To the uninitiated, Star Wars might seem like a bunch of movies about, well, wars in space. But if you’re a fan—and I mean a diehard original-trilogy-trumps-everything-else-and-episide-two-is-the-worst fan—you know Star Wars is about so much more than that. It’s a literal epic that follows its heroes through countless death-defying adventures aimed at bettering life across the galaxy. It’s about love and heartbreak; triumph and defeat. It’s about hope.
To be fair, I’m biased. I’ve been raised to love the Star Wars saga. As a kid, my parents made an event of every movie release (I’m 25 years old so I’m talking about the prequels here), taking my brothers and I out of school to go see them all on premiere day. Plus, the first movie my dad ever saw in theatres was A New Hope, meaning Star Wars is a family obsession that spans over four decades. So, I get the hype.
And as we prepare for the release of yet another addition to the franchise with The Rise of Skywalker, we’re celebrating one of the most permanent ways fans pay tribute to the ultimate space opera: through tattoos. Here are 13 of our favourite Star Wars tattoo designs.
1. The Rebel Princess
Princess Leia is a force (no pun intended) to be reckoned with. At birth, she’s orphaned—granted she grows up living a pretty cushy life with her adoptive parents on the planet Alderaan—and at just 18 years old she leads the Rebel Alliance in the charge to demolish the Death Star—a planet-destroying super-weapon created by the Empire—and restore peace to the galaxy by reinstating a democratic governing body; the Republic. Basically, she’s the ultimate badass. And this dotwork tattoo perfectly portrays the character in her iconic white robe (it’s what she’s first seen wearing in the films).
2. This wild Wookiee
Chewbacca, the Wookiee more affectionately known as Chewie, is first introduced to us as Han Solo’s partner in crime and the co-pilot of the Millennium Falcon. But, upon joining the Rebel Alliance, he quickly cements himself as one of the most loveable characters in the Star Wars saga. In addition to being a loyal friend to Solo, he’s also a stellar fighter—he’s very good with a bow-caster—and a great source of comic relief throughout the films. Here, Chewie, who was actually inspired by George Lucas’ dog, is captured in all his big-headed, hairy glory in this tattoo by Italian artist Mattia AKA ‘Mambo Tattooer.’
3. This dark side dweller
When you harness the power of the Force, the allure of the dark side can be incredibly enticing. Joining the dark side is “quicker, easier, more seductive” than using your powers for good, according to Yoda. And Anakin Skywalker couldn’t resist that path. He was seduced by the dark side and its promises of greater power; power he believed could save the life of his wife who (spoiler alert) still died during childbirth. Once he’d officially joined forces with the Empire he became Star Wars‘ classic villain, Darth Vader. Brazilian tattooer Duda Lozano made evil look endearing here though, in this Darth Vader design done in his signature embroidery style.
4. A round little robot
This little droid, BB-8, is one of Star Wars’ newer characters. The spherical robot first appeared in 2015’s The Force Awakens—he belongs to Resistance fighter Poe Dameron—and people were immediately enamored. BB-8 is a cutie! In fact, The Cut declared that the robot is “practically a textbook example of Kindchenschema…the reigning theory describing just what features it takes to make someone or something appear adorable.” Tattooer Zeke Yip, resident artist at Chronic Ink studio in Toronto, captured that cuteness perfectly in this sketchwork take on the dependable droid.
5. This scary Sith Lord
The first Star Wars prequel—1999’s The Phantom Menace—got mixed reviews from original trilogy diehards. But there were lots of gems in that movie, too, including its villain, Darth Maul. Certifiably badass with his head of horns and his masterful double-sided lightsaber skills, Maul has always been a fan favorite. Seriously, his fighting skills are so good that they made for what is widely considered the most epic lightsaber battle scene in Star Wars history. So it’s easy to simultaneously be in awe and terrified of the character, pictured here in an American traditional style calf tattoo by Wan, a South Korean tattooer.
6. Some wise words
When Disney acquired Lucasfilm in 2012, it began working on a number of Star Wars spin-offs. These included 2018’s Solo, a film about the early adventures of a young Han Solo and Chewbacca. This text piece by LA-based artist, Haney, is one of the most understated Star Wars tattoo designs we’ve seen, and is inspired by that movie. The words, “Until we reach the last edge, the last opening, the last star, and can go no higher,” are from a poem inscribed on the helmet of Enfys Nest, a resistance fighter dedicated to thwarting the Empire.
7. The Rebel Mother: Padmé
Queen Padmé Amidala of Naboo is one of Star Wars’ more controversial characters. As the mother of Luke and Leia, she’s necessary to the films, but over the course of the prequel trilogy she goes from a strong senator—not unlike Leia—to a woman in a fretful relationship who seems unable to focus on much aside from her tormented love interest. Still, she has her moments, especially in The Phantom Menace. And this Neo Traditional tattoo by UK-based artist Steve Morante is a creative take on the Queen—he’s transformed her into a geisha—in one of her most iconic looks.
8. This Jedi Master
“Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi. You’re my only hope.” This is the line—a call for help from Princess Leia—that introduces us to Obi-Wan in A New Hope. And help, he does. The legendary Jedi takes Luke Skywalker under his wing. He teaches him about Jedi and the Force during their journey to rescue Leia from the Death Star where Obi-Wan ultimately dies—or rather, disappears—during a battle with Darth Vader. That very battle is what inspired this Star Wars tattoo by Fabbe Persegani, a Swedish artist who specializes in watercolor design.
9. These BFFs
Together, Han Solo and Chewbacca are the dream team, and this Star Wars tattoo pays homage to the dynamic duo. The elaborate design shows the pair standing together, ready for battle, with three TIE fighters (Imperial aircrafts) flying behind them. While Jon Leighton, the artist behind this colorful tattoo, blacked out both Han and Chewie, you can still see that they have their signature weapons in hand; Chewbacca with his bow-caster and Han with his blaster pistol. And to complete the design, they’re encased in an outline of their ship, the inimitable Millennium Falcon.
10. All the droids
Ever wonder why we love the Star Wars’ droid characters so much? Turns out, there’s a scientific explanation. In the Star Wars universe, droids are part of daily life. They work with and live alongside their human and alien counterparts. But what’s most unique about them is that they have distinct personalities. Basically, they’re designed to act like humans. This means we’re predisposed to caring about them in a way we wouldn’t care about any other kind of robot. That probably explains why a fan got this tattoo—which makes impressive use of white ink on R2-D2, BB-8, and C-3PO’s bodies—from San Diego-based artist Alonzo Villa.
11. This fine line Falcon
Luke Skywalker calls the Millennium Falcon a “piece of junk” the first time he sees the ship. But the Falcon clearly stands the test of time, especially considering it’s appearing in even the modern Star Wars sequels. To show their love for the ship, this fan opted for a fine line forearm tattoo of its likeness done by Laura Martinez, owner of popular Brooklyn-based tattoo studio Fleur Noire. Martinez made the piece her own, though, by adding some geometric detailing to the design.
12. Sweet Baby Yoda
The Child, AKA Baby Yoda is a very new addition to the galaxy far, far away, and has never actually appeared in a Star Wars film—he’s exclusive to Disney’s most recent Star Wars spin-off series, The Mandalorian. But, thanks to his undeniably adorable face, Baby Yoda has quickly become a cultural phenomenon. He’s all over the internet. So much so, that it’s difficult to scroll through any social network without seeing a Baby Yoda meme. Even people who have never seen a Star Wars film—let alone an episode of The Mandalorian—are obsessed with the character. So we couldn’t help but include this sweet Neo Traditional style tattoo of his face, done by Anaheim-based artist Yesenia Concepcion, in this gallery, too.
13. The evolution of Skywalker
This tattoo is an emotional one. Star Wars fans have watched as Luke Skywalker has gone from a lost, confused teenager, to one of the greatest Jedi of all time. Commemorating his journey, this black and grey realism tattoo by Inal Bersekov—one of Drake’s go-to tattoo artists—shows two versions of Luke; during his Jedi training with Yoda on the planet Dagobah, and during his comeback in 2017’s The Last Jedi.
If you liked our feature The Force is Strong With These 13 Star Wars Tattoo Designs make sure to check out 13 Disney Tattoos for the Ultimate Stan.