Detailed Findings & Methodology
Despite little screen time or relevance to the story’s plot, some characters become strong fan favorites. One example is Mon Mothma. First appearing in “Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi,” Mon Mothma spoke just a few lines of dialogue as she briefed members of the rebel alliance on plans to attack the Death Star. While Mothma has only 127 words of dialogue, something about her character captivated audiences, leading to her being featured in Episode III — although the scene was deleted in the theatrical release — and in “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.” Other examples of beloved minor characters include Boba Fett and Lando Calrissian.
Many of the most popular characters appear in the most well-regarded Star Wars movies. According to user reviews on the Internet Movie Database, films in the original trilogy — Episodes IV, V, and VI — far outrank the later franchise installments. Episodes IV, V, and VI have an average ranking of 8.6/10 on IMDb compared to 6.9/10 for Episodes I, II, and III. Of the 25 most popular Star Wars characters, only three first appeared in the prequel trilogy films.
To determine the most and least popular Star Wars characters, 24/7 Wall St. created an index based on each character’s screen time, dialogue, internet presence, and other factors. The daily average views of a character’s Wikipedia page over the period from Dec. 2, 2016 to Dec. 2, 2017 were included in the index and given a full weight. To be considered, a character must have his or her own Wikipedia page or be included in Wikipedia’s list of Star Wars characters and have at least 100 words of dialogue in a Star Wars film.
Each character’s total word count in all of the Star Wars films was included in the index and given full weight. Data on word count came from “The Largest Ever Analysis of Film Dialogue by Gender,” a project by Hannah Anderson and Matt Daniels hosted on the visual data website The Pudding. Word counts reflect dialogue in a film’s screenplay and may not be representative of the actual word count in a film’s theatrical version.
A character’s total screen time in all of the Star Wars films came from analysis of Amazon X-Ray data available on Tableau Public and was included in the index with a full weighting. The ratio of a character’s daily average Wikipedia page views to his or her total screen time was included in the index and given double weight. Screen time estimates do not include time on screen in the film “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.”
The popularity of a character’s Halloween costume — as determined by its position in the national ranking of Halloween costume Google searches — came from Google Frightgeist and was included in the index with full weight. Finally, the average user rating on IMDb for the films that a character was featured in was included in the index and given a one-fourth weighting.
Because The Last Jedi is the most recent addition to the Star Wars canon, comprehensive data used for other Star Wars films was not yet available. Character appearances in the film were noted throughout our list, but the film did not play a role in the overall ranking of characters’ popularity or in the metrics that are listed.