Forces of Destiny premiered in March 2017 on YouTube on the official Disney Channel. It was a first for Star Wars, since the animated show was primarily targeted at girls. A toyline was launched as well. In this article I want to take a closer look at the YouTube views for each episode and what this might tell us about the popularity and potential future of the show. Also, we will see which characters are fan favorites and which ones not so much. Click through to learn more!
The Disney Channel has 2.8 million subscribers at the time this article is written (April 2018). Forces of Destiny debuted on YouTube a little over a year ago in March 2017.
Let’s dive right into some numbers and take a look at the number of views for the first batch of eight episodes, that were released in March 2017.
Only the principal character is listed for brevity, other characters usually appear alongside them. Ahsoka episodes, for example, also feature Padme or Anakin.
As you can see, Forces of Destiny was off to a good start, the pilot episode has more than 1 million views, After that FoD lost roughly 60% of its audience but remained stable.
Rey’s pilot episode is an outlier, since pilot episodes usually have much higher “ratings” or in this case, YouTube views.
Here are the views for the second batch of eight episodes which debuted in October 2017. Seven months later.
Viewership for Forces of Destiny dropped significantly for the second half of season one. Also, views for individual episodes are much more uneven, compared to the first half of season one.
And now the views for season two of Forces of Destiny, which was first shown in March 2018. Six months after the conclusion of season one.
Views for season two declined even more, with some episodes not even surpassing 100k views. The latest batch of episodes has been online for roughly a month and views will increase a little bit in the next few months. However, a typical YouTube video gets the vast majority of its views in the first week, so the numbers are still comparable.
Luke debuted in this batch and his episode did great, compared to the other episodes. Jyn’s episode, while not the least watched, is still struggling to keep up.
And a closer look at average views per batch.
The second batch of episodes retained 37.72% of the batch one audience. A severe drop in viewership. The third and most recent batch of episodes retained 23.2% of the batch one viewership and 63.17% of batch two viewership.
The numbers for the the third batch of episodes especially are not that great. The most popular videos on the Disney YouTube Channel are clips with emojis recreating famous Disney movies. “Coco, as told by Emoji” has 12 million views. However, many videos on the Disney YouTube channel only have a couple of thousand views, so FoD is still performing better than many of the other videos.
And finally, let’s look at the popularity of characters and Star Wars eras, for this I counted the total number of views for each episode a Clone Wars character, OT, PT, ST and Rebels character appeared in, divided by the number of episodes.
Since Forces of Destiny is primarily targeted at little girls and the sequel trilogy, Rebels and Rogue One are the most recent movies and shows, it could be expected that episodes featuring characters from any of these movies/shows would also be the most popular.
However, the episodes featuring original trilogy characters (note: the episode featuring young Leia alongside Sabine was counted towards both Rebels and OT) are the most popular Forces of Destiny episodes. In second place follow the episodes with Clone Wars characters, which primarily means Ahsoka. Only in third place is the Sequel Trilogy, and this despite the outlier pilot episode which had the most views of any episodes. Rebels does ok and follows closely behind the Sequel Trilogy. The least watched Forces of Destiny episodes feature characters from Rogue One, which basically means Jyn.
What can we take away here? Either little girls prefer the OT and TCW over any of the much more recent entertainment, or Forces of Destiny is not actually watched by that many little girls and mostly by adults who prefer the OT and TCW. Without access to detailed demographics nothing much can be said here.
Either way, Jyn is the least popular character among the Forces of Destiny cast.
So, does Forces of Destiny have a future? While viewership is in steep decline which would get the show close to cancelation on a TV network, it still performs ok, when compared with other videos on the YouTube Disney Channel, even if it’s far behind the most popular Disney videos that have millions of views.
Overall, the show doesn’t attract many viewers anymore, with some episodes not even reaching 100k views, which should give Lucasfilm and Disney second thoughts. It can be said that the goal of the show, to win new fans among girls, has most likely not been that successful. Unless little girls prefer OT and TCW characters too. The lackluster performance of the toyline is another indicator that Forces of Destiny is struggling.
Disney should also note that the most popular Forces of Destiny episodes don’t feature characters from the most recent movies and that the OT characters and Ahsoka have a bigger draw. Jyn seems to be a lost cause, her episodes always perform much worse than the average.
Rey is somewhat of a puzzle, thanks to her pilot episode she has the most viewed episode. But she also has the least viewed episode. Only two of her episodes perform above average actually, the pilot episode and the episode featuring the Porgs. She loses against Ahsoka when it comes to views per episode, and this despite the pilot episode outlier.
My guess is that Forces of Destiny might get a fourth batch of episodes perhaps, but after that the future of the show is very uncertain. Viewership is in steep decline, the toyline is struggling a lot, it seems Forces of Destiny is more of a failure than a success.
So, what do you think?
Are you surprised that the Original Trilogy and The Clone Wars characters prove to be the most popular ones on Forces of Destiny? Which episodes did you prefer or watch? Do you even watch the show anymore? Do you think Forces of Destiny has a future?
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