In order to determine whether or not women are fairly represented in the the Star Wars universe, every Star Wars movie has been officially ranked by screen time for female characters. The initial takeaway is that the more recent generation of movies rank higher than George Lucas' original trilogy.
Ever since the release of A New Hope in 1977, Star Wars has been a household name as far as fictional properties go. Between Lucas' original trilogy in the '70s and '80s, his prequel trilogy in the '90s and '00s, and the current generation of films from Disney, the franchise has only grown larger and stronger. In fact, there are even two Star Wars theme parks opening in both California's Disneyland and Florida's Disney World Resort locations in 2019. That said, despite the massive popularity, the franchise isn't without faults. In terms of representation on screen, women typically pale in comparison to men. And to confirm this, there is now an official ranking of the Star Wars movies by screen time for female characters, as well as an accompanying female-only cut of each movie in the series.
To clearly break down female representation in the Star Wars movie franchise, Glaswegian film lecturer Becca Harrison spent a total of 48 hours editing every movie from A New Hope to The Last Jedi to create a cut that only included scenes with lines of dialogue from female characters. She then ranked each movie in the franchise on Twitter with a percentage denoting how much of each movie included dialogue from women (she will include Solo in the ranking once it leaves theaters and is "available to buy.") As it turns out, The Last Jedi is ranked the highest with 43 percent, while A New Hope is ranked lowest with only 15 percent. The prequel trilogies follow A New Hope in last place in the reverse order in which they were released in theaters.
I have FINALLY ranked all of #StarWars based on screen time for women. This is now canon. Don't @ me.— Becca Harrison (@BeccaEHarrison) May 28, 2018
43% Last Jedi
37% Force Awakens
35% Rogue One
23% Return of the Jedi
22% Empire Strikes Back
20% Phantom Menace
18% Attack of the Clones
17% Revenge of the Sith
15% A New Hope
In recent years, the Star Wars universe has made a noticeable effort to focus on female representation. Not only are key players in the current trilogy and spinoffs female (see: Rey, Captain Phasma, Rose Tico, Maz Kanata, Jyn Erso, Qi'ra), EA Games' Star Wars Battlefront 2 includes a female lead in the single player campaign mode named Iden Versio. And in the upcoming Star Wars: Episode IX, casting call details refer to a new female lead named Caro, as well as another female character codenamed "Mara."
The recent focus on female representation in the Star Wars universe may not fix past issues, but it at least proves that the franchise is willing to evolve. This is especially significant given that certain key players behind the scenes of the franchise are women (see: Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and A New Hope's Academy Award-winning editor Marcia Lucas). Though, of course, Star Wars could stand to improve there as well.
Source: Becca Harrison/Twitter
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019