Star Wars: The Force Awakens, an Analysis

  4 m, 30 s

Finally, after about a month spent alternating between hiding under our covers weeping and playing Jedi with homemade lightsabers, we have had an awakening. We remembered there is more to life than just Star Wars (but, only barely), and that there are other people out there who had feelings about the movie as well.

So we fired up the Falcon, er Salience, to see what people had to say about the movie. Here’s what we found, with only light spoilers in case you are one of the apparently 50 people left in America the world who has not seen it yet.

 

Mostly our data reveals what you’d expect. People were talking about the characters and most of what they were talking about was positive or neutral.

People were generally happy that the movie was premiering in their area. When they saw it was “pretty good” or “pretty cool” (which is only one step down from “IS EVERYTHING” by Internet exhilaration standards).

The characters you would expect, humans like Daisy Ridley’s Rey and John Boyega’s Finn and non-human characters like BB-8 and R2-D2 were mentioned positively, with phrases like “love” and “adorable” and “amazing.”  Kylo-Ren-9

Conversely, things you’d expect to mentioned negatively like the Dark Side or new villain Kylo Ren were mentioned negatively. This is not necessarily bad when it comes to the villains in a story, because hating them is part of what makes them so satisfying. Kylo Ren was also tied to tweets meant to intentionally spoil the film for viewers, so that could also have skewed results.

Yet one villain, who all but helped the heroes, Gwendoline Christie’s Captain Phasma was mentioned positively. Though, as the franchise’s first female villain, it’s no surprise that most of what was said about her was supportive. Also, her role is such that you’re left wanting more than you actually get.

Entity Wordcloud

Our Entity Word Cloud―It looks like the franchise’s newest characters took the hearts of the audience

However, the data did reveal some things that were a bit surprising. For example, two of the original trilogy’s characters were mentioned negatively more than they were mentioned positively. If you’ve seen the film you can easily guess which two and why.

For Han Solo, his fate may have upset fans and was also tied to a campaign by internet trolls to spoil the film. This is perhaps why he was mentioned in mostly negative tweets. For the other, it was how this character was reintroduced into this universe that had many people upset. Yet, interestingly, when compared to Tweets mentioning the newer character also involved in that scene, more than a few called it their “favorite part.”

Theme Word Cloud

Our Theme Word Cloud―It seems like the audience loves to hate the bad guys

Naturally, with the film crushing box office records left and right, it’s fair to call it a success. Yet, where the fans are concerned, most seem pleased, but still very protective of this world of make-believe they so love.

What did you think of the movie? Feel free to tweet us your thoughts (full of spoilers, if you choose)!

TL;DR (which is actually longer than the article this time cuz it’s Star Wars and Star Wars is awesome): 

In sum total 342,768 Tweets were analyzed
The two original trilogy actors mentioned negatively were Han Solo and Luke Skywalker. Here’s how those numbers look:
Han Solo was mentioned in 3,228 tweets. Of those 3,228 tweets:
  • Only 204 (6%) expressed a positive sentiment (for example: “Pretty sure Han has all the best lines. #StarWars”)
  • 419 (13%) tweets expressed a negative sentiment (for example: “Why is Han so awkward? #StarWars” or “Seriously. Han Solo is kinda really incompetent. How did he become a captain? #StarWars”) 
  • The remaining tweets simply mentioned him with neutral sentiment (for example: “@StarWarsUK exciting stuff! Show about to start #ForceAwakens #HanSolo #StarWars”)
Luke Skywalker was mentioned in 2,360 tweets. Of those, 2,360 tweets:
  • Only 167 (7%) expressed a positive sentiment (for example: “Luke, however, is f****** awesome in this one. #StarWars “)
  • 315 (13%) expressed a negative sentiment (for example: “I still can’t believe Luke betrayed them like that! #starwars”) This is regarding Luke’s reluctance to support his sister, Leia, in her effort to repel the evil First Order.
  • The remaining tweets simply mentioned him with neutral sentiment (for example: “New #DarthVader Instagram by @nerdertainment // A Force to be reckoned with #StarWars #LukeSkywalker”)
An explanation of the following: “People were talking about the characters and most of what they were talking about was positive or neutral.”
  • The characters were mentioned by name in 19,144 tweets​. Truthfully, there was sort of a draw between positive sentiment and negative sentiment that Josh seems to have overlooked (I’ll correct it in the finalized draft). Of those 19,144 tweets, the characters were mentioned positively 1,634 and mentioned negatively 1,651 times. This polarization is to be expected with such an emotionally charged franchise. The characters are going to be heavily scrutinized by the fandom. As pointed out above, the two most negatively polarizing characters were Luke and Han. The most loved characters were the perpetually charming droids, R2D2 and BB-8. But, as far as complex humanoid characters go, Rey took the cake (199 positive mentions to 45 negative mentions, with 1,101 neutral mentions). Audiences were primarily enthralled by the genre’s first female hero, with many calling her “bad ass,” “the next Luke” and “an icon for girls.”
Categories: Analysis, Insights, Sentiment Analysis, Twitter