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Weekend Fun: Google Trends!

I looked at Google Trends a couple of years ago. And I thought it might be fun to revisit them, especially with so much more Star Wars content that we got in the meantime. So how does The Mandalorian stack up against the competition? Star Wars or Marvel? Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader? What is trending more on Google? Click through to find out!

How much of an impression does she leave on Google?

Before I will show you the various graphs it has to be pointed out that this is NOT an exact science, it’s mostly just for entertainment, however, Google search trends can still reveal a few things, at least relative popularity or how much people wanted to know about something over the course of time. Where it gets difficult is when you compare trends, Google does have specific categories for tv shows or characters but they don’t really reveal how they track these things, i.e. how they know “The Mandalorian” may refer to the show or the character, because those are two different categories you can choose from. So don’t take it all too seriously, also, it’s “weekend fun”, so it’s supposed to be fun. With all that out of the way I still think we can draw some valid conclusions!

Also: I am in Germany, so Google is in German. I only looked at search trends in the USA, not worldwide. But if I included Europe things would not be all that different.

So let’s begin!

Star Wars vs Marvel

How do the two major Disney franchises compare? Who’s on top?

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For this I did not use the Google Trends categories, but simple search terms, since Google does not have an all encompassing “Marvel” category, only various subcategories, so this is a very raw and basic look at the search trends.

And as you can see Star Wars wins this round. The peaks are of course the various movies and after 2019 it’s mostly The Mandalorian that creates a few smaller peaks.

And I mentioned it last time, but it is interesting how even Endgame doesn’t even come close here to most of the major Star Wars movie peaks. The Force Awakens dwarves them all, so interest back in 2015 was huge, when people still thought this is going to be great and fun!

 

The Vintage Collection vs The Black Series

Last time I posted a graph TVC collectors came up with all kinds of excuses. Let’s see what creative excuses they come up with this time…

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Note: here I decided to focus on the trends beginning in 2019. But if I went back all the way to 2013 it would look the same. And yes, I checked, I also had a graph for that last time I posted trends. Excuses used last time: TVC collectors do not use Google or the Internet. Well…

But to put things in perspective here is a comparison with “Marvel Legends”… we should all be humble. Very humble.

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Both TVC and TBS are almost flatlined by Marvel Legends. Such is the state of things now. Again, I only compared raw search terms. So it’s neither exact nor super accurate maybe, but the overall trend is certainly real.

 

But let’s quickly get away from that somewhat controversial topic back to movies, shows and characters! Which is more interesting anyway.

Battle of the Shows!

How popular are, or how many times do people search for, various shows on Google? And since Star Wars has most of its shows named after characters (how creative) this will also tell us something about the relative popularity of the characters!

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For this I did not use the “tv show” category, but just the simple search term. It is interesting to see that Kenobi has a taller peak than The Mandalorian and even Ahsoka rivals Mando. But another thing becomes apparent, the dwindling interest in The Mandalorian over time, something that still shows in the trends if you use other categories.

In fact, using just the simple search term even Andor was searched more often than Mandalorian when its season 3 was released. Which is certainly surprising.

However, things change quite a bit when I instead compare tv shows, now, as I said in the introduction, it is not entirely clear how Google differentiates between someone searching for Ahsoka the character or Ahsoka the series, so again, it’s certainly not an exact science!

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When I pick the tv show category the picture changes. Ahsoka is now a very small blip and Kenobi no longer is more popular (searched for) than The Mandalorian. But the one trend that should seriously concern Lucasfilm and Disney is still clearly visible, the waning interest in The Mandalorian. We see a massive drop for season 3, which also aligns with a 40% drop in total viewership for the season when we look at Nielsen numbers.

And how do things look when I compare The Mandalorian to other popular streaming shows? Can Star Wars compete?

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The yellow line is Amazon’s Rings of Power, Google insists on using German titles… Anyway, we only catch the tail end of Game of Thrones here, but you can easily see how GoT wipes the floor with Star Wars and even Stranger Things on Netflix is a much bigger phenomenon online, at least as far as Google Search is concerned. The single most popular Marvel series, Loki, can barely keep up with the first two Mandalorian seasons… and then, similar to The Mandalorian, experiences a dramatic drop in 2023, which should once again be a major concern for Marvel / Disney. Rings of Power is about on the same level as Loki season 1, which is ok, but one would maybe expect Lord of the Rings to be even bigger, especially when you see how much another fantasy series, Game of Thrones, dominated the trends.

In the next graph I went all the way back to 2013:

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To better gauge how Game of Thrones or Stranger Things performed against The Mandalorian I went back further in time. And we can see something interesting. While Game of Thrones gained in “popularity” over time and Stranger Things did too, The Mandalorian shows the reverse trend. And The Witcher is another show that shows a decline (this show is on the verge of complete failure). We can also see how much more of a phenomenon the 1st season of Squid Game was. Of course Netflix has more subscribers in the US, still, Star Wars, in the grand scheme of things can no longer keep up with more recent franchises like Game of Thrones or even Korean imports like Squid Game. Disney should think hard about why that is.

 

Video Games

And now a quick look at video games, can Jedi Fallen Order or Survivor compete against the competition?

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Both Jedi Fallen Order and Survivor sold reasonably well, but in the world of video games they cannot hold a candle to the really popular titles like Elden Ring, which was a massive phenomenon, or the more recent Hogwart’s Legacy or Baldur’s Gate 3. Elden Ring even dwarfs Red Dead Redemption 2 (not included in this graph) on Google search. So if Star Wars wants to have a massively popular game again they need to change a few things.

 

Battle of the Characters

Who is the most popular (or most searched for) Star Wars character and what about the competition? Can Luke or Darth measure up to Spider-Man or Batman?

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For this I did of course select the “character” category, how exactly Google can differentiate between the self titled shows or the characters is a mystery, but this is what the trends are for the characters. “Anakin Skywalker” also includes Darth Vader in case you wonder.

I chose Loki for Marvel, because his Disney+ series is the most watched and most popular. It may be somewhat surprising that The Mandalorian comes in dead last. But how much this is an artifact of having also a series titled “The Mandalorian” is unclear, I am somewhat dubious about the very weak trend for Mando. Anyway, Darth Vader aka Anakin comes out on top here, which is not really surprising. That Luke Skywalker is overall beaten by Obi-Wan may be a bit surprising, but Obi-Wan had his own show and the massive peak for him (and Anakin) coincided with the release of the series of course. Whereas the two peaks for Luke are for TROS and of course his appearance in the season 2 finale of The Mandalorian.

I also added Iron Man and other Avengers or MCU characters to the mix, and Anakin beats them all. Anakin/Vader is about on the same level as Superman as far as Google Trends are concerned. This should maybe tell Lucasfilm something.

To put things in perspective I decided to see how Luke, Obi-Wan and Anakin compare to the major league….

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And Spider-Man beats them all, as expected, he is the single most popular Marvel character and also a major pop culture icon, and apparently much more of an icon than any Star Wars character. Batman who hates losing plays second fiddle to Spider-Man (Superman is less popular than Batman and Anakin’s trend is ever so slightly stronger even). Anakin and Obi-Wan barely manage to outperform Spider-Man for a very short time once each, but this really is no competition, Star Wars characters stand no chance against the pop culture juggernauts that are Spider-Man or Batman. This should not be too surprising though.

 

Catfight

How do the female characters compare? Who’s on top? Who is left in the dust? Star Wars is at a certain disadvantage here because the number of prominent female characters is somewhat limited. But let’s see!

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Ahsoka comes out on top… which is explained by her show last year. Leia’s two major peaks are of course for The Rise of Skywalker and the Obi-Wan Kenobi series. The first major peak for Ahsoka coincides with her live action debut on The Mandalorian. It is interesting that Ahsoka was searched for so much more than Scarlet Witch, her two peaks are for WandaVision and the second Dr. Strange movie. To my own surprise Black Widow barely registers here, even though she had a movie release. Even She-Hulk made more of an impression. Not shown here, but surprisingly Ahsoka can actually keep up with Wonder Woman, who is probably the most popular female DC character, I compared the two and the two are neck on neck, with Wonder Woman barely beating Ahsoka, but Ahsoka has the much (much) taller peak. I also added Captain Marvel… who was completely flatlined by Ahsoka and Wonder Woman. But that may be an anomaly, more about that further down below.

But let’s look at some of the somewhat minor characters. Ahsoka is by far the most searched for female Star Wars character, so I removed her, or else the more minor characters would often barely be visible.

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Ms Marvel wins! At least this time she comes out on top for a change. Her major peaks coincide with the release of the show and of course The Marvels, now these trends do not really measure “popularity” but how often something was searched for. Cara Dune had her 15 minutes of fame on Google trends years ago, but her narrow peak comes close to the peak for The Marvels movie. Somewhat surprising may be the pretty tall peak for Bo-Katan, she left more of an impression than Hera. I also compared Sabine to Captain Marvel, who has two major MCU movies… and Sabine easily beats Captain Marvel. Which is surprising. I am not 100% sure how much Google trends can be trusted here… So I instead compared “Carol Danvers”… and Carol flatlines Sabine. So Google Trends are certainly somewhat misleading, because Carol and Captain Marvel are the same person. However, Ahsoka even beats Carol Danvers, easily.

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What I found puzzling is how there is not even a peak for Carol (and neither for Captain Marvel) for The Marvels. That movie massively flopped of course, but I would have expected at least somewhat of a peak in 2023. Wonder Woman has no massive peaks, but there is constant interest in her, which makes her the #1 here. Leia also beats Carol Danvers easily and for reference I also included Sabine who dominates the somewhat more minor character roster, she barely registers here. You can see her blip underneath Ahsoka’s massive peak.

And here is Sabine with some of the other more minor characters:

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I have to say I did not see this coming, but Sabine left more of an impression than both Cara Dune and Bo-Katan. Of course each of the characters here are dwarved by Ahsoka, and Leia is also much more “popular” than Sabine but when we look at the more minor league characters Sabine can hold her own. Whether that is because of Natasha Bordizzo is anyone’s guess. Shin Hati appears as a blip in 2023, but for someone with such a small role she cannot really compete.

 

Staying Power

And finally, I wanted to know how much of an effect the two most prominent sequels characters still have. So I looked at the trends beginning in 2021 for Kylo and Rey compared to Ahsoka, Luke and Anakin/Vader.

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Well, both Kylo and Rey are flatlined by Anakin/Vader. When I remove him then Ahsoka flatlines Kylo and Rey. Only when I remove her, and only leave Luke, do Kylo and Rey finally have visible trend lines. But VERY concerning for Lucasfilm and Disney should be that there is almost NO peak at all really for Rey after Star Wars Celebration and the announcement of her movie. At least on Google search both Kylo and Rey no longer matter. Which will probably surprise few people here… but the people wanting to make the Rey movie should maybe take note.

And finally, let’s see how Baby Yoda / The Child / Grogu performs.

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Google dubs Grogu aka Baby Yoda “Das Kind / The Child” in German, but it should include all searches for Baby Yoda and The Child etc. Anyway, the green line is for Grogu, easy to remember.

When it comes to staying power we see yet again a concerning trend… interest in Grogu has collapsed. Also, somewhat surprising perhaps Ahsoka’s peak is as tall as Grogu’s when he took the world by storm in late 2019. But look at that shallow hill in 2023. It seems the Baby Yoda hype is over. Again, this should be reason for major concern for Lucasfilm and Disney in light of the movie they want to release in 2026. It may as well be that Grogu’s 15 minutes of fame are over. Overall, Grogu cannot beat Anakin/Vader, despite the taller peaks.

So what can we say after looking at all these charts?

While Anakin/Vader remains a constant, Ahsoka has a really strong Google trend, her trend is much stronger than that of Luke or other OT characters. Proving that Ahsoka is at least a character many people are interested in. Now the trends do not say anything about popularity, you can also look up something because you hate it, but generally speaking I would say it’s safe to assume that Ahsoka is pretty popular and one of the top Star Wars characters of the past decade. That, at least on Google, she is even more prominent than Rey should be reason for major concern at Lucasfilm and Disney. Grogu shows a troubling trend, interest in him has literally collapsed. The sequels characters do not matter at all anymore.

We also see that in the grand scheme of things Star Wars cannot keep up. More recent phenomena like Game of Thrones, Stranger Things or even very new things like Squid Game all came out on top in the trends and the pop cultural impact of Spider-Man or Batman dwarves that of any Star Wars characters (both have also been around for much longer of course). In the video game world Star Wars may have ok numbers, but the recent games are a far cry from the true standout hits like Elden Ring, Baldur’s Gate 3 or the Harry Potter prequel game.

Very concerning should be that The Mandalorian (and associated characters) is trending downwards on Google, whereas Game of Thrones (despite or because of its much discussed final season) trended upward as the series progressed, Stranger Things too, the last season has by far the tallest peak. Whereas The Mandalorian is shrinking. As is Loki, the only live action Marvel series with a second season (yet). Viewership also collapsed for Loki.

So Disney should take note, their most popular shows all trend downwards. Star Wars plays second fiddle to other, more recent shows. And while some here absolutely detest Ahsoka her Google trend shows that she is leaving an impression, she IS the de facto breakout character from the prequel era and still relevant today. If that is enough for a movie is to be seen. Sabine is above all the other more minor female Star Wars characters, only Ahsoka, Leia and Rey have stronger Google trends (Jyn Erso’s trend is basically zero), who would have thought that. It’s not sure how much that is Natasha Bordizzo’s achievement or just general interest in Sabine, probably both. And while Original Trilogy fans may not like it but Luke, Leia and Han are not as relevant anymore these days, at least on Google Search. Anakin/Vader and even Obi-Wan are more on the forefront here, of course both had major appearances in recent times on Disney+, whereas Luke’s last appearance was over three years ago.

And Rey? The fact the movie announcement barely left an impression on Google trends should be a major concern for Disney and Lucasfilm. None of the sequels characters matter anymore these days.

 

 

 

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