Just over 40 years ago, the words “Yoda”, “Jedi” and “Millennium Falcon” would have been met with puzzled glances. Today, they are so ingrained in our popular culture that they barely need an introduction. The Star Wars empire today really is — all pun intended — a Force to be reckoned with.

With the highly anticipated next instalment, ‘The Last Jedi’, arriving on screens at the end of the year, here at Magic Madhouse we decided to take a closer look at the hugely iconic Star Wars series, examining and analysing fan favourite stats from the films.

So, sit back and let us take you on a journey, to “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away”...

Number of Words
In The Opening Crawl

The Star Wars opening crawl is truly iconic, recognised around the world as a symbolic introduction to each Star Wars film. But what can we tell from the number of words in each film’s crawl?

We discovered that the most recent Star Wars film — ‘The Force Awakens’ — came in top with 88 words. This is due to the large gap between ‘The Force Awakens’ (2015) and its predecessor, ‘Revenge of the Sith’ (2005). While there is only 10 physical years between the films, the non-chronological order of the series means the narrative actually moves along 30 years in this time. Therefore, it would make sense that a bigger summary of events is needed to bring audiences up to date.

The opening crawl with the smallest number of words at 75 is 2005’s ‘Revenge of the Sith’. This makes sense too: as the third film of the prequel trilogy, the storyline is already established. Fans are up to date, and a lengthy summary isn’t needed.

Total Appearance Time For
Major Characters In Each Episode
Click on the film, to reveal each characters appearance time

When looking at the screen time for major characters in the Star Wars series we found, unsurprisingly, that Darth Vader / Anakin came in top with 161.30 minutes overall. This itself is unsurprising — Vader and Anakin appear as separate characters, and the prequel trilogy in particular delves deeply into Anakin’s backstory. What is surprising, however, is the lack of screen time for Vader in the original trilogy — just 9.15 minutes in ‘A New Hope’. In many ways, this lack of screen time adds to Vader’s evilness; the very threat of him was clearly enough to propel him to villain status.

We were also surprised at the lack of appearance time throughout the franchise for some huge characters such as Yoda (just 37.30 minutes overall!), Chewbacca (47.30 minutes) and R2D2 (55.30 minutes). With the least screentime of all major characters, they managed to become some of the most iconic cult icons of the series. Pretty impressive when you think about it!

Star Words

Next, we were interested in one particular word prevalent throughout Star Wars — ‘Force’. The phrase “may the Force be with you” has become an ingrained part of popular culture, but what exactly is ‘the Force’?

The Force is not only a metaphysical power, but also an energy throughout the Star Wars universe. Created by George Lucas to show the choice between good and evil, in Star Wars we see Jedi utilising the ‘light side’ of the Force while the Sith take advantage of the perilous ‘dark side’.

The word ‘Force’ is used a grand total of 95 times throughout the series. Perhaps surprisingly, considering its title, the word is used the least in 2015’s ‘The Force Awakens’. This is due to this film simply hinting at the idea of the Force rather than delving fully into it: Rey is only just beginning to discover and harness her powers. Also, most fans watching at this recent point already understand the concept of the Force, so it doesn’t require explanation.

Following on from this, it is understandable that the film in which we see the Force referred to most frequently is 1977’s ‘A New Hope’. As the starting point of the whole series, it was during this film that the idea of the Force was first established and explained to the audience — contributing to the word appearing 21 times.

Comparison Ford

Second perhaps only to “May the Force be with you”, the phrase “I have a bad feeling about this” is truly iconic in the Star Wars universe. Originally used to build suspense, the phrase quickly became a running gag, said to state the obvious in dire situations when it seemed there was no way out for the characters.

"“I have a bad feeling about this” is said once in each film, and twice in ‘A New Hope’ (as well as 'Return of the Jedi') when it was first established as a catchphrase. But who says it the most?

Han Solo utters these words the most frequently, saying the famous phrase 3 times throughout the series. Han Solo doubts the Force, making him perhaps the most ‘human’ and relatable character to the audience — he creates a much needed bridge between the extraordinary Star Wars universe and our own. Giving Han Solo use of this phrase is a clever way to take advantage of his link to the audience: the fact it is him of all people calling out these inconceivable events really drives the danger home to the audience.

Length of
Lightsaber Battles

If Star Wars is known for one key thing, it’s lightsabers. We decided to dig a little deeper into the use of lightsabers as a weapon, and look at the length of lightsaber battles throughout the films.

The film with the least lightsaber action was, interestingly, the first in the series, A New Hope, containing only 1.35 minutes worth. Even more interesting, however, is looking at the statistics from the original trilogy and the prequel trilogy side by side.

The three films of the original trilogy contain only 6.41 minutes of lightsaber battles combined, compared to a total of 17.95 minutes throughout the prequel trilogy. When analysing the length of these battles, it all comes down to politics: the longer the lightsaber battles, the more unrest in the galaxy at the time. The prequel trilogy is full of politics, detailing the events that led to the rise of the rebellion in the original trilogy. It is understandable, therefore, that more time is spent on battles.

The film containing arguably the most unrest is Revenge of the Sith, in which Anakin finally gives in to the dark side to become Darth Vader. Following this theory, it makes sense that the length of lightsaber battles in this film beats the rest by far, coming in at 11.48 minutes.

TOTAL WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE
SALES FOR EACH FILM

Finally, we wanted to talk money. Just how much money did each film generate in the cinema, worldwide?

It won’t come as too much of a shock that the recent films have made the most money on the big screen. The box office sales for Star Wars has grown with the franchise, so unsurprisingly the ‘The Force Awakens’ came in top, making a staggering $2,058,662,225.

It’s worth noting that the first film of each trilogy draws the most audience, and therefore has the highest cinema screening sales. This makes sense: ‘A New Hope’ was the first film of the whole series — the idea was new and original, and naturally attracted a larger audience. Similarly ‘The Phantom Menace’, which opened the prequel trilogy in 1999, marked a return to the series after a 16 year break. The excitement and hype had built with the audience, with old and new fans alike scrambling to see the return of the ever-loved Star Wars series.

How will the cards fall when the next film premieres? Is ‘The Last Jedi’ set to make even more than its predecessor, or will sales dip as is common with the second film of the previous trilogies? Only time will tell...

In Conclusion

So, we’ve trawled through a total of 15 hours and 40 minutes of footage to detail lightsaber battles, countless utterings of the word ‘Force’ and endless opening crawls from everyone's favourite sci-fi franchise.

What, then, can we expect from the next instalment? Some things are clear: we can look forward to the return of some favourite characters and classic catchphrases, along with the introduction of new some icons. But what new revelations will ‘The Last Jedi’ bring, and will we once again hear those fateful words “I’ve got a bad feeling about this”? We’re all going to have to wait until the 15th December to find out!

If you need more of a fix before than, check out Star Wars at Magic Madhouse