Data Journalist

YouGov polling of fans reveals that classic heroes and villains such as Darth Vader and Han Solo remain favourites

As fans anxiously await the release of Star Wars Episode 9: The Rise of Skywalker, fans say Darth Vader and Han Solo still top the list of their favourite characters despite a plethora of new characters.

The Dark Side 

Iconic Darth Vader tops the dark side, with half (51%) of Star Wars fans listing the former Jedi as the best villain of the series – the highest percentage of any character across the board. The Emperor follows, with a fifth (20%) of fans choosing him as their favourite villain.

Surprisingly, despite having just seven minutes of screen time, The Emperors apprentice from the first film of the prequel trilogy, Darth Maul, ranks as fans third favourite villain, with 6% of the vote.

The highest ranked character of the new trilogy, Kylo Ren, only managed to garner 2% of votes from fans, and Supreme Leader Snoke was chosen by only 1%.

The Light Side 

Of the heroes, the smuggler, scoundrel and hero of the rebellion, Han Solo, is the fan favourite hero with a quarter (26%) of the vote. However, only a Sith deals in absolutes, and among the heroes the votes are more distributed.

Luke Skywalker comes second with 14% of the vote, beating both Jedi Masters Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda who are tied with 11% of the vote each. Hero of the new trilogy, Rey, won the vote of 5% of fans - making her the most popular character introduced in the new films.

Looking at the age of respondests we can see that fans tend to prefer the characters they grew up watching. For example, fans aged 35 to 44 show greatest preference for the characters with big roles in the original trilogy, such as Luke Skywalker (24%) and Han Solo (22%), which will have been in cinemas during their youth.

Breaking down the results by gender also shows that fans prefer the characters they can best relate to, with male Star Wars nearly twice as likely to pick characters such as Obi-Wan as their favourite (13%) compared to women (7%). On the flipside, 13% of female Star Wars fans picked heroine Leia Organa as their favourite, compared to 3% of men who say they like Star Wars.

The rankings of the heroes and villains reflect the public opinion of the films, with the original trilogy of films (episodes 4, 5 and 6) topping the list according to Britons as a whole. However, the newest two films (episodes 7 and 8) are more favoured than the prequel trilogy (episodes 1, 2 and 3). The most recent addition to the film franchise, Solo: A Star Wars Story, actually scores the lowest of all the films with only 28% of Britons having a positive opinion.

Darth Vader image: 玄史生 on Wikimedia Commons

All other Images: Getty

See full results here

Discover more about YouGov research

Fill out the form below and one of our experts will be in touch.
Related Content