Rogue One and its impact on User-Generated Products
Reminder: A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, the Source3 team explored Star Wars’ ownership history and discovered some amazing Star Wars fan-made goods.
With Rogue One: A Star Wars Story making its theatrical debut this week, let’s take a novel approach to “reviewing” the movie. Below, we predict which characters will generate the most new user-generated content (UGC). Follow along as we outline our predictive logic (with *no* Rogue One spoilers).
(BB-8 Artwork created by Michelle Coffee.)
What Do People Love About Star Wars?
Based on the user-generated products that we have found online, we have a pretty good idea which Star Wars characters and artifacts are most popular.
Star Wars has many distinct pieces of intellectual property. Compared to other franchises we’ve researched, Star Wars is one of the most complex, with almost 1,400 unique properties. Most of those 1,400 properties are distinct characters (Darth Vader, Jyn Erso) and artifacts (Death Star, Lightsaber). Below is Star Wars’ complexity compared to other famous franchises.
Why do fans gravitate to these characters? Here’s what we learned from our previous deep-dive into the Star Wars franchise:
- Cute non-human characters are key. R2-D2 started the trend, and BB-8 carries that torch.
- A good fashion sense goes a long way. Fans are far more captivated by characters with a particular aesthetic. For instance, Princess Lei’s hair, Darth Vader’s mask, Darth Maul’s lightsaber, Han’s belt/gun, Yoda’s ears. All of these elements are distinctive and open to reinterpretation by fans.
- Everyone loves a great one-liner. For a franchise not championed for its writing, many quotes endure. Most notably Yoda’s syntax inversion, Han’s blunt style, and Vader’s/Luke’s grandioseness.
- Everything is better in pairs. Whether it’s a hero and trusted sidekick (Rey and BB-8), or a dynamic duo (Han Solo and Chewbacca), or most notably, light vs. dark (Rey and Kylo), pairs give fans more leeway use their imagination. In some cases, fans are even inspired to “mash” these characters with IP from other franchises to create works of user-generated art.
The Good, the Bad, the Buddies, and the Wildcards
Like any good Star Wars movie, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has heroes, potential anti-heroes, villains, and of course, comic relief. This template is as old as the Star Wars galaxy itself, but each new Star Wars movie changes the creative ingredients ever so slightly. Below are our predictions on how fans will react to the main characters in Rogue One.
Jyn Erso: The Good
The Knowns: Felicity Jones brings an impressive resume and fan-base to her Star Wars debut as Jyn Erso. Her main costume – a belt and modest hairstyle – don’t match her character’s swagger (“I rebel”).
The Unknowns: What iconic scenes will she be in? Will she share scenes with Krennic or Vader? Will her father/daughter issues play out like Luke/Vader?
Source3 Predicts: Though Erso will get some good lines, her plain costume may not make an impression with fans.
Orson Krennic: The Bad
The Knowns: His posture projects ill-intent, and pairs well with his all-white outfit.
The Unknowns: Will Krennic have a quote that stays with moviegoers after they leave the theater?
Source3 Predicts: Between the sneering and outfit, Krennic may be a fan favorite.
K-2SO and Cassian Andor: The Buddies
The Knowns: K-2SO is Andor’s droid. The two appear together in scenes, and the trailers hint at a few good one-liners.
The Unknowns: Will these one-liners be funny, corny or cute? K-2SO is not a cuddly droid, will that negatively affect his appeal?
Source3 Predicts: K-2SO will have modest success with UGC creators, but not in the same ballpark as BB-8.
Saw Gerrera and Chirrut Imwe: The Wildcards
The Knowns: Saw Gerrera was originally introduced to fans in the animated show Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and was an important voice in the first Rogue One trailer. Imwe, portrayed by kung-fu legend Donnie Yen, brings a built-in fanbase to his role as a blind force-follower. Imwe also wields a staff – another potential ingredient for fan art.
The Unknowns: Will either actor get an iconic line? Will Imwe’s weapon be unique enough for fans to want to replicate?
Source3 Predicts: They’re wildcards for a reason, but we think Imwe will fare better than Saw with fans.
Darth Vader: The Throwback
The Knowns: as measured by Source3, Vader is the most popular character in the Star Wars franchise.
The Unknowns: we don’t know the extent of his role in the new movie, but…
Source3 Predicts: … it won’t matter. Darth Vader, he is.
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