A lot has been made bout the fact that both Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Rogue One have female lead characters, but a new study shows that might not be all it's cracked up to be. While both of these latest entries in the Star Wars franchise do have strong women as protagonist, both movies are still quite male heavy. Even lopsided. A new study shows that only 17% of the dialogue in Rogue One is spoken by one of the movies few female characters.
Jyn Erso led Rogue One to becoming the highest grossing movie in the U.S., no small feat that Felicity Jones helped push the movie to the top the box office as the face of this first Star Wars anthology movie. The prequel was also praised for its diverse cast. But diving deeper into the story elements, and what actually happens on screen shows that not only the film's dialogue, but also the male-to-female character ratio is way off course.
Europe Newsweek reports blogger and data scientist Amber Thomas' findings about the movie. She went onto look at 2016's entire blockbuster slate. And discovered that just 27% of all words spoken in these theatrical releases were done so by women characters. So, while Rogue One can be looked at as making some decent strides in female equality in Hollywood, it's all far from equal play.
Despite Rogue One being one of the most celebrated films when it comes to being a feminist empowerment showcase, it was actually one of the worst offenders. Only 9% of the characters in the movie are female, including all aliens and droids. And those women, who include Jyn, Mon Mothma and a 1 minute cameo from Princess Leia, spoke only 17% of the dialogue. Most of which came out of the younger Erso's mouth.
In all, there are only 10 female characters in Rogue One, and one of them is a computer voice. Another only gets 5 seconds of screen time, and Princess Leia has very few words. Thomas set out to do her experiment after being so excited to see Rogue One only to discover that it was so male dominated despite everyone championing it as some big triumph for women in cinema. She explains.
"I went into the movie theater expecting to see men and women fighting side by side. I left feeling certain that I could count every female character from the movie on one hand. While Jyn was the main character, I was profoundly aware that she was often the only woman in any scene."
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is one of the biggest offenders when it comes to gender equality in 2016, but Thomas' findings show that none of the big movies in 2016 had a fifty-fifty ratio when it came to male-female characters. These include such big money makers as Captain America: Civil War, Zootopia, The Jungle Book, The Secret Life of Pets, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Deadpool, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Suicide Squad.
Though Rogue One had the lowest ratio of female to male characters, The Jungle Book had the least amount of dialogue spoken by a female character. That movie boasts just 10% of dialogue that is spoken by a women. And it featured such big names as Lupita Nyong'o and Scarlett Johansson in its all-star ensemble cast.
While Disney had two of the lowest ranking movies, it also had two of the highest with Finding Dory and Zootopia. Ellen DeGeneres's Dory had the most lines of any character in her Pixar sequel. While Ginnifer Goodwin's Judy Hopes got the most dialogue in the animated hit Zootopia, beating out Jason Bateman's fox character. Continuing down that path, Finding Dory was found to be the only big movie released in 2016 where more than half the dialogue was uttered by an actress. In that animated follow-up, women got to say 53% of the lines, compared to 43% coming from the guy characters on screen.
Thomas thinks Hollywood can do better in 2017 and beyond. Her findings show that Cassian Andor, the second lead in Rogue One, actually had more dialogue than Jyn Erso, with Diego Luna getting 1,355 lines as opposed to Felicity Jones' 1,045. Thomas ended her study saying she was 'shocked' and 'saddened' that only one of the top ten movies from 2016 was gender equal. And with Daisy Ridley's Rey being the only female lead in Star Wars 8 against a cast that boasts Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, John Boyega as Finn, Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron and Adam Driver as Kylo Ren all at the forefront of the action, it doesn't sound like this trend is going to turn anytime soon.