I think maya is a really good program. I think anyones investment in it is worth while, but I cant speak for the other CG applications because I have not used them, but I have seen fantastic work from the likes of Max, CD4, Lightwave, Rhino, Z brush and ect. I think alot of it depends on what you can afford or what you allready have. My personal opinion on Maya is that it's a superior package deal compared to the others because of it's animation abilities, but thats just my opinion.
Thanks for the link. Now if I could just find another site other than scifi3d that have free starwars models to download, that work in maya of course.