Interesting new poll out from Morning Consult reveals a great deal about the state of play in the Star Wars Universe. Let's dive right in, shall we?
Here's the topline:
Recent Stories in Culture
A few things jump out:
- Pre-awareness matters. Name recognition counts for a lot; Wedge Antilles is an utterly unobjectionable character (aside from the repeated acts of space terrorism) yet rates just a 28 percent favorable rating. Compare that figure to Chewbacca (basically, Han's dog) or Princess Leia (space terrorism) and you can understand why pollsters prefer candidates with high name ID.
- No one likes a Mary Sue. Rey, nominally the protagonist of The Force Awakens, clocks an approval rating of just 38 percent—a scant point ahead of the widely reviled Jar Jar Binks. This just goes to show you that everyone hates fan fiction cutouts that serve as barely disguised stand-ins for fanboys and girls, the sort of characters who are amazing at everything and beloved by all your favorite old characters without actually bringing anything like "personality" to the table. To improve the health of the series, Disney should really think about killing off Rey ASAP and focusing on more interesting and beloved characters like Luke Skywalker (72 percent).
- Han Solo suffers in current atmosphere. Given recent accusations of sexual harassment and assault throughout the Rebellion's ranks, it's no surprise that Han Solo's numbers are trending down. A notorious "ladies man," we've all seen Solo cop a feel when Princess Leia gets thrown off balance. The Empire, of course, has avoided such problems by maintaining an almost-exclusively male workforce; we've yet to hear of anything untoward from Captain Phasma.
- Robots are yuge. R2-D2 (71 percent) and C-3PO (65 percent) fare well, while BB-8 is tied with Finn (39 percent) for the greatest popularity amongst new characters. People love those droids, possibly because they feel sorry for them having to suffer under the wicked yoke of the Rebellion.
- Vader shows great potential. Despite suffering from decades of bad press from the lamestream galactic media, Darth Vader's popularity has shown surprising resilience. He's given a thumbs up by almost half (49 percent) of those polled. Obviously there are a lot of folks out there who don't buy into the lies propagated by the media arms of the filthy rebel alliance. I'm talking about the good, hardworking folks filled with anxiety about trade disputes and other economic matters who just want to Make The Galaxy Great Again. Indeed, one could argue that Darth has a shockingly high 104 percent approval rating, since this poll, oddly, asks about both Anakin Skywalker AND Darth Vader (spoiler: it's the same guy). But that seems off to me and I wouldn't want to propagate #FakeNews. Anyway, these are really good numbers for Vader, but they leave room for improvement. I would suggest he pursues a two-fold strategy: targeted media buys in systems that are already open to the message of the Empire (such as Coruscant) and demonstrations of galactic power on those systems that are still somewhat … shaky. Nothing like forcing the people to love you to get your numbers up! Fortunately for Vader, Alderaan is no longer around to drag his numbers down; take out a few more recalcitrant systems and we can get him over 50 percent in no time.
It's going to be an interesting week ahead of the release of The Last Jedi. I'm guessing we'll see a late push for Finn, who appeals to a variety of demographics, as well as Kylo Ren, as his brand-awareness improves. And why don't we have numbers on Poe Dameron yet? Seems like a startling omission. What, exactly, is the Resistance hiding? Its internals must be TERRIBLE.