comic-Con 2015 has already becoming popular with the fandom, most likely because it's a puppet on par with what Jim Henson would have made instead of simply being CGI.
- The Riot Control Stormtrooper, aka TR-8R/Trey Tor (after his only line, "Traitor!") or his canon designation FN-2199, is made of badass. Throwing his blaster and shield away in favor of going mano-a-mano with a melee weapon, his sassy weapon twirl, soundly defeating a lightsaber-wielding Finn, and his delivery on said only line have made fans latch onto him in a way reminiscent of Boba Fett. The irony that Disney probably intended to evoke this darkhorse status with Captain Phasma is not lost on the audience◊.
- Despite having all of four lines of dialogue in the first film, Poe's wingmate Jessika Pava has attracted a sizable fandom among the Tumblr Star Wars community, mostly on account of the extra representation she brings to the series. That she's portrayed by Game of Thrones alum Jessica Henwick certainly hasn't hurt her standing any.
- Adam Driver's SNL Star Wars parody character, Matt the Radar Technician, has a sizable fan following and lots of fan backstory placing him in the canon universe. Surprising, considering he isn't actually a canon character. Or at least he wasn't, until Star Wars Battlefront II (2017) came out.
- The Praetorian Guard definitely became unexpectedly popular, specifically for the fact that they fight on equal terms, and almost manage to win against Kylo Ren and Rey, to the point where the two need to work together just to even survive the fight. This despite the fact that there is no indication that they have any connection to the Force whatsoever. Their incredibly cool weapons and fighting styles don't hurt either.
- Rose's sister Paige, who many people are calling one of the best characters in the movie despite her death in a Heroic Sacrifice 10 minutes into the movie. Her actress is also the most famous Vietnamese actress.
- The crystal foxes on Crait are almost universally beloved thanks to their beautiful, elegant designs and helping save the Resistance by leading them to the secret escape route.
- DJ, who is popular even among people who didn't like the otherwise controversial Canto Bight plotline for Benicio del Toro's excellent performance and the element of moral ambiguity that he brings to the Star Wars cast. Many people loved his personality despite, or perhaps even because of selling the Resistance out to the First Order to save his own skin.
- Captain Canady, commander of the Dreadnought, who gets a lot of attention for being a crusty old Imperial Navy veteran and his Surrounded by Idiots attitude compared to the usual clueless incompetence of his fresh-faced First Order officers.
- Tallie, the A-wing pilot who participated in the Dreadnought attack but was killed when the hangar blew up, has drawn attention from people who wish redshirts didn't have to be so good-looking.
- The Porgs became overnight sensations on the internet shortly after they were first officially unveiled.
- BB-9E is also very popular due to being an Evil Counterpart to BB-8.
- Chirrut Îmwe, the blind spiritual monk of the Rogue team, became beloved by the fandom for his combat prowess and spirituality. While the heroes in the Star Wars universe can beat up stormtroopers, only Chirrut can boast of repeatedly curb-stomping entire squads while blind and armed with only a humble staff. Also, his reverence for the force, sense of humor, and idealism helped preserve the idealistic fantasy spirit of the franchise in the darker and more realistic film.
- K-2SO has become a fast fan-favorite due to his Servile Snarker demeanour and badass combat prowess. Many critics and fans believe he stole the show due to Alan Tudyk's fantastic performance.
- Admiral Raddus, the movie's counterpart of Admiral Ackbar, has been quickly picking up a fan-base for basically giving the rebellion a giant middle-finger by refusing to surrender, and sends his rebel fleet off to support Rogue One at Scarif. It got to the point where the main ship of the Resistance is named after him, 30 years after the Battle of Scariff.