A Data Visualisation
Supporting the British Legion Red Poppy Appeal
Released in 2016, Rogue One was the second Star Wars film in a row to have a female protagonist, and a minority of fans were upset about women coming to "dominate" the franchise.
This digital artwork visualises data on the total number of male and female characters in Rogue One, both speaking and non-speaking, as well as the number of words spoken and number of speaking turns of each speaking character.
Scroll down to learn more about Rogue One, the data visualisation artwork, and the charity it supports.
Copies of this artwork are NOT available online - prints will be available to buy in person at events only.
How to Read
The total number of male and female characters, both speaking and non-speaking, are represented on a pie chart inspired by the Death Star targeting graphic from the original film.
Speaking characters are represented by petals. Blue petals represent male characters, while red petals represent female characters. Petal length shows the number of words spoken, petal width shows the number of speaking turns.
About Rogue One
A prequal to the original Star Wars film, (Episode IV: A New Hope) Rogue One is in many ways a traditional war film set in a fantasy universe. Reception to the film was generally very positive - in its first 24 hours, it had the second-highest number of pre-sale tickets ever sold, and it grossed $155.1 million in its opening weekend, the third-biggest debut of 2016.
However, a vocal minority of fans were upset that the lead character was female, the second Star Wars film in a row with a woman centre stage after Episode VII: The Force Awakens. Given their reaction, one would be forgiven for imagining that very few men featured in Rogue One, but in fact Jyn Erso is the only woman in the group of lead characters, who group together to steal the plans to the Empire's new weapon of mass destruction - the Death Star. The film technically passes the classic Bechdell test, generally considered a very low bar for the inclusion of women, but barely, and is far from equal in terms of its gender representation.
Image: Jyn and the other main characters
Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd, "Rogue One"
... a sea of male faces ...
As well as the main characters being mostly men, there were also very few women’s faces in the background of the film - from the group of Imperial engineers greeted as “gentlemen”, to the band of plucky Rebels who volunteer to join Jyn, the background faces are a sea of men. The Rebel Alliance Council fares a little better, several women in its number, but still falls far short of anything approaching parity. Despite the main character’s gender and the reaction it provoked from some, this is very much a film dominated by men.
This artwork visualises the gender of each speaking character and their prominence in the film in with petal diagrams showing the number of words they speak and the number of speaking turns they have. It is particularly notable that, despite Jyn being the lead character, the mlae lead Cassian Andor speaks more words and has more speaking turns than Jyn.
Images: The rebels who join Jyn, the Imperial engineers, & the Rebel Alliance Council
Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd, "Rogue One"
About the Data
The data on words spoken and speaking turns visualised in this artwork was gathered by Amber Thomas, data scientist and journalist-engineer. Amber describes her data collection process and does her own visualisation on her blog. She also made the full data available on GitHub.
This has been supplemented by data on all characters in the film from the IMDB Full Cast & Crew listing. Genders were assigned to each character based on the actor/actress portraying them, as given by their IMDB listing.
Inspiration for the colours and shapes used in this visualisation has been drawn from Rogue One and other Star Wars promotional material, graphics from the original Star Wars films, and from Hayley Gilmore's famous poster with the slogan "A Woman's Place is in the Resistance", popularised during the January 21st 2017 worldwide protest known as the Women’s March. You can buy a copy of Hayley Gilmore's poster from the artist on Redbubble.
About the Charity
Royal British Legion - Red Poppy Appeal
Prints of this visualisation are being sold to raise funds for the Royal British Legion, the UK's largest Armed Forces charity, who provide lifelong support to serving and ex-serving personnel and their families.
Poppies are worn as a show of support for the Armed Forces community, a symbol of remembrance and hope for a peaceful future. Costs of production and shipping are deducted, but all profits go to the British Legion.
If you wish to make a direct donation to the British Legion you can do so via their website.