When it comes to the Star Wars universe, the Jedi and the Sith may make most of the headlines, but for many fans, they're really only half the story. Dig under the surface of the saga, y'see, and there's a glorious hive of scum and villainy just waiting to be uncovered - one filled with that most iconic of Star Wars antiheroes: the bounty hunter.
Now, Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens may have featured a surprising lack of bounty hunters, but previous installments in the saga have tended to be full to bursting with them - and with both the Star Wars underbelly-focused Rogue One (and potentially a Boba Fett solo movie) on the way, there's a pretty good chance that we'll be seeing a fair few bounty hunters in the near future.
In celebration of that fact, then, it seems as good a time as any to take a look at...
The 10 Greatest Bounty Hunters In The Star Wars Universe
Now, of course, any list of the greatest Star Wars bounty hunters of all time is inevitably going to be a little contentious, especially as the criteria for what makes someone the 'greatest' is entirely subjective. Does the toughest bounty hunter deserve the number one spot, or should the bounty hunter with the most kills take home the glory? Should the most famous bounty hunters fill the highest places, or should more obscure - but more accomplished - bounty hunters from far corners of the Star Wars universe get the nod instead? Is there any reality in which the (theoretically Owen and Beru Lars-murdering) Boba Fett doesn't get the number one spot?
These, and more questions besides, will...probably not be answered below. However, there will be a (potentially controversial) list of ten bounty hunters, ordered by their arbitrary greatness. Our lead-off hitter?
Largely something of a small-time bounty hunter, Embo was nonetheless one of the more accomplished fighters operating around the time of the Clone Wars - once even managing to match Anakin Skywalker in a fair-ish fight.
It's not enough to get him too far up the list - but anyone who can go toe to toe with a Skywalker and live to tell the tale deserves a place here.
9. Zam Wesell
A shape-shifting bounty hunter with a history of working with the more famous Jango Fett, Wesell makes it onto the list by virtue of the ability to shape-shift being fundamentally awesome - and notably helpful as a bounty hunter.
Her failure to successfully assassinate Padme Amidala - and subsequent capture by Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakain Skywalker - on the other hand, ensures that she only makes it as high as the number nine slot.
With a career that largely peaked during the Clone Wars, Dengar is arguably most famous for something that may or may not still be canonical - saving Boba Fett from the Sarlacc pit.
With that particular adventure having seemingly been wiped from the canon by the fall of the Expanded Universe, though, Dengar might well be considered fortunate to have made the top ten - but then again, he always has been a survivor.
A specialist in hunting - and killing - Wookiees, Bossk isn't exactly the most lovable of bounty hunters, but he is one of the most successful. With a career spanning both the prequels and the original trilogy, Bossk managed to turn surviving near certain death into an art form.
Add in a soft spot for young potential anti-heroes - he's helped out both a youthful Boba Fett and Star Wars Rebels' Ezra Bridger over the years - and you have one of the most long-standing and ethically confusing bounty hunters around.
6. Jango Fett
Now, you might think that having your son turn out to be one of the most iconic bounty hunters of all time (more on that below) would be something of a hindrance when it comes to making it into lists of the top ten bounty hunters - but that probably suggests you haven't met Jango Fett.
Not only was Jango a wildly successful bounty hunter in his own right, but he also provided the base genetic material for a literal army of clones. Which, if you squint in just the right way, makes every single droid, rebel and Jedi that The Republic's clone army killed a part of the bounty hunter's final mission.
5. Aurra Sing
An expert sniper and accomplished bounty hunter in her own right, Aurra Sing will nonetheless likely be best remembered for her training of a young Boba Fett.
The reason she makes the top five, though? During the course of her bounty hunting career, Sing came remarkably close to killing both Padme Amidala and Mace Windu - and survived to tell the tale(s). Most folks who tried couldn't say the same...
4. Cad Bane
Taking over as the galaxy's preeminent bounty hunter in the wake of Jango Fett's death, Cad Bane makes it a few steps higher in the list for one key reason: He wears one hell of a cool hat.
Sure, he also had a knack for robbing the Jedi Temple whenever he felt like it, and managed to maintain his edge in an era full of bounty hunting talent, but at the end of the day, it's still the hat that wins him fourth place in this list.
Now, if I'm being entirely honest, IG-88's bounty hunting career probably doesn't merit him a place quite this high up a list of the greatest bounty hunters of all time - and yet he's somehow made it up to the number three slot anyway.
The reason? He's a rogue droid who kills people people for money - and who became one of the most feared bounty hunters in the process. Which, if you ask me, is awesome enough to merit him a place in the top three on existential bad-assery alone.
2. Asajj Ventress
Now, Asajj Ventress may not have had as illustrious career as a bounty hunter as most of the motley collection of villains that make up the rest of this list, but that doesn't mean she isn't more than deserving of her lofty position. After all, who else managed to escape slavery to become a Jedi padawan, before turning to the Dark Side as a Sith Apprentice, and eventually (after being somewhat predictably betrayed) becoming a bounty hunter.
Heck, even Darth Vader wasn't cool enough to collect bounties...
1. Boba Fett
Now, there may well be a reality in which Boba Fett doesn't get the number one spot here - but it isn't this one. While many of us were surprised that Boba turned out to be the clone of another bounty hunter, the aforementioned Jango Fett, he certainly did his genetic material proud over a long career filled with brutal, galaxy-famed effectiveness - and occasional hangouts with Darth Vader. Of course, he may or may not have been killed in a Tatooine Sarlacc pit (depending on whether you still count the Star Wars Expanded Universe)...
...but that hasn't stopped Fett from becoming one of the most iconic pop-cultural characters of all time - or from topping this list.