A significant number of LEGO minifigures are created to represent characters from TV series or films. LEGO has been creating Star Wars minifigs since 1999, and has created a total of 1,276 as of July 2022. In [Part 1], we analyzed the relationship between screen time, gender, and number of minifigs for Star Wars characters in the main films and found that the production of Star Wars minifigs is even more imbalanced toward males than are the films themselves. In Part 2, we explore this same relationship for characters in four side series: The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett, Clone Wars, and Rebels.
The Mandalorian is the first live-action series in the Star Wars franchise, and has been running from 2019 to the present. The plot begins five years after Episode VI — Return of the Jedi (1983). There is some overlap between characters in The Mandalorian and characters in the main films, and there are also several new characters introduced.
Using data from a YouTube video for screen time and BrickLink for minifigs, we created the bar charts below displaying screen time and number of minifigs for each of the characters within the top 10 for screen time. Since there is some overlap with characters from other Star Wars films and series, some characters had minifigs that were outside of The Mandelorian category on BrickLink. The orange fill colors of the bars in the right-most bar chart indicates that the character has at least one minifig within the Mandelorian category specifically, while gray indicates that the character has minifigs, but outside of the category. The bars are arranged in the same order for both bar charts (e.g., if you follow the top bar of the left-most barchart (the one for “The Mandalorian”) over to the right-most bar chart, you can see that he has 4 minifigs).
Looking at the gender distribution for the top 10 characters, it is fairly gender-equitable as compared to the main films. Although the top 2 characters who have the most screen time by far, The Mandalorian and Grogu, are both male, 4 out of the top 10 characters are female, which is nearly half.
All but three characters have at least one minifig, and only one female character out of the four, Koska Reeves, has no minifigs. Thus, it appears that LEGO’s production of minifigs is fairly representative of the series and not significantly gender imbalanced.
It is interesting to note that there are quite a few minifigs in the Mandalorian category on BrickLink representing characters that do not make the top 10 list for screen time. This minifigs are:
- Dark Trooper
- Gamorrean Guard in Carbonite
- Human in Carbonite
- Imperial Artillery Stormtrooper
- Klatooinian Raider
- Luke Skywalker
- Paz Vizsla
- Scout Trooper
- The Armorer
- Mandalorian Tribe Warrior
The Book of Boba Fett
The Book of Boba Fett is a spin-off series from The Mandalorian, and is fairly new, running from December 2021 to the present. The series begins immediately following the events of season 2 of The Mandalorian.
Using screen time data from IMDB and minifig data from BrickLink, we created a set of bar charts below similar to the ones above for The Mandalorian. This time, instead of only the top 10 characters, we included all characters for which data was available on IMDB, which are all characters that have over 10 minutes of screen time across all Star Wars films and series. There are a total of 15 characters included.
It appears that The Book of Boba Fett is slightly less gender-equitable than The Mandalorian given that only 4 out of the 15 characters are female. Looking at the right-most bar chart, there are only four characters who have minifigs in The Book of Boba Fett BrickLink category– two males and two females. It seems strange that the main character, Boba Fett, does not have any minifigs in the Boba Fett category, yet he does have quite a few in other categories. This is likely because the character Boba Fett was in the main films as well as The Mandalorian series, both of which came before this series, so his minifigs exist in those categories. When considering minifigs in all categories, the distribution of the number of minifigs seems sporadic and not necessarily related to screen time. This is likely because some of the characters are more prominent in other series than in the Book of Boba Fett (Luke Skywalker is a prime example). If we consider only the upper half of the bar chart, the distribution of the number of minifigs does resemble the screen time distribution, but the number of minifigs seems less related to screen time for the lower portion of the chart. It is notable that all female characters have at least one minifig, while several of the male characters have none.
As in The Mandalorian category, there are several minifigs in The Book of Boba Fett BrickLink category that do not appear in the IMDB screen time data (likely because they are very minor characters who do not have more than 10 minutes of screen time across all Star Wars films and series). These minifigs are pictured below. It is especially interesting that out of only 9 minifigs in The Book of Boba Fett category, five of them are such minor characters that they can not even make the IMDB screen time list.
Clone Wars is a TV series set between two episodes of the Star Wars films – Episode II– Attack of the Clones and Episode III– Revenge of the Sith. The series contains 7 seasons in total, running from 2008 to 2020. The episodes in the Clone Wars series usually run between 20 and 30 minutes. We referred to IMDB for more detailed screen time breakdowns for individual characters within each season.
We can see that the Clone Wars screen time ratio for female:male is approximately 1:3 (~16:48). Whereas, the number of characters:minifigs ratio for female is almost 3:1 (~30:10) while that for male is a little over 2:1 (~100:50). This means that 1 male minifig would be created for the presence of every 2 male characters, but 1 female minifig would not be created until there exists 3 female characters.
The graph above shows the percentage breakdowns by gender for characters, minifigures, and screen time. Females are very underrepresented within the series itself, but the number of minifigs by gender is fairly proportional to the series. We acknowledge the fact that there weren’t a lot of female characters in the series to start with in the first place for LEGO to create as many minifigs for them.
In the scatterplot above, the trends of how the number of minifigs changes with screen time look very similar for females and males, implying that LEGO’s production of minifigs is not gender-skewed for Clone Wars.
Rebels is another TV series that has a time setting of 14 years after Star Wars Episode III– Revenge of the Sith, and five years before Episode IV– A New Hope. There are 4 seasons in the series, which ran from 2014 to 2018, and 75 episodes each with a runtime of approximately 22 minutes.
Note that for Rebels, our analysis was based on just seasons one and two, because we were only able to find screen time data for those on IMDB. For the scope of this project, we filtered out the character “White Loth-cat” who has an unknown gender and belongs to a species of “feline”.
The graphs above give an overview of the Rebels screen time, minifigure count, and character count by gender. Though screen time for males is about 3 times the screen time for females in Rebels, the number of minifigs seem to be about half the number of characters for both genders. This is a positive sign that LEGO was maintaining gender equity regardless of the disproportional gender representation in the original IP.
Notice that the percentage breakdowns by gender for characters, minifigs, and screen time are comparable to those of Clone Wars’. Similarly, as shown in the scatter plot below, the trends for males versus females do not appear to be much different from those in Clone Wars as well.
Overall, our results suggest that LEGO has been doing a better job at maintaining gender equity in the Star Wars side series than they were in the main films. Although the sheer number (and percentage) of minifigures is still largely tilted towards male, this is more or less attributed to the abundance of male characters and screen time allocated to them in the original IP – the Star Wars side series that LEGO based their minifigs’ production on. The ratio of the number of minifigs produced to the number of characters is not drastically different across gender.